Chelsea buns

These were last weekend’s breakfast baking.  As I have said in earlier posts, the girls get me up early, so at the weekends I have used the opportunity to try baking or cooking something new.  Chelsea buns make a very decadent breakfast, but a very delicious one too.   The recipe again comes from Daniel Stevens’ Bread book (River Cottage Handbook No. 3).  I think next time I will bake them a bit longer than I did this time, as they were a little bit doughy, but I was very pleased with them.  They were lovely and buttery and were still good the next day.  All you need to accompany these is a good cup of tea.

For the buns:

550g (1lb 6 oz) strong white bread flour
50g (2oz) caster sugar
7g (1 sachet) of easy bake yeast
10g (½oz) salt
150 ml (¼ pint) milk
225g (9 oz) butter
1 egg

For the filling:

25g (1oz) melted butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
200g  (8oz) currants

For the glaze:

50 ml (2 fl oz) milk
50g (2 oz) caster sugar


You will need a deep sided 30cm square baking tin, buttered and coated with a sprinkling of caster sugar.

Place the butter and the milk into a pan over a gentle heat until the butter melts and the milk gets to hand hot. In a large bowl, mix the flour, caster sugar, salt and yeast and then add the egg and the butter and milk.  Using your hands mix to a sticky dough.  Knead the dough, as described in the spelt bread recipe until the dough is silky and smooth. Rinse the bowl clean and dry well and place the dough into this bowl, cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag and leave to double in size.

Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll to a rectangle measuring 60cm x 40cm or as close as you can get to this. Brush with the melted butter, leaving a 2 cm border along one of the longest edges.  Sprinkle the sugar all over the butter, top with the currants and then press them lightly into the dough.  Roll up the dough like a swiss roll, starting with the edge opposite to the one on which you left the 2 cm border. Brush the border with water and seal the edge well.  Slice into 9 pieces, place each piece into the tin, leaving space for expansion between each bun and flatten slightly with your hand.

Preheat the oven to 200°c (gas mark 6, bottom of the roasting oven of the Aga ) whilst you cover the tin with the clingfilm again and leave to prove for about 30 minutes until doubled in size again. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar and bake for about 20-25 minutes (mine needed 25 minutes but I was a bit too eager) until golden brown.

Just before the end of the cooking time warm the remaining caster sugar and the milk together in a pan over a gentle heat and when the buns come out of the oven, brush them immediately with this mixture to give them a delicious sticky glaze.  Leave to cool a little but make sure you enjoy at least one whilst it’s still warm from the oven.

Get printable version

Chelsea buns Read More »

Staffordshire Oatcakes

I have lived in the very beautiful county of Shropshire for much of my life apart from time spent in Cardiff for Uni and a brief sortie down to Margate and Broadstairs for work.  Now, Shropshire is right next door to Staffordshire but I have never before had a Staffordshire Oatcake.  Either this proves once and for all that I am a bumpkin or it shows how very regional, or local, food can be.   So I thought last weekend should be the weekend to change all that.

Recently, I have made a concerted effort to make at least one of the week-end breakfasts something a little bit special. Week-ends are even more precious now that my eldest has started school and we seem to see so much less of her.   As a result I have been experimenting with yeast – the girls normally bawl me out of bed around 6 am so I have plenty of time to get something prepared and then leave it to sit around for an hour or so and still get something on the breakfast table at about 8.30 am. I have made English muffins and crumpets so far (the crumpets need a bit more practice I think, hence not having blogged about them yet). The oatcakes though were a real success and I am regretting not having tried them much earlier in life.  They are much more substantial than a pancake with a really good wheaty flavour.  A friend tells me they are good with cheese melted on the top and I think that they would be really good as part of a Full English but on Sunday we had them with sweet toppings; maple syrup, lemon curd and marmalade ( as I had made marmalade on Saturday) and they were very good indeed.  I think the Staffordshire Oatcake is destined to be a regular feature of the week-end breakfast in our house from now on and my husband has requested that I make extra so that he can fill them for his lunch at work.

The batter makes 10 large oatcakes. I didn’t have any oatmeal in the house so I blitzed some porridge oats in my food processor for a few seconds to achieve a similar texture.

225g oatmeal (or porridge oats blitzed in a food processor)
225g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 sachet (7g) fast-action yeast
1 tsp sugar
450ml milk
450ml water


Warm the water and milk gently until hand-hot.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.  Add the warm milk and water, mix well to combine.  To me it looked like it was going to be far too much liquid, but the oatmeal and flour soon absorb it so it really isn’t.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour or so.  You will see that bubbles start to appear and froth.

Heat a large heavy based pan over a high heat and if your pan isn’t well seasoned brush with a smear of oil or butter and wipe off excess with a piece of kitchen towel.  When the pan is really hot, pour a ladleful of batter onto the pan, tipping the pan gently to make sure the mixture disperses into a good circle. Leave to cook for about two minutes until bubbles start to appear at the top and the mixture is beginning to cook on the top.  Flip the oatcake over using a fish slice and cook for a further minute until nicely browned on both sides. Keep this oatcake warm whilst you cook the rest of the batter in this way.

Serve warm with the savoury or sweet topping of your choice.

Get printable version

Staffordshire Oatcakes Read More »