Fettuccine alla papalina – The Pope’s Fettuccine

Country 49 – Vatican City

The smallest country in the world with a total of 44 hectares makes up the entire country! It also has an extremely small population with the grand total coming to under 1000 people. This walled city of great religious power is nestled right in the heart of the ancient city of Rome. Benvenuto a Città del Vaticano or Welcome to Vatican City!

vc - gardens

Food in the Vatican

As the Vatican is located right in the middle of Rome its cuisine is identical to traditional Italian food. There is also only two places tourists and residents alike can dine out in the Vatican which are a café/pizzeria in the Vatican Museums and a café near the Sistine Chapel rightfully called Sistina. The favourites are classic pizza’s and pasta’s favourites of millions, Italian and otherwise. Most residents eat at home for breakfast, lunch and tea, in which in the Italian way have a simple early breakfast of coffee, cereals and bread. A large lunch often in the early afternoon and can last for a couple of hours with family and friends and dinner or tea is served relatively late for someone like me who usually has dinner between 6-8pm the Italians have their dinner late as they had a large lunch so they usually dine around 8pm or later, their meal is quite smaller usually salads, cold appetizers or soups.

A popular Italian breakfast: cappuccino, spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice) and beautifully crispy, soft and buttery pastries.

A popular Italian breakfast: cappuccino, spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice) and beautifully crispy, soft and buttery pastries.

WHAT I MADE

While scouring the internet for a recipe that isn’t just Italian but has links to the Vatican in particular I came across this other blog GlobalTableAdventure which is this amazing food blog that is cooking meals from around the world also and has been very successful. So the recipe is Fettuccine alla Papalina which was created for Pope Pius XII in the late 1930’s. There’s many stories of why this recipe was created but they popular one is that the Pope’s chef first made this for the Pope as a classier and more luxurious version of Carbonara. So a big thank you to Global Table Adventure as you saved me from having no idea where I could possibly find a Vatican recipe! Here’s the link to the recipe on Global Table Adventure’s page Fettuccine alla Papalina

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RECIPE

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 ounces prosciutto, diced
3 eggs
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan reggiano (best quality you can buy)

1 lb dried or fresh fettuccine
fresh cracked blacked pepper, however much you like but more is better and is what makes Paplina, Paplina

Method

Whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Set the mixture aside.

Boil your fettuccine , drain, and toss them with a bit of oil or butter to keep them from sticking.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, cook the onion in butter until totally soft and translucent on a low heat with a lid on, about 5 minutes

Add in the proscuitto and heat it for a few moments until fragrant. 

Toss hot, drained fettuccine and turn off the heat.

Pour egg mixture over pasta and toss thoroughly with fresh cracked pepper

Stir until egg has thickened and thoroughly coats fettuccine and cheese has melted

Now add as much pepper as desired, remember its meant to be peppery!

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This meal was utterly delicious! As you can see I served it with a beautiful organic tomato, soft goats cheese and basil salad with a balsamic dressing. Together they were creamy,cheesey, salty and peppery heaven! I a hundred percentage will make this again and again it’s just so good. Score was overwhelming 10/10.

Roma x

 

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Latvian Frikadelle Soup for you!

Country 46 – Latvia

Sharing borders with Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania, it is the non-official capital of the Baltic. The landscape is in many places untouched with hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore and large proportions of its land area covered in forest. Not a well known tourist destination like its fellow European countries, but still having so much to offer, Laipni lūgti Latvijā or Welcome to Latvia!

This amazing place is Sun City, a housing development in Cēsis, Latvia. There are 300 homes, all made from environmentally friendly materials. To read more about this head to: http://www.solaripedia.com/13/186/1861/sun_city_latvia_aerial_water.html

This amazing place is Sun City, a housing development in Cēsis, Latvia. There are 300 homes, all made from environmentally friendly materials. To read more about this click here: Sun City, Latvia

Riga is the capital and lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. During 2014 the city was the European Capital of Culture and over the past 10 years has held many international events. The Old Town of Riga is an UNESCO World Heritage Site with famous places including; Riga Castle (Rīgas Pils), House of the Blackheads and St. Peter’s Church. The city is well known for its Art Nouveau style and wooden architecture, the other extremely prominent style is English Gothic which can be seen in the Large Guild building.

House of Blackheads and St. Peters Church

House of Blackheads and St. Peters Church

Latvian Cuisine

Their cuisine is influenced heavily by its neighbouring countries and other Eastern European countries. The basis of most meals include; fish (they have a long history with fishing and have specialties including raw and smoked fish), meats, and starchy products including; potatoes, rye, wheat and oats, cabbage is a very popular vegetable. Latvian cuisine uses little spice or herbs but quite a lot of fats and butter the spices they do use include; black pepper, dill and caraway seeds. Latvians also eat a lot of dairy products in particular cheese and sour cream, they have quite an extensive range of cheeses produced in the country. Specialties in Latvia include; kvass (a fermented drink made with rye bread), Riga Black Balsam (a herbal liqueur) and various soups (zupa).

The bread pavilion at Riga's Central Market

The bread pavilion at Riga’s Central Market

WHAT I MADE

I decided to make zupa in particular Frikadelle Soup (Latvian meatball soup). Its a very simple recipe with only a handful of ingredients. It is usually served a dollop of sour cream and sliced rye bread. I sourced my recipe from → Latvian Eats, check out their page for more recipes.

RECIPE

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 litres water
  • 3 bay leafs
  • 1 stock cube or 2 teaspoons of stock powder
  • black peppercorns
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper and salt
  • 1 large gherkin (optional)
  • sour cream for serving

Method

  1. Place the carrots, bay leaf, peppercorn, stock cube and the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Add diced potatoes, bring back to a boil and simmer for additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. While carrots and potatoes are simmering, place mince, egg, breadcrumbs and salt & pepper in a medium bowl and mix together. With wet hands form small balls (size of a teaspoon).
  4. Add the balls to the saucepan and simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, until vegetables and meatballs have cooked through. Add sliced gherkin if adding.
  5. Ladle the soup in bowls and add a tablespoon of sour cream. Serve with sliced rye bread, we forgot to buy the rye bread so we just had some a white crusty loaf with butter.
My meatball soup with sliced crusty bread.

My meatball soup, I added some parsley at the end as well, with sliced crusty bread.

REVIEW

The soup was very simple and didn’t have many big flavours so to someone like me who is used to a lot of strong flavours its did seem a bit bland but reading about Latvian cuisine most of their meals are quite simple and because they don’t use many spices or flavourings their meals to foreigners especially from Asian, Mediterranean and other countries do seem a bit tasteless or bland. But their cuisine does have a homely, rustic vibe which I quite like. So the soup was nice but just a little plain. Score = 6/10 Comment down below what country your most excited for us to make! And also we now have a Facebook page Bunny and Mimsey’s Food Blog and it would be really nice if you could go over and like it!

Spanish Baked Eggs with Chorizo and Beans

Eggs Baked in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Chorizo and Cannellini Beans

Looking for a brunch or breakfast dish that ‘s a little bit different? Like to kick-start the day with a punch?  Then this spicy recipe is for you. Try it for a tasty change and if you like spicy like we do – you’ll probably love it – like we do! 

Adapted from a classic Spanish tapas dish, I’ve made it more substantial by the addition of the white beans. It could easily be a light lunch or supper dish with the addition of some crusty bread and a salad. Spicy, quick and simple, but tasting great and made from a few simple ingredients  – what’s not to like?

Ingredients                                                                        SERVES 4-6

  • 1 tb olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 1-2 hot chorizo sausage
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1x 400gm can cannellini beans drained & rinsed
  • 4-6 eggs
  • fresh coriander leaves

My Chorizo Baked Eggs

Metthod

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180° C/350° F
  2. Chop onion, garlic and seeded chilli, ,  remove casing from chorizo and crumble.
  3. Heat oil in large oven proof frypan or saute pan, fry onion till soft, add chilli and garlic and fry till soft and golden.
  4. Add chorizo, breaking up limps and fry, add cumin, stir then add rest of ingredients except beans. Cover and simmer on low about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in beans, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. When sauce is nicely thickened, make a well, break each egg into a cup then slide into each depression. Cover and bake in oven 10- 15 minutes until whites are set.
  6.  Garnish with coriander and serve from dish.
  7. Nice served with crusty bread or toasted Turkish bread to mop up the yummy sauce. Enjoy!

The Best Dutch Apple Pie you will ever eat!!

WEEK 20 – The Netherlands

Known for windmills, tulips, clogs, bicycles, Van Gogh, canals and croquettes. It was voted the fourth happiest country in the world. With a name meaning ‘Low Countries’ because over 50% would be underwater without the help of huge dykes, its the place to be, The Netherlands.

Vincent Van Gogh - Wheat Field with Crows (1890)

Vincent Van Gogh – Wheat Field with Crows (1890)

The Netherlands has 12 provinces on its mainland and various islands located in the Caribbean and being great sea farers it used to rule over 30 different colonies all over the world, including modern day Indonesia, New York, Senegal, Burma and Taiwan.

Its capital city, Amsterdam, is located in the west of the country in the province of North Holland. Amsterdam originated as a small fishing village in the 12th century.  Its name comes from Amstelredamme which describes it as a dam of the river Amstel. It contains 2 UNESCO World Heritage Listed places, the 17th-century canals throughout Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam.  The Defence Line is a 135 km long ring of 42 forts around Amsterdam, the line took 40 years to complete and almost right its completion they were discarded as a tool because of the introduction of tanks and aeroplanes.

Amsterdam from above

Amsterdam from above

DUTCH CUISINE

Dutch cuisine is simple and rustic. Traditionally breakfast and lunch are very similar, you would have bread with toppings (cold cuts, cheeses and sweet toppings; such as hagelslag, vlokken, muisjes, chocolate spread, treacle and peanut butter) and for dinner meat, potatoes and seasonal vegetables. In terms of cuisines The Netherlands’ are often divided 3 regions:

An advertisement for a quick snack

An advertisement for a quick snack

Northeastern; Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel and North Gelderland: Dominated by meat and meat products, the region is famous for their dried metworst sausages and succulent smoked rookworst sausages, sausages are eaten with other popular side dishes or as a snack food. The region is also fond of their sweets and pastries. 

Western;  North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and the Gelderlandic region of Betuwe: This region is on the foodie map for its dairy products, particularly for their cheeses; Gouda, Leyden and Edam. Whereas the district of Zaanstreek in North Holland are known for their mayonnaise and mustards. Fish and seafood are popular with raw herring being a favourite as well as mussels, eel, oysters, shrimp and Kibbeling (battered white fish).

Southern;  North-Brabant and Limburg and the Flemish Region in Belgium: Also known as Burgudian, this region’s cuisine is characterised by soups, stews and rich pastries and represents the traditional Dutch cuisine. It is the only region that has developed a haute cuisine which is evident in their restaurants.

A Bossche Bol from Brabant (Southern region)

A Bossche Bol from Brabant (Southern region)

WHAT I MADE

Dutch apple pie comes in two styles either with a crumb topping (appelkruimeltaart) or a lattice style pie (appeltaart). I decided on appeltaart since this is the one I’ve grown up eating and my personal favourite. The origin of apple pie in The Netherlands dates back to the Dutch Golden Age and can be seen in a painting from 1626 also an almost identical recipe to the modern one was first used in a cookbook from the late medieval era (around 1514). I sourced my recipe from → mylittleexpatkitchen which they adapted from Dutch Cooking.

RECIPE

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

For  Filling:

  • 1 kg tart apples, like Goudrenet (if you can get) or Granny Smith (which I used)
  • Juice of 1 medium-sized lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g raisins (I used sultanas)

For Dough:

  • 175 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of salt

 

  • 1 Tbsp dried breadcrumbs

For Glaze

  • 70 g apricot jam
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) rum (or water)

To Serve

  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
  • Ground cinnamon for sprinkling over the top

Method

Preparation
Put the raisins in a small bowl along with a cup of hot water and let them soak for 15 minutes.

Prepare the filling
In the meantime, in a large bowl, add the lemon juice. Start peeling, coring and cutting the apples into small pieces, placing them in the bowl as you go. Stir them around in the lemon juice every once in a while, so that they don’t discolor.
Drain the raisins, squeeze them with your hands and add them to the bowl along with the sugar and cinnamon. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Set bowl aside.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 22 cm spring-form pan (7 cm deep), generously. Preheat your oven to 180-185 degrees Celsius.

Prepare the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), beat the butter on medium speed with the paddle attachment (or with your hand-held mixer), until softened and creamy, for 1-2 minutes. Sift all-purpose and self-raising flour directly into the bowl and add the sugar, salt, lemon zest, water and the egg. Mix all the ingredients with your hands and knead until you have a smooth, shiny, soft yet pliable dough that’s not sticking to your hands. It will come together very quickly and easily. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water and if it’s sticky, add a little bit of all-purpose flour.

Cut off a third of the dough and leave it aside.
Take the rest of the dough, shape it into a ball and place it in the middle of the spring-form pan. Using the back of your hand, press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The dough should come up to 2/3 of the height of the pan. Try to spread the dough as evenly as possible.

Sprinkle the base of the pastry case with the dried breadcrumbs, which are used to soak up the juices from the apples, so that the base doesn’t become soggy.ix the filling once more with a spoon or spatula and empty it into the pan. It should fill the whole pastry case.

Take the piece of dough you left aside and divide it into smaller pieces. Roll each piece into long, thin round strips and use them to decorate the tart, lattice style. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crust takes on a golden-brown color.

Prepare apricot glaze
Ten minutes before the pie is ready, prepare the glaze by putting the apricot jam and the rum (or water) in a small saucepan. Heat the jam over medium heat, until it comes to the boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

When the apple pie is ready, take it out of the oven and immediately glaze it, using a pastry brush. Allow the pie to slightly cool inside the pan and then remove the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely and if you want, move the pie onto a platter or cake stand.

The pie is eaten either warm or at room temperature. Serve with a dollop or two of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and sprinkled with a little ground cinnamon. It is best eaten the day you make it, as well as the following day. It can be kept at room temperature, covered, for 2 days (3 tops) but as the days pass, the crust will become softer and more cake-like.

The photos on My Little Expat Kitchen were detailed and really helped me in making my appeltaart so I have provided them below.

Preparing the filling

Preparing the filling

Making the dough

Making the dough

Constructing the taart and once its cooked

Constructing the taart and once its cooked

This recipe made the best appeltaart I have ever ever had! It was delicious, the dough was buttery and sweet , the appel filling had just the right amount of spice and  lemon and with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream it was straight from heaven! I highly recommend trying this recipe and also checking out other recipes from My Little Expat Kitchen. Here’s what my appeltaart looked like, I must say I was pretty proud! Score 10/10

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A big slice with whipped cream is the right way to end an evening

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Paprika Chicken with caraway noodles from Croatia

croatian-food-festival     images-12

PAPRIKAS

Oh beautiful Croatia, how I long for thee! Sandwiched between the Balkans and Central Europe, it has been a part of many different empires all leaving their mark on this land of stunning natural beauty. Known as ‘The Land of Regions’ owing to it’s wealth of cultural influences and varied terrains, Croatia is a treasure.

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Pletvice Lakes

Gorgeous beaches, myriad rocky islands, awesome mountains, caves, canyons,  and unbelievably scenic lakes and waterfalls. There are eight impressive National Parks and ten equally scenic Nature parks. To sum it up everywhere you go –  it’s picturesque!

Settled from the early stone age, there is fantastic architecture from many ages, all jumbled together, from Greco-Roman palaces, Viennese and Venetian mansions, Slavic churches and Napoleonic fortresses and medieval walled towns, seven places are listed with UNESCO.

Zagreb Cathedral

A colourful culture with loads of festivals and religious holidays and strong traditions in the arts such as painting, singing, folk dancing, traditional wooden toy making, lace weaving, and baking heart-shaped gingerbread. Many of these crafts are listed as culturally significant. A regional family orientated cuisine where eating and drinking are very important and a big part of any festival or (frequent)  religious days which often feature a special food or dish.

Sites to See

There are too many fantastic things to see in Croatia to mention them all, I’d love to go there myself! Have now put it on my ever growing list of places to see before I die! But some of the enormous range of top spots are: Dubrovnik and its’ impressive medieval walls, Split has a retirement palace built by the emperor Diocletian in the 3rd Century,  Zagreb the capital has a laid back charm, Pula features a fantastic Roman amphitheatre (better than in Italy!) in Zadar there’s Roman streets and a forum, there is the UNESCO world Heritage St James cathedral in Siblenik and the basilica in Porec not to mention Trsat Castle.

Amphitheatre at Pula

Spectacular natural beauties include the striking other world weird beauty of Pletvice Lakes and the waterfalls at Krka and limestone rock formations at Paklenica Nature Park, the very popular Zlatni Rat beach, and various scenic islands off the dramatic Adriatic coast.

Croatian Islands

Croatian Islands

Croatian Cuisine

Traditional Croatian Foods

The cuisine of Croatia is hearty peasant food with many distinctive regional styles, it follows the European traditional diets  of protein, dairy, vegetables and grains. An emphasis  on fresh seafood from the sparkling Dalmatian coast where the influence is more Mediterranean, to the interior where the Austro-Hungarian influence is strong, and from the East came the spices, pastries and coffee of the Ottoman empire.

A popular cooking method is in a pekawhich, a wood fired brick oven where all manner of food is cooked to perfection sealed  in a peka, a dish rather like a tagine. Another popular cooking method is spit roasting and grilling meats particularly over an open fire or coals, game is a favourite, and especially cevapcici, like a skinless sausage.

Pasta and dumplings like djoki gnocchi are common, and Croatians are extremely fond of their enormous range of charcuterie.  Wonderful tasty soups are integral to most meals e.g. Zagorska juha with porcini mushrooms, bacon and capsicum. Ajvar is ubiquitous and delicious condiment made from roasted eggplant and capsicum,  and spices like poppy seeds, caraway, and paprika along with citrus and Meditterean herbs such as sage, bay, marjoram and rosemarLet them eat cake!There are many sweet treats ranging from pastries like strudles, pancakes(palacinke) meringues, cheesecakes and doughnuts  and a vast array of complicated cakes, kolači or torta’s many featuring fresh or preserved fruit. Special favourites are cherry, plum and apricot as well as walnuts, almonds and poppy seeds. Custards and cream fillings are popular too.

Drinks

Croatian Beer

Croatian Beer

Huge coffee drinkers, and not surprisingly big beer drinkers too, surrounded by many world class beer brewing countries, Croatia does make some of its own. There are over 300 wine-producing regions and many fruit or nut flavoured spirits are produced.

Paprikas with buttered caraway noodles

  • 500gm chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tb oil
  • 1 large potato
  • ½ red capsicum/bell pepper
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp gr chilli
  • 200ml white wine
  • 4tb sour cream
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 250ml water
  • 300gm egg noodles/pasta
  • 1 tb butter
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • finely chopped parsley

Paprikas

  1. Cut up chicken into bite sized chunks, chop onion, peel and dice potato and capsicum.
  2. Heat oil in saute pan on medium, cook onion until soft and golden brown. Add chicken and brown well.
  3. Add potato and capsicum, brown lightly, add spices and seasonings, stir 1 minute till fragrant.
  4. Add wine  and bring to boil. Add water and cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes until chicken is tender and potato is cooked. Uncover and reduce to a soupy sauce.
  5. To serve : toss cooked egg noodles in butter and caraway seeds, place in bowls, ladle on Paprikas, garnish with sour cream and parsley.

This recipe came from a Croatian cuisine web site but I looked at so many I can’t remember which one!  Paprika Chicken in one form or another has long been a favourite of our family, so while this dish was no surprise, it was still enjoyed by all, and is particularly nice served with the caraway noodles – although Bunny declared a new found aversion to caraway seeds! Scored 7/10 – pleasant but not memorable.

Bulgarian sweet apple banitzas

WEEK 17 – BULGARIA

From tree lined mountain ranges housing isolated villages and thousand year old monasteries to eccentric modern cities and  beautiful beaches lining the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria.

Varna, the largest coastal town in Bulgaria

Varna, the largest coastal town in Bulgaria

Located in south-eastern Europe, Bulgaria is quite a mountainous country with seven mountain ranges criss-crossing the country. It’s capital city, Sofia is located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country. It is the 14th largest city in Europe, with a population of 1.3 million people. Sofia is full of churches with over 50 in the city limits. A church which brings tourists from everywhere to see is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the center of the city.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

With such a long and fierce history, Bulgaria houses many ancient ruins strewn all across the country, they’re windows into the past of,  ancient peoples and civilisations that have risen, fallen, conquered and passed through this land.

Dyavolski bridge, a relic from the when the Ottomans ruled

Dyavolski bridge, a relic from the when the Ottomans ruled

BULGARIAN CUISINE

Bulgarian food has a lot common with other Balkans cuisines, it also shares a number of dishes with Greek, Middle Eastern, and Italian cuisines. Salads are often appetizers and main courses are typically water-based stews, deep-fried foods are not popular whereas grilling, especially sausages  is very common. Pork is the most widely eaten meat and is often mixed with beef or lamb. Bulgarians eat a lot of dairy products particular yoghurt, and they have been since 300 BC.

Traditional Bulgarian feast often eaten around Christmas time

This is what a traditional Bulgarian feast often eaten around Christmas time typically looks like

WHAT I MADE

So I decided to make a Bulgarian dessert. After quite a lot of deliberating on what I should make, I settled on sweet apple-walnut banitzas. I sourced the recipe from here → bulgariandesserts/applebanitza

RECIPE

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time : 40 minutes

Ingredients

½ cup finely chopped walnuts

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons bread crumbs

18 sheets filo dough, thawed

150g butter, melted

4 apples, peeled, cored and grated

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 2oo degrees. Mix walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, bread crumbs and set aside
  2. Place one sheet filo dough on a tea towel or kitchen paper. Brush lightly with butter. Repeat 2 more times so there are 3 layers of filo.
  3. Portion out 1/5th of the walnut mixture on the entire surface of the filo. Then, place 1/5th of the apples in a 1/2-inch-wide strip along the short edge and 1/2 inch away from the sides. Fold up bottom edge first, then sides, and then roll away from yourself, using the towel/paper to help, until you have a tight cylinder. Brush lightly with more melted butter and sprinkle with extra sugar, if desired.
  4. Repeat with remaining filo dough. Place banitzi on a parchment-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
My apple banitzas

My apple banitzas

 

So having made these I found them very enjoyable, sweet and crispy and delicious. Score = 7/10

Amazing Hot Cross Bun recipe (for all of those people who don’t like raisins and sultanas, like me)

Happy Easter everybody hope your having a great day with your families! I thought I’d take some time out of my Easter Sunday to share with you the Hot Cross Bun recipe I made today because let me say one thing they were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Mimsey even said they were the best ones she’s ever had or made herself!

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, India, and Canada. I guess I was a little late making them.

THE TRADITION

In many historically Christian countries, plain buns made without dairy products are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, beginning with the evening of Shrove Tuesday  to midday Good Friday. But saying that the Ancient Greeks also made cakes marked with crosses. And through the ages people like Elizabeth I of England and James I of England/James VI of Scotland have banned hot cross buns except for certain days of the year.

An 1884 advertisement announcing the sale of hot cross buns for Good Friday in a Hawaiian newspaper.

A 1884 advertisement announcing the sale of hot cross buns for Good Friday in a Hawaiian newspaper.

There are also many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. Such as if you hang a hot cross bun in your kitchen will protect against fires and ensure all the bread you make will be perfect. Another one says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the coming year. One superstition even thinks the hot cross buns are to be used for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover.

hot-cross-buns

A poem about Hot Cross Buns

Sharing a hot cross bun with friend is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. One of the most out the most peculiar superstitions is that if taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.

Hot Cross Bun Seller in 18th century London

Hot Cross Bun Seller in 18th century London

THE FLAVOURS

Around the world new flavours of hot cross buns have been popping up for the last 10 years including: chocolate, choc chip, apple & cinnamon, orange & cranberry, coffee, toffee, sticky date, caramel, fruitless and many many more.

Most recently Heston Blumenthal has created a range for both Coles here in Australia and a range for England’s Waitrose with flavours including: Lemon Myrtle, Earl Grey and Mandarin, Ginger and Acacia Honey.

Heston-For-Coles-Lemon-Myrtle-Hot-Cross-Buns-Lifestyle12            LN_463904_BP_11

APRICOT,CRANBERRY & CARDAMOM HOT CROSS BUNS

I found this recipe online searching for alternate hot cross buns. Recipe is from fellow blogger at The Culinary Life her website is here  → www.theculinarylife.com  and the link to the recipe for the hot cross buns is here → hot-cross-buns-recipe

RECIPE

Total Time: 2hr 15min       Makes: 12 buns

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or use another cup of all purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup golden cranberries (I just used normal cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons apricot jam
  • Additional cardamom for wash
Instructions
  1. Combine all purpose flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, and cardamom in a bowl and mix well. Add water, milk, yeast, salt, sugar, beating just until combined. Add egg and butter, mixing until the dough is sticky. Add the cranberries, apricots and lemon zest. Knead dough until smooth – feel free to use a stand mixer or good, old fashioned elbow grease. Cover the bowl of dough loosely with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm area until doubled in size, between 60 and 70 minutes.
  2. Punch down the dough and divide in half. Divide each half in half, and then each lump of dough into thirds. You should have 12 equally-sized buns. Dust your hands with flour and lightly roll each bun into a ball. Set on a floured piece of parchment and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Allow to double in size again, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is. While the buns are rising, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Once the buns have risen, arrange them on a parchment-covered baking sheet, leaving 3-inches of space between then. Gently make a 1/4-inch deep cross-shaped indentation in each bun with the back of a butter knife, making sure not to cut the surface of the dough.
  4. Make the icing for crosses: mix the pastry flour, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water in a small bowl, then slowly trickle in the vegetable oil while beating quickly. You should have a spreadable but not runny consistency. Scoop the icing into a pastry bag and, using a flat, 1/4-inch wide tip, make a cross-shape on each bun, piping into the indentation you created with the butter knife. Wipe up any icing that falls on the parchment, where it will smoke and burn.
  5. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, baking the buns for 15 minutes. While they are baking, combine the apricot jam with an equal amount of very hot water and a pinch of cardamom, mixing until you have a thin wash. When the buns are done take them out of the oven and using a pastry brush, lightly brush a small amount of thinned jam onto the top of each bun while they are still hot, making sure not to smear the icing. Be judicious! No one likes soggy buns. Transfer buns to a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter and more jam, if you like.
Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

My hot cross buns! Think I did pretty good

My hot cross buns! Think I did pretty good

The Hot Cross buns were so yummy! I can’t believe how good they were; light and fluffy and full of fruit and spicy flavours. What more could you want from a Hot Cross bun.