Saturday, February 14, 2009

hot buttered hot cross buns

Homemade hot cross buns were on the breakfast menu today. I try different recipes for these every year, and think I have struck upon the best one yet, thanks to Libby, who discovered them. They are based on the Ten o'clock Cookie Bakery Cafe's recipe for their award winning buns, and are delicious!

Often homemade hot cross buns have quite a dense texture and a dry crumb - these are light and moist, and packed with fruit. Enjoy warm, spread with soft butter.

hot cross buns

50g flour
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 c warm water

Combine together in a mug or small bowl and leave somewhere warm for ten minutes to sponge.

200g raisins or sultanas
100g currants

Cover with boiling water and leave to plump up - half an hour or so.

500g flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 c warm water
60g butter, cubed
zest of 1 lemon

Combine flour, salt and spices and 10g of the cubed butter. Mix well. Add the water (I used the soaking water from the dried fruit) and mix until a smooth dough forms - about five minutes. I do this in the kitchen aid with the dough hook.
Add the remaining 50g of butter, bit by bit, beating well into it is kneaded into the dough.
Leave dough to sit for ten minutes. Then mix in the drained dried fruit and lemon zest. Cover dough with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour or so.
Shape into 9 buns, place on a lined baking tray and leave to rise - overnight is good. To make crosses combine 1/4c flour, 2 tbsp water and 1 tbsp oil. Break off small balls, roll into long, thin pieces and lay across the tops of the buns. (You can pipe this but the dough is quite stiff)
Bake buns at 190c for 25 minutes. Transfer onto cooling rack and brush with a glaze made by heating 1/4c sugar and 1/4 c water.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

back at last

It has been a while, so here is a rundown on what has been happening in West Coast Kitchen (& garden) over the past couple of months...a rather eclectic array of photos follows. I shall endeavour to be more a more disciplined and dedicated blogger and provide regular updates in 2009!

no-knead sticky buns with honey and walnuts

First up - 'no knead' sticky buns, based on the brioche recipe from the book 'Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day'. I found the recipe for these sticky buns on this blog here. You make a no knead brioche dough (it has melted butter) and leave it in the fridge until ready to use. I made mine on Monday night and used it on Saturday morning. These are lovely and very easy to make, best eaten half an hour from the oven!

Takaka Spinach and Cashew Pinwheels - from the Takaka Wholemeal Cafe's cookbook. I use my 'all purpose' focaccia dough, the recipe is on the blog a few pages back...) and vary the filling depending on what I have to hand.

For the base recipe, you start by cooking a diced onion an a couple of cloves of garlic until soft, then add about a cup of cooked, chopped spinach. Cook until the excess water from the spinach reduces. Add a couple of tablespoons of pesto, herby vinaigrette and spread over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle with grated cheese and toasted, chopped cashew nuts, anything else you desire (this time I used chopped ham off the bone and some cooked portobello mushrooms) and roll up. Cut the log into 8 pieces and carefully transfer to the oven tray, dough side down, not filling. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 30 minutes at 190c - they will ooze so use a big tray. Eat warm.

Summer in the garden
Some brag shots of our homegrown produce - have had lots of courgettes and potatoes...

I dug up the garlic yesterday, impatient to make room for something else - perhaps slightly premature, some of the bulbs are still on the small side, but nice and mild.

Spuds - Mike has been in charge of these, and has grown jersey bennes, ilam hardies and moi moi.

Strawberry yield has so far been approximately 6!! Have to get to them before the rain or the birds do.

Still waiting for a red tomato...

Prized tomato plant #1 - planted this one directly into a bag of tomato food, seems to be doing the trick!

Prize tomato plant #2 - these are the ones I raised from seed, have no idea what variety they are, will be interesting to see...

Courgettes...I planted 2 of the goldrush plants so yellow courgettes have been a staple in our diet of late.

The lebanese cucumber plant - have 2 little ones fattening up and hopefully not too far away from the table.

The fig 'tree'. One precious little fig is slowly fattening up.

Runner beans, rosemary and pumpkins.

Baby sunflowers

Sweetpeas - the most successful crop...not edible but have been able to fill lots of jugs with the delightfully fragranced blooms. Best of all they keep growing back!!

Homemade sausages

Sausage of our wedding gifts were the mincer and sausage making attachments for the kitchenaid. We have had several sausage making sessions so far - here are some pictures from the first. We made -

Pork, sage and apple
Pork, bacon and prune
Lamb, rosemary and garlic
Moroccan spiced lamb with dates and mint
Wild venison and porcini
Wild venision, orange and cranberry

Just like bought ones!!

Getting the right amount of fat has proved to be a little tricky - it can look like a lot when mincing it up, but it is amazing how much will cook out once the sausage is in the pan. The venison ones especially needed a bit of extra fat.

Here is a nice juicy pork sausage with our favourite sauce on the side... Rocket Fuel


We spent New Years at a lovely secluded beachfront cottage on the West Coast, at Gentle Annie near Mohikinui. Here is Mike whipping up a batch of whitebait fritters.

Our little cottage...
The view from upstairs...


Last but not least, Christmas puddings - last years 200+ production was scaled down to a dozen this year, so Xmas baking was an altogether more relaxed effort.