Spiced fruit buns

These are a variation on the hot cross buns I made a few weeks ago.  For this recipe I use half strong plain and half strong wholewheat flour which makes for a good texture and I have upped the spice.  The glaze is egg wash and sugar brushed on five minutes before the end of cooking, making them lovely and crunchy.

You can use whichever combination of dried fruits you prefer.

250g strong plain flour
250g strong wholewheat flour
½ tsp ground cardamom (the seeds from about 8-10 pods)
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp salt
7g sachet easy bake yeast
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange
50g caster sugar
125 ml milk
125 ml water
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g butter, softened
25g dried cranberries
25g dried cherries
50g raisins

For the glaze:
1 egg, beaten
about 6 tsp sugar


Put the flours, spices, salt, yeast, lemon zest, orange zest and sugar into a bowl.  Warm the milk and water and add to the mixture and stir to combine.  Add the egg and the butter and mix well.  Begin to knead, adding the fruit and kneading it into the mixture. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place into a buttered bowl, cover with clingfilm or a bin liner and leave to rise in a draught-free place until almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°c with a baking tray or stone inside to heat up.

Press the air out of the dough and cut into 8 pieces with a sharp knife.  Make each into a ball by stretching the dough under itself.  Place onto a well floured board and cover again with the clingfilm or preferably the bin liner as this will allow more room for rising and leave to prove until they have risen to almost double. Place the buns on the heated tray or stone and bake in the oven for about ten minutes, until beginning to brown. Take out of the oven, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sugar.  Place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.  Take out of the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool a little.  They are best split open and spread with butter whilst still warm.

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Spiced Coconut Rice

Spiced Coconut Rice (serves 4)
300 ml Basmati rice (measured in a pint jug)
300 ml coconut milk
150 ml water
25g butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 piece cinnamon stick
4 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
Measure the rice in the measuring jug and rinse under running water several times until the water runs clear and then soak the rice in 500 mls water for 30 minutes.  Drain the rice into a sieve. Measure the coconut milk and water into the measuring jug.

Melt the butter into a medium sized pan, when it’s foaming add the spices and cook gently for a minute or so until they release their delicious smells. Add the rice and stir carefully until the rice is coated in the spicy butter.  Add the coconut milk and water mixture and the salt to taste. Stir once to make sure the rice is all covered.  Bring to the boil. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Turn the heat to low and cook the rice for 25 mins.  Remove from the heat and take off the foil and cover with a clean tea cloth and leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Tip: If you would prefer to make this without the coconut milk just omit and use 45o ml of water.  It is just as delicious.

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