Thursday 5 May 2022

In My Kitchen - May 2022 (easter)

April was a blur of Easter and illness, with the federal election campaign finally underway.  Lots of chocolate and hot cross buns.  Lots of tissues and pyjama days.  Lots of dirty politics.  Covid continues to play a role in my life with three family members getting Covid just days before my sister and her family finally visited from Ireland.  Then my uncle had a visit to ICU with Covid.  And more and more people I know seem to have had Covid.  When Sylvia got a cold and I caught it from her, it seemed that Covid might have caught up with us but the RAT tests and doctors said otherwise.  And now May brings wintery weather, dark nights, slipper, winter boots, limes on the tree and a need to get my bike lights in order.
The top photo is actually in my mother's dining room where she had a pretty display of flowers from her garden, chocolate bunnies and cupcakes on Easter Sunday.  The cupcakes were brought over from Dublin by my sister who thought the orange ones looked like leftover pumpkin cupcakes from Halloween.  I agree that they looked more pumpkin than carrots.  Surely they meant to have carrots with the bunnies and chicks!

I often make a few batches of hot cross buns at Easter.  This year I followed my favourite Sourdough Hot Cross Buns recipe.  But I didn't have pumpkin and so I thought I could add natural yoghurt instead and substitute an egg for aquafaba.  It was such a sticky dough I should have known it would end up a flat underbaked slab of HCBs.  Not my finest moment in baking. 

Just before Easter, Sylvia and I had a nice outing to some fine bookshops and food shops.  We bought books at The Little Bookroom in St George's Road, Fitzroy.  I have always loved visits to the Little Bookroom in North Carlton but we found quite a few tempting food shops near its new location across from Piedimentes.  Nearby is Wild Things Food with lots of interesting groceries.  I was most excited by the Herbs of Life Peach and Apricot Kombucha.  It was quite tart but very refreshing.

I also bought a packet of dried dragonfruit in Wild Things Food.  I've never come across this before and felt there were some good possibilities.

We also swung by Baker D. Chirico in Faraday St, Carlton for some excellent sourdough hot cross buns.

But no matter how good a bakery is at baking hot cross buns, it is not the same as the ones I make at home just the way I like them.  I like to add in different dried fruit to the supermarket dried fruit mix and I love thick crosses. 

I had another go at hot cross buns with dried dragonfruit, dried peaches and dried pineapple.  I was surprised how the dragonfruit made the dough bright pink and broke down in the dough into a pleasing seediness.  The pineapple all but disappeared.  The hot cross buns seems a little tropical and exotic.  If I had time I would love to develop the idea with coconut milk and perhaps even some desiccated coconut in them or on them.  Maybe next year.

The batch of dragonfruit hot cross buns was amazing.  I still didn't have pumpkin but I halved the yoghurt so it wasn't impractically soft.  One of the best things about baking your own hot cross buns is having them hot out of the oven, with the first bun torn into two pillowy halves to hold the melted butter, and the kitchen smells of the sweet spicy yeasty fragrance that is Easter.

On Easter Sunday I left Sylvia and her cold with her dad and I visited my parents, siblings and niblings in Geelong for lunch.  My mum did a lovely roast dinner with lots of crispy potatoes and melting roast pumpkin.  My sister Susie made her fantastic cauliflower cheese that is creamy enough to mop up the peas.  And another sister Fran made some wonderful refreshing punch.  With a cheesecake for afters, it was a fantastic dinner.  After lunch a few of us went to Torquay for a brisk swim in the chilly ocean.  It must be that familiarity breeds contempt as it was all the out-of-towners who headed to the beach!

It was great to see my oldest sister Chris at Easter.  She had brought some treats from Marks and Spencer in Dublin.  I really loved these super soft, super cheesy Cheddar and Red Leicester Hot Cross Buns.  (Much more cheesy than the cheesymite ones from our local supermarket).

My sister also brought some special Easter gelatine-free Colin Caterpillar sweeties.  The caterpillar and easter egg jubes were so cute.  And a Dublin carry bag.

After Easter we took it easy because Sylvia had a cold and then later in the week I caught it from her.  We have take a lot of RATs (Rapid Antigen Tests) in the past couple of weeks.  It is my first time I've used RATs.  They were all negative.  I was very grateful that we are now able to be triple vaccinated and test for Covid at home.  How far we have come.  Though I didn't have Covid I had some of the worst post-viral asthma I have had for years. 

I am glad my medication f to see my sister again before she headed home to Ireland.  We went to the Post Office Hotel in Coburg and shared a cheese platter in the beer garden.  It was good to have time together before she hopped back on the plane.  I gave her a lime from my garden that she took home with her.  It is amazing to think the lime was on the tree in my backyard one day and then in her kitchen in Dublin a day or two later.  Life since Covid still seems freaky and special!

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event.  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her wonderful hand drawn header.


  1. Ugh I too have had a sore throat and feeling miserable all week but the covid tests are negative. Hope you feel better soon!

    The tropical fruit hot cross buns look absolutely delicious, and I have the same vase as your mother ;)

  2. Your foods look amazing and delicious. If you have a good recipe for tropical-fruit buns, why not make them in another form the rest of the year?

    Good luck recovering from all the micro-organisms that are now attacking the human race!

    best… mae at

  3. oh dear the buns look a bit flat but as long as they taste good ... Yes friends here are getting covid too. Praying we don't! How lovely to have family over. we have a friend over from the UK at long last. isn't dragonfruit amazing? that's exactly the brand i bought! Niblings? we've always called them neblings :-) for some reason. thanks for joining in this month. cheers get well!

  4. Gosh Johanna sorry to hear about all the illness there, and how awful to have post viral asthma, I feel for you and hope you get better soon. April is HCB season hey.. I didn't even realise how much they feature in April till I looked at my own photos.

  5. I am so glad it wasn't Covid but sorry your were ill. Spending time with friends and family is special now, things I took for granted are newly appreciated. Your hot cross buns definitely take the prize, no contest with the others.


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