Lately: I’m fascinated by the different shapes, colours and the patterns created by fallen autumn leaves.
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Ok, so it’s not Easter yet, but I couldn’t resist making an early batch of Hot Cross Buns today. Besides the chocolate at Easter time, hot cross buns have to be my favourite thing about this time of year.
Can’t we have them all year around?
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay
Hot cross buns
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (I substituted with instant yeast instead)
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
1½ cups (375ml) lukewarm milk
4¼ cups (635g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups (240g) sultanas
⅓ cup (55g) currants
½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour, extra
⅓ cup (80ml) water
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons gelatine powder
½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water, extra
Place the yeast (or instant yeast), 2 teaspoons sugar and the milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active (instant yeast doesn’t foam apparently).
Add the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, butter, egg, sultanas, currants and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes or until elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the dough balls in a lightly greased 22cm square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
Place the extra flour and the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with one corner snipped off, and pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.
While the hot cross buns are baking, make the glaze. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Set aside for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatine is dissolved. Set aside. Place the sugar and extra water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Add the gelatin mixture and cook for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatin is dissolved. Brush with the warm glaze while the buns are still hot. Serve warm with butter .
I’ve been following Ebony Bizys aka ‘Hello Sandwich‘ fun instagram feed for awhile now. An Australian living in Tokyo, she captures the beautiful crazy world of Japan in her own quirky way. Lately I’m loving her stunning photos of Ohanami – the festival of flowering Sakura Trees in Japan.
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Last weekend we took a short break to the once famous gold rush town of Castlemaine, about an hours drive northwest of Melbourne. For accommodation, we opted to stay the night at the beautiful (yet a little haunting) art deco The Midland B&B.
The highlight of The Midland was the amazing sitting room on the ground floor. The room features an eclectic mix of Victorian and Art Deco styles, and its furnishings and artworks fascinated us, particularly the portrait of owner Mauro, which was painted by a past guest.
With it’s quirks and rough edges this B&B won’t be for everyone, but it is a rare chance to experience the rich character of a past era.
On the drive home we stopped into the quaint nearby towns of Newstead, Maldon and lunch at our favourite Daylesford.