spelt hot cross buns

March 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

zesting an orange

I remember making hot cross buns with my mum and sister when I was very young. I remember the smell of orange and spice bouncing off the kitchen walls and making it bright and warm.Often the fire would be on because the weather had started to turn by then and my sister and I would stand on chairs at the kitchen bench rolling out the little white stripes of dough to become the crosses, placing them  haphazardly on top of the buns before they went in the oven. We would prove the dough on the backseat of the car which mum would have parked in the sun. Covered with a damp tea towel and sitting wonkily on the seat, this would always amuse me.

I have always loved hot cross buns, who wouldn’t – the smell of yeast and spice, warm and gently sweet, melting with butter.  What a shame people only tend to eat them one day of the year.

Here I have a recipe that  is not my mothers, in-fact there is no sentimental story behind it whatsoever. I found it today, not even in   a well-loved, old and creased cook book, but on the internet.  And it is good. So much so that I wanted to share it with you all. Perhaps if your quick you may be able to whip up a batch for tomorrow.

Below is my version of the recipe I found. It is quite similar to the original except I used spelt flour instead of wheat, orange zest instead of dried orange peel, honey instead of sugar and I added a pinch of clove.

Recipe for Spelt Hot Cross Buns

2 tsp dried instant yeast
3 ½ cups plain spelt flour
1 Tbsp honey
300 ml milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground all spice
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground clove
60 g butter
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 ¼ cups sultanas, currants, or raisins
Zest of one orange

Crosses
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp cold water

Glaze (optional – it ends up making the bun sweeter if that is what you like)
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
150 ml boiling water

In a small saucepan gently heat the milk, honey and butter. Turn off as soon as the butter melts and allow to cool to about body temperature.
Sift flour, spices, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Add the sultanas and orange zest.
Combine the milk into the flour mixture then add the egg and mix well.
Turn onto a clean floured surface and need until smooth. About 10 minutes.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and put in a warm spot to prove for approximately 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide into 12 equally sized portions.  Roll and push them into bun shapes and place them snuggly on a lightly greased baking tray. Allow to prove again for a further hour or until doubled in size.
Crosses
Sift the flour into a small bowl and add the water. Mix thoroughly to form a thick paste. Spoon into a pre-used and cleaned zip-lock bag. Cut a little hole out of the corner of the bag and use it to pipe the mixture in crosses on top of the buns (not the way we did it when I was young, but I have to say, so much easier).
Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/390°F for 15–20mins.
Glaze (optional)
Whilst the buns are in the oven prepare the glaze by mixing all ingredients and dissolving the sugar in the boiling water. Brush this mixture over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven and whilst they are still hot. 
Happy Easter!

morning

April 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

 

It was such a quiet morning this one. Everyone was still in bed. The mist hung around till late. The grass was wet and cold under my feet. I thought about the brown snake we had seen yesterday and I thought about my shoes but I did not want to break the morning by going back inside. There is a sameness to all the mornings here, this place that grew me up. The light follows the same cycles year in year out. I know this landscape like I know the lines on the palm of my hands. Painted behind my eyes.

a few little thoughts from an inspiring reading and memories from Varanasi

September 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Overtime the city has been compared to an artwork, a machine, a sculpture and a poem.

But it is more than these things on their own. A city is composed of memories, feelings, interactions, desires and passions. It is both a natural, built and thought entity shaped by culture and geography. It is a place where lives are told, where natural forces ebb and flow.

It tells a narrative about the people who live there and how they relate to the world. Together these stories make up a place and connect all who dwell in them.

Spirn, AW 1988, ‘The Poetics of City and Nature: Towards a New Aesthetic in Urban Design’, Landscape Journal, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 108-126.

Belgian Memories

February 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

Belgium, full of the smells of my Oma; mashed potatoes with nutmeg, that particular washing detergent, that special smell of cold icy weather, cigars, sausages and green shrubs. Not that my Oma smoked cigars but that is the smell of Belgium that is so intertwined with the memory of her in my mind. And it is bitterly cold. I have been sleeping in a jumper, woollen pants, socks three blankets and two quilts.

Here on the outskirts of Brussels in the brown fields mixed with old houses and ever multiplying industries and shopping complexes, I stay with my uncle in the old family home. This is the house that my great grandparents built alongside their fields that they passed on to my grandparents and they to my uncle. The narrow street leads from the canal to their shrub-lined driveway with that very particular smell. The church on the other side rings memories of being a child. The graveyard where they are all buried lies across the field of what was the old rose nursery that is now lying bare and empty.

I have a week here of wandering the streets of Brussels, peering in the shops filled with chocolate and tempting pretty things and watching people in the warm lit old wooden decorated cafes. I have been practicing pretending I know French and am oh so bourgeois. Mainly by not saying anything other than the simplest phrases and guessing what other people are saying when they speak to me. It’s always fun when I get away with it.

Stupidly in my mad rush to leave Australia in five hours which you can read more about here, I decided not to bring my camera which was fine in Salone as I could use D’s but much regretted now that he is not here. I have been taking these photos with the web cam on my laptop. I have been too embarrassed to do it anywhere too public so these are all just taken from around my uncles place. It is impossible to frame a picture without my head getting in the way so they end up being random and wonky most of the time but in their own way they have a certain charm.

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