Spiced chocolate and orange hot cross buns

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Happy Easter one and all. I hope you are enjoying the extended weekend by spending it with friends and family, eating many chocolate eggs and indulging in one or two hot cross buns whilst managing to avoid the hideous weather that seems to have descended on us. I’d never made hot cross buns before making these. In my eyes no-one can beat my Dad’s so I was a little nervous giving these a go. I’d seen this Delicious Magazine recipe last year and saved it to my Easter Pinterest board. Last weekend, I decided I fancied doing a little Easter inspired baking and decided to give them a go.
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Cheese & pesto whirls

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I should probably start by saying the photo doesn’t do these rolls justice – they look burnt in these photos but they definitely weren’t!

This summer it is 12 (yes, 12!) years since myself and my friends left university. How time does indeed fly by. It seems like only yesterday that we were graduating and looking forward to what the future held. Fast forward 12 years and we are all successful in a wide variety of different jobs. Our group has grown, thanks to partners and the addition of children but we still try to meet as regularly as bumps, babies, children and life in general allows. Yesterday was one of our gatherings. We decided to meet at Knole Park, a National Trust property in Sevenoaks for a picnic where we were blessed with lovely weather for our picnic. The park has a large herd of exteremely tame deer who are very interested in any opportunity to grab some food from you. They come right up to you and one decided to just flop down and join our group.
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Brioche buns

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If brioche buns were a challenge on The Great British Bake Off I would have ended up in tears! I decided to give them a go yesterday to accompany our pulled pork for dinner. Last year, there was a recipe for them in Good Food magazine which I saw, so I decided to dig it out. How hard can they be? Why buy them when I can make them myself? I thought to myself. It turns out that me and brioche dough aren’t really the best of friends!
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Seeded wholemeal loaf

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Half term is at an end. Teachers, teaching assistants and school office staff will be back at work tomorrow ready for the final countdown! Today was my final opportunity for some holiday baking so I decided to opt for a loaf of bread. When we went to Iceland (the country not the shop!) I picked up the April copy of Good Food magazine for the flight and inside there was a whole feature on bread. Today’s recipe comes from that issue but you can find it online here. When Mr Birdie was given the choice of this seeded wholemeal loaf or a cheat’s sourdough he chose this one.
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Soda bread rolls

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If you need some bread rolls in a hurry this is the recipe for you. No kneeding, no proving, no rising. Mix it all in a bowl, shape into rolls, bung in the oven and you’re good to go. I’ve never made soda bread before so was intrigued to see how this recipe would turn out. It doesn’t use yeast. Instead it’s all about the reaction between the buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda which kickstarts the rising process. I was really pleased with how well these rolls turned out. Not only did they look good, but they taste good too. This is a recipe I found on the Delicious Magazine website. I’ll definitely be making them again.
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Poppy seed rolls

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I am continuing in my mission to make my own rolls to take work to for my lunch. These ended up looking nothing like they were meant to but actually tasted nice and had a good texture. They even got the Mr Birdie seal of approval (a rare compliment indeed!) This is a Tesco recipe that I found online. As I’ve said mine in no-way looked like they were meant to. They should of had a cross marked on the top of them but when I tried cutting them before they went in the oven I found there was no way this was going to happen!
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Seeded loaf

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In my mission to make the most of potential baking time the holidays offered I decided to make a loaf of bread. I had some Waitrose crunchy mixed seed bread flour that was open and needed using so I decided to use this to make a seeded loaf. The method I used for this recipe is based on this BBC Good Food recipe. I decided to prove my bread overnight in the fridge and altered the ingredients slightly as I didn’t have any malted, wholemeal or granary bread flour. I was very pleased with how this load turned out. In the words of Mr Birdie ‘That’s a proper loaf – you could make toast from that!’ – as opposed to previous loafs I have made before which have perhaps not risen to the occasion!
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Poppy and sunflower seeded rolls

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I’m not really a fan of sandwiches so in the autumn and winter I like to take soup and a bread roll to work for my lunch. I used to buy part-baked rolls which I’d bake every morning so I’d have a fresh roll at lunch time. As I’ve become a little bit more confident in making bread, I decided I would give making some of my own rolls a go. After doing a little bit of research I found this recipe for poppy and sunflower seeded rolls on the Baking Mad website. I was quite pleased with how they turned out although I found their texture a little dense which could either be down to the recipe or my baking!
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