Perfect Hot Cross Buns, spiced bread dough studded with cranberries, sultanas and apples. Perfect for an Easter Breakfast.
Easter is most certainly on its way; even at Christmas you do not see such an abundance of chocolate in the shops! As well as chocolate there are fluffy baby chicks and pastel table decorations aplenty. But nothing says Easter to me as much as the piles and piles of Hot Cross Buns sold everywhere, as these still remain one of the few foods that you can’t buy all year round.
I haven’t eaten a shop bought Hot Cross Bun for a long time, not being able to eat the butter they are usually full of, so this year I thought I would tackle making them from scratch – and what a great result! I’m not going to lie… they take quite a long time and a lot of organisation but it is so worth the effort. This recipe suggests proving the dough overnight which means that if you want to eat them for breakfast on a Sunday (before midday!), you’ll start the dough on Friday night and bake them on the Saturday. The effort is really worth it though; the dough becomes light yet chewy, and the spices have time to permeate the dough ensuring their flavour stands out against the sweet fruits. These Hot Cross Buns are a mixture of the traditional and the new; more fruity than usual with cranberries, apples and sultanas, and very aromatic with orange zest and mixed spice instead of just cinnamon. You can easily play around with these flavours and add or take away as you wish – for example, add ground cardamon instead of mixed spice, or change the flavours all together and replace with chocolate, cranberry, cinnamon and ginger for a twist.
After the effort and time of baking these, serve them on a beautifully decorated table (look here for a quick and simple idea, ideal for Easter), just warmed through in the oven, split in half and lightly spread with dairy free butter. In all honesty, who could imagine a better Easter breakfast than that? It might just make you wish we could eat these all year round… Continue reading
Light, fluffy American style pancakes bursting with blueberries, served with lashings of maple syrup.
I love pancakes. There – I’ve said it. I love pancakes! And although I’ve done this post specifically in time for Pancake Day (Tuesday 17th Feb 2015), I really don’t believe that pancakes should be reserved for only one day of the year. These are my favourite Sunday breakfast and they also double up as a great store-cupboard dessert for when you are in need – just add a scoop of ice cream on the side.
The great thing about this recipe is that you really can substitute the fruit and flavours for anything you fancy (Try replacing the blueberries with a pinch of cinnamon and 1/2 a banana thinly sliced) – although blueberries will always be my top choice. In my opinion you just can’t beat the bursts of flavour in your mouth as you bite through a sweet, juicy blueberry.
To top off these pancakes, maple syrup is the only thing to use. Pancakes and maple syrup were made to go together, and the lack of over-sweetness in maple syrup makes it the perfect combination for breakfast. Always buy real maple syrup and never maple flavoured syrup (which is usually maple syrup flavour added to a pure sugar syrup) and buy the best you can afford. The better brands tend to be far less sweet and have a much deeper flavour. I really like Buckwud maple syrup which you can buy in most major supermarkets (and is currently save 1/3rd in Waitrose which is a great deal!).
I called these ‘American style’ pancakes as traditional American pancakes are made with plain (all-purpose) flour and bicarbonate of soda to give them the rise. These pancakes cheat slightly as they use self-raising flour which is a pre-made mix of plain flour and baking powder, but I personally don’t find it alters the taste or texture of the pancakes and makes them even simpler to make.
I hope you all have a fantastically pancake filled Pancake Day 2015!
Breakfast foods again! There does seem to be a trend, doesn’t there 🙂 And even better, this week is National Breakfast Week (see more here), so there really is no excuse not to give these a try.
The original recipe appeared on BBC Good Food – but here I’ve made some substitutions to help the muffins keep you fuller for longer, which I think is key in any good breakfast food – and of course to make them dairy free too!
So, onto the muffins! This is a recipe that I keep going back to. Packed with goodness from the porridge oats and wholegrain flour and low on added sugar, they really do keep you full until lunch. Even better, these muffins freeze really well so I often bake a batch at the weekend and then defrost them as needed (overnight on the kitchen side is perfect). Although they are just as good cold, in the winter I like to pop them in the microwave until just warm – the ultimate treat of a ‘freshly’ baked muffin in 30 seconds to me is the perfect way to start the day.
Although the predominant flavour of these muffins is blueberry, you can also taste the cinnamon, nutmeg and banana which is added to the batter. These warming spices help tone down the sweetness of the blueberries and really bring out the flavour of the oats and wholegrain flour.
I’ve finished these muffins with a nutty granola topping (find the Granola recipe here) or you could simply add a few chopped nuts or oats of your choice to provide a bit of crunch.
So give them a try, whether it is for breakfast or a mid morning snack, and I promise you’ll be reaching for these in your freezer again and again.
Breakfast – The most important meal of the day. And lets be honest, sometimes it can become the most boring one, especially on a week day. I’ve never been a cereal or porridge fan, so often I resort to toast with peanut butter… a worthy breakfast but sometimes I do fancy a change!
So along comes granola… a crunchy mix of your favourite nuts, seeds and oats, packed full of fibre and protein – what’s not to like? Well…nothing! Now, you could go out and buy one of the many branded versions around. But I want to convince you to make your own, and believe me, once you do you won’t ever want to settle for the shop bought stuff again.
- It takes less than 10 minutes to make 10 breakfast worths (I’m not kidding – If I was concentrating I think I could do it in under 5 – theres a challenge for you to beat!). Even better, you can easily do this one weekend and it lasts for weeks.
- You can personalise it. Don’t like almonds? Don’t add them! Want more sweetness but don’t like raisins? No problem, add cranberries! More than that you really can use whatever you’ve got in the cupboard – and equally skip or substitute for what you do have!
- It is healthier. Its scary when you start reading the packets and realise how much sugar is added to shop bought stuff. Now, as someone who writes a baking blog I can’t profess to be counting every teaspoon of sugar I consume, but I do try not to add more than needed. For breakfast I want to eat something wholesome, not something that’s going to make me hungry an hour later.
- It is so versatile. My favourite way to eat granola is with a heaped tablespoon of coconut yoghurt and some fruit – but why not eat it with almond milk, or make some breakfast muffins and add some granola before baking for a crunchy topping? The uses are endless!
- It’s cheaper. Enough said 🙂
So – heres a toast to the wonderful granola. I hope it inspires you to give it a try.