Hot Cross Buns

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 

  • 550g bread flour + plenty extra for the board
  • 7g dry yeast
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 300ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 150g currants
  • Rice bran oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam

HOW TO MAKE THEM: 

  1. Bring milk to boil on the stove, set aside and add the butter.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Beat the egg and set aside.
  4. When the butter and milk is warm (not hot), pour it into the centre of the dry ingredients, mix it in very briefly with a spoon, then add the egg and bring it all together.
  5. Turn the sticky dough onto a well floured board and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. Spray a large bowl with the oil, put the dough in and cover with oil sprayed glad wrap.
  7. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour 15 minutes. It should be increased significantly in size.
  8. Unwrap and tip in the currants, vanilla, all spice and cinnamon.
  9. Need the ingredients through the dough until well absorbed.
  10. Re-wrap the dough and leave for another 1 hour 15 minutes.
  11. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. (You can weigh the whole piece first, that way you can calculate how much each piece should weigh and make sure they are evenly sized.
  12. Roll each one into a neat ball on a lightly floured surface.
  13. Place them in 4 rows of four, lightly touching so they will expand into each other.
  14. Cover them lightly with a piece of oil sprayed glad wrap and leave for another 1 hour.
  15. After the hour is up, preheat the oven to 200C.
  16. Mix 5 tablespoons of water with the plain flour.
  17. Spoon it into a piping bag (or can use a zip lock back and cut a tiny bit of the corner off).
  18. Pipe the crosses onto the risen buns.
  19. Heat the apricot jam on a low heat over the stove until melted.
  20. Brush the jam onto the buns.
  21. Place the buns into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  22. Eat fresh or leave to cool before wrapping up. If eating later make sure you toast them.

 

Choc-Mint Smoothie (Vegan and Sugar-Free)

WHAT YOU NEED: 

  • 350ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 chopped frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa nibs
  • 1/3 cap of natural peppermint essence

HOW TO MAKE IT: 

  1. Place a large glass in the freezer
  2. Put all the ingredients into a Nutribullet or blender
  3. Blend until smooth except for the cocoa nibs which will not blend quickly and will add a nice crunch to the smoothie (around 15 seconds in a Nutribullet)
  4. Pour the smoothie into the frozen glass and return to the freezer for an additional 2 minutes before serving.
  • Tip: I always keep a few chopped frozen bananas in the freezer. I buy a bunch, peel and chop them when I get home, and put them into individual zip lock bags in the freezer.

Pancake Recipe

Wholemeal Pancakes, this recipe quantity just makes 2 pancakes. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (any type of cows or plant milk is fine)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 free range egg
  • A little bit of butter
    To serve: 
  • Fruit
  • Syrup (Maple or Golden)
    OR 
  • Lemon Wedges and Sugar
 HOW TO MAKE IT:
  1. Place all the ingredients except for the butter into a bowl and whisk them together until smooth.
  2. Place the butter in a fry pan and heat it to medium-high.
  3. When the butter is bubbling and sizzling pour half the mixture in.
  4. When the edges are all bubbly, flip over the pancake.
  5. When the other side is cooked – place it on a plate. and repeat for the second pancake.
  6. Serve it with your toppings.

 

Rocky Road Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 x Cadbury Turkish Delight bars
  • 1 x Large packet of Malteasers
  • 550g Cadbury Milk Chocolate (that’s one regular block and one large block)
  • 1 smallish packet of cashew nuts
  • 1 packet of pink and white marshmallows

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Melt the chocolate by breaking it up and placing it in a bowl, place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. (you do this first so that the chocolate is not so super hot that it melts all the ingredients when you put them together)
  2. Toast the cashews up to golden (I use the grill and turn them once, you could use the oven or a fry pan on medium heat)
  3. Chop the turkish delight into 8 pieces each.
  4. Throw the malteasers, marshmellows, turkish delight pieces and toasted cashews into a large bowl and toss them so thy are all mixed up.
  5. Line a baking dish (the size will determine how tall the rocky road ends up – so up to you) with some baking paper and make room in your fridge or freezer.
  6. Pour the melted and partially cooled chocolate into the yummy ingredientts and mix it up good so that everything is covered and pretty evenly distributed.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and poke it until it’s even looking.
  8. Place this in the fridge or freezer until set (Ithink about 1.5 hours in the freezer.
  9. Take it out, chop it into the size squares that you like and eat it up!

*This makes lots.

 

Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls

Vietnamese Style Vegetarian Fresh Rice Paper Rolls. 

About this dish: This is my take on a dish that my Mum would often make. It’s great for cocktail parties or picnics and it’s very healthy. It’s easy to do once you get the hang of the assembling and rolling. Serves two for dinner or plenty as a party platter.

-Picture to be added soon!-

WHAT YOU NEED:

200g marinated tofu
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 red capsicum
1 bag of sprouts of your choice.
1 packet of dried rice paper (round sheets)
soy sauce
1/2 lime
1 x red chilli
sesame oil

 

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Dipping Sauce
  1. pour soy sauce to almost fill two small ramekins
  2. Squeese the juice of a quarter lime into each
  3. Sprinkle with finely chopped red chilli
  4. Add a few drops of sesame oil
Rolls 
  1. Grill the tofu or meat.
  2. Slice the tofu/meat, capsicum, cucumber and carrot into 16 sticks each.
  3. Fill a large but shallow dish with hot water (cool enough that you can touch it though).
  4. Take one rice paper sheet, dip it in the water, making sure all of it gets wet until it is sift (but not totally soaked). Place it immediately on a flat surface, top it with a couple of torn off coriander leaves, followed by a piece each of the capsicum, cucumber, carrot and tofu/meat, finish with a sprinkle of the sprouts. Then fold in the top and bottom of the rice paper, followed by the sides, to form a nice roll.
  5. Repeat the rolling process for all 16 rolls.

EXTRA TIPS:

– You can replace the tofu with meat, you can also purchase plain tofu and marinate it yourself.

– My rice paper method is to rapidly rotate the dry rice paper sheet at an angle so that the sides are running through the water then I dunk the whole things into the water, flip it upside down and duck it again, and then leave it until it is only JUST soft. Timing and temperature specifics can depend on the brand.

– Make the sauce first so that the flavours infuse into the liquid.

– If you make them in advance, make sure they are stored air tight and that they don’t stick together too much.

Caramelised Onion and Feta Tartlets

Caramelised onion puff pastry tartlets with fresh dill. 

About this dish: I came up with this recipe when we were having a bunch of people over for a regular prayer and Bible discussion catch up and I had uncharacteristically failed to prepare any food offerings. I gathered up what ingredients we had and (also uncharacteristically) managed to pull together a very nice little dish with no recipe or prior preparation.

So these are super easy, pretty quick and bite sized; they are great at parties or gatherings.

-Picture to be added soon!-

WHAT YOU NEED: 

2 Frozen Puff Pastry sheets, from the freezer

1 Brown or red onion

1 bunch fresh dill, picked into 32 short sprigs

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 block feta (can be any type you choose), cut into 32 cubes

Oil (can substitute with butter)

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Chop the onion into fine rings,

Spray a saucepan with a little oil and put on medium heat. When hot add the onion.

Cook the onion until it becomes softer and translucent, then add the sugar and cook for 30 seconds – 1 minute before adding 2 tablespoons of water.

Sauté until the sugar is dissolved, water is reduced and the onion is brown, the texture should be jammy but the inion should still have it’s shape. Set aside.

Put the pastry sheets into baking trays lined with baking paper. When they have defrosted a little cut them into squares 4×4 – so 16 per sheet. and separate them slightly.

Divide the onion among the pastry squares, leaving a pastry edge around each (like a pizza crust).

Place a feta cube in the middle of each tartlet.

Put them into the oven for around 15 minutes – or until they are golden with slightly brown edges and are puffed up.

Place a dill sprog on top of each target and serve. they are best while still hot (or warm so you don’t burn your mouth)!

EXTRA TIPS: 

I like Bulgarian feta best as the texture is in-between crubly and creamy and the flavour is really full and delicious. Goats cheese is also good inn the recipe (if you’re a fan of it). For those who like a hard crumbly feta – go for Greek feta. For those who like a creamy cheese – go for a danish feta.

Place the pastry on the baking trays while still partially frozen for ease, but leave it to defrost before dressing them as otherwise the pastry beneath the onion won’t cook.

Maple Cheesecake

Sugar-free MAPLE CHEESECAKE with walnut and oat base.

About this cake: I learned to make cheesecake by trying a few recipes, settling on a favourite one and then changing it up to be how I want. Now I make lots of flavours -Spiced Cherry Christmas Cheesecake and Salted Caramel Swirl Cheesecake recipes to follow later. This particular one was made up out of desperation when we had two good friends who didn’t eat sugar coming around for a thank you dinner. We wanted to make them a special desert and luckily it turned out pretty great.

-Picture to be added soon!-

WHAT YOU NEED: 

Base:

– 100g Oats (approximate – adjust as necessary)

– 125g melted Butter

-75g Walnuts (approximate – adjust as necessary)

Filling:

– 750g cream cheese

– 125ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup

– 2 eggs lightly beaten

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real stuff)

HOW TO MAKE IT: 

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a spring form cake tin with some extra butter and line the base with baking paper.

– Use a blender (stick) or food processor to chop and combine the walnuts and oats. If you don’t have a processor or blender then you can chop the oats finely with a knife and crush the walnuts.

– In a large bowl pour the cooled (luke-warm is okay) melted butter into the oat and nuts mixture and combine until the butter is evenly coating all the dry ingredients (this is where you can add more dry ingredients as/if neccessary).

– Take the mixture and line the base and walls of the tin with the mixture, pressing it tightly and keeping it as even as possible. Then prick little shallow holes all over it with a fork.

– Bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, removing from the oven very 5 or so minutes to deflate the air (which will be puffing up the oats). It should end up set and slightly golden.

– Use electric beaters (or a whisk) to soften the cream cheese in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat for a few minutes until well combined and the mixture is becoming smooth and fluffier in texture. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until it is very smooth and very light in texture (this is important to make it light and airy instead of being heavy).

– Use a rubber spatula to evenly speed the mixture into the oat and walnut base.

– Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes (it should be very slightly golden on top and should be set but with a bit of a wobble, ideally it should’t crack but it doesn’t matter if it does.

– Leave it to cool in the tin, take it out when it’s about room temperature to serve.

EXTRA TIPS:

– Be careful when serving it as the base is unavoidably a bit crumbly (a cake server helps)

– Use a knife to go around the edge of the cake before removing it from the tin

– This cake can keep fine in the fridge and it also tastes good slightly warm (from the oven)

– If you’re not fussed about it being sugar free then you can replace the oats with digestive biscuits and forget about de-puffing the base every five minutes

Have a question, suggestion or a picture of one you made? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.