Friday, 10 March 2017

HOT CROSS BUNS - rich version

I have posted a recipe for these traditional buns before, but here is another version - from the ladies of the 1960s WI. There are two examples in their book and this one was entitled “richer” hot cross buns.  The original recipe only used 4oz currants, so I will apologise to them now, because I like a lot more fruit than that per 1lb and these days, I like to add sultanas and citrus flavours too.

But I bake the base recipe exactly as printed. I will not use a flour and water mix for a cross on the top of the buns. Just a quick slash with a sharp knife for tradition sake.

Makes 12-13 buns @ 3 oz each [large ish]

1 lb plain flour
pinch salt
½ teaspoon mixed spice [I added aded more, at least a large heaped teaspoonful]
1 oz fresh yeast [ 2 teaspoons dried yeast]
3 oz caster sugar
4 oz currants [+ 3 oz sultanas and some peel to taste]
zest of a large orange [not in the original recipe]
4 oz melted butter
2 eggs 
warm milk

In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, salt and spice, then add the sugar, zest and fruit. Mix well to combine.

Break the eggs into a measuring jug, then make up to a scant ½ a pint [9 fl oz] with tepid milk, along with a teaspoon of the sugar. Whisk, then add the yeast and melted butter [not too hot] and leave to start working for ten mins.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet yeasty liquid. Mix or beat well. “must be a rather soft dough”. I found it too wet to knead initially, so used a scraper to mix the dough together, before transferring it to a floured worktop. When smooth, cover and leave to prove.

Turn onto a floured surface and knock back, then shape into buns and put to rise again. You all know I am a saddo and weigh each portion so they are the same size. More pics on my Blog.

Pre heat your fan oven to 175C [old 375F]

Bake for about 20 mins, although no timings are given in the book. Cool on a rack and brush with a sugar glaze. [you can flavour the glaze with something like cinnamon if you wish]

Glaze: Equal amounts, by volume, of granulated sugar and water.  Place over a medium heat and dissolve the sugar, keep stirring, then simmer gently for 2 or 3 mins to thicken. Add flavouring of your choice, if using. I have used cinnamon - just delicious.

Note: I was absolutely delighted [as was my husband] with this recipe, the texture is brioche like and so soft. I made them again a few days ago, they are so good. A real find and one of the best hot cross bun recipes.

The following day, [and the next if there are any left] pop each one into a microwave for 20 seconds on re heat and they soften up as if they had just come out of the oven.

Monday, 6 March 2017


The recipe for these deliciously yummy slices was given to me by Judith, living in Porthleven, who is a regular follower of my humble efforts and I am very grateful to her for passing this on. She has no recollection of where the recipe came from but has been making it for many years.  She recommends M&S dates. 

Grease a 7-8 inch shallow square tin and line the base. Pre heat your fan oven to 180C

1 pack of M&S dates, these weigh a fraction under 9 oz
¼ pint of water
a tablespoon or two of lemon juice
4 ounces porridge oats
5 ounces self raising flour
4 ounces butter
2 ounces soft dark brown sugar.

Chop dates into quarters and place them in a saucepan with the water and juice, Judith always adds lemon juice, to take the edge off the sweetness.  Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat until all the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside to cool. This can be done the night before.

In a medium bowl, mix the oats with flour and rub in the butter, then stir in sugar.  (you can make this in a food processor, much easier)

Press half of the oaty mixture into your prepared tin, press well down with back of spoon. Spread the cooled date mixture over base, then sprinkle the remaining mix over the dates, again, press down well, getting it as flat as you can.

Bake at 180C degrees for approximately 25 minutes, do not over cook.  Leave to cool in the tin and when slightly cooled mark the slices with a sharp knife.  Remove from your tin carefully when cold.

Judith sometimes uses dried apricots, instead of dates, using the same method but rinses the apricots in boiling water first to remove the Sulpher Dioxide!

Just lovely, very moreish and so easy. I will be making these again and again. Thank you Judith.

Friday, 3 March 2017


I am moving away from cakes for one post. This is another brilliant old recipe, that uses up left overs from the Sunday Roast. You all know how much I love old recipes. These are so good as a savoury bite, tea time treat or as a party hors d’oeuvre. Plus they freeze like a dream. This old recipe comes from the Farmer’s Weekly collection booklet, circa mid 1950s. I made them exactly as printed, but my own choice would be to add some herbs, especially parsley, [or rosemary if using lamb] or another flavouring like a mild curry powder to bring them into the 21stC! Even so they were delicious, although they look a little odd. 

Butter a baking sheet and pre heat your fan oven to about 190C. Makes approx 20 small buns.

½ lb finely chopped cooked roast beef [or lamb?]
2 oz plain flour
Salt and pepper
1 grated onion 
1 oz suet
a little left over gravy to mix [I needed 6 tablespoons of thick gravy, made from veggies and meat juices, that the meat was roasted on]

In a bowl, mix the flour, suet, seasoning and chopped meat. Add the grated onion and moisten with the left over gravy, to the consistency of rock cake mixture.

Divide into little individual “rock cakes” and place in heaps on your baking sheet. Bake in your hot oven for about 30 mins [if making larger, you may need a little longer] until the cakes are brown and crisp. More pics on my Blog.

Bet you won’t be able to keep your hands off them!!! 

If you do freeze them [cooked] for future use [fab for a party], defrost for half an hour then pop into a medium oven for 5 mins if you want them warm, but they are equally good cold.