Easter has always been a family time in the Minogue household – four precious days to hang out, catch up and eat lots of food.
When I was growing up the tradition I remember most clearly was the Easter bonnet parade at school. All the children would decorate a hat with whatever they could find: 'If you can attach it with a glue stick or stapler, anything goes,' seemed to be the motto - so there were some pretty outrageous designs!
We'd wear the bonnets to school assembly on the Friday before Easter and have a parade to show them off. Perhaps not my finest fashion moment but, as a child, I remember absolutely loving it.
Now we've been able to celebrate our first Easter as a family. Ethan's still a little to young to understand what's going on but we can't wait until he's older and we can start introducing him to some of our family traditions.
Usually, if I'm at home in Melbourne for Easter then the whole family will get together. Some of the adults will hide those little solid chocolate Easter eggs around the back garden and we'll kick the day off with an Easter egg hunt for my little nephews. Then we'll all sit down to a big family lunch. At this time of year you can never quite sure what you're going to get weather-wise in Melbourne so, if it's too chilly to have a barbeque, we'll cook up something warm, yummy and wholesome to ward off the autumn chill and balance out the chocolate excesses to come when we start digging into the Easter Bunny's delivery.
Now, I like chocolate as much as the next girl, but my absolute favourite part of Easter is the hot cross bun. There's nothing like waking up to the spicy, fruity, smell of hot cross buns heating in the oven and I love eating them still warm with a skim of butter. You can always buy them from bakeries, but when we were kids we'd have home made ones, so this Delia Smith recipe is great if you want to have a go at baking them yourself.
Hope everyone had a happy, safe, Easter. Dx
Hot Cross Buns (makes 12)
50g caster sugar plus 1 level teaspoon.
1 level tablespoon dried yeast.
450g plain flour.
1 level teaspoon salt.
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice.
50g cut mixed peel.
40-55ml warmed milk.
1 egg, beaten.
50g butter, melted.
For the glaze:
2 level tablespoons granulated sugar.
First stir the teaspoon of caster sugar into 150 ml hand-hot water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy 'beer' head forms.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl and add the remaining 50 g of sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Then make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture plus 40 ml of milk (again hand-hot), the beaten egg and the melted butter.
Now mix it to a dough, starting with a wooden spoon and finishing with your hands (add a spot more milk if it needs it). Then transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 6 minutes. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a lightly oiled plastic bag, and leave it in a warm place to rise – it will take about an hour to double its original size. Then turn it out and knead it again, back down to its original size.
Divide the mixture into 12 round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion), and make a deep cross on each one with a sharp knife. Leave them to rise once more, covering again with the oiled polythene bag, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C). Bake the buns for about 15 minutes.
Then, while they're cooking, melt the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze over a gentle heat and brush the buns with it as soon as they come out of the oven, to make them nice and sticky.
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