Tag Archives: Step by step

Easter treat: Hot Cross Buns

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Easter is fast approaching and given that I have been completely away from this blog for a couple of months, I decided to use the approaching holiday as an excuse to do some writing.

I’ve made hot cross buns more than once now and I feel pretty confident that anyone can make them successfully just by following the recipe carefully. They don’t take much time (aside from the rising times which can’t be helped) and the house smells deliciously while they bake.

So, why not give them a try instead of buying them from a shop, they can be used as an excuse to get the whole family baking this Easter ūüôā

Ingredients (makes 12 buns):

7 grs. dried yeast.

5 tablespoons lukewarm water

150 ml lukewarm milk

450 grs. strong plain flour

85 grs. caster sugar

1 level teaspoon of salt

2 level teaspoons mixed spice (I used 1 teaspoon cinnamon, half teaspoon ginger and half nutmeg).

60 grs. softened butter

85 grs. currants

30 grs. chopped mixed peel

1 big egg beaten.

To make the crosses:

75 grs. plain flour.

2-3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sunflower oil.

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons each of milk and sugar.

On his book¬†“How to bake”¬†Paul Hollywood suggests a different glaze which also sounds good so I’m sharing: 2 tablespoons apricot jam dissolved on 2 tbsp water. Heat until the jam is dissolved and paint your buns with it once they are out of the oven.

How to:

1.- Place the instant yeast in a small bowl, add the 5 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and the lukewarm milk. Cover and leave till it froths:

DSC052212.- In another bowl mix the remaining flour, the salt and the spices. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles sand.

3.- To the flour mixture add the currants, the peel and the sugar. Then make a well in the middle.

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4.- Into the well add the yeast mixture and the egg and mix to form a dough. Tip into a lightly floured surface or work inside the bowl if it is big enough. At first the mixture will be sticky, but keep working it and it will turn into a pliable and soft dough.

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5.- Your dough has to be soft, so don’t add more flour, rather try to work it carefully for at least 10 minutes till it becomes soft and elastic.

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6.- Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film or a plastic bag and let it rise for at least an hour, or until it doubles in size.

7.- After an hour, re-knead and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place, slightly apart, on greased baking sheets and cover. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

DSC052308.- After 30 minutes preheat the oven at 190 C, and start to prepare the mixture for the crosses:

Sift the plain flour and add the oil and enough water to create a paste that will hold it’s shape when piped. Spoon into a small piping bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun.

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9.- Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

10.- Mix the sugar and milk and heat. Brush the buns with this mixture as soon as they leave the oven. If your hot cross buns come out of the oven still a bit pale, just brush them with the milk and popped them back into the oven with the glaze on…they will come out beautiful!

And that’s all! Just 10 steps to home-made, scrumptious, hot cross buns!

DSC05157HAPPY EASTER TO EVERYONE!!!

Healthy Choco-Chia Pudding in 3 steps!

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Who wants dessert? Creamy, chocolatey, incredibly¬†smooth¬†dessert … Anyone?

This little pot of chocolate is delicious! and Nutritious, with a big, capital N, because it is packed with all the goodness of Chia seeds and Almond milk. It is also healthy, with no processed sugar, no additives or butter or cream, or even condensed milk, which is so so sweet and quite hard to digest (for me, at least).

So, I hear you ask, what’s it made of?? Clouds? Magic?¬†Don’t be silly! Please, don’t. We are being super serious here, it is Friday after all,¬†the most serious day of the week…no? Right, that’s Monday. Friday is the day we spend¬†thinking about Saturday and all the wonderful things we have planned while we shuffle papers around and fiddle with the keyboard¬†pretending to look ever so busy. Yes…that’s Friday…I remember now.

Anyways, nothing magic about this pudding other than the fact that¬†it’s¬†super easy to make and requires no cooking to speak of.

You’ll¬†need the following three ingredients + almond milk.

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That is…

Ingredients:

(For 1 pot of approx. 200 ml)

150 ml almond milk.

2 tablespoons of Chia seeds.

1 fat tablespoon cocoa (and probably a pinch more). I used Bournville and it worked lovely. It has no added sugar, so you can decide how sweet you want your pudding to be.

1 teaspoon runny honey (or 2-3 teaspoons, if you have a sweet tooth).

To decorate: dried coconut, almonds, fresh strawberries, raspberries, mint leaves, banana slices, or give it some bling with gold leaf.

How to:

1.- In a jar or glass place the Chia seeds, honey, cocoa and a bit of the almond milk. Mix everything together until the cocoa dissolves and add the remaining almond milk.

2.- Place in the fridge overnight.

3.- This third step is optional:¬†after a night in the fridge, your pudding will be ready to eat, but it will have a¬†vague resemblance to a tapioca dessert. If you like this sort of texture you can enjoy it like that.¬†But I know one or two people (Ehem!) who¬†don’t like that sort of slimy texture, so if you are one of said people,¬†just place the pudding in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. My blender is a hand-held one and it produced a pudding that was¬†slightly grainy, but I didn’t mind. I’m letting you know though, so that you can decide whether you leave it as is, or blend it anyway.

I read somewhere¬†that you can use a coffee grinder to grind your Chia seeds to dust before you use them, thus avoiding the tapioca effect and the grainy effect. They lose none of their properties, so that might be another way to go if you don’t have a high-speed blender.

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Finally, add some chopped almonds…

DSC06018and some coconut…

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or¬†even make it kids-friendly by adding some chocolate candy…

DSC06031They’ll probably love it without the candy, but adding 5 little chocolate candies will make it look even more appealing and it won’t take away its healthiness, since they’ll still have the full benefits of the Chia seeds, cacao and almond milk.

If you are bored with reading or in a hurry, you may go your way now. That’s the full recipe. You are most welcomed! Hope you have a lovely day, wherever it is you are. Don’t overdo the alcohol, remember you still have tomorrow (Sometimes I think I’m the oldest young person in the world…)

If you have a few more minutes and would like to know what’s good about this pudding (apart from flavour and its sheer simplicity, that is), you may read on.

What are Chia seeds? Well, they look a bit like miniature dinosaur eggs to me… I swear, they do. Just have a closer look at them…

DSC06037What do you say now? I think they are very Jurassic Park.

The Chia plant is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.

They are not only one of the highest known vegetarian sources of OMEGA 3 in the world, but they are also high in fibre, calcium, iron, selenium and zinc. They provide a source of protein and are easy to use as they are a tiny, tasteless seed.

When mixed with a liquid they produce a gel, therefore they are great for creating healthy puddings: try mixing them with mashed banana and almond milk; mashed blueberries and coconut milk; or even in this simple, chocolate pudding.

Cocoa has potent antioxidant properties that protect our cells from damage. It is also a rich source of magnesium which helps us relax and generally provides a feel-good factor. It is the sugar and cream added to processed bars¬†that makes chocolate addictive, so if you opt for dark chocolates, or even use raw cacao (bitter), you’ll be getting all the beneficial effects without many of the¬†drawbacks.

For the benefits of almond milk you can read here, where you’ll also find a recipe to make your own almond milk.

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Also great word Choco-chia … sounds a bit like a train: choco-chia, choco-chia, choco-chia choo -chooooo….

Have a great weekend! Go and make someone happy today.

Namaste,

Paula