white chocolate and blueberry hot cross buns with PX glaze

One a penny, two a penny...

white chocolate and blueberry hot cross buns with PX glaze
Makes 14

300ml milk
50g butter
500g bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7g dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
100g Milky Bar (or white chocolate), chopped into large chunks
75g dried blueberries
1 tbsp Milo
75g plain flour
1 tbsp Pedro Ximenez

Pour milk into a small saucepan, warm over a low heat. When milk begins to simmer, remove from heat (skim off and discard any skin that forms) then add butter and allow to cool (it should be lukewarm. If you add the milk mixture when it is too hot it will kill the yeast and your buns will not be fluffy. Let’s leave hard buns to the gym ;-)

Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre then pour in the lukewarm milk mixture, then add the egg. Mix well until you have a soft, sticky dough that comes together.

Lightly flour a work surface then knead the dough for about 5 mins or until it is stretchy and smooth. Place the dough into a lightly-oiled metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel before leaving it in a warm place for 1 hour to rise (it should double in size).

Once your dough has risen, add blueberries, chocolate and Milo (don’t remove dough from the bowl, just add these ingredients), kneading through the dough to make sure it is distributed evenly throughout the dough. Cover again with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and place back in a warm spot for a further hour or until doubled in size again.

Divide the dough into 14 x 80g pieces, then roll each piece into a smooth ball shape. Line two baking trays with baking paper and space out the dough balls evenly, 7 on each tray.

Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160ºC. While you are waiting, make a mixture of the plain flour and 4-5 tbsp water. Stir until a thick paste forms (should be the consistency of a thick glue). If you have a piping bag, using a very small nozzle, spoon mixture into the bag then pipe a cross on each bun. If you don’t own a piping bag, you can fill a strong, plastic zip-lock bag with the mixture then snip a corner off to pipe the mixture (your crosses will just be a bit thicker).

Bake the buns for 20 mins in the centre of your oven. They should be light golden in colour.

As soon as you take buns out of the oven ,while they are still warm, use a pastry brush to brush Pedro Ximenez over the surface. Best eaten while warm!


gado gado

This week it's Meat Free Week but we're upping the ante in the Babushka household as for us it's also Shower Free Week. I know what you're thinking, and yes, it is as bad as it sounds so hold your nose.

You see last Friday we learnt that the shower in our new home, our pride and joy of just one month, was leaking. Well not really leaking, more like flooding our entire house. As our bathroom has been reduced to rubble, THBBF and I have been left to co-ordinate our timetables for our nightly bathe at our local gym (hellooo communal showering!). On a positive note, at least that 12 months gym membership (the one that also prompted me to go out and spend a weeks salary at Lorna Jane while visualising myself working out on the cross trainer EVERY DAY) wasn't a complete waste.

gado gado
Serves 2

6 chat potatoes, washed
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 bunch asparagus, shaved
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 large handful of baby spinach leaves
2 eggs
1 cup frozen broad beans
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
20g bagel toasts

100g peanut butter
1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Place potatoes in a small saucepan. Fill with cold water until potatoes are covered, season with salt. Boil for 20-25 mins or until potatoes are soft when poked with a skewer. Drain, set potatoes aside to cool.

Place broad beans in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water, set aside for 5 mins. Drain, then peel beans, discarding pods. Set aside beans.

Place eggs in small saucepan, fill with cold water until eggs are covered. Bring the water to the boil over a medium heat, then cook for 3-4 mins. Drain, then set aside eggs to cool. When cool, peel eggs then cut in half.

Arrange all of the salad ingredients on a platter.

To make sauce, heat oil in a frypan over low-medium heat. Add garlic and chilli and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add peanut butter, almond milk and kecap manis and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir to combine.

Serve salad with satay sauce on the side.


coconut and scallop salad with yuzu dressing

Trying to squeeze in a few more beautiful, summery salads before Melbourne winter hits and we all go into hybernation.

Last week I gave our credit card a good workout at Gourmet Goldmine which I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND to fellow foodies. I managed to get my hands on some ingredients I have been lusting after for so long but couldn't manage to find anywhere, including the elusive Yuzu juice, which is virtually impossible to find despite the fact that it's the new trend around town. Hopefully they use it on next season's Masterchef so it will be stocked everywhere.

coconut and scallop salad with yuzu dressing
Serves 2, as a meal

12 scallops, roe removed
1 tbsp coconut oil
White meat from 1/2 mature coconut
2 large handfuls of rocket
1/4 cup mint leaves, torn
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/2 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 4 slices
Finely grated zest from 2 mandarins
1 grapefruit, cut into slices
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/8 cup yuzu juice (available online or at Japanese grocery stores)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to serve

Stir mandarin zest through olive oil. Set aside to infuse while you prepare the salad.

In a large bowl combine rocket, mint, coriander coconut meat, toss to combine.

Heat coconut oil in a large fryan over med-high heat. Fry scallops 1-2 mins each side until they are cooked through (this takes a little bit of practice. Until you get the feel for it it's probably best you sacrifice one as a tester just to check they are cooked through. They really don't need a lot - overcooking will result in rubbery pellets so if you're unsure better to err on the side of undercooked). Remove scallops from pan, transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

Brush both sides of the bread slices with mandarin oil. Grill for 2-3 mins or until golden and crispy.

To the remaining oil add yuzu juice. Shake to combine, then season with salt and pepper. This will form as your salad dressing. Pour over salad mixture and toss gently to coat.

To assemble salad, spread grapefruit slices evenly over a platter. Top with salad mixture. Place scallops evenly over the salad leaves, then serve with mandarin toasts.


pistachio crusted leg of lamb with espresso gravy

After a completely hectic day of missed appointments, propping (prop shopping) and a dog photo shoot it's so nice to just come home, shove a leg of lamb in the oven and let it work it's magic.

But a simple roast doesn't have to be boring. Mollecular gastronomy tells us that coffee and lamb works very well together, so I've snuck the espresso into a classic gravy recipe, stepping in to play the role of the stock.

pistachio crusted leg of lamb with espresso gravy
Serves 4

2kg leg of lamb, bone in
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, sliced into thin slivers
60g sourdough bread
90g pistachio kernels
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp sea salt flakes
Cracked black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

1 shot espresso, topped up with boiling water to make 1 cup total
1 tbsp plain flour
Pan drippings from roast

Preheat a fan-forced oven to 170ºC.

Process bread and pistachios in a food processor until a coarse crumb forms. Add salt and parsley and process until just combined.

Place lamb in a baking tray. Make 8-10 deep slits in the lamb, inserting garlic sliver into each slit then drizzle with olive oil. Press the pistachio mixture evenly over the lamb, then bake for 2 1/2 hours (cover with foil after the first 20 mins or pistachio crust will get burnt!).

Remove lamb from oven. Transfer lamb to a plate, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest while you prepare the gravy.

Place oven pan over the stove. Add the flour and whisk until a roux is formed. Slowly add the espresso, whisking constantly, until the flour mixture absorbs the coffee and becomes thick and sauce-like in consistency. Season with salt before serving over carved lamb.


autumn pizza

I was feeling something a bit free-form tonight after I dedicated 3 hours of my life to trying to make a cottage pie in the shape of the Eiffel Tower last night. Don't ask.

With half of the world's-largest-zucchini from last week (zucchini has a long used-by date, right?) I was determined to use it up and reclaim the precious real estate that is fridge space in our house. Teamed up with sweet potato, nutty gruyere and pungent hazelnuts this is one pizza that will have you happy to say hello to Autumn.

autumn pizza
Makes 2 pizzas

2 pizza bases (yeah, yeah - cheating, I know. It's a midweek meal, shoot me)
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons (use a vege peeler)
1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1cm-thick rounds
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp passata
40g hazelnuts, roughly crushed
100g gruyere, grated
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200ºC. Lay sweet potato on a single layer on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle with thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins or until just soft when poked with a fork.

Place each pizza base on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Stir together tomato paste and passata. Spread evenly over the bases. When sweet potato is done, divide between two pizzas. Top with zucchini ribbons. Sprinkle with gruyere, hazelnuts then finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then bake for 10 mins (switching trays half way through so that each pizza has 5 mins on both the top and bottom shelves).

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