We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Life in Cinnamon Buns

Remembering Jim Matthews (when I was ten) and then Regent College days (age 24) ... Yummy, gooey Cinnamon Buns! And now here I am in Iringa (ok, here it is ... age 36) with those same yummy gooey cinnamon buns - with icing made from our own homemade cream cheese! I always had a childhood fantasy of working in a cinnamon bun shop ... only as it turns out it's not going to be me, but Lucy. Lucy's new business is off to a great start with orders coming in and satisfaction high! She is so pleased to be doing this and it really does make a difference for her! So all you Iringa folk reading this, please place your orders and spread the word!

The recipe is supposedly the one used since many years ago, to make the famous University of British Columbia cinnamon buns, made by the late Jim Matthews while he worked there and then made for students at the King's Bible College in Langley when he was the chef at Springcrest. I was a kid in grade 4 and I think what I remember most about Jim are his contagious, hilarious laugh and his awesome cinnamon buns. And I remember him cooking up a storm for TACO kids summer camp!

Fast forward 15 years and I was a student at Regent, enjoying the delicious UBC cinnamon bun with a coffee and study book in the Atrium. And now, fast forward another 12 or so years, and here I am in Tanzania, teaching Lucy to make them to sell in Iringa! There must be other stories of these amazing cinnamon buns out there ... be it at UBC, Regent College or with Jim at King's Bible College! But this is my story!

We haven't started selling cheese yet, but hope to start selling soft cheeses soon. And we are working on bagels to go with the cream cheese. We will have to wait another month to see how marketable our hard cheeses will be. Hopeful, but nervous! Yesterday we tried our hand at Gloucester Cheese. I realise that I have been rabbiting on rather about all the cheese, so I won't go into all the detail again, but it was pretty interesting with the new "slabbing" technique. The curds (after being cut) were all pressed flat into a sheet, which we then cut into squares and stacked. It reminded us of the sheets of rubber hanging to dry at the rubber plantation in the Udzungwa Mountains. Amazing stuff! I read that this cheese has traditionally been coloured with carrot juice, so that is what we did. I was disappointed when we made the cheese that it didn't seem to make any difference to the curd at all. But today, when I turned the cheeses and put them back in the press, I was pretty excited to see that they had turned a distinct shade of orange! This cheese will now be maturing with the cheddar for a few months.

Carrot juice cheese colouring

The "slab" of curd pressed flat - no, not very orange!

The "slab" cut into squares and stacked 
Ready to "mill" - crumble up and put in the press
 While Lucy and I are putting cheese in the mould, Tim has been putting clay in his mould. He has been busy working on making a fire chamber for the large fuel-efficient institutional stove that is going to be built for the school in Magozi. He made a mould (yes, it's all moulds around here at the moment!) last weekend and they are now trying it out. It is all very experimental and so far all the components look good! He has had Elly (a relative of our landlady who lives on the property here) working with him. They have also been making our regular stoves to test the clays from various villages interested in the stoves project.

The fire chamber mould

Elly working on the fire chamber
(the small stoves in the background)
Bottom piece of the fire chamber

Top piece of the fire chamber

 Today Tim started teaching an "Introduction to Mission" course at Bethel Bible College in Mafinga, about 60km away. This is a course he will teach one day a week over the course of the next few months to pastors (who come from surrounding villages) in their second year of training with the college. This is something he really enjoys doing and he had a great day there today, despite ending up in the wrong place for lunch!

And that brings us back to food, which seems to be what much of this blog revolves around, so probably a good place to stop!


1 comment:

  1. Hi. Looking back at your blog to see what you said about cinnamon buns! I enjoy reading your blog (when I have time) - it sounds like you are doing an amazing work there. I have also tried making cinnamon buns here - any chance you could share your recipe? Belinda Naude
    I can't figure out the profile on this comment - so I've put it as anonymous!


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