We have set a date for our move for June from this rented house to our new home and things are starting to become a lot more urgent and real. I have already started packing boxes of books, twenty so far; more wool than one girl needs and more chemistry sets than any family should safely own. We are retreating from the chaos to the stillness of the garden and filling the gaps left by our belongings with tissue paper flowers.
Hot Cross Buns
600g of strong white flour
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
400ml of hand-temperature warm milk
10g of yeast (the dried sort you add to water)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
a knob of butter
a handful of sultanas
1 lemon's zest
brown sugar (for glaze)
1. Whisk the milk, yeast and sugar together in a bowl and leave until it begins to bubble.
2. Rub the butter into the flour and spices.
3. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until you have a sticky dough.
4. Knead the dough for about ten minutes or until soft and elastic.
5. Knead in the sultanas and lemon zest.
6. Leave to rise until doubled (about an hour).
7. Form into small buns and leave again until doubled.
8. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 200°c.
9. Cut crosses deeply into the buns, being careful not to drag the knife and cause the buns to deflate too much.
10. Bake straight away.
11. Whilst your buns are baking, mix four tablespoons of brown sugar with a little water, just enough to make a thick sugary paint.
12. When your buns are nicely browned take them out the oven and brush them with the sugary paint.
13. Put the buns back in the oven for just less than a minute.
14. Take out and brush with the sugar again.
15. Leave to cool or serve straight away with butter and jam.
You can also leave the buns to cool and ice the tops with icing sugar (confectioner's/ powder sugar) mixed with lemon juice.
Even the fuchsias are made of tissue paper; we fooled a couple of bees and a brother.