Category Archives: Cakes / Muffins

Hot Cross Buns

I’ve been making these for several years now at Easter, managing to avoid the temptation to buy them in the supermarkets (from February onwards)!  Seems to get earlier every year but I like special occasion foods to be just that and so only make these once a year and they are so much nicer – and oil free – and wholemeal – and no preservatives – that its really worth it.  I usually am cooking them for a crowd so I want to impress and therefore don’t do 100% wholemeal flour as they are much heavier and take longer to make as the rising time has to be longer.  Feel free to go that way if you wish and in that case add a splash more liquid to the dough and allow an extra 30 minutes or more rising time

You will need: A large mixing bowl, a whisk or fork, measuring spoons, a clean work surface, a large rectangular baking tray, baking paper, digital scales (not essential unless you’re particular about bun size like me!), tiny zip lock bags, small bowl (1/2-1 cup size), teaspoon, cling film, oil spray, pastry brush.

Hot Cross Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Note the cook and prep times do not include rising times; allow 2-3 hours in addition.
Serves: 12
  • 230g wholemeal flour
  • 220g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 50g raw brown sugar
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 270ml warm water
  • 150g mixed dried fruit & peel - any combination you like
  • extra: plain flour rolling, for making crosses; & sugar for glazing
  1. [Dough can also be mixed in a breadmaker or with a dough hook attachment in a food processor or hand mixer - just mix all ingredients from flour to water together then mix in the fruit]
  2. In a very large bowl whisk the dry ingredients all together then slowly stir in the water. It will suck up the water very quickly and seem quite dry but keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated and then add a splash more (tablespoon at a time) until the dough is soft and a little sticky. It should be a little wetter than a regular bread dough. Tip it onto a floured working surface and knead in the dried fruit. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes springy and elastic and all the fruit is incorporated.
  3. Wash out the bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or so or until doubled in size.
  4. Tip the dough back onto a floured work surface.
  5. Line a large baking tray (as wide as a regular oven) with baking paper.
  6. Here is where digital scales are very useful. If you're at all like me, you want 12 buns exactly the same size. The only way to achieve this is to weigh each ball of dough. 🙂 So weigh the entire amount, divide by 12 and then pull off balls of dough that weight, roll in to a neat ball between your lightly floured palms and place on the tray. Repeat! You want 3 x 4 on the tray, even spaced. They will grow as they rise so allow a good 3-5 cm between each bun.
  7. Spray a piece of cling wrap with oil (otherwise they will stick and deflate when you pull off the wrap). and place over the buns and return to their warm spot until they have risen sufficiently to be stuck to each other.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
  9. Make the cross paste: Mix 2-3 tablespoons of flour in a little bowl with enough water to make a thick but runny paste (like single cream). Pour it into a little ziplock bag.
  10. Remove carefully the cling wrap and take your bag of flour and water paste. Snip off a tiny corner off of the bag and carefully drizzle in long lines across the middle of the buns, then back the other way. It's easier to do this in one continuous motion rather than individually. Plan your route before you set off! 🙂
  11. Once you've finished, place in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Make the glaze: Mix 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl with boiling water and stir until it dissolves.
  13. Once the timer goes off check that they're cooked by cutting one open (use tongues!), it should be firm and not wet inside.
  14. Brush the glaze over the hot buns and leave to cool - if you can. 🙂


Vegetable & Tofu Chilli with Corn Muffins

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This is a hearty tasty chilli packed full of protein – tofu, beans, and quinoa!  Make it as spicy as you like just by adding some freshly chopped chillies along with the onion and garlic, or keep it mild for children with just the small amount of chilli flakes.
The muffin recipe is adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s recipe here. I just removed the oil and doubled the baking powder – about a tablespoon in total.  I used standard medium grain yellow polenta.

Vegetable & Tofu Chilli with Corn Muffins
Prep time
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Recipe type: Chilli
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 250 grams plain firm tofu, mashed or blitzed in processor to breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 large white cap mushrooms, diced (about 150g)
  • 1 large red capsicum, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 sweet potato (220g), diced
  • 2 cups passata
  • 1 cup water mixed with 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup sweetcorn
  • ⅓ cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 can kidney beans
  1. Fry the onion, tofu, garlic, spices and herbs, mushrooms and tomato paste, in a splash of water or stock, until onions softened and mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated.
  2. Add capsicum, zucchini, sweet potato, passata, stock, beans, corn and quinoa and stir well.
  3. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until sweet potato is cooked.
  4. Serve with the muffins, mashed avocado, fresh coriander and salsa.



Fruit Salad Friands

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As you might have noticed I’m not a big dessert kind of person.  Occasionally though you do need something for the kids for after dinner or when friends come round.  I like to spend my time making the “main event”  so desserts / cakes etc for  me have to be quick and very easy.  This is about as easy as it gets.  The moistness comes from the ground almonds so these aren’t exactly fat free but way better than using oil / margarine etc.

You can also ring the changes with these by using any type of canned fruit, e.g. pineapple, peaches,  pears etc.  Must try cherry… 🙂

To turn these in to Pina Colada cakes, substitute a can of crushed pineapple for the fruit salad and desiccated coconut for the almond meal. 🙂

Fruit Salad Friands
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 12
  • 1 heaped cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup panella (unrefined brown sugar)
  • 2 heaped tsp flax meal
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 14 oz can fruit salad - juice and all!
  1. Mix all ingredients together, spoon into friend or muffin trays, bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown and risen.
  2. These are very moist and if you use silicone bakeware you may need to flip them over and bake again on a baking sheet for 5 more minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 154 Fat: 2.5 Carbohydrates: 29.6 Sodium: 3 Protein: 2.4