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December and January have been by far the best months in a long time. I visited my gorgeous friend Pat in Arizona for 3 weeks, and spent another week with more friends in Indiana. It was an incredible month and my heart is firmly and resolutely stuck in Arizona and Indiana.

The last time I saw Pat was in November 2012, and it was so good to see her family again. We did 3 weeks of solid shopping and I am convinced that I have contributed more to the German and American economy than to the British economy. We shopped right till my last day in Arizona!

In the midst of exhausting all the malls and outlets in our vicinity, we managed to find time to cook and bake. Pat is a superwoman for being able to put fresh, mouth watering, home cooked food on the table everyday. She also taught me how to make chiffon cake and how to cook chili crab. I contributed and made…desert themed gingerbread cheesecake!

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I also made cinnamon rolls, madeleines, macarons and focaccia bread. Pat’s kitchen is just like heaven and I could bake all day.

Words fail to describe how thankful I am to spend the month with such amazing people, for their generosity and for opening their home and hearts to me. I am both humbled and proud to have such wonderful friends who genuinely care.

No Knead Cinnamon Rolls
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1½ tsp dry yeast
2 2/3 + 1/3 cups plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon powder
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture and turn off heat. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When the mixture is lukewarm, sprinkle in dry yeast. let this sit for a minute.
Add in 2 2/3 cups of flour. Stir the mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
Add 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. At this point the dough will be quite sticky. You can cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it, this will give you a firmer dough. Punch down the dough if it starts to overflow out of the pan.
Sprinkle the work surface generously with flour. Form a rough rectangle with the dough, then roll the dough thin, maintaining a rectangular shape.
With a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon powder and sultanas over the dough.
Starting at one end, roll the dough in a neat line, keeping the roll tight. Pinch both ends of the roll to seal it. Cut the roll to approximately 1 inch thick and arrange them in a greased baking tray.
Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until it starts to brown.