make it a wonderful one

 cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s that time of year when there is a whole lot of fruity looking buns with crosses lingering around and a suspiciously large amount of chocolate on offer.

Whether you celebrate this time of year for religious purposes or like to rejoice with the Goddess Eostre. The changes of Autumn and Spring being celebrated, quiet time in a church, happiness over a long weekend with loved ones, or simply enjoying some time out with a good book.

What ever you get up to… make it a wonderful one.

cityhippyfarmgirl(And if by chance you feel like making some hot cross buns, here’s a few to get you started.)

Hot Cross Buns

200g currants/raisins

200mls hot water

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp dried yeast

250g sourdough starter

100g sugar (2/3 cup, more if you like them sweeter)

250mls milk

100g softened butter

11/2-2 tsp salt

4 1/2 cups flour (675g)

Soak the fruit in the hot water, leave for a couple of hours/ over night.  Mix all ingredients together, except for the salt. Autolyse period 20-45 minutes. Add the salt and mix again, then turn out on to a lightly floured bench to knead until you get a lovely smooth ball of dough. Pop the dough back into the bowl, plastic bag over the top and leave to prove.  A couple of proves and folds over the next few hours. Then out onto lightly floured surface again and divide into 16 or so portions. Roll into balls, or simply divide to get a more square shape. Pop them on a lined baking tray, cover and leave for another prove.

Crosses

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Mix together and spoon into a piping bag just before they hit the oven.

Then bake at 210C for approximately 15-25 minutes, (depends on the size, bake until golden.)

Glaze

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes and then brush onto hot buns.

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Hot Cross Buns- commercial yeast recipe

Hot Cross Buns- whole sourdough recipe

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns- semi sourdough recipe

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Tasmanian wanderings

 

Lured by her siren song, Tasmania has been calling for a long time now. A whispered song at first. Easy to be ignored, turned away for another day, another time. Happy memories of a trip from years before keep the song going. Time moves on and the songs tempo changes. A quickened beat, thoughts of, I wonder…

A fleeting weekend, changes the beat of the song once more. She calls more insistently now. A winter week away beckons…

A week of real winter weather

History

Long quiet nights of reading

Soft snow falling

Apples

Meeting the fabulous people behind the fabulous blogs

And more wonderful food than is rightfully so.

Going back to the Hobart Farmers Markets with the family was like stepping into a familiar pair of comfortable worn shoes. Some of the stalls were different, but some were the same. I was happy to wait while people lined up to make their local food purchases. Gave me a chance to soak it all in. Not as much soaking as I would have liked this time though. The Monkeys were pulling my legs and tweaking at my fingers… as there was cupcakes on the line.

C & C Cupcake Factory make seasonal cupcakes sourcing sustainable and local products. Rhubarb from the garden, quinoa milled from not far away and cupcakes that left us all wishing we weren’t leaving before they were next going to be selling at the markets. I had to reign in the excited puppy within while talking with the lovely Michelle. She had swapped Sydney streets for a slower Tasmanian life years before and I would have happily quizzed her until closing time. I didn’t though, and went and filled my arms with more goodies for meals over the next few days.

I hadn’t got to try any of Rare Food’s piggy treats last time, but this time The Monkeys had put in orders for bacon and what sort of mama would I be if I denied them? Heritage breed, locally bred, locally made products, and I get to talk with the producer. Ticks all the boxes that I’m after. Matthew Evans was also selling his new book just out, which I had heard whispers of.

I wasn’t going to buy it I really wasn’t. I didn’t need a new recipe book, and I had been really happy with the Real Food Companion. But, I did buy it… how could I not?

Winter on the Farm is the kind of book that makes you want to curl up in front of a fire, hot tea by your side, biscuit crumbs on your chest and slowly read your way through. Book marking every second page for further reference. These are the kind of recipes that I like. Recipes that can be easily tweaked, with ingredients that you might have on hand… and the photography is truly, beautiful.

* More Tassie bits to come…

Farmers Markets- a love story

Farmers Markets. Oh how I love you all.

Good ones that is. The ones where it really is locally produced food. Food that has been made with love and care. Food that isn’t mass-produced and tastes divine.

Be it a crispy celery picked the day before, a hand crafted cheese, some aromatic fair trade coffee, an organic free range piece of meat, a back yard grown punnet of strawberries or some lovingly tempered chocolate.

I love it all.

There is nothing that gets me happier than a morning spent in a great Farmers Market. I feel like a kid in candy store. The promise of all things delicious. I try not to clap my hands with glee, but I tell you, when its a specially good one. A little clapping with glee may happen.

Good food miles- check.

No unneccessary additives- check.

Different ideas- check

Supporting small businesses- check

Super fresh- check

All looks delicious- check

Having recently travelled north for 10 days, I was lucky enough to go to 3 lots of farmers  markets that were just beautifully timed for our holiday. (and yes, I may have planned our holidays around one of them..)

Getting to see what the locals are producing is wonderful, and it’s certainly not long before my purse is hemorrhaging money,  my fridge is looking bountiful, and my tummy is looking rotund.

One of the markets was in Port Macquarie for the Hastings Valley Markets, when a stall caught my eye…

Goat Meat. Now this red meat I had been wondering about for some time. The taste, the cost and where to buy it, as it sure as eggs isn’t bought any where near where I live. So whacked it in the freezer and to be cooked at a later date.

I was also was very happy to see some locally produced garlic. Why is it the beginning of April already and I’m yet to see any Australian garlic in the local shops? It’s the garlic season people! Come on. I don’t want my garlic to be chemically treated and come from Argentina, China, and Mexico if it doesn’t have to.

Some gorgeous tomatoes were bought. Tomatoes that actually taste like a tomato, and has not had the taste bred out of them in order to look good. These were knocked back as quick as I good get them out of the bag by the monkeys.

I love buying things that I’m not sure what they are, or have heard off but not eaten or cooked before.

Its the taste sensation possibility factor that I love the most.

I didn’t get any great sour doughs. They didn’t seem to be happening which was a bit disappointing as they are a firm favourite with us. However, I did get some knock out individual sticky date puddings the size of tennis balls. Even I, had to pause mid way through eating one of these little beauties that had a grand total of 57grams of fat in each serve. Oh sweet mama!….best not to think of it really. I didn’t, and bravely soldiered on.

I can see all our holidays planned in times to come, planned around when the local foody markets are on.

Farmers markets and possibly where to get a great massage… two very important things when thinking of ones next holiday.