A tiny pause

It’s a baking spelt sourdough sticky buns, tea drinking, book reading kind of pause in the weekend round these parts. Hope you get to do something that makes the heart beat full, maybe tickle the taste buds and create a tiny pause.

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loving…words, jungles and cake

Loving…listening to inspiring words at the Newcastle Writer’s Festival this weekend. Mind bendingly good. So good.

Loving…watching my kids rolling on the ground and laughing until tears squeezed out their eyes and breath would only come in gasps. What on earth was so funny? Truth be told, not a lot, but when you combine an impromptu short story you are telling with a few bum jokes, well you’ve pretty much made it to Parent of The Week.

Loving… creating a special occasion lazy version of a Black Forest Cake. No, actually not a lazy version…lets strike that one and rename it. Economical, lets fly with that one, (and yes it did look a bit 80’s style.)

Loving… the sun finally coming out for longer than an hour or two. While it did highlight the fact that a jungle of tarragon has replaced the backyard, it also brought all the bees out to play, and that dear people, is a beautiful thing.

How about you? What are you up to this weekend? What are you loving at the moment?

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[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

I hacked the recipe, but if you want the original Black Forest Cake, try here.

Loving…forgetting baked goods: Morning, Noon and Night

hot cross buns || cityhippyfarmgirlcosmos || cityhippyfarmgirlfull moon || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving… that moment when your son happily tells their father that they’ve eaten hot cross buns for three meals in a row! Not loving the fact that I kind of hadn’t noticed, but loving I was told after it all, and hey they were fed weren’t they? And that’s surely the main thing, right?…errr right?!

Loving…growing cosmos, lots and lots of them.

Loving…Exploring new places along old country roads.

Loving…late night visits to closed sea pools with full moons rising over the sea, and opportunities for wild kids to run just that bit wilder. Doing that, is seriously soul filling stuff after a week of things being fairly rubbish. (Now, did I mention that I had fed my kids unknowingly hot cross buns three meals in a row?)

Loving…new days.

This years Hot Cross Bun Recipe…juuuussst in case, you too run out of meal ideas.

Hot Cross Buns

300g sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

4 1/2 cups strong bakers flour

375mls water (approximate)

handful of chopped dried apricots (or whatever dried fruit you like)

handful of chocolate buttons (optional)

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients together except softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. If using a mixer, do so for about ten minutes. You want that dough really worked before adding the butter in, the gluten needs to be well developed.

Gradually add your cubed softened butter into the dough, also adding the salt. Continue to mix for a further ten minutes. If doing by hand, work it well.

Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another hour or so.

Divide your dough into equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 portions) rolling them into balls and then on to your baking trays. Allow them to prove for roughly another 1-3 hours, (depends on the temperature- dough should neither spring back or leave an indent) or overnight in the fridge. Again covered by either a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag.

Crosses

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

100-125mls water

2 tbls raw sugar

Mix ingredients together and use a piping bag to squeeze out crosses just before popping buns in the oven.

Bake at 200C for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Sugar Glaze

1/4 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup water

Heat the glaze and brush buns as soon as they are out of the oven.

Eat with enthusiasm.

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Ever given your kids the same meal three times in a row unknowingly? Had a bit of a rubbish week, with the weekend being the perfect antidote?

Tell me, what are you loving at the moment?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

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this weekend…is on pause

cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl

Easter long weekend,

and everything is slipping into ‘go slow’.

I’m not hurrying, I’m not clock watching and I may well dissolve completely into those magazine pages at some point.

Spelt hot cross buns have been made,

the beach is whispering,

and if someone offers to make me a second coffee? Well I might just say yes.

That’s how this weekend is rolling, and everything else in life?

…is on pause.

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When the Night Comes- by Favel Parrett: wonderful, wonderful book if you are looking for a new book to read.

 

Sticky Buns of the Spelt and Hot Cross kind

 wholemeal spelt sourdough hot cross buns recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

spelt hot cross buns recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

I do wonder what food memories I’m creating for my kids sometimes. I occasionally ask them if they have seen any food from other kids school lunch boxes that they might have rather liked the look of and would perhaps like to try as well? I’m yet to get an answer of anything different to what they generally get though. Whether they really aren’t that fussed or they are keeping those wishful lunching thoughts to themselves, I’m not sure.

Me, I longed for white bread, devon and tomato sauce sandwiches. With more butter than should be legal slapped up on the side. Plastic cheese was longingly looked at and don’t get me started on packets of chips for recess. That’s what I wanted when I was a pint sized school girl. Did I ever get it? Nope, not a once. ( Thankfully I did grow out of that one.)

Would my own kids get it, if that’s what they said they were lusting after while watching someone else unpack their lunch box. Oh hell no!…but I’m still curious.

Spelt Hot Cross Buns is what the small people are packing at the moment. Easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to keep in the freezer.

Every year I seem to fiddle with my Hot Cross Bun recipe. Sourdough, semi, yeasted, chocolate and now spelt. Wholemeal spelt flour is a firm favourite round here. So much so, that I buy the 12.5 kilo bags, so it’s always on a high turn over round here, (it’s good stuff, really good stuff!)

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But before the recipe, for something completely different…*small polite cough*. I was wondering if you would like to vote for me for the AWC- Best Australian Blogs- Peoples Choice. Would you like to? It will be super quick, promise. Either click here, or the badge on the side bar, and a huge thank you, to those that do.

sourdough spelt hot cross bun || cityhippyfarmgirl

(If wholemeal spelt isn’t your thing, easily switch these recipes to a regular wheat flour.)

Spelt Hot Cross Buns (sourdough)

250g dried fruit

150mls hot water

2tbls brandy

(soak this mixture of three ingredients the night before)

300g starter (100%)

600g (4 cups) wholemeal spelt flour

1 tsp dark malt flour

200mls water (approximate)

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

100g softened butter

2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients together except, 200mls water, softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. Mixture will look shaggy and dry. Now slowly add the 200mls water. This an approximate amount, depending on the dried fruit mixture and your flour. If it looks too wet, don’t add it all in, too dry, a touch more.

Let it rest for 30 minutes and then mix through your softened butter and salt. Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another hour or so.

Divide your dough into equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 portions) rolling them into balls and then on to your baking trays. Allow them to prove for roughly another 1-3 hours, (depends on the temperature- dough should neither spring back or leave an indent.) Or overnight in the fridge. Again covered by either a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bags.

Crosses

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

100-125mls water

2 tbls raw sugar

Mix ingredients together and use a piping bag to squeeze out crosses just before popping buns in the oven.

Bake at 210-220C for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Sugar Glaze

1/4 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup water

Heat the glaze and brush buns as soon as they are out of the oven.

spelt hot cross buns recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Spelt Hot Cross Buns (commercial yeast)

250g dried fruit

150mls hot water

2tbls brandy

(soak this mixture of three ingredients the night before)

600g (4 cups) wholemeal spelt flour

2 tsp dried yeast

1 tsp dark malt flour

200mls water (approximate)

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

100g softened butter

2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients together except, 200mls water, softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. Mixture will look shaggy and dry. Now slowly add the 200mls water. This an approximate amount, depending on the dried fruit mixture and your flour. If it looks too wet, don’t add it all in, too dry, a touch more.

Let it rest for 20 minutes and then mix through your softened butter and salt. Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another 40mins- to an hour.

Divide your dough into equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 portions) rolling them into balls and then on to your baking trays. Allow them to prove for roughly another 40-60 minutes, again covered by either a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bags.

Crosses

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

100-125 mls water

2 tbls raw sugar

Mix ingredients together and use a piping bag to squeeze out crosses just before popping buns in the oven.

Bake at 210- 220C for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Sugar Glaze

1/4 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup water

Heat the glaze and brush buns as soon as they are out of the oven.

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

chocolate hot cross buns


hot cross buns

Goddess buns. I definitely liked the sounds of that.

I was doing some reading on the history of hot cross buns. Along with the obvious Christian links, the Anglo Saxon goddess Eostre is also connected. (She also seems to be a goddess that not a lot was known about.) A cross being placed on a bun to represent the four phases of the moon. Eaten during the time of the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Well how about that… fascinating isn’t it this wonderful world we live in.

I also found out that Chocolate Hot Cross Buns seem to be an Australian/ New Zealand thing. It seems we have far more non fruit loving people down under than the rest of the world- which suits Mr Chocolate just fine, as dried fruit and he aren’t firm friends. The nose wrinkles a little and head pulls back in a sharp subtle manner… sultanas?!
.
Chocolate however, no problem what so ever.
.
Would the Saxon’s have approved of these Chocolate Hot Cross Buns in honour of the Goddess Eostre? I like to think so, after all, chocolate is, food of the gods.
.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

250g sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

100g sugar

250mls water/milk*

100g softened butter*

600g flour

200g dark chocolate drops**

100mls water

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

2 tsp salt

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. The dough is ready to be baked, when you press it in and it lightly springs back.

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, (until golden.)

Glaze

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes and then brush on to the hot buns with a pastry brush.

Vegan variations

* to make these vegan, omit the butter and milk. Substituting the milk for water.

** use a dark chocolate without any milk solids, and add two tablespoons of great quality cocoa

This post submitted to the always wonderful yeastspotting.

In my kitchen…

This week in my kitchen…

There is a whole lot of wonderful limes from my dad’s backyard tree. I’ve mentioned my love of the humble lime quite a few times, I never get tired of them. I’m thinking Coconut Lime Pie, Chicken Lime Pasta, Lime Cupcakes, Lime Marmalade… limes, limes, limes. (I’m trying not to think about caipiroska’s.)

Dark Almond chocolate for strength, patience and clarity. Works a treat… well for a little while anyway.

A new Italian cookbook. Won over at Not Quite Nigella, (which was a rather lovely surprise.)

Organic, spray free, local, seasonal fruit and vegetable box delivered to my kitchen door. Making life a little easier until I can get back to my farmers market lady.

Baking hotcross buns with a sleeping babe attached. It’s how all the bakers are doing it these days, (well ones with new babies anyway.)

Last year I did a few batches of hot cross buns. Trying to find the right recipe that worked for me. I still wanted to tweak it though, as didn’t feel it was quite ‘right’. This time I did part sourdough, part dried yeast… I’m getting there I think.

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

1/4 water

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

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

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What’s happening in your kitchen this week?

Have a look over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for other kitchen happenings.

hot cross buns

 Not long after I first started this blog last year, it was Easter, and I was inundated with posts taunting me with hot cross buns. Delicious little bready morsals. I scrutinized, I dreamed, I gazed longingly, I especially admired the sourdough ones. Then I got side tracked and I didn’t do anything about it. Maybe next year I muttered to myself.

Easter started rearing its head again and the taunting hot cross bun posts started tempting me with their alluring photos, and seductive spices once more. Plump sultanas and glazed tops…Oh what to do? Should I try them? Should I give them a crack?

 Of course you should, said the little tiny baker on my left shoulder.

Yeast or sourdough?

Sourdough!! Said the little baker with a firm kick to my head… duhh!

Right.

Sourdough it was. But which recipe? Internet, nothing was quite right. Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook?… Nah, not quite right either. Real Food Companion? Closer, but not sourdough. Back to hack basics again then. Let’s play.

Batch One.

Not bad.  Consistency is good, soft, chewy and still light. Needs a bit more salt and lacking a bit in the spices. Definitely needs more oomph factor. I was feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered rolling them into balls, so did a slab, used a divider and then gave another prove. This resulted in a non eye-catching brick like piece. For the glaze I did straight honey, which was too annoyingly sticky.

Batch Two.

Upped the spices and the salt. Added mixed fruit instant of just sultanas and currants. Wasn’t quite enough prove time though, so there were a few too many large holes once cooked. Still feeling lazy and went with the slab again. This time, dividing it just before cooking hoping that would make them less of a brick slab. Not really, still a great wedge of hot cross bun. Taste though, I was happy with and wouldn’t change anything further. The glaze was diluted a little and less sticky.

Third batch

I did a commercial yeast variation to see how they would be. Was feeling less lazy and actually rolled them, although was a bit sloppy with the sizes and the crosses. Verdict…still demolished by The Monkeys, but my heart still lies firmly in sourdough. Time factor is definitely a plus though when you are using commercial yeast. Not the whole day process that can be sourdough. (See the bottom of post for regular yeasted recipe… which looks remarkably similar to the sourdough one. For a semi sourdough recipe see the EDIT at the end.)

Hot Cross Buns-  

(sourdough)

100gms currants

100gms sultanas or mixed fruit

2 tbls brandy

150mls hot water

Mix together and soak the night before.

Dough Mixture

250-300gms starter (100%)

600gms strong bakers flour (4 cups)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp cardamom

100g sugar

250mls water/milk*

100g softened butter*

(* omit these if you want vegan ones)

Mix all together, except for the salt and then leave for a while, 20-45mins (autolyse period.)

Add 2 tsp salt. Mix together. Prove for an hour or so. Quick fold on lightly floured surface. Back in to bowl to prove for another or two. Fold. Prove again. Shape into a big square to fit the tray. Prove.  Use divider to shape into buns. Add the crosses.

Cross mixture

1/2 cup flour

1 tbls sugar

1/2 cup water

Mixed together and then into piping bag.

Bake at 210C for 20-25 minutes. Glaze when still hot. (1 tbls honey, 1 tbls water mixed together)

Hot Cross Buns-

(dried yeast)

100gms currants

100gms sultanas or mixed fruit

2 tbls brandy

150mls hot water

Mix together and soak the night before.

Dough Mixture

2 tsp dried yeast

600gms strong bakers flour (4 cups)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

100g sugar

250mls water/milk*

100g softened butter*

(*omit these if you want vegan ones)

Mix all dough ingredients together, leaving out the salt and leave for 20-40 minutes, (autolyse.)

Add 2 tsp salt, mix together. Prove for an hour or so, and give a quick three way fold. Leave for another hour or so. Divide dough into even balls and roll. Placing on tray. If you are feeling lazy, pop the slab on the tray and divide just before baking. Another prove for 45 minutes or so, and add the crosses.

Cross mixture

1/2 cup flour

1 tbls sugar

1/2 cup water

Mixed together and then into piping bag.

Bake at 210C for 15-20* minutes, check them if the are golden and sound hollow with a little tap, pop them out. Glaze when still hot. (1 tbls honey, 1 tbls water mixed together).

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*My yeasted ones cooked quicker, than the sourdough ones.

(This post submitted to yeastspotting)

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EDIT- Each year I have tweaked these, until finally I have a hot cross bun that I’m really happy with. There is a semi sourdough recipe that I have been using a lot here if you like the taste of sourdough but need to speed things up just a little.

semi sourdough hot cross buns