A steamy love affair


Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/100 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

This love-and-hate affair that started several weeks ago has become an obsession. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was already too involved and couldn’t get out. Now I am confused, remorseful and bloated. I knew this is trouble from the very beginning!

I have stayed away from flour years ago. I had a love affair with it that left me broken. Because of that bad experience, I gave away my almost-new rolling pin and swore never to knead dough again.

Then I got into pottery making. I didn’t know that clay required kneading! It was too late to back out so I continued attending the class, kneading and shaping and throwing and trimming and glazing. Did you know that clays are baked too? Not just once but twice! In the end, I got over my kneading fright and created several potteries by hand and with the help of the wheel.


Canon 600D, ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/4, 50mm lens


Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/50 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

Kneading clay awakened something in me. I need to knead flour again! I resisted the temptation of buying another rolling pin. I don’t want to get too involved.

I did some soul-searching and found recipes for making Filipino siopao aka Chinese baozi aka in plain English – steamed buns. I love steamed buns! If I was going to rekindle my love affair with flour, steamed buns should be the way to go.


Twenty buns two weeks later and two pounds heavier, I am starting to regret it. I still haven’t picture-perfected my buns and the sticky doughs are starting to get to me! I can’t figure out why sometimes the dough is sticky and sometimes it is not. I can’t knead sticky dough. How could I make fluffy buns if I couldn’t knead it properly? What does a woman like me do? Help!

I should give up for now and stop this obsession with steamed buns. Meanwhile I still had flour in the pantry. And ripe bananas with dark spots on the skin that yelled, “Eat me!”  With regained enthusiasm, I made steamed banana muffins that required no kneading!


Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/50 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

The steamed banana muffins were the result of a spur-of-the-moment, love-on-the-rebound kind of stuff. You’ve heard about that. It was good for a change, but something’s still missing. Or am I just missing my steamed buns?

Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/8 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

Canon 600D, ISO 200, 1/100 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

If only I could knead the dough without it getting stuck on my fingers. Then my steamed buns and I could get back together again. And the rest would be perfect. If only!


Canon 600D, ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/4, 50mm lens

Steamed banana muffins ~ Recipe here

* If you live in Wellington and are interested to learn about pottery making, get in touch with Anthea Grob at grobanthea@gmail.com.

About Dolly Rubiano

I am passionate about photography and food is my favourite subject. I like shooting people too, especially when they’re not looking. I am a regular contributor as photographer to FishHead magazine, a local lifestyle magazine in Wellington, New Zealand. I blog about my experiments in the kitchen and don't cook anything that has four legs. Please get in touch if you would like to work with me regarding food styling and photography. View all posts by Dolly Rubiano

10 responses to “A steamy love affair

  • ladyredspecs

    Hey Dolly, looks to me as if the proportions of wet and dry is askew in your recipe. Kneading develops and strengthens the gluten in your dough and with such a small amount of flour, I think it’s an unnecessary step. Your pots however are gorgeous.

    • Dolly Rubiano

      Hi Sandra. Oh sorry but this is not the recipe for the steamed buns. There is no kneading for this steamed muffins recipe, I should show the latest buns I made in another post and with the ingredients, shouldn’t I? And thank you for your feedback!

  • tinywhitecottage

    Love this post Dolly. A struggle with baking (I too struggle with baking) yet so successful with your pottery. You pottery pieces are stunning. Just last night I tried to make a simple biscuit for our strawberries and I don’t know what happened, completely inedible! Little rocks. Interesting you went for steaming buns and muffins. Seems so complicated to me! Keep making pottery! Keep taking photographs! And keep cooking! 🙂

  • Lady Betty

    All in all, this was a VERY ‘steamy’ story, complete with the…re-bound!
    Fun post!! PS I love sticky buns too!

  • Elsie de Castro

    Hi Dollie-lee. I did not know you are a blogger now. Enjoyed reading this piece mucho and love the clay dishes. Did you make them?

    Tita Elz

    • Dolly Rubiano

      Hi Tita Els! Thank you for dropping by! You should read my ‘Confessions of a porn addict.” You will enjoy that, too! Yes, I did make the clay dishes. You should try pottery too if a class is available there. A therapeutic way of releasing your creative juices.

  • Lorena

    Beautiful dishes! You’re inspiring me to try out a ceramics class a friend has been talking me into… The steamed muffins look wonderful too!

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