Happy Easter x

A very happy Easter to you all xx

I thought it would be appropriate today to mark the beginning of the Easter weekend with a festive recipe!! I came across Paul Holywood’s recipe for hot cross buns last week and then watched him prepare them with the same recipe on the Easter special of The Great British Bake-off Masterclass this week, which only cemented my determination to try them out for myself x

This is my first attempt at hot cross buns and I have to say I don’t think I will be buying them from now on!! They are gorgeous!!! Super tasty and they leave the house smelling amazing!!

Hot cross buns

 Ingredients:

For the buns:

  • 300ml full-fat milk , plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 For the cross:

  • 75g plain flour , plus extra for dusting

 For the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

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Method:

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast  into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

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I enjoyed mine straight from the oven with just a little butter along with a nice cup of tea, simple but effective x

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For me it wouldn’t be Easter without hot cross buns, but I realise that many of you are from other parts of the world with possibly very different Easter traditions and foods that you eat and share to celebrate! I’d love to hear about it x

What will you be making this weekend to celebrate Easter?

I’m off to hard boil and decorate some eggs now to roll on Sunday, ta ta xx

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Rocky road fudge and meeting new people!

OK, So…………. I’ve taken a huge step this week in getting out in the world and living by my recent post for this to be Lucy’s year!!!

After much humming and haughing I’ve finally committed myself to attend my first cake event run by and for the Edinburgh Cake Ladies which is being held in March. I must admit it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time! Most probably because I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to join one of their evenings for over a year now. Now all I have to do is stop myself  from pulling out if I get nervous………haha x

Only a few weeks ago I met my friend Sarah and her friend for lunch in town and I realised on my way there that it was going to be the first time meeting with someone as Lucy, that had never met Paul before and that felt like a huge day, now I’m signed up to meet 18 ladies at once and I’m up for the challenge x Wow, what a brave girl I’m becoming?!?! x ;p

So this event is called Tower of Terrific Traybakes Take Two or TTTTT for short!! Each of us has to bring a different traybake for everyone to try!! So I decided I would do my Rocky Road Fudge as my contribution!! Which obviously meant I had to have a practice run to see if it would be up to scratch for this event…….heehee x

And here are the results x

Rocky road fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1.4kg caster sugar
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
  • 75g walnuts
  • 700g dark chocolate , cut in to small pieces
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 1.5ml salt
  • 90g black cherries in syrup, sliced in half
  • 130g marshmallows, cut in to pieces, or use mini marshmallows

Rocky road 2

Method:

  1. Line a loaf tin with clingfilm so that it comes out of the tin and well over the sides.
  2. Put the sugar, milk and butter in a medium, heavy pan. Heat over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Chop the walnuts roughly and set aside.
  4. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil. Without stirring, allow the mixture to cook at a slow rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the soft-ball stage (114ºC/238ºF).
  5. Stir in the chopped chocolate, vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Pour about one-third of the chocolate fudge mixture in to the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cherries, marshmallows and walnuts. Cover with another third of the chocolate fudge.
  7. Place a piece of baking parchment over the fudge and press down firmly with your hands. Set aside to cool. This could take up to 8 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, lift the fudge up out of the tin by holding the sides of the clingfilm and transfer to a chopping board. Cut 1cm slices and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Pea soup

Yesterday I came across peas in their shells in the Supermarket and just knew I had to try a pea soup out!! For the last 4 or 5 years I have grown my own peas in my garden along with many other vegetables and I’ve really been missing harvesting them all this year since I lost my garden!!

But shelling all the peas for this recipe gave me a similar pleasure to what I am used too!! And it was a really quick and easy recipe to make after the shelling was done x

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shelled peas
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chives for garnish

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add shallots and leek. Cook until translucent and soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add peas and cook until tender but still green, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add mint.
  3. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until silky smooth. Push through a fine-mesh sieve over a pan. Return to heat and warm.
  4. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with chopped chives.