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WASTE not, WANT not… Lets make magic with our HOT CROSS BUNS!

3 Apr

20130402-211433.jpgMy mummy always taught me ‘waste not, want not’.  So, I didn’t and generally I don’t.  I make sure I eat everything that is on my dinner plate and if I have leftovers they make fabulous little lunches for the week.

I got home from work this evening, hoping to freeze my hot cross buns and was a little disappointed to find some of them were really quite stale (and I was running out of freezer room), so I had a new idea.  I decided to make them into dessert.  A bread and butter pudding style dessert.  Here we go!

PREPARATION TIME:  10 minutes

COOKING TIME:  30 minutes

MAKES: 2 portions

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 stale hot cross buns
  • 4 tsp of raisins/cranberries/sultanas
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 fl oz of semi skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

HOW TO MAKE THE BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING…

20130402-211340.jpgTake a oven proof dish and your 2 hot cross buns and break the hot cross buns up, into lots of smaller pieces (about 1cm to 2cm), you don’t want this pudding to be neat and even.  The more rustic the better.

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To the broken up hot cross buns add your dried fruits.  Make sure this is scattered well and poked in all the little holes!

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Finally you can make the custard.  So, in a bowl place the 2 egg yolks (only, no egg white) and then your sugar and vanilla – mix these together well.  Place the milk in a pan and heat gently until it comes to the boil.  Once the milk has boiled, pour this into the bowl with the egg, sugar and vanilla and whisk constantly.  Once the mixture has combined pour this back into the pan and heat gently.  Stir constantly and after 5 – 6 minutes you will have custard!

Pour the custard over the broken up, hot cross bun and the raisins and then bake this in the oven on 180 degrees / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes – or until golden in colour.

You can eat this straight away – whilst it’s hot.  But you really should share it with at least one other person!

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Easter TWEETINGS… from *gemsfoodgems*

31 Mar
Happy Easter... tweet tweet!

Happy Easter… tweet tweet!

March has been a great month here at ‘gemsfoodgems‘.  I have had a major HIGH in views and people loving the recipes.  It’s also Easter time, which has allowed me to indulge in a ‘few of my favourite things’ <singing, as per sound of music>; including:

which overall has made me very very happy.  So thank you for tuning in.

I hope you all have a very merry Easter.

LOVE GEMSFOODGEMS x

HOT CROSS BUNS… with a *CRANBERRY* surprise… {mixing it up}

29 Mar

IMG_4724[1]For the last week I have been pondering what to do with my next batch of HOT CROSS BUNS to make them different from my last batch and to deliver something to you (… my friendly audience) that will be a treat, something extraordinary.

My inspiration came when I was treated to the ‘BOSTON BROWNIE’ from Konditor & Cook in Borough Market.  It was a true taste sensation – so much so, that I (gemsfoodgems@twitter) had to tweet a thank you!

The secret, making these brownies a real taste sensation was the addition of cranberries.  Yes, seriously – little explosions of fruit flavour in the middle of a heavenly, luxurious, chocolate brownie.  My brain started whirring and I thought… cranberry, orange zest… in my hot cross buns… THAT’S IT.

Without further ado, I present to you my CRANBERRY & ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS.

PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours (including the proving time and time to make the shortcrust pastry)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

MAKES: 12 Cranberry & Orange Hot Cross Buns

INGREDIENTS:

For the Bread Buns

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 60g light brown muscavado sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 140ml luke-warm semi-skimmed milk
  • 130ml luke-warm water
  • 60g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 1 large free-range egg (approx. 90g)
  • 100g raisins or currants (without seeds)
  • 60g dried cranberries

Shortcrust Pastry

  • 30g plain flour
  • 15g butter
  • water (cold, enough to bind together)

Sugar Glaze

  •  2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

HOW TO MAKE YOUR EASTER TREATS…

To make the bread buns…IMG_4725[1]

♥ Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in  the sugar, yeast, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, and make a well in  the middle.

♥ Mix together the warm milk and water and add to the bowl with the melted and cooled butter, together with the whisked egg.

♥ Mix to a soft dough using a metal spoon.

♥ Knead the dough on a  lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.  You will know when it is ready when the dough ‘springs back’, so shape into a ball, gently push your finger in about 1/2 a cm, then take it out – if the dough ‘springs back’ it is well kneaded – if not knead some more!IMG_4726[1]

♥ Shape the dough into a round and then place in a large bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm  place for 1-1½ hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

♥ Remove the dough from the bowl and ‘knock back’ using your fists – this removes all the air.

♥ Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes  until smooth and elastic once again.

♥ Now add the orange zest, currants and the dried cranberries and knead for a minute until all the fruit is mixed into the dough.

♥  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into small  rolls.

♥ Perfect bun, now lets make the shortcrust pastry crosses!

To make the crosses…buns 3

I would make the shortcrust pastry whilst the dough proves.  Then you can wrap it in cling-film and keep it in the fridge until you need to use it.

Then…

♥ Roll out the shortcrust pastry to 5mm narrow strips – as you have 12 buns you are going to need 24 strands.

♥ Place one strip across the top of one of the bus, then place the other across this, to make a cross.  Press down lightly and if required, secure  with a little water and a pastry brush.  If you want to go a little crazy (like me) you could make some ‘shapes’ and place these on top – I have (as you can see) created little love hearts…buns6

♥ Lightly oil 2 baking trays, arrange the buns on the  trays and cover with oiled cling-film.

♥ Leave to rise in a warm place for 30  minutes or until doubled in size. Remove cling-film – it’s time to bake the buns!

♥ Bake buns in a  preheated oven at 220 degrees C / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes (or until golden brown).

♥ Transfer the buns to a wire rack.

To make the glaze…

♥ Heat the sugar and water in a pan, until the sugar dissolves.  Do not let the sugar/water burn or begin to caramelise.  Make this whilst the buns cook.

♥  When you take the buns out of the oven and place them on the wire rack, you can brush them with the glaze and then serve warm or cold.

♥ If you let them cool, you can slice in half the next morning, toast and serve with a little butter!  YUM!

Baked, glazed and ready to eat! MARVELLOUS!

Baked, glazed and ready to eat! MARVELLOUS!

STORAGE:

The sugar glaze on these buns can make them go quite soggy, quite quickly and as they are fresh, with no preservatives the inside of the homemade hot cross bun can begin to go stale/dry quite quickly.  So, eat one or two fresh and store 2 or 3 in a large cake tin.  With the rest, chop them in half, put them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer for another day.

You know the days where its hard to get out of bed and there has to be something super special to make you get up and give you the start your day need.  I think these may just be that ‘kick start’.

HAPPY EASTER!

WARNING: This recipe is NAUGHTY, but BOY they taste good… *MARS BAR CAKES*

28 Mar

20130328-091952.jpg

This week, I got a real craving for something naughty, but nice.  So, with it being Easter and having a large box of cornflakes at home, yet to be eaten, I thought…

…‘I know, MARS BAR CORNFLAKE CAKES’.

I ran home, purchased my ingredients and got to it.  Within 10 minutes I had made these little beauties, ready for my dessert.  They really didn’t take any time at all and they taste absolutely delicious.  I know my blog promises ‘healthy, nutritious foods’, which this recipe absolutely is not, but I think it is really important (as part of a healthy balanced diet), to know when a treat is acceptable. And, it TOTALLY is.

This is a great recipe to make with children, as it is no bake.  Though, I would suggest that the adult does the majority of the melting – steam can burn just as badly as water – so please do be cautious.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes (this could take anything up to 30 minutes with little hands!)

COOKING TIME: N/A

MAKES: 12 mars bar cornflake cakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 mars bars (standard size)
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 large handfuls of cornflakes – slightly crushed (you can add more or less if you like depending on how chocolate-y you want them!)
  • 12 mini eggs (you can eat the others!)

HOW TO MAKE THE MARS BAR CORNFLAKE CAKES…

This recipe is so simple.  The first thing you need to do is place 3cm of water in a medium sized pan and then heat this up – so that the water begins to boil.  Turn the heat down and allow it to simmer.

In a bowl place the chopped up mars bars, broken up milk chocolate, butter, golden syrup and then place the bowl on top of the pan of hot water.  The heat from the water should heat the bowl and melt all the ingredients together.

You will have to stir the chocolate/butter/mars bar mix, so hold the bowl with an oven glove and do this gently.  The mixture may curdle to start with, but after this it will all come together nicely.

Remove the bowl containing the melted chocolate from the heat and to this add the cornflakes.  As you add them crush them just slightly – this will make it easier to mix together.

Mix the chocolate and cornflakes together – don’t worry if some break.

Spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases (it should make about 12 cakes) and then add a mini-egg to the top of the ‘nest’ you have created.

Leave to cool and then eat!  They will be quite sticky and gooey… which is just what you want!  HAPPY EASTER from gemsfoodgems.

This is how the finished cornflake cake should look... YUM! HAPPY EASTER!

This is how the finished cornflake cake should look… YUM! HAPPY EASTER everyone!

[SINGING] HOT CROSS BUNS, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

26 Mar

hot cross bunsIt is nearly Easter – which not only means that we get a 4 day weekend (wooo!), but also that we get to eat many HOT CROSS BUNS, Easter eggs, chocolate filled rabbits and the like!  Yum!

For me, Easter is a real treat in terms of my breakfast time habits.  I stop eating toast and/or porridge for a week (or two) and I treat myself to some delicious toasted Hot Cross Buns with butter each morning.

A couple of years ago my Nanna, who was a truly wonderful lady passed away.  She taught my mum all she knows about cooking and baking, who in turn taught me, so we decided to start a yearly tradition of making these Hot Cross Buns together; in time for Easter.  Hot Cross Buns are also something I vividly remember eating in a little cafe with my Nanna when she was looking after me.  We would go to town to get some shopping and treat ourselves to a toasted Hot Cross Bun with butter – just half each mind!  I loved it, and when I eat them now it takes me right back to the little cafe in the North.  There really is nothing like a ‘food memory’.

So, last time I headed to the North, my mother and I decided to take the opportunity to make some homemade Hot Cross Buns.  My mum (SallyAnn) is the proud owner of a ‘Mary Berry’ cook book, so this year we decided to try out her basic recipe – with a few of our own, family additions.

PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours (including the proving time and time to make the shortcrust pastry)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

MAKES: 12 Hot Cross Buns

INGREDIENTS:

For the Bread Buns

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 60g light brown muscavado sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 140ml luke-warm semi-skimmed milk
  • 140ml luke-warm water
  • 60g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 1 large free-range egg (approx. 90g)
  • 120g sultanas/raisins or currants (without seeds)
  • 40g chopped apricots (optiona – if you don’t want to use these, use more currants/raisins)

Shortcrust Pastry Crosses

  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g butter
  • water (cold, enough to bind together)

Sugar Glaze

  •  2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

HOW TO MAKE YOUR EASTER TREATS…

To make the bread buns…

The kneaded dough, without any fruit.  These needs to be left to rise and double in size.

1. The kneaded dough, without any fruit. These needs to be left to rise and double in size.

♥ Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in  the sugar, yeast, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, and make a well in  the middle.

♥ Mix together the warm milk and water and add to the bowl with the melted and cooled butter, together with the whisked egg.

♥ Mix to a soft dough using a metal spoon.

♥ Knead the dough on a  lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.  You will know when it is ready when the dough ‘springs back’, so shape into a ball, gently push your finger in about 1/2 a cm, then take it out – if the dough ‘springs back’ it is well kneaded – if not knead some more!

Dough split into 12 and rolled into small rolls, with the fruit added. Yum!

Dough split into 12 and rolled into small rolls, with the fruit added. Yum!

♥ Shape the dough into a round and then place in a large bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm  place for 1-1½ hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

♥ Remove the dough from the bowl and ‘knock back’ using your fists – this removes all the air.

♥ Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes  until smooth and elastic once again.

♥ Now add the currants and the apricots and knead for a minute until all the fruit is mixed into the dough.

♥  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into small  rolls.

Perfect bun, with the shortcrust pastry cross.

Perfect bun, with the shortcrust pastry cross.

To make the crosses…

I would make the shortcrust pastry whilst the dough proves.  Then you can wrap it in cling-film and keep it in the fridge until you need to use it. Then…

♥ Roll out the shortcrust pastry to 5mm narrow strips – as you have 12 buns you are going to need 24 strands.

♥ Place one strip across the top of one of the bus, then place the other across this, to make a cross.  Press down lightly and if required, secure  with a little water and a pastry brush.

♥ Lightly oil 2 baking trays, arrange the buns on the  trays and cover with oiled cling-film.

♥ Leave to rise in a warm place for 30  minutes or until doubled in size. Remove cling-film – it’s time to bake the buns!

♥ Bake buns in a  preheated oven at 220 degrees C / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes (or until golden brown).

♥ Transfer the buns to a wire rack.

To make the glaze…

♥ Heat the sugar and water in a pan, until the sugar dissolves.  Do not let the sugar/water burn or begin to caramelise.  Make this whilst the buns cook.

♥  When you take the buns out of the oven and place them on the wire rack, you can brush them with the glaze and then serve warm or cold.

♥ If you let them cool, you can slice in half the next morning, toast and serve with a little butter!  YUM!

Hot Cross Bun - baked, with cross and glazed with the sugar and water.  Stunning!

Hot Cross Bun – baked, with cross and glazed with the sugar and water. Yum!

STORAGE:

The sugar glaze on these buns can make them go quite soggy, quite quickly and as they are fresh, with no preservatives the inside of the homemade hot cross bun can begin to go stale/dry quite quickly.  So, eat one or two fresh and store 2 or 3 in a large cake tin.  With the rest, chop them in half, put them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer for another day.

You know the days where its hard to get out of bed and there has to be something super special to make you get up and give you the start your day need.  I think these may just be that ‘kick start’.