Butterfly Buns

Butterfly Buns 3

“Mum, that’s just so 2007″

Or so Teengirl  informed me on seeing my choice of clothing the other day. White capri pants? So what`s wrong with them? Everything, as the disgust in her voice inferred..

Actually, I`d say the offending capris probably a decade old. Though I thought it best not to inform my trendy daughter.

Anyway, I like a bit of history.

Which is why I made butterfly buns yesterday.

They remind me of my mother. She loved to bake-garibaldi squares, Genoese fancies and apple fritters when she was feeling a bit more adventurous. Or when her regular Friday night people were due to call, she`d make a peach flan and butterfly buns to accompany the dainty, crustfree cucumber sandwiches.

Well, I was all out of tinned peaches yesterday, and nobody Chez Chook was dainty enough to merit the cucumber sandwiches. Added to that, I`d discovered a really cool pack of Dr Oetker metallic baking cases.

Dr Oetker Baking Cases

They were screaming ” Butterfly buns!” So, decision made.

Of course, Rachel had the recipe. She calls them Fairy Cakes. But I`m sticking with Butterfly Buns

  • 125 g Butter(softened)
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

The filling is made from buttercream icing or crème Chantilly. I opted for the latter, since it`s an easy-peasy make, and I`d never done it before. If you`ve gotta get out of your comfort zone once in a while,crème Chantilly is a good way to go.

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F Gas 5.  Line the 12 hole bun tray with the pastry cases.

Rachel gives two options on putting all the ingredients together.

The Harder One:You can use the electric mixer to whip the butter til creamy, then add the sugar and vanilla til the mix is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating continuously, then sift the flour and baming powder into the mix.

The Easy One: You could though, if pressed for time, put the whole lot into the mixing bowl whisk the lot with the electric mixer. Don`t overbeat it all though.

Divide the mix among the paper cases, using two teaspoons. Cook for 8-12 minutes until springy to the touch.

Easy, right?

And the next bit is fun.

Cut the top of each bun and then halve the top to make two butterfly wings. Rachel puts jam on the top of each bun then-strawberry or raspberry. As that`s a sure-fire way to turn my chooks off butterfly buns for life, I skipped the jam and put the crème Chantilly in at that point. Insert the butterfly wings at an angle, then add the hundreds and thousands for a real 70s touch.

There was a clear gender divide when it came to appreciating these cakes. The boys found them a tad too pretty for them. But they ate them anyway. Girl Teen loved them. I expect they fall into the current cupcake revolution for her and not 70s nostalgia territory.

I didn`t partake myself as crème Chantilly was a step too far after my cholesterol warnings. But next time my pals come for tea, I`ll whip them up, with peach flan and cucumber sandwiches. We`ll wear tank tops and flares and long collared blouses. And listen to Kate Bush screaming “Wuthering Heights” the Eagles  in “Hotel California” and Leonard Cohen in his “Chelsea Hotel”.

And we`ll say “Hey, isn`t this just so 70s”


Half Marathon today and yes, I failed to finish.

Perfect pre-run planning. Slept reasonably well. Had all laid out the night before. Rocked up at Clontarf with breakfast supplies and lots of water on board.

Yes, it was hot-by Irish standards, very hot. But I could have managed that.

I lined up at with the third wave-those looking for a two hour half. Looking around me, I`d plainly chosen the right group. Not a garmin in sight and lots of out of shape types.

There were lots of capri leggings too. Given the heat, that was a tad too much clothing. There was even a man in a lycra one piece, like a shortie wetsuit. Lord only knows how he intended to peel it off at the end of the run-I just hope he had help.

Oh, and a girl with a camel pack. You know, those back packs filled with water with tubing attached for easier hydration. Yep, it was hot but hey, she wasn`t exactly running a marathon in the Sahara.

Anyway, the assortment convinced me that this was a place for me. No tearing off with garmin clad sweaty men in the second wave.

Ambled off down the path after the two hour pacers. Over the delightful wooden bridge and on to the beach.

And there, running on soft sand, trouble struck. The back niggle I`d been harbouring developed into a persistent screech. I slowed, it didn`t help. I tried to catch up but it made it much worse. Everything else felt fine. Just the persistent back pain. I debated over and back. Sometimes I can out run that niggle. Went on for another kilometre or so tossing the facts around in my head. Meanwhile the two mile pacer balloons were heading off into the blue. If I kept going, I`d make a lousy time. I`d also risk making the back much worse.

I bailed out.

Once I`d made the decision I actually began to enjoy myself. The beach rambled off in one direction towards Howth. And in the opposite direction there were fabulous views of Poolbeg lighthouse and the chimneys at Ringsend. I contented myself with a nice stroll on the beach, enjoying the sunshine and taking lots of pics.

The Clontarf half bills itself as the flattest half in Ireland. It must be, as it`s run all along beach and promenade along the Dublin coastline. On a day like today, it`s a glorious sight. Two thousand people winding their way like multi-coloured threads around the bay for over ten kilometres and then back again.

Of course, the lead pack were returning just as the some of the third wave were at the five kilometre point. I honestly think some of those third wavers deserve more kudos for doing such runs as I could see they were suffering more than the elite crew. Perhaps, more to the point, some third wavers really shouldn`t be there at all. A lot of them were in no condition to run that far and I wondered if they were doing their bodies more harm than good.

Anyway, I`m one of that lot now. Last year my fastest half marathon was in two hours eight minutes. Perhaps that then will always be my personal best for that distance. I`d felt fit enough then to run with the second wave. But maybe that`s as fit as I`ll ever get.

Who knows?

I`m clear about a couple of things:

Gotta sort the back out.

Gotta do more cross training.

Gotta keep trying.

Today, as I walked beside the glittering sea and enjoyed the warmth of the sun I reminded myself why I run.

I am not trying to break records. I am not trying to beat anyone else. I am not trying to beat my own previous times. I run to stay healthy, sane and fit and to have fun.

I hope I have more races left in me. But mostly, I hope to keep enjoying running.

Or else I`ll have to change the name of this blog…


Gosh, darn…. Juneathon. It`s a bit like sitting in front of a bowl of olives. You don`t really want another one but it`s there and hey, it might actually be even good for you.

Yep, you need to be addicted to olives to get that. Insert addictive, but reasonably healthy, food of choice. No, that does not include anything with sugar, fat or alcohol. Sheesh. People!

My running has been going downhill lately, even when I`ve been running downhill. I just can`t get the speed in there and I am struggling to get the distance. Feels like I`ve been running into a wall.

I`m barely hanging on in this, the fourth week of my Hal Higdon half marathon plan.

Been wondering what all that`s about. Laziness?Old age? Or just a severe case of avian flu, perhaps?

Time for an MOT from the doc.

He trawled through the usual list of questions. Did the blood pressure thingy,the vampire thingy, and then he got to listen to my heartbeat. Lucky guy!

Had the runners`conversation because yes, he runs and so, gets running.

“Maybe it`s motivation” he said. Hmmmm, maybe he`s right….

I decided to put the theory to the test that evening. If I did my scheduled three mile run I would reward myself with a glass of pinot noir that night.

Well,I could hardly get my little skinny legs into my running shorts quick enough. My body must be craving all the vitamins in the wine. Belted around the three mile route. Well, not exactly speedily, but in old hen fashion. Practically tore the supermarket door down then, in my rush to grab a decent pinot noir.

Ran all the way home.
Scoured the kitchen for a corkscrew.
Couldn`t get it into the cork fast enough.
And then…

Ah! The Prize

Ah! The Prize

Cue angels with violins, cue smooth oh-so-relaxed feeling.
Cue alcholism if I don`t find another motivator.

And that`s where Juneathon comes in.

For Juneathon, we`ve to jog and blog every day for the month of June. Yes, I know, I get bored even saying that.

I sorta did Janathon. And, reflecting at the end of it, the most important lesson I`d learnt from it was never, ever, on no account, sign up to daily blogging. For lots of reasons. Most of which are connected with the sanity of my poor readers.

But then, I met some really nice fellow bloggers, through those efforts. And it did whip me out onto the cold January pavements most days. In short, it gave me much needed motivation.

And I plainly need that.

Juneathon might even be more fun. My northern hemisphere almost midnight runs might actually be more cheerful affairs than the wind whipped and woefully wet January ones.

Meanwhile, I await the results of the doc`s bloodtests. Maybe he`ll tell me my throid`s shot and I need the new drug of choice among athletes:hypothyroid medication. Maybe he`ll tell me my liver`s done in and I`ll have to give up alcohol. Sigh.

Or maybe he`ll tell me it is a case of dwindling motivation after all.

In which case, I`ll tell him “Thanks doc. I`ve got it sorted.”

Ok, Juneathon. I`m in.

The Bring Summer to Ireland Campaign

I am spearheading the Bring Summer to Ireland Campaign. This work has seen me tirelessly pounding the roads all winter. And it`s been a long winter.

To the onlooker, this ritual looks repetitive, tedious and difficult. It is. But I am fortunate enough to have inspired the entire country to have faith in the process.

Clad in our team colours of dayglo green, and black leggings we have spent several thousand hours each week dedicated to the cause. For, it is our earnest hope, that with each step, the collective vibrations of our stomping feet reach deep into the earth internal mechanism and shift Ireland further south.

And I am pleased to announce that it is indeed working.

Yesterday the entire nation woke to summer. Blue skies! Blue skies! tweeted the entire bird population.And, indeed, even the resident teenagers in the Chook House bounded out of bed early to head for the Great Outdoors. Since they generally shuffle about under the haze of open laptops and ipads, they were temporarily blinded by the full spectrum rays of the sun. But their eyes soon adjusted, and in true Irish fashion, winter clothing was abandoned, sunscreen eschewed as they went in search of melanoma.

I needed a celebratory run myself. So I headed for the river, the better to soak up the sights and sounds of the season.

Yay! Summer!

Yay! Summer!

Yes, it indeed seemed as if we had shifted Ireland about as far south as Cornwall in Britain. Unfortunately the scientific instrumentation available to to us in the BSTIC campaign merely measures the visual. But the sights, the sounds, the feel of the whole place was high summer in Cornwall.

I witnessed this…

….Two of my better looking cousins suffering from heat exhaustion at high noon. No doubt, ongoing concern in regard to the impending hatching of several chicks accounts for some of their collapsed state. I know the feeling. But birds have been adapting since the begining of time. They`ll shed a few feathers to cope with the heat, rejoice in having drier bedding for their little ones, and just get on with it.

I ran my heart out down by the riverbank and took in all the other sights and sounds of Ireland`s summer. Trees, water and heat meant flies were in abundance. Swarms of them gathered to bask in the sunbeams and all along the river bank growth seems suddenly lush as Iris leaves poked heavenward with the rushes and lilies spread in equal abundance.

boat house

Evidence too that Ireland may indeed have witnessed a similar shift in the past. This is a boat house. Long fallen into rack and ruin, I discovered it as a ran along the canal section of my route. We, in the BSTIC pride ourselves in our imaginations. We couldn`t, after all, pound the dull rain sodden streets of Ireland if we didn`t hold in our minds`eyes visions of glory.

And can`t you imagine the above boathouse in days of yore? Maidens in white dresses trailing their hands in the canal waters, as fine young men in blazers and straw boaters rowed their boats along the canal? This look would be all wrong in persistent rain of course. The maidens wouldn`t stand for it and their men would have no peace. So perhaps Ireland was actually further south before.

These are the things I ponder as I pound the pavements for the good of my country. Others may be concerned about race times and personal bests, what`s for dinner or what cake they`ll bake for their offspring.

But not me. My mind is always on higher things and dreaming of the collective good.

And thus I ended yesterday`s run. Three and half miles, and crap time but hey, I`d a lot on my mind.

It was time to gather in the little chooks, camouflage their sunburn so the neighbours wouldn`t think I was a bad mum, and throw something resembling lunch in their way.

And then tell them the good news:

Summer in Ireland is set to run until Monday!

Success for my good pals in BSTIC but it looks like we`ll have to keep on running.