Hot Cross Buns And Snow

DSCF6482

My snowy backyard.

DSCF6516

I was at the book store one day last week and to my delight my eyes came upon a new magazine: SIFT, a King Arthur Publication. As I thumbed my way through I saw beautiful pictures of bread, muffins, cakes, biscuits, pizza, sandwiches, gluten free baked goods, and a section on a Mediterranean feast. The photos all looked so appealing, but one picture really had my attention: hot cross buns. I was hoping to make hot cross buns for the upcoming Easter season this year to share with my Mother-In-Law Helen. She just loves hot cross buns and buys them every year. I read over the ingredients and method for preparing the dough and the baking. I happily purchased my new magazine and couldn’t wait to bake the buns. Later that week we had a snow storm and I knew it was the perfect day for baking. The recipe called for either apple juice or rum, and I had rum on hand so I used that. It also called for mixed dried fruit, and I used a mixture of golden raisins and California raisins. I chose to mix the dough by hand instead of the mixer. When baking bread at home in such a small batch I love to get my hands in it. The dough was easy to mix and the process was relaxing. I did some reading during the rise times. It was so hard waiting for those buns to cool, but I wanted to enjoy the little taste of icing piped on the top to get the whole experience of the tasting. It was worth the wait! The bun was soft and tender. The fruit was tasty with the infusion of the rum, and who doesn’t love the taste of icing? I love the buns and the magazine. I will be patiently awaiting the next issue, but ‘till then there’s lots more great recipes in this issue to try.

DSCF6480

DSCF6487

DSCF6490

DSCF6497

DSCF6496DSCF6498DSCF6501

DSCF6503

DSCF6504

DSCF6506

DSCF6508

DSCF6510

DSCF6518

DSCF6483

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Special Cottage Pie

sp9 In 1998 our family moved from Washington State to England. We lived there for about eighteen months. Shortly after we arrived a lovely British family we had met invited our family for dinner. It was the first home cooked meal we’d had since arriving. The menu was shepherd’s pie made with lamb, and bread and butter pudding for dessert. The meal was delicious and their hospitality was a blessing to us. I found as we traveled about England, Scotland, and Ireland they all had this on the menu but they called it Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie and made it with a beef or lamb mixture and topped with potatoes that were toasted under a broiler. I have always made  mine with beef. I like to top mine with cheddar cheese and then put in back in the oven to get all melted. The ingredients are simple but very delicious. A comforting meal on a cold winter day.  I call it special cottage pie and this is my version.

sp4

sp5

sp7

sp8

Special cottage pie

For the filling

2lb. ground beef

3 large shallots, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons tomato paste

4 small carrots sliced (boiled)

2 1/4 cups beef stock

For the topping

10 small Yukon gold potatoes

½ up ¾ cup whole milk  

1/2  – 1 stick butter

2 tablespoons sour cream

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh chives (optional)

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Prepare filling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Brown the ground meat and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat. Set Add the meat aside add reserved fat back  to the pan over medium heat add the shallot, garlic, and bay leaf cook for 1 minute. Add the meat back to the pan add the allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of flour, carrots, and the tomato paste. Stir mixture together and cook 2 minutes. Add the beef stock slowly while stir to get a nice juicy consistency. You don’t want it to be to soupy looking. Cook about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Fill a pie plate with the mixture or individual oven ware.

For the topping

Boil the potatoes, drain, mash potatoes using electric mixer. Add butter, sour cream, salt and pepper, and milk. Whip till light and fluffy add the chives at last mixing. When mixing mash potatoes always mix the potatoes till they look smooth before adding milk this will reduce any lumps. Unless in fact you like lumps then mix less before adding milk. Top the meat mixture with the potatoes, I use a pastry bag to do this but you can just heap them on top. Bake 15-20 minutes till top browns add cheese at the last few minutes.

Thanks for stopping by!