Friday, September 29, 2006

For the love of buns

Bowan Island Bakery
A bun so good it deserves to be pictured from all angles. From above, poppy seeds abound.

Many people have their rituals at breakfast, many of them are simple, some eloquent. But when merely getting out of bed is an uphill struggle, morning rituals are the last thing on my mind. I usually falter out of bed after a short wrestle with my doona, then sleepily make my way to the kitchen, stare blankly into the refrigerator for a few minutes, close it, then open it again, find nothing and then just stand in the middle of my kitchen for a really long time. That’s probably as ritualistic as I get. I have never been one of those people that leap out of bed bright-eyed and primed for the day, I am usually barely-conscious and half-baked. A friend says she usually needs her 8 hours of sleep to function properly, I honestly think I need at least 13 hours to even be close to fully operational. But the chances of this actually happening are slim, very slim.

When it comes to the perfect breakfast, many times the busy life causes us to neglect it. I really do love breakfast as a meal but I rarely have time to sit down and actually enjoy it. Many a morning is spent hastily slopping some yoghurt into a bowl and eating it while getting dressed. It has come to a point that when we want a decent breakfast we are forced to go out and actually find it. We’ve gone out on many breakfast dates, or in my case brunch but rarely do we ever get to indulge in great breakfasts when at home. And really, it’s a shame that we can seldom enjoy breakfast in our own home. But I guess that is what weekend mornings are for, they allow us to recapture the breakfast that eluded us during the weekday.

Orange and Poopy Seed Bun
The bun unravelled; flecked with poppy seeds.

Well this brings me to Bowan Island Bakery and Café. I have always passed this bakery on my way to the weekend markets and have heard plenty of good things about it, but never stopped in to see for myself. When I did decide to make a quick visit, it was a sweet surprise. The café sits along the uninspiring stretch of Victoria Road in Drummoyne, although when inside it feels completely removed from the bustling city outside. Inside, the café feels like a small town bakery somewhere in the Irish countryside; although it was actually Vancouver that inspired the founders of Bowan Island Bakery into bread making. Bowen Island itself is situated off the coast of West Vancouver and after learning the art of sourdough during their visit, David Cummings and partner Richard Wong decided to start the Bowan Island Bakery here in Sydney. The great thing about Bowan Island is that they hold fast to traditional bread making practises; there are no machines, no preservatives, everything is made by hand using a 60-year–old culture.

Aside from selling various artisan sourdoughs and soda breads, of which I am yet to sample; they also sell small muffins, cakes, pastries and sandwiches. My personal favourite and one that I have always been going back for is the Orange and Poppy Seed Bun- a soft and moist citrus bun, speckled with poppy seeds inside and out. I absolutely adore this bun; I have been to the bakery several times and I am yet to be inspired to purchase anything else. I just can’t seem to shake off this bun and this is nothing against any of their other breads, they look and smell wonderful, perhaps even better but this bun I just cannot get enough of. The taste is smple and really summons no sort of immense palatal euphoria, but it’s the unpretentious nature of this bun that makes it so good.

Orange and Poppy Seed Bun
From beneath; the citrus syrup at the bottom and more poppy seeds.

So after a quick pit stop to Bowan Island after a night shift, I took some of these buns home to enjoy for breakfast. It was nice to be able to sit down and savour every bite with a hot cup of tea. I have this ritual of eating the buns where I first take a few bites off the top, and then proceed to unravel the bun eating the fluffy seed-flecked interior. I leave the moist syrupy base for last as it's my favourite and slowly tear away small pieces making sure to relish every morsel. I could happily make this my morning ritual any day.

Raspberry Friand Raspberry Friand

I also bought a Raspberry friand from the bakery although its presence was eclipsed by my adoration for the bun. Perhaps next visit I can expound on the other selections on offer at Bowan Island Bakery. But for now, the bun takes the spotlight.

Bowan Island Bakery
Bowan Island Bakery
183 Victoria Rd
Drummoyne NSW 2047
Phone: (02) 9181 3524


Anne said...

What beautiful buns;)! I just found your blog ...the cookie sandwiches from your last post look absolutely perfect.

Deborah Eley De Bono said...

Man, that raspberry thingy looks damn good, too.

Julia said...

Just found your blog, love it!

That's my favourite item from BIB too. It's so moist and the yeasty pastry is perfect. The flavours and poppyseeds are just right.

I used to love their muffins too but they're just too oily now. Great pies, and if you're lucky they have bags of day-old pastries for $3.50, which is a bit of a bargain.

Orchidea said...

That looks really good!

wheresmymind said...

Poppys...POPPYS!! I'll get you my pretty...and your little stuffed monkay too!! hehe Ok, I seriously haven't had enough sleep today

Brilynn said...

Oooh those look good, it makes me want to start baking, but then I realize mine will not look like that... that's not going to stop me though, I'll still eat them.

Unknown said...

oh i love poppy seeds buns!!! they look really beautiful!!

jasmine said...

I love the photos. Wish I could try the orange poppyseed bun...


Jen said...

tokyoastrogirl- Thanks! Glad you liked them.

Mooncrazy- Oh yeah the friand was definitely outstanding, but it was the bun that was the clear winner that day.

Julia- I'm glad you agree with me about the buns. They are so simple yet so indulgent at the same time. I tried one of their muffins, but wasn't too impressed, I think i'll stick with the buns.

Orchidea- thanks!!

Wheresmymind- hehehe, too funny. Hope you got some sleep : )

Brilynn- I would love to bake these kinds of buns too but don't think I am up to that level yet. It looks like I will be making more visits to BIB in the meantime.

Homaemades- I was never a huge fan of poppy seeds, although in this bun, they are perfect.

J- Thanks, I wish I could send some over to you because they are really great. If only I could beam them up to Canada!

Courtney said...

that looks deeeelicious. i wish you had a recipe for it. even more, i wish i had a recipe for it...