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
- 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
- [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]
- 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.
- 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.
- Tip the dough back onto a floured work surface.
- Line a large baking tray (as wide as a regular oven) with baking paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
- 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.
- 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! 🙂
- Once you've finished, place in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Make the glaze: Mix 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl with boiling water and stir until it dissolves.
- Once the timer goes off check that they're cooked by cutting one open (use tongues!), it should be firm and not wet inside.
- Brush the glaze over the hot buns and leave to cool - if you can. 🙂
These are real crowd pleasers, perfect as part of a party banquet, but equally at home as part of dinner with maybe some rice and salad. These are flavoured a la Mexican, with cumin, coriander, red and green capsicum, onion and red kidney beans, but they can be themed any how – swap out the spices for fresh shredded basil, drop the beans but add sliced black olives and they become pizza quiches. Try sweetcorn and Thai curry paste and make Thai inspired quiches, or try potato, pea and maybe cauliflower, with curry powder and they’re Indian! The sky’s the limit! 🙂
Mexican Chickpea Quiches
Recipe type: Snacks
- 2.5 cups of chickpea flour (also known as besan flour / garbanzo flour)
- 3 cups of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- chilli powder - to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 medium red capsicum (bell pepper), diced small
- 1 medium green capsicum (bell pepper) diced small
- 1 medium red onion, diced small
- 1 cup red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup sweetcorn, frozen or canned
- Equipment: 12 hole muffin tray (I used silicon for easy removal) - stand on a large baking tray before filling if you are using a silicon one.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees C
- In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, herbs and spices, water and salt and whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry off the capsicum and onion until tender. Tip the vegetables into another bowl and mix in the beans, corn, & olives
- Pour the batter into each muffin tray, filling ⅔ full.
- Using a small spoon, add a heaped teaspoon of the vegetable mixture to each muffin hole.
- Stir each muffin hole to distribute the vegetables.
- Place into the oven, bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool until able to handle them. Place upside down on the baking tray (use baking paper to line) and pop back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes until bottoms are also golden.
- You should have enough batter left to make a few more.
- Lovely served hot, warm or cold.
These are fantastic little crispy bites, with whole grains, lentils, kale, onion, red pepper, and flavoured with Italian herbs. The grain and lentils all cook together into a fabulously textured kind of porridge which is an amazing base to make burgers, and sausages with. Perfect for parties, lunchboxes or just snacks to keep in the fridge when hunger strikes!
The other ingredients are then just stirred in and I used a mini muffin tray for easily shaped and uniform results.
Impossible to eat just one! We love them topped with hummus and a red pepper relish.
Kale & Red Pepper Bites
- ½ cup medium grain brown rice
- ¼ cup millet
- ¼ cup split red lentils
- ¼ cup quinoa
- 1 box of frozen kale
- 1 red capsicum, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp Italian dried herb mix
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon low sodium tamari / soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of tahini - optional
- juice of half a lemon
- zest of a whole lemon
- ¼ cup ground almonds - optional (makes them more crispy but you can leave out for school lunchboxes).
- Equipment: mini 24-cup muffin pan
- Sesame seeds - optional
- Rinse the grains and lentils in a fine sieve under running water for a couple of minutes.
- Place them in a rice cooker (or saucepan - but you may need to add an extra half a cup of water before the grains are fully cooked, depending on how tight fitting the lid is) with 3 cups of water, and put it on to cook.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. / 375 Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, put the kale into a sieve over (in which the sieve will be enclosed) and cover in boiling water.
- Place a large frying pan over a medium heat, and "fry" the capsicum and onion, adding a splash of water or stock to stop them sticking. Do not allow to get too moist. Once softened after a few minutes, add the herbs and garlic. Cook until the moisture has evaporated out and the vegetables are fairly dry but not sticking to the pan.
- Drain the kale, and squeeze all the water out of it with your hands - I find it easiest to do this in 3 or 4 small handfuls, and set aside.
- Once the grains are cooked, (they should be fairly dry also) tip them into a large bowl, and tip in the contents of the frying pan. Sprinkle in the kale, breaking up any lumps, then add the nutritional yeast, tamari, tahini, lemon, zest & almonds and thoroughly mix (clean hands are best for this!).
- Sprinkle some sesame seeds if using into the bottom of each muffin hole, then pack the mixture firmly on top, pushing down to ensure no air pockets which will stop them coming out cleanly. Sprinkle some more sesame seeds on top.
- Pop into the top of the oven for 20 minutes. Take out, allow to sit for 5 minutes then invert the tray onto a cooling rack, making sure they all come out (you might need to loosen stubborn ones around the side with a plastic knife), place that on top of a baking tray and then pop back in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up the bottoms.
- My mixture made 34, so you can use the tray again to use up the mixture for another 6-10 bites.
This was adapted from a recipe on EatingWell. I substituted homemade wholemeal pizza dough for their shop bought one, silken tofu for the ricotta and homemade mozzarella style cheese for the dairy version. The “moxarella” is this one, and you will need about 1/2 to 2/3 of the amount that recipe makes (1 cup).
Broccoli & Corn Calzones
- 1 ½ cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1 ½ cups frozen sweetcorn
- 1 cup "moxarella cheese" (see link above in introduction)
- ⅔ cup silken tofu
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- Place baking paper on two (or one large) baking trays.
- Prepare the pizza dough - as linked introduction. Roll out to about the size of side plate.
- Mix all the filling ingredients together, and scoop about ¾ cup onto one half of a round of dough and arrange into a crescent shape.
- Using a pastry brush - or your finger! - wet the dough around the edge next to the filling.
- Fold the other half over the top, stretching down onto the moistened edge.
- Crimp the edges together, making small overlapping folds working from right to left.
- Place on the baking trays and make 3 or 4 cuts in the top of each to allow the steam to escape.
- Bake for 12 minutes, re-pierce the holes in the tops, then swap the trays over and bake for a further 12 minutes or until golden and the filling is bubbling up out of the holes a little.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving (or be prepared to take the skin off the roof of your mouth..!)
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
Recipe type: Cake
- 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!
- Mix all ingredients together, spoon into friend or muffin trays, bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown and risen.
- 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.
Serving size: 1 Calories: 154 Fat: 2.5 Carbohydrates: 29.6 Sodium: 3 Protein: 2.4
This is a really quick snack which we all love. You can also have them for dinner, as we did last night with potato wedges and fennel coleslaw.
Quick and Easy Gozleme
Recipe type: Snack
- 1 packet Mountain Bread, any variety
- 300g classic tofu - silken firm
- 16 cubes of frozen spinach
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- Cook spinach quickly in boiling water or in a microwave, rinse and squeeze out all the water.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Take a mountain bread sheet, and evenly spread a heaped dessertspoon of the mixture over half and spread it to the corners.
- Fold the empty half over the top.
- Place in a grill /Italian toaster and put the lid down.
- Cook for around 3 minutes or until crispy and slightly browned.
- Keep them warm in the oven if you're making the whole lot at once, or just keep the mixture in the fridge for use later.
- Cut into strips, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the top, salt and pepper as required and devour!