Friday, 6 April 2012


Hot cross buns
It's the Easter weekend and Good Friday at that, so what better excuse to make hot cross buns?  I did exactly that today with the help of my River Cottage Handbook Bread.  I amended the recipe slightly to increase the amount of dried fruit as last year we had to play "spot the raisin", so double the amount went in this year.  The photo shows the result - not too bad, I reckon and they taste rather lovely :-)

Vegetable nursery...
Yesterday, I potted on the tomato plants and given that they are still looking ok today, I guess I didn't do them too much damage in the process.         

I also put a few pepper and pumpkin seeds into pots and then the propagator, so hopefully they will germinate in a week or so and then grow into strong plants.  I should have enough room in the raised bed for the pumpkins as I am planning on putting the lettuce amongst the garlic and onions.  The peppers if successful at all should be best kept indoors on the window sill.  Can't wait to see how many will make it :-)

Hot Cross Buns (as published on and amended by me)
Makes 10 – 12 buns

  •     250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  •     250g plain white flour
  •     125ml warm water
  •     125ml warm milk
  •     5g powdered dried yeast
  •     10g salt
  •     50g caster sugar
  •     1 medium free-range egg
  •     50g butter
  •     200g raisins, currants or sultanas (or a mixture)
  •     Finely grated zest of ½ orange
  •     1 tsp ground mixed spice
     For the crosses
  •     50g plain white flour
  •     a little water to make a smooth paste
     To finish
  •     1 tbsp apricot (or other) jam, sieved
  •     1 tbsp water
  1. If you have a food mixer, combine the flours, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl and fit the dough hook. Add the egg and butter and mix to a sticky dough.
  2. Now add the dried fruit, orange zest and spice and knead on low speed until silky and smooth. (You can do this by hand, but it will be sticky to handle.)
  3. Cover the dough and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
  4. Knock back the risen dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and dust with flour. Place on a floured board, cover with plastic or linen and leave to prove for about half an hour until roughly doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
  6. To make the crosses, whisk together the flour and water until smooth, then transfer to a greaseproof paper piping bag and snip off the end to make a fine hole (or use a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off, as I do).
  7. Transfer the risen buns to a baking tray and pipe a cross on top of each one, then bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, melt the jam with the water in a pan. Brush over the buns to glaze as you take them from the oven.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, cold or toasted.
Please note that these also freeze well.

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