Breakfast

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns..Hot cross buns , one a penny two a penny hot cross buns !! We all grew up with this nursery rhyme. Although, we at home never baked them and hardly had them in India, the great British legacy left the idea of fancy hot cross buns in our heads for years. It’s weird how only a nursery rhyme makes you nostalgic of food which you never had when you are actually reciting it to every visitor your dad had, at every family gathering and of course in the school. I think that comes naturally to parents to showcase their child’s ‘talents’. Every time I do it now, I don’t even realise that half way through pestering the poor kid to sing and dance and then I feel stupid about it, and immediately retract to try to change the subject:)

Any way back to baking business, this is the first bake in my new kitchen and newish oven and so I am very pleased with the results. Especially when the bake looks like what it is intended to be and the family approves it, there’s nothing like it. I managed to make my batch of hot cross buns just in time. Easter Sunday breakfast feels complete with a heap of gorgeous buns, generous helping of butter and a tall mug of Black coffee – shouldn’t that be a definition of holidays?? I have researched on so many recipes for hot cross buns. You see with  some bakes , I don’t mind experimenting with flavours but I also don’t want to take it too far that it looses its respect as a traditional bake. You want to keep the speciality/traditional status of the bake in tact and that is a very hard balance to maintain. I hope you do give it a try, and like it .

HOt cross Buns

HOt cross Buns

Source : This recipe is a mix of Paul Hollywood, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson 🙂

Ingredients :

Strong White Bread flour – 500 grams Plus extra for dusting(I used waitrose organic )
Sugar – 50 grams
Salt – 1 Tsp
Easy bake Yeast – 7 grams
Milk 250-300 ml
Egg – 1
Glacier Cherries – 40 grams
crystallised Ginger – 20 grams
Dried raisins – 30 grams
Powdered Cloves – 1 1/4 Tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1 1/4 Tsp
Sunflower Oil – 3 TbSP

For the cross:

White Flour 4 TBSP
Orange Zest 1 Tsp
Sugar 1/2 Tsp
Butter 1 Tsp

For the Glaze :

Golden Syrup 2 TbSp
Orange 2 Tsp

Hot Cross Buns REady for the Oven

Method :

Warm the milk and keep aside .

Mix Flour, salt, sugar and yeast and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and egg. Mix well .
Bring the dough on to a floury surface and knead the dough really well. Initially the dough will be very sticky but as you work it through it should become more and more easy to handle. Use both hands all your strength and make a good smooth bouncy dough. Leave it to prove for an hour.

Once the dough has raised and doubled up in size, add the dried fruits, spices clove and nutmeg powder and mix well until all the fruit and spices are evenly distributed.
Leave this dough to prove again for an hour or till it is risen double its size.

In an hour, take the dough out , without knocking too much air, make small balls maybe size of a squash ball (sorry for the randomness of bringing up squash, but what I want to say here is the ball needs to bigger than a ping pong ball and smaller than a tennis ball and I actually looked it up to see which ball is in the between and it was squash ball 🙂 ) Lay the balls on prepared baking trays.

In a small bowl, add 4 TBSP of flour, little sugar, orange zest, about 1 tsp Butter and make a dough with water. Roll the dough flat, and using a knife cut long strips.Take the buns out from proving and indent cross on the buns using a knife. Place the stripes you made out the dough on the buns making the cross.

Pre heat the oven to 120 degrees and place the buns in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Remove and serve with some butter!!

Hot Cross Buns

Glazing the buns :

Make the glaze ready for the buns. Take a small sauce pan , add 3 TBSP golden syrup, Some Orange Zest and heat it until it is all melted. Using a brush. glaze the buns generously and have them with your favourite cuppa!!

Hot cross buns
Variations & Tips:

  • Traditionally Hot cross buns have nutmeg and cinnamon. But I chose cloves as the main spice since I like the sharpness in it. I loved it with cloves and honestly I feel cloves are so underrated.
  • I got a new microwave which has a dough proofing option. I proved the dough in the microwave for the first time rather reluctantly but I am very pleased with the results. It does take an hours time but I guess we can be sure it will rise in that time unlike the natural proving which depend on the temperature. If you want to really save the time, prove the dough overnight and skip the second prove. Should work just fine. I skipped second proof so many times in bakes.
  • Oil your bowl and the cling film when you prove the dough to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.
  • I don’t like my buns overloaded with fruit so I used them cautiously, but if you like them go for it and add a few more of those dried fruits.
  • I chose , glacier cherries , crystallised Ginger and Raisins. These can be substituted with any dried fruits you like. A few of them you might like are mixed peel, cranberries, dried cherries, Apricots
  • To keep the fruit in your bun plump and juicy , soak them in water or any juice for couple of hours.
  • I did use egg wash half way through the bake for more defined colour. So after 10-12 minutes, quickly apply the egg wash on your buns and return to bake for the next 5 minutes. Applying egg wash at the beginning browns the buns quickly and makes it hard to judge if the bake is done.
  • For the cross, you can also make a more runny mixture, and pipe the cross on the buns instead of rolling the dough and laying out the crosses on the buns.
  • Again, experiment with glaze. Jam glaze is another option to make those buns sticky and give them a shiny look. if you do not have Jam or golden syrup, Just make the glaze with sugar and water. Works just fine.

Enjoy your cuppa with Hot Cross Buns

XX

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Plum Jam

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Hey hey my lovely readers. I hope you all had a great summer. Mine has been amazing because I took a break from work, from blogging, from even house keeping 🙂 to spend the summer holidays with my son. I have had so many instances l couldn’t be around for him. Although, my gorgeous little boy (ok lets call him GLB) never complained, it does hurt when you have to miss a christmas production at school, or a concert because of work. So, to compensate all that, this summer was filled with multiple visits to various museums, lots of tennis, park visits, visits to ice cream parlours and numerous sleepovers with his cousins and friends. Ofcourse, I kept out of sleepover’s …err most of the time :). This super indulgence has gone so far, that now my GLB suggested that I should go back to work and also thought it would be good if the work hours are longer so he can spend some time with his friends. Oh well, kids are kids, they don’t understand the sacrifice we parents make. Staying at home and trying to be with them 24 hrs is not easy Hehe 😛 …(actually it is fun !!) . Ok so one of our summer outing was pick your farm. Now, kids love picking fruit an veg. Even the one, they don’t enjoy eating. It is a fun excercise for them and then the real test is when we are back home, you have plan all your meals for the next 20 days around the fruit and veg you brought home. Something like that happened to us. We picked huge quantities of plums. 3 Kilos to be precise. Now for first 1 kilo, I have managed to stuff it up my husband in the form of fruit and smoothies. He is our food disposal system most of the time. The rest of the plums, are going too ripe, so I had decided to go Jamming …which of course was a lot of Jam but everyone loved it.

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Now for the part of making the jam. I have used the most easy method I know. My mum’s mantra for Jam is equal amounts of sugar and fruit. But, if she was making this Jam she would have pealed the plums, but I didn’t bother. They were too many of them. But trust me, it is just fine…if you don’t have the time or patience, just leave the skin on.

And for the sugar, normal sugar is ok to use but it is easy to find Sugar with pectin in the super markets these days. It speeds up the process and thickens the Jam quickly. Pectin is a jelling agent that is found is citrus fruits. So, if you can’t find sugar with pectin, just add a little extra lemon juice to compensate. Now for the procedure :

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Ingredients : 

1 kg Plums (Yield will be  close to 1.5 kG)

1 Kg Sugar with pectin  (if you don’t have pectin – then add about 1 TBsp. lemon juice)

25 grams unsalted butter

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Method: 

Halve  the plums and remove the seed. Put them in a deep pan on medium heat to cook slowly. Once they release all the liquids in them and start to cook completely, add the sugar and lemon juice. Let the mixture cook again on medium heat untill all the sugar is dissolved.

Keep stirring occasionally making sure the jam at the bottom is not getting burnt. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook again for 10 min. The jam should start to thicken at this point. Leave it to cool and repeat the process two more times of bringing the jam to boil on medium heat and cooling it down.

I do not use the thermometer to check the setting point etc. I don’t have the tools and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how think or runny Jam should be. I check the consistency of the jam when it gets to room temperature. It should be obviously start to look like …’Jam’, and when you run your finger through it should form a definite line. If you are in a hurry to do this test, then just pop a spoon of the mixture in a bowl, put it in the freezer for a min and check the consistency. If you are not happy with the consistency, just place the Jam back on heat and bring to boil again untill you get the desired thickness.

I hope you like my a little tedious but easy peesy summer fruit Jam recipe and I really would like if you try it and share your thoughts on this post.

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Pancakes with Berry Compote

I have only recently learnt that Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is celebrated on a day before Lent day before starting the 40 day fasting and eating not so rich foods like eggs, meat and dairy products. It’s interesting to see how we have embraced just the pancake bit as a tradition and overlooked the fasting bit. Oh, well, I guess that is how it rolls these days. It’s a pick n mix kind of culture. And moreover who doesn’t like pancakes??

We are a small family of three and yet have to struggle when it comes to mealtimes because all three of us have very different tastes. And that is where my favourite breakfast comes into picture – Pancakes!  Pancakes are something where you can make the basic recipe and then everyone can choose their toppings right from sweet, savoury, meaty. My five year old likes the traditional lemon and sugar pancakes, I love my chocolate and anything fancy J and my guy wants it savoury. Yeah …..As I said .we do have varied tastes

I have an age old basic fool proof pancake recipe which I am going to share with you today. And if you have followed me on any social media sites, you will have noticed that it has been a busy week for me making pancakes for a wide range of friends and family. Thy have loved it and have been tagging me with their plate of pancake on social media sites. Again I give the credit to my fool proof recipe, which came to my rescue so many times when asked to make them impromptu, but the highlight was the pots of berry compote I have been making to serve my pancake with an of course the generous dollops of crème fraiche. Do give it a try …It is gorgeous!

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Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

300 ml Semi skimmed milk

140 grams plain flour

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

2 large eggs

100 grams unsalted butter

For the Berry Compote:

150 grams Strawberries cut in quarters

100 grams Blueberries

50 grams Raspberries

200 grams Crème Fraiche

2 Tbsps Sugar(Optional)

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Method:

For Pancakes:

In a good size mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add the pinch of salt and sugar. Slowly add the plain flour and keep mixing the batter until it is smooth and does not have any lumps.

Heat the pan and brush it with butter. Depending on the size of your pan, pour one or two ladles of batter. Use the handle of the pan to rotate and spread the batter as a thin layer. Once you have a thin pancake after spreading the batter, pour any excess batter into the bowl. Practice makes it perfect and your understanding of how hot your pan is. Once the bottom side of the pancake is cooked, flip it to the other side and cook for the next one minute and remove it to serve on a plate or place them as a stack.

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For the Compote:

Take a deep pan and place all the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and cook on a low flame.

Let the juices of the berries ooze out and the raspberries are the first ones to disintegrate and hold the rest of the berries together in a sauce. Taste the sauce at this point and add the sugar if you need it. You can always leave it fresh and the berries you have used are sweet naturally.  Remove from heat and serve it as a beautiful topping with your pancakes along with generous helping of crème fraiche.

Variations:

  • Just sprinkle some chocolate chips before you fold the pancake for a pleasant surprise for whoever are digging into the pancake
  • For the pancake mix, if your are using whole milk, dilute it with about 100 ml water
  • Spread some cheese on the pancake before folding them for a savoury twist.

Have a delicious pancake day!!