I can't believe that we are already coming to the end of March! The year is flying by already. I couldn't believe my eyes when I started seeing hot cross buns popping up in supermarkets around Manchester.
What makes it even more surreal is this morning's realisation that today also marks one year exactly since we arrived in the UK. It seems like yesterday that we packed up our life in Australia and made the journey to the other side of the world. And what a journey our year abroad has been! We have met so many people and visited so many new places.
Naturally, it's not always easy being 100% out of your comfort zone and so far away from family. But the positive aspects of our experience certainly out weigh any difficulties or uncertainties that we have encountered.
Our time in London with my brother, sister in law et al. is now merely a very fond memory. For a fleeting moment in time we were all in London, celebrating Easter together at our flat in Fulham. It's beautiful moments and events such as this that have made our journey very special and worth while.
We will be far away from all our family for Easter this year, enjoying each other's company in Iceland, instead. I thought I would get a head start on the Easter baking this year as I am a real lover of tradition when it comes to food and festivities.
Although we may be far away from family again for Easter, taking in the beauty of Iceland, those who we love are never far from our minds.
As my Nanna always says, "No matter how far away you are, you carry the love wherever you go".
So, wherever you are in the world, I hope that you have an Easter that is filled with love, laughter and delicious hot cross buns smothered in butter!
Makes 12 Hot Cross Buns
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups milk (375ml), slightly warmed
4 1/2 cups (635g) plain flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (240g) sultanas
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour (extra)
1/3 cup (30ml) water
unsalted butter, to serve
for the glaze
2 tablespoons jam (I used strawberry, apricot would also work)
1 tablespoon water
Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar and the milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active. Add the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, butter, egg, sultanas, mixed peel and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes or until elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the dough balls in a lightly greased 26cm x 20cm slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the extra flour and the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with one corner snipped off, and pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden and springy to touch. While the hot cross buns are baking, make the glaze.
To make the glaze, place the jam and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the jam is softened. Brush with the warm glaze while the buns are still hot. Serve warm with butter.
recipe adapted slightly from donnahay.com.au