Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ash Wednesday?

Have been away a lot lately. Being away on my own as is a bit lonely but had lovely experience on Saturday when busing around distant city.

Love the bus! so much more fun than driving and so much less terrifying than flying. Also get to talk to interesting people.
Lady sitting next to me on return trip was utterly charming, youngish and somewhat quirky. She kept putting fingers in her mouth. I wondered if like me she had problem tooth so asked. Teeth fine actually, just having a good "poke around". Happy to engage in conversation she asked where I was from. I replied from Auckland, just away for a few days working... New friend was shocked as she could never live in Auckland because of all the snow. I tried to assure her that in my 40 odd years as an Aucklander it has never snowed nor come remotely near it but she was convinced saying "No too much snow, all the time, I couldn't bear it"! Think maybe she had confused Auckland with Alaska??
I learnt many interesting details about her, including fascinating detail about her hair - which she said she could feel growing and was clearly annoying her. (hair was quite short actually). Apparently it grows an inch a night, amazing! She planned to grow it down to her knees. I said was good as wont take long at all at that rate! She plans to use long long hair to tickle a boy she likes. Was really disappointed when conversation had to end at my stop. Every moment was pure delight!
Last night was telling family about bus friend while making dinner and hot cross buns when realised my diary and other paperwork had caught fire from gas hob. Diary was merrily ablaze - a sight that made me surprisingly happy. Also daughters birthday wish list, now burnt down to 1/4 its original length - also a happy sight.
Husband was really cross but kids and I in hysterics, only made him crosser actually and us more hysterical with laughter. Hot cross buns seem even more appropriate. If you look closely you may see ashes in the top of the picture.

Hot Cross Buns (way better than bought ones!)

This recipe makes around 24 great buns. You can use granulated yeast or instant yeast. I made these using 1 ½ sachets instant yeast, mixed into the flour. Then add the warm liquid. If using granulated yeast follow the instructions in the method.

2 cups warm water
¼ cup Condensed Milk
2 tbsp Dried Yeast granules
5 cups Plain flour
3 tsp mixed spice
3 tsp of cinnamon
½ tsp of salt
1 cup currants or raisins or a mixture
½ cup of mixed peel
50 g of softened Butter
2 eggs

Blend the water and condensed milk together and stir or sprinkle on the yeast, set it aside for about 10 minutes, the warm sweet liquid will gently bring the yeast to life, when it is frothy looking it is ready to use. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, mix in the dried fruit and peel, then make a hole in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture along with the softened butter and eggs. Stir until combined then turn out onto a floured bench and knead it lightly. This is a moist dough so add extra flour as you knead until the dough is smooth. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling film (I spray the inside of a supermarket bag with cooking spray and then pop the bowl in). Leave in a warm place till dough doubles in size this should take around 40 minutes. Punch the dough then give it a quick knead. Divide into 24 portions and roll into balls. Place on a greased oven tray and cover with the greased plastic from before. Leave them for around half an hour or until doubled in size.

To make the crosses
½ cup Plain Flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp butter
About 3-5 tablespoons of water

Blend the ingredients together; the mixture needs to be soft enough to be piped. If you haven't got a piping bag, put the mixture into a plastic bag, squeeze it down to one corner then snip a tiny bit off the corner of the bag so you can squeeze the mix through the hole making crosses on the top of each bun.
Bake at 200°c degrees for 15 minutes then brush with sugar glaze and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until they look cooked.

Sugar Glaze
2 tbsp Sugar dissolved in ¼ cup warm water.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Sophie :)

  2. These have been baked, eaten and blogged! Thanks so much, they were delicious :)

  3. Made these today and they turned out perfectly. First ever attempt at buns of any sort! If I want to make them more spicy can I just add in more cinnamon and mixed spice? Or do I have to add extra of something else to balance it?

  4. Okay so here's what I did: No mixed peel instead I added 1/2 cup choc chips. An extra tsp cinnamon, 1 heaped tsp cocoa and 1 tsp vanilla essence. They were DEVINE!!!!!