Easter

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2017-04-18 01

The celebration that was Easter has been and gone since my last post.  The lead-up here was pretty low-key.  In fact, it was Wednesday before I really even gave much thought to the family lunch on Sunday.

Our menu ended up as follows:

Hummus with rice crackers and vegetable crudites

Cold Chicken Curry
Brown rice tossed with french dressing
Tossed green salad
Baby spinach, roast pumpkin and feta salad

Mango sorbet

Whilst we are far from self-sufficient I do like to include some of our own produce and this time I was able to make use of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocadoes, pumpkin, mangoes and eggs.

The Cold Chicken Curry is a family favourite and usually makes an appearance at most family get-togethers.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo but I will add the recipe to the recipe files later in the week.

We had a quiet and peaceful weekend spent with various family members visiting and staying overnight.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and I hope your Easter break was, too.

Yesterday we managed to spend some time in the vegetable garden and I will show you the results of our efforts later in the week.

An Easter Recipe

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Happy Easter!

The desktop computer will not be back in action until the middle of the week so I am struggling with and old laptop which is very slow and not responsive.  However, I am determined to persevere and bring you a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns.

Here is the original recipe which I used for the first batch which I made on Tuesday. The only alteration I made was to add another teaspoon of psyllium husk instead of the teaspoon of xanthum gum.

The initial prototype was acceptable but I felt I could improve on the recipe a little.

The instructions said that the recipe made 8 buns so I followed this and they were much too large for my liking.  The buns also tended to spread on the tray rather than rise.  Additionally, we prefer more spice and fruit.  I made a note of this for my second attempt.

Here is my amended recipe with method and photos.  Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients.  I have divided the ingredients into separate sections accoring to the method.

GLUTEN-FREE HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients

1 cup sultanas
1 cup boiling water

7g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
120ml warm water

24g psyllium husk
3 eggs
250ml hot water

3 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons bicarb soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
75g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 orange

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
Water

Method

Place sulatanas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water and allow to stand.

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Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to activate.

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In a another bowl combine the eggs and psyllium then add the add hot water and set aside to thicken.

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Place a large bowl of hot water in the oven and turn oven to 100C.  Set timer for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes turn the oven off and remove the bowl.  This means the oven will be perfect for the dough to rise.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, sugar, spices and orange zest in a bowl and combine.  Add the yeast mixture and egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Finally, drain the excess water from the sultanas and stir them into the dough.  This step could be done by hand but I use my Kitchen Aid mixer.

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Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface.  Although kneading is not required for gluten-free baking (no gluten to stretch) you can gently roll and fold the dough a few times before dividing it into suitable sized portions.  I weighed my balls of dough and chose to make them 75g each which yielded 17 buns.

Place balls of dough into muffin pans or on a tray and set the tray in the pre-warmed oven for 45 minutes.

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While the dough is rising prepare the egg wash to brush the top of the buns by whisking the egg and water together.  Make the mixture for the crosses.  Blend together the flour and enough water to make a smooth paste which can be piped onto the buns.  Place the flour paste into a plastic bag and snip a tiny piece off one corner.

Remove dough from the oven and turn oven on to 200C to heat while you finish the buns.  Brush with egg wash.  Pipe crosses onto the buns.

Return buns to the oven set at 200C and cook for 20 – 25 minutes.

Place the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and simmer gently until reduced and thickened.

When the buns are cooked remove from the oven and drizzle with the orange glaze.

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Ready to eat.

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I was very pleased with the result and the final word comes from my friend who said that it was just like the commercially produced fruit loaf.  This has inspired me to try baking this recipe as a loaf which could be sliced and toasted.

NOTE:  The other variation is the type of flour used.  The original rice uses tapioca and brown rice flour.  I use my own mixture which includes both of these as well as potato and quinoa flours.  You can choose a commercial gluten-free flour or you own combination as long as it totals 3 cups.

 

 

 

 

Easter

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I have safely negotiated the very wet weather here and am home from work.

There are 4 days of no work stretching out in front of me and we have no particular plans.  We would like to spend time in the garden but the inclement weather may well put a dampener (so to speak) on that idea.  There are, however, plenty of other things that we can work on so I am sure we will not be bored.

I hope you have a relaxing break and don’t eat too much chocolate!

2015-04-02 01

Mad Hatter

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Apologies for the lack of post yesterday but I was otherwise engaged so no opportunity for blogging.

I was in the office for most of the day today but late this afternoon I spent a couple of fun-filled hours creating these millinery masterpieces for Miss O and Izz to wear to the Easter concert and hat parade at school.  I had picked up a couple of packets of Easter decorations at Spotlight yesterday and we combined these with various things that Belle had in her box of craft bits and pieces plus a couple of sheets of coloured card.  Some glue and staples to assemble the hats and these are the results.

2015-03-31 01I apologise for the poor quality of the photos as I quickly snapped them this evening and I clearly have not mastered the camera function on my phone!

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Enjoy the Experience

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I have written before about the benefits of experiences versus stuff, particularly in relation to children’s gifts.

On the weekend I bought tickets to a show.  It is a musical called ‘Pete the Sheep’ and is based on a book of the same name by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.

Pete the Sheep
It is being staged at a local venue at the end of April and is suitable for 4 – 9 year olds so I decided that this would be a perfect Easter ‘gift’ for our 2 granddaughters.  I do not think an overdose of chocolate is necessary nor over-the-top presents so this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  I am sure they will remember an evening of musical theatre long after the chocolate wrappers are in the rubbish.

It was not all about the grandchildren, though.  On Saturday afternoon, The Duke and I had an opportunity to see a screening of ‘Philomena’ by the Maleny Film Society.  Enjoyable is not a word I would use, however, it was challenging and thought-provoking.  It was perhaps not Judi Dench’s greatest role but I am glad I saw the film.  We took the opportunity to become members of the society and look forward to seeing many more of the really interesting films that they bring to our community.

Philomena
I have saved the best, or most exciting, till last.  We have booked our tickets to see ‘Les Miserables’ at Queen’s Theatre in London when we are there in August.  For years, The Duke has always said that he wanted to see Agatha Christie’s play, ‘The Moustrap’ if we ever went to London.  A couple of years ago it was staged here in Brisbane and naturally we went to see it.  So, he is now feeling a bit like ‘been there, done that’ about it.  We trawled the internet to see what else was going to be on while we were in London and the standout for us was ‘Les Miserables’.  We saw the Australian production back in the early 1990’s in Adelaide and of course, the recent movie with Russell Crowe’s cringeworthy performance.  I love the story and the music and am really excited to be seeing it again.

Les Miserables