Hot cross buns with orange glaze

We made this recipe from http://bitofthegoodstuff.com/ today. We’ve been trying different recipes each year and now we’ve found the one! (the recipe below includes our changes -more spice and more sultantas – but you can see the original at http://bitofthegoodstuff.com/2013/03/hot-cross-buns-dairy-free-egg-free-vegan/ )

Hands on time: 30 minutes Resting time: 1¾ hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes 15 medium or 12 large buns

Ingredients

Dough
– 250ml / 9 oz / 1 cup fortified soya milk (or other non dairy milk)
– 1 tsp fast action / easy bake yeast
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp neutral flavoured vegetable oil, such as rapeseed (canola)
– 500g / 17½ oz / 3½ cups plain (all purpose) flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 6 tsp mixed spice
– 200g / 7 oz / 1 packed cup sultanas or raisins
– 100g / 3½ oz / ½ cup Italian mixed peel
– Finely grated zest of 1 organic/unwaxed orange
-85ml / 3 fl oz / ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)

Crosses
– 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
– 2 tbsp water

Glaze
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)

Method

Gently heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the yeast and sugar. After a couple of minutes the yeast will start to froth.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, spices. Stir in the sultanas, citrus peel and orange zest. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the oil, yeast milk mixture, and orange juice. Bring together the ingredients using your hands. The dough should be soft and sticky. Depending on the type of flour used, you may need to add a little more liquid.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or oiled cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. If your house is cool (like ours), cover with oiled foil and place in the oven at 40C / 100F for an hour.

When the dough has risen, knead for a further 10 minutes then divide into 12 or 15 equal size balls. To ensure that the buns are exactly the same size and bake evenly, I weigh the dough. My dough tends to weigh about 1.125kg, so I tear off 75g for medium size buns. Roll the dough into smooth balls and evenly space out on a large baking tray (28 x 40cm / 10 x 15”) lined with non stick baking paper. Cover with the damp tea towel, oiled cling film (plastic wrap) or foil and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or so, until they have risen.

Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan) / 410F.

To make the crosses, mix 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour with 2 tbsp water to form a thick paste. Spoon into an icing bag with a thin nozzle (or a plastic freezer bag and snip the corner). Slowly pipe along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf, until golden brown.

To make the glaze, gently boil the sugar and fruit juice in a small pan for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken into a syrup. Brush over the buns while they’re still hot. Allow to set before serving. These buns are most delicious served warm or toasted.

The buns will last 2-3 days in an airtight container. They also freeze well. I tend to slice them in half before I freeze them so that they can be toasted without the need to defrost first.

The Really Simple Vege Chilli

This is a really simple vegetarian chilli that we make quite a bit. It is tasty with nachos, on rice, with baked potatoes, etc, etc.

It also freezes really well so we always have a few bags in the freezer ready for “Oh dear, what shall I cook?” dinners.

Think of this as a base and, if you follow these rough proportions, you can make all sorts of changes. Switch out one or more cans of kidney beans for black beans, add mushrooms or capsicum alongside the onions, do your own spicing, etc, etc.

Ingredients

  • Tablespoon of frying oil (canola, light olive oil, etc)
  • 2 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cans kidney beans in brine (drained)
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 packet el paso chilli spice mix
  • 250gm frozen chuckwagon corn (mix of corn, peas, capsicum, etc)

I often double or triple this in a large stockpot.

Method

  1. Chop the onions and fry at medium heat until somewhat cooked/translucent.
  2. Drain the kidney beans and add.
  3. Add the tomatoes (don’t drain them).
  4. Add the spice mix.
  5. Bring to a simmer and keep it that way for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the frozen veges and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Done!

 

Baked Eggplant Layer

From Healthy Food Guide March 2013.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 eggplants sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray/paint with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan and cook onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add tomatoes, pesto, sugar and chilli. Simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce has reduced. Add most of the basil. Season to taste.
  4. Place half of eggplant slices in lightly greased baking dish. Spoon over half of the sauce. Repeat layers.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and serve garnished with remainder of the fresh basil.

Kim Edit: I quite like adding roasted asparagus, roasted mushroom, 2 tablespoons of cut up sundried tomato and 2 tablespoons of marinated artichoke. Yum.

Tabouli, taboule, tabbouleh, tabouleh

This is a straight cut’n’paste of the delicious tabouli recipe from here (well, with half as much pepper). I make it quite a lot and got tired of searching for it each time.

  • 2 cups bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

 

Method

  1. Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.
  2. Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Stir the prepared bulghur, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 8 cups, 12 to 16 servings.

 

Jemima helps make egg pie

Jemima has been helping me in kitchen for a while now. Here is a simple egg pie recipe with lots of easy and fun steps for toddlers to do. (summary of instructions below)

1. Jemima adding cheese to egg pie

Jemima adding cheese to egg pie

2. Jemima concentrating hard while spooning frozen veggies

Jemima concentrating hard while spooning frozen veggies

3. Kim and Jemima breaking eggs

Kim and Jemima breaking eggs

4. Jemima beating egg mixture

Jemima beating egg mixture

5. Jemima glazing the pie

Jemima glazing the pie

6. Jemima poking holes in pie

Jemima poking holes in the pie

7. Jemima eating the pie

Jemima eating the pie

Summary of steps

  1. Turn oven on to 190c
  2. Take out two sheets of flakey pastry and let them thaw a little to make them easier to use (5 minutes or so)
  3. Grease a square tin with butter
  4. Put one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin
  5. Slice a leek and put on top of the pastry
  6. Put in frozen corn or veggies
  7. Put in grated cheese
  8. Mix 8 eggs and pour over leeks, cheese and frozen veggies
  9. Put other sheet of pastry on top, brush with egg and prick a few times
  10. Put in oven for approximately 45 minutes

OMG Delicious Falafel Burgers

Most falafel burgers suck. They tend to have a large and stodgy patty that gums up your mouth when you eat it and the whole thing tends to be very unsatisfactory. This was equally true of the ones I made as well as the commercial ones from the gourmet burger places.

I thought about it. Big falafel is stodgy. Small falafel is crispy and delicious.

And then all the pieces seemed to fit into place. What a sucker I’d been. What a fool. The answer was there all the time. That’s how I discovered the secret – two thin falafel patties, separated by cheese!

Edit: I bring glad tidings from our kitchen-lab! This burger is even better if you replace the fried onions with some tabouleh.

Edit2: Can now be described as the “Award Winning OMG Delicious Falafel Burgers” after getting third place in Stuff’s burger competition.

Falafel burger with chilli potato wedges

Ingredients

You will need (per burger):

  • Burger bun
  • 90gm falafel (Lebanese Delicious Snack Company is a good brand)
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • pinch baking soda
  • two patty sized pieces of baking paper
  • half a chopped onion
  • 1-2 tbsp hummus (LDSC is again good)
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • two slices tomato
  • 1 tbsp Moroccan chutney (or similar)
  • lettuce
  • olive oil for frying

Method

Do all your prep first:

  • Mix the falafel with the baking powder and baking soda
  • Chop the onion
  • Slice the cheese
  • Slice the tomato
  • Cut the bun in half

Turn on the oven to 180c (for lightly toasting the buns later), then put a small frying pan and a large frying pan onto medium heat and add some olive oil.

While they heat up:

  1. Tear the baking paper into patty sized pieces.
  2. Shape half the falafel into a patty on the paper as shown in the picture, then repeat for the other half. Leave each one on the paper.

Falafel patty

Put the onions into the small frying pan and lightly saute (i.e. stir them every so often until cooked).

Put the falafel patties into the large frying pan, falafel side down.

Patties cooking with the paper still on

Cook the patties for a bit and then carefully peel off the paper. It may be useful to have a tool you can use to stop the patties tearing if the paper is sticking.

When done on the first side, flip the patties over and put the cheese on top to melt.

Patties with cheese

While the second side cooks, toast the buns briefly in the oven (a minute or two, just enough to get them warm and slightly crunchy).

When everything is done, assemble the burgers in this order from bottom to top:

  1. Bottom bun
  2. Moroccan chutney
  3. Fried onions
  4. Falafel patty with cheese on top
  5. Other falafel patty
  6. Tomato
  7. Lettuce
  8. Hummus (apply to top bun)
  9. Top bun

Two crispy falafel patties separated by melted cheese

Eat!

Kumara and Peanut Butter Soup

Really yummy soup given to me by my workmate June and posted for Orson :-)

Yummy Kumara and Peanut Butter soup

3 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
Half tsp Fresh Ginger – Grated
1 *Fresh Chilli- Chopped
Half Tsp Ground Cumin
4 Kumara (sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 Tbls Peanut Butter
Extra water if needed
Salt and Pepper

Put oil in heavy pot and add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and kumara. Sauté over a medium heat until lightly cooked. Cover with the stock or water and simmer until the kumara is mushy. Add the peanut butter and using a wand, processor or blender, puree until very smooth. If the soup is to thick, add more water or stock to make a smooth soupy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, reheat and serve.

This soup freezes well. So if you make too much, put the remainder in a container and freeze for later use.

*If you are unable to get fresh chillies, dried chillies can be used, as can chilli powder. Try adding a little at first as the chilli is meant to give the soup a “bite” and should not overpower the Kumara.

Garden aprons

My birthday this year was awesome. There was sitting outside in the sun, drinking beer by the jug, going out to a nice restaurant with friends, an outdoor bath and in gardening related news – this awesome present from Caycos.

Birthday present from Caycos (picture by Caycos) (Photo also taken by Caycos)

I am now complete.