Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Holiday baking: pasties, choc chip buns and not cross buns

Yesterday I was back to work after a week of holidays while Sylvia was on school holidays.  Coming soon after my oven was finally fixed, I was delighted to indulge in lots of baking.  Not the cake sort, which I have been doing less, but the bread and buns sort.  Lots of sourdough was used and I also finally got through a packet of puff pastry that had been in the freezer for a couple of months.

When not baking we kept ourselves busy.  Kittens, Early Man (cinema), craft, swimming, cousins, rain, Beanie Boos, friends, housework, late nights, Jungle Book (dvd), baking, Build a Bear, shopping, Ballet Shoes (book), appointments, gardening, Coburg Lake park, pizza, sleeping in, jigsaw, 100 things to do before High School (tv), 

As my oven was only fixed just before Easter, I only baked one batch of Hot Cross Buns.  So we decided to bake some Not Cross Buns, using last year's Hot Cross Buns recipe.  That meant that instead of piping crosses over the buns, we experimented with some different patterns.

Some of our more successful decorations were the minion eye, a hedgehog, a bear and a rabbit.  All of the buns tasted excellent.

While I love the traditional dried fruit Hot Cross Buns, I had promised Sylvia a batch of choc chip buns.  We baked them on a day she had a friend over.  They were really good when fresh out of the oven but with milk chocolate chips and some ginger syrup, were a bit sweet for me.  I scaled back the glaze to 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp water and a shake of mixed spice.  One coat of glaze was just enough (and not so sticky to hold as when I have done lots of glaze) so maybe I will do less on next year's buns.

I also baked 3 loaves of bread and a batch of bread rolls in a week (that is two lots of overnight sourdough bread) so I took a loaf to a friend when we went to see their new kittens.

I was also on a mission to use up some puff pastry that had lingered in the freezer while my confidence in my oven had floundered.  I found a Peter Russel Clarke recipe called My Son's Jumbo Vegetable Rolls. It promised to use up so much from the fridge.  Yet when I came to make them, I had gaps.  No onion.  No celery.  No fruit chutney.  No eggs.  So I improvised. 

I also had odd shaped parcels because they were odd shaped bits of pastry.  I think the packet had fallen out of the freezer during a Freezer Tetris session, which is where I feel I can't possibly fit anything more in the freezer but out of desperation I move around the stuff already in there to amazingly fit more stuff.

I made the pasties during the day because it was a nice break from cleaning up my benches.  They were delicious.  I was out late and when we came home they were so nice - or perhaps I was too tired - and we ate them at room temperature for tea.  The rest of the filling got put away for another day when we weren't running out to the park so I could take some nice photos.  But the daylight hours pass quickly in the April school holidays!

When you look at this photo of Coburg Lake, you can understand why I would prefer to sit in the park and read the newspaper (with the occasional glance to check the kids are still there and have not run away with Gerald the Swan) rather than sitting at home taking photos in beautiful daylight.  At this time of year, a perfect autumnal day is all the more precious because we know cooler days are coming.

Then there were days when it was unseasonably warm outside (31 C) and we spent the day in a shopping centre and cafes.  It hadn't been the plan but Early Man was sold out at the Cinema Nova because they have amazingly cheap $7 tickets during the day on Monday so instead we got lost in a huge shopping centre and ignored the free Ben and Jerry's icecream queue before heading to a more expensive cinema.  Buttercream bear was happy to leave with a new dress and sunglasses.  He looked like a celebrity in Brunettis.  But I get ahead of myself.

I had planned to go the Green Man's Arms in Carlton after the Nova so after the film we drove through slow peak hour traffic to have dinner there.  It was really good and the staff were lovely.  This butternut tahini dip with date molasses was amazing.  I will write about this pub but still hope to go back again.  I would have loved to stay for dessert but we ended up at the old faithful, Brunettis which always does excellent small cakes and coffee.

With all the baking over the holidays, I needed salad.  Preferably salad made by someone else.  This is the King Hemp Bowl (red quinoa, organic tofu, seasonal greens, edamame, avocado, roasted almonds, hemp seed oil dressing + lemon) at King of the Castle on Pako Street in Geelong.  (That's Pakington Street to those who do not spend much time in Geelong.) 

We had a day in Geelong of catching up with family.  Sylvia had some playdates with cousins.  I went out for lunch with one sister and had pizza for tea with another.  My mum didn't get to share a meal with me but she sent me home with a tub of leftover stroganoff pasta bake with mushroom and spinach.  It was a busy day.

After a few busy days, we slowed down for the last days of the holidays.  We did housework, we went swimming and we did craft.  Actually I had been planning to vacuum but Sylvia asked to do craft.  How could I resist a better offer!  We don't have much time for craft these days.
Sylvia did some splatter paintings while I made a collage.  She had some mighty splattering that kept coming my way.  Finally we set up a broken umbrella on the table between us so I didn't get totally splattered.  But if you look at my collage at the top of the post, you can see I didn't miss out altogether.  It was a fun way to end the holidays

More pasties from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheese, onion and potato pasties (Tiddly Oggies)
Creamy pasties with peas or pumpkin
Haggis neeps and tatties pasties (v)
Lentil and root vegetable pasties
Pasties with lentils and walnuts (v) 
Spinach and potatoe pasties

Ripper vegie rice pastries
from Peter Russell Clarke's Family Cookbook
Serves 4-6

kernels of 1 corn cob
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1-2 small potatoes grated
handful of baby leeks/chives finely chopped
1 small apple, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
125g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp chutney

To wrap:
4-5 sheets of puff pastry
milk for wrapping and glazed

Mix all filling ingredients.  Cut pastry into shapes or strips.  Drop a large spoonful or two in the middle and wrap or fold pastry around it.  Brush milk onto the pastry to seal it and on top to glaze.  Bake at 210 C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTES:  You could try other vegies in here, such as onion, celery, spinach, kale, zucchini, cauliflower, parsley etc.  I did not have onion so I used baby leeks from the garden which are like chives.  The potato, cheese and chia are there for binding.  Ground nuts, egg or even some cheese sauce (vegan or dairy) might help bind.

On the Stereo:
The Music of Ooo: soundtrack from Adventure Time


  1. You really dedicate incredible times to your daughter! What fun that must be, all those explorations, crafts, movies, and baking adventures.

    best ... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  2. The not cross buns are adorable. Ah, 31 degrees is a dream today.

  3. The bunny shaped buns looked good because I saw what they were meant to be straight away. Sylvia is quite an artist too! I'm sure I've seen something in an art gallery that looked like that :D

  4. What a lot of baking! I am impressed. Your meals out also look delicious and I'm glad autumn has been nice so far. Enjoy the mix of cooler weather and sunny skies while they last.

  5. I am so impressed with the hot cross buns. The butternut tahini dip with date molasses looks incredible. I am quite envious of your eats 'out'.


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