all aboard for bun time

On the offchance that you don’t have Easter-fatigue already, the hamster on the treadmill in your pancreas pulling muscles from scampering double-time to produce insulin to deal with the spike in sugar consumption…

I love baking with yeast and what with hot cross buns being a legit excuse to get things fermenting, I tend to make my own and have done for a while now. I repeated the hot cross buns I made last year, from Alison Holst’s Dollars and Sense cookbook. While I admire Holst and what she’s done for cooking in New Zealand, I’m not a great fan of her writing. Cannot fault her hot cross buns at all though – they’re very straightforward to make, generously buttery, smell incredible while baking and taste brilliant. They don’t keep like shop-bought ones but in the likely event of having stale leftovers you can make a completely life-changing bread and butter pudding out of them. Recipe: here!

Seriously. So good. All spicy and soft and full of the rich, yeasty scent of achievement at having kneaded the dough by hand. They come out a little flatter than their bought counterparts (all the more surface area for smearing butter over) and are lighter in colour, but truly far nicer than anything out of a plastic bag. You could use this recipe any old time of year minus the crosses to make spiced fruit buns. As making the crosses was really the most difficult thing about the process, I’d be happy to leave them off and enjoy these long after Easter has gone.

Last night – Easter Sunday – Tim and I went to So So Modern‘s launch for their new album Crude Futures at San Fransisco Bath House, one of the few places lit up along a quiet Cuba Street. They were supported by a whole mess of local talent, including the fantastically happy Alphabethead who we saw supporting Tourettes the other week (and whose mixtape I finally bought), Tommy Ill, who we disapointingly arrived too late for, and a bit of Diana Rozz, who I haven’t formed an opinion on yet but…I liked the lighting during their set. For a while there in 2006 it seemed like we were going to So So Modern gigs every weekend, so there was a weirdly nostalgic feel seeing them again live. They gratifyingly mixed tunes old and new and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I bought a wooden laser-cut “Modern” badge (there were also “So”, “Crude” and “Futures” badges for sale) which is rather sweet – a bit like something Millie Dillmount might wear to a job interview if she were alive and well in 2010 to signify her societal position to all who see it.
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Title brought to you by: Iggy Pop’s droning yet strangely upbeat Funtime, from his Bowie-collaborating solo album The Idiot. “I don’t need no heavy trips” insists Iggy. Of course, who would when there’s hot cross buns fresh from the oven?
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Music while I type:

Speaking of 2006 – Fire Department by from Be Your Own Pet‘s eponymous debut album. I used to love this band back when I first moved to Wellington, but absolutely everyone I knew really hated them. Luckily for absolutely everyone, BYOP broke up. Their music is – was – all big and scrappy and not that clever but in that really clever way that makes a lot of other music sound comparitively laboured and overwrought. This is underwrought brilliance. So much so that heck, they get two songs on this list and you can have Take That Walk, from their Summer Sensation EP while you’re at it.
Valentine by Delays from their album You See Colours. While revisiting 2006’s self-conscious tunes I also stumbled across this which we used to thrash heartily. None of their further output really did anything for me but this song is such a delirious mess that nothing else is necessary.
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Next time: I got myself all hyped up about making hot cross buns and now with Easter behind me I’m not sure what direction I’ll be heading in foodwise. You’ll be the first to know though…

11 thoughts on “all aboard for bun time

  1. HayleyB says:

    Those hot cross buns look really good! I love the smell of hot cross buns baking in the oven 🙂 There's just something wonderful about kneading bread by hand. Very therapeutic. I'll have to give this recipe a try, I'd like to compare the softness of this recipe to Nigella's recipe from Feast (which is what I made this Easter). The ones I made were good but not soft and fluffy at all. Perhaps next time I'll use less flour than specified…. Also, I guess it doesn't matter if they're soft and fluffy if you're using them in a bread and butter pudding…. I still have to try that!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Laura, love the look of your Easter Buns, and think how much healthier they will have been without preservatives in them. You can always freeze them, only takes a very short time to defrost. I just love toasted easter buns. This year I didnt make buns, but a spicy loaf in the breakmaker. Two cups of white bread mix, a two cups of high grade flour, and 4 teasp yeast, 425mls water, (I use an empty yeast jar (plastic) as a measure)
    with a heaped dessertspoon of cinnamon, same of mixed spice, and a good cup and a half of sultanas. love and hugs, Nana

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  3. Laura @ Hungry and Frozen says:

    HayleyB: These come out very soft – I think it's the method that makes it that way. The bread and butter pudding is so good – a definite trade-off for bad weather 🙂

    Nana: Thanks Nana! I was thinking that the ingredients of hot cross buns would make a really nice loaf of bread as well. Happy Easter 🙂 xx

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  4. Hannah says:

    Nope, no Easter fatigue here! Apart from those fireworks, there has been little of Easter in my life this year. Of coruse, there's also a lack of yeast, flour, and oven, so I can hardly make up for it by kneading your buns… *giggle*

    And now a completely random question that you completely don't have to answer, but I was wondering if you and Tim had the same taste in music before you got together, or whether there was some musical taste “shaping” by one or other of you?

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  5. Laura @ Hungry and Frozen says:

    Hannah: Ah, hot cross buns and innuendo, they go together well 🙂 Good question, Tim and I were both into musical theatre which was a good start, but I'm definitely the one who influenced his mainstream music tastes, not the other way round.

    Sadako: Ohh, completely forgot that song. Until now. Gonna have it stuck in my head too. I hope you're happy! 😉

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  6. Kay says:

    Nice buns!

    Still got Rocky Raccoon in my head.

    Have actually done a bit of baking myself over Easter.

    And, somewhat randomly…. have you ever heard of or cooked /eaten 'chia'? Found some in the loose foods section of thee s'market and thought it looked reasonably interesting.

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  7. Lori says:

    Oh man I bet they would make excellent bread pudding. Wow, I havent had bread pudding in so long.

    I like to check out your musical links. I love hearing new sounds. Thank you.

    Like

  8. Chef Aimee says:

    I love how traditional these are for Easter! They look delicious! I have not made them – for Easter Armenians make something called cheoreg, its our version of Greek Easter bread!

    Like

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