Hot Cross Buns: Redux

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This time last year* I published my original recipe for hot cross buns, which, in an unorthodox and controversial move, excluded mixed peel. I think my exact words were that peel is ‘a scourge upon the earth’, to get Biblical about it. I have heard many times from a vocal, zealous minority that that some people actually like mixed peel and would willingly choose to ingest it. So, since I am a people-pleaser open-minded type of person, I have deigned to accommodate this faction of Easter bun-eaters with a half-arsed compromise. Simply adding mixed peel to the original recipe is of course not an option because that would be complete sacrilege and I will NOT turn the other cheek. read more…

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Banana & Dulce de Leche Monkey Bread

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One of the most timeless and enduring truths of food is the joy evoked by the sharing of it. The act of sharing adds an intangible value to food; where at first it might have nourished and comforted just one person, it effortlessly extends those life-affirming feelings to another by the merest, most humble action. For a short time, more than one soul is drawing from the very same pool of energy. Its all a wee bit magical. You can’t achieve that kind of magic with a $20 iTunes gift card, yo. But sometimes this ephemeral, wondrous element of the human experience has to be cast aside in favour of ensuring one’s own survival. Either that or you just really don’t wanna effing share. read more…

Banana & Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

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I feel that I need to make a distinction clear between this recipe and, say, the ‘typical’ banana loaf (in New Zealand at least), which should really be called a cake in my opinion. When is a loaf not really a loaf? Is the word ‘loaf’ only to do with the shape or does it have certain leading associations with things that are bready? Is ‘bready’ a terribly clumsy and unattractive way to describe the ancient and noble product of millennia of human culinary development, or should we just go with it?

Either way, I made a banana loaf that isn’t actually a cake-type thing, but is raised with yeast. It’s bread with bananas in it. I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down because the recipe makes enough dough for two whole blog posts, so that’s a lot of banana bread. If you’re like me and only seem to buy fruit in order to watch it rot before your eyes, this kind of recipe is ideal. It answers that perennial question of what the hell you’re going to do with a bunch of bananas you’ve carelessly allowed to go black, after eating just one of them in a fit of enthusiasm for health and eating breakfast and all that stuff. Banana loaf does seem like kind of a breakfast-appropriate thing though.  read more…