Hot Cross Bun (Easter 2015)

It’s Easter weekend! My boys are counting down to ‘the bunny day’. They are excited about egg hunt, and my little one is also hoping to eat more of Easter treats, mainly hot cross buns.

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I nearly forgot that my wee son loved those so much last year. (My big boy isn’t keen on dry fruits.)

Hot cross bun is lovely sweet yeast bread, with dry fruits and smell of cinnamon.

You can see my last year’s post about hot cross bun. The recipe of this bun is there.

Those buns appear in the shop just after Christmas and disappear after Easter, so you must eat them now! But really, it is a tasty bun, I don’t know why we don’t eat them all year around.

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Happy Easter!!

and I am a bit late but happy Fiesta Friday 62!  Thank you, Angie, and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport! And Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs for this week’s FF.

Strawberry Iced Fingers

Iced fingers are sweet oval shape bread, coated with white icing sugar paste. Sometime, it is also topped with desiccate coconuts. It is quite simple bun, plain but scrumptious.

My 4 years old son love anything ‘iced’. One day after seeing me making lemon icing for biscuits, he came up with interesting idea for icing.
He wanted to make strawberry icing. While I was wondering if I can make strawberry icing without strawberry flavoring, perhaps using strawberry jam, he told me to ‘squish strawberry and use strawberry juice to make icing’.

Why did I not ever thought of that? I do lemon icing with lemon juice and icing sugar, but never ever thought of making strawberry icing with fresh strawberry.

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So, as he requested, I made strawberry puree by just putting fresh strawberries in blender, and added some icing sugar to right consistency. The icing smelled so lovely and the colour was nice pink without adding any colouring.

P1100440-2You can use any sweet enriched bread recipe, and add icing of your choice on top. But if you are not familiar with iced fingers, BBC Food’s Paul Hollywood’s one will be good one to try.

(But I would reduce the yeast to half, just 6 or 7g, instead of 2x7g, and take longer bulk fermentation. )

P1100445-2It will be much more decadent if you split them in half and fill with whipped cream. But make sure you only fill the ones you going to eat straight away. Because if any left, cream needs to be in fridge but bread shouldn’t be chilled.

Strawberry iced fingers were nice as it is, or just with butter anyway.

The creator of this icing enjoyed his bun very much. yum!

Spring themed Japanese Cakes – KIMISHIGURE, KOUBAI

It’s Spring equinox today and we had solar eclipse this morning in the UK, and it’s super moon tonight. What a day to celebrate the start of Spring.

I had an opportunity to make some traditional Japanese cakes (WAGASHI), for Japanese spring festival early this month. Some Japanese people living in North West of Northern Ireland organised an event which celebrated HINAMATSURI (Japanese doll festival on 3rd March) and coming Spring. I made three spring themed WAGASHI for them to sample.

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Those pictures are from the event.

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From left: KOUBAI (direct transtation will be ‘red plum’), KIMISHIGURE (‘egg yolk drizzle/rain’), SAKURA MOCHI (‘cherry leaf dumping’)

I had a post about SAKURA-MOCHI here last year, as this is very popular spring sweets in Japan.

The other two are less known, but also quite traditional.

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KIMISHIGURE (黄身時雨)is steamed bun made with white bean paste with egg yolk. SHIGURE means drizzle or shower, and the name came from characteristic cracks on the top, as it looks like the sky when rain is passing by.

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The natural yellow of yolks and slight hint of green from MACHA underneath symbolize the start of Spring. Inside colour doesn’t have to be green, I have seen the one with pink colour peeking through.

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Inside is smooth AZUKI paste, and green tea bean paste on top. It’s very gentle sort of cake, sweet and crumbly. It crumble and melt in your mouth.

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KOUBAI (紅梅)means red plum, but actually these names doesn’t really mean anything. It’s one of NERIKIRI (練りきり) cakes, and NERIKIRI can be formed in any shape or colour like modelling clay. So, you might find similar thing called in different names, like SAKURA (cherry blossom), KANBAI (winter plum), ICHOU (ginko leaf) etc…

NERIKIRI is a paste made of sweet white bean paste and sweet dumpling called GYUUHI (which is made of starch and sugar), and it is one of traditional cake in Japan.
We rarely eat those at home, but it is popular choice if you are having tea ceremony or other traditional celebrations.

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NERIKIRI usually have sweet AZUKI bean paste or white bean paste inside. This time, I put KIMI-ANN, egg yolk white bean paste.

The shape and colour can be changed to fit for an occasion. Seasonality is very important. For example, plum is for late winter to early Spring thing, I just get away with plum in early March, but strictly speaking, it might be even too late to be serving plum shape cakes after the end of February.

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All those cakes are great with a cup of green tea.
(Do make sure you drink green tea without sugar or milk or lemon!  Although we often have a slice of lemon with black tea, normal British tea, in Japan, we never have lemon with green tea.)

Those traditional Japanese cakes are called WAGASHI, and sold at WAGASHI-YA in Japan. It’s strange but I don’t think I would have made any of those if I lived in Japan. I’ve started to make them only because there isn’t any shops selling them here. I had to buy some ingredients from Japanese on-line shop, but it is great that I can make and eat those traditional cakes in Belfast.

Have a nice Spring equinox!

and Happy Fiesta Friday!! It’s 60th! Thanks to Angie for super new page for the party and this week’s co-hosts, Tracy @Scratch It Cook and Nancy @Feasting With Friends !

Garibaldi Biscuits

I always got a packet of raisins in my cupboard. If not raisins, sultanas or currents would be there. It goes in to my bread or cakes, sometime it becomes rum raisins. But I had never made them into Garibaldi biscuits until recently.

It came suddenly to me one day, ‘I like Garibaldi biscuits, why haven’t I thought about making them myself before?’ So, I checked online and made them.

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I used the recipe from Delia Online, Garibaldi Biscuits.

It was a great success, my family liked them apart from my big son who doesn’t like raisins. It is slightly different from shop bought ones, but it is tasty nonetheless.

I had some as soon as it was baked, and then later with my friends. And the rest went into a cookie jar, but disappeared soon after. Its combination of plain not-so-sweet biscuit base and sweet raisins is seriously moreish.

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It’s surprisingly easy and tasty, worth making a few batch.

When I was munching on those little biscuits, I remembered that there were raisin biscuits similar to Garibaldi biscuits always sitting in a cupboard when I was little. It was like a big sister of Garibaldi, bit chunkier and chewier. I wondered what was it called, but I cannot remember the name. Now that I had made Garibaldi biscuits, I’d love to try making that biscuit from my memory sometime soon.

I’m in Fiesta Friday this week agian, hosted by Angie @ The Novice Gardner, and co-hosts are Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Mila @milkandbun. Thank you for hosting FF!

Have a happy weekend!

Spring Chirstening Cake for Girl

I dropped my beloved laptop a few weeks ago. It was all my fault. No one else to blame but me.

The laptop was sitting on the kitchen counter one evening, I was watching TV while I did some chore around kitchen. (yes, I can multi-tasks, or so I thought.) But its battery was running low, so I plugged it in. Plug was one side of kitchen counter, laptop on the other side. Its cable hanging between counters, very dangerously. I knew I had to be careful.

But I was moving around the kitchen busily, and I stepped onto the charger cable without looking. Then that was that.

The laptop bravely blinked a few time, made some groaning noise. I could see it was trying so hard to work, but failed.

My husband is kindly trying to fix it. He managed to keep all the things I wanted to keep from it. Hopefully with new hard disc, it will work again, thanks to him. x

Meanwhile, I am using my kids’ laptop, which was my old laptop. (It got really slow, and my husband put new software with a few programmes for kids) It is a bit awkward, without Office and some other programmes I am use to having.

Anyhow, that is the excuse of not putting any posts for ages.
Well, I made many things during this period, and those post will come one by one, now that I manage to figure out how to use this PC.

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This cake was order from a family of my friend. It is for a girl’s Christening, which took place on this Sunday.

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Inside is gluten free Victoria sponge with vanilla butter icing and raspberry jam.

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I made flower and butterflies as requested. The flower is made of flower paste (gum paste), and butterflies are royal icing pipe out.

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I erased the name, but the left initial here to show what kind of writing I used.

I made this style of flower for first time, and quite happy with the result.

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I think it was Spring-ly and lovely.
If I had a girl, I’d be happily making so many pink cakes like this. Well, it was a lovely to make such a girly cake for once. (and now, I am going back to making my boy’s world book day costume, with blue and brown.)

Orange Almond Cake with Chocolate Cage No2

This orange and almond cake has a big fan. A friend of mine orders it time to time, whenever she is having special occasion with her friend who has gluten allergy.

This time she only needed small cake, but rose and chocolate caging were called for to celebrate her friend birthday.

Remember this post?

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Orange and Almond Cake with Chocolate Cage (reviewed recipe there)

First time I tried this cage, I used white chocolate to contrast with dark chocolate ganache. It was lovely and I love the look.
However, the friend wanted dark chocolate only this time, as another friend of hers does not like white chocolate.
Well, that’s I am here for. These sort of tweaking can be only possible because you are ordering your cake, not buying from a shop.

Ta darrrr….

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(Spayed part had birthday lady’s name, not anything rude in case you are wondering! Just I haven’t asked her if she is happy with her name out here.)

Well, I said I liked white cage before, but black on black wasn’t bad.

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Sorry no inside picture of this cake, it had two layer of 15cm orange almond cake, with more chocolate ganache in the middle. The cage/ring is 18cm, dark chocolate. This cake is very moist and orangey, as it contains whole boiled orange. Very different from usual sponge.

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Chocolate rose are made of chocolate clay. White leaves and birthday lady’s name are piped white chocolate.

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Happy Fiesta Friday! No54  This week’s hosts are Angie@thenovicegardener and co-hosts Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook. Thank you for all the hard work!

Have a nice weekend!!

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

I made these mousse cakes some time ago, but this is the perfect opportunity to write a post about it. Something special for Fiesta Friday Anniversary Party Part 2!

It was an order from a friend for hen party. She wanted individual, mousse or cream cakes which she would find in Japanese cake shops. I thought and thought, and came up with an idea for pink and chocolaty cake, something special and elegant.

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When I discussed this idea with a friend who ordered those cakes, she told me that bridal theme color was black. Dark chocolate coating of the cake fitted perfectly!

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(Inside: it is a bit messy picture. This was the one I squashed the top by accident, and ended up in my mouth.)

Base was thin flourless chocolate cake, topped with tangy raspberry mouse, then chocolate mousse, coated with dark chocolate coating. I used gold shimmering powder and broken fresh raspberry on top.

I love sharpness of berry with sweet chocolate. These combination will be the one I cannot resist in Japanese cake shop.

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Another big THANK YOU, for hosting this big Fiesta Friday Anniversary Party, Angie and this week’s co-hosts, Selma @ Selma’s Table and Nancy @ Feasting with Friends. I am looking forward to seeing lots of main course and dessert this week. Yum!

Have a nice weekend!