First attempt, Chelsea Buns. Not the prettiest but edible which is good :)

IMG_9565My daughter and I were reading cook books yesterday, as you do. We wanted something yummy to have with our afternoon tea. When she comes home from college I have usually finished my work for the day, so we have got into the delightful habit of having a cup of tea, biscuit/cake type thing. She then watches “Come Dine with Me” whilst I dabble with a bit of crochet (my latest creative love, so very, very addictive that I have been known to leave it almost too late to pick up the husband from the station!).

Anyway, when my daughter found the page for Chelsea buns she got very excited which, as we all know is a challenge for the average teenager. So with her help we gathered the ingredients together to make these buns. As they are a bread type thing they do take a while. Luckily for the youngest and myself I had other emergency biscuits in the house to tide us over whilst these were doing their thing. They did, in fact take hours, as my house was on the chilly side yesterday which really slowed the proving time down 😦 I am sure Mr Hollywood would also suggest that because it is an enriched dough that would also cause it to take longer to prove. Not an expert here at all so I suspect a bit of trial and error on these is required.

I found the mixture was quite dry and next time I make these I may add a smidge more liquid, not too much though as the end result tasted pretty good.

The recipe for these came from the The Great British Book of Baking.


For the dough:

  • 175ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1 7g sachet of easy blend yeast
  • 1 medium free range egg

For the filling:

  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 75g dark muscovado sugar
  • 150g dried vine fruits

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of runny honey

A large roasting pan, greased with butter to bake. Do not make the mistake I did. I thought I would also line with baking paper but with the glaze all I managed to achieve was a sticky paper bottom that was baked on. As a family we ate round that but if you had guests it would be tricky to ask them to do that unless you know them really well! πŸ™‚


  • Gently warm your milk and butter together (from the dough list). Cool it slightly so it is lukewarm (pop your finger in, if you can’t feel it then it is perfect). Beat your egg into this mixture.
  • In your mixing bowl (I used my electric mixer but you can do this by hand) put in all your dough dry ingredients and then tip in your milky eggy buttery mix. Mix together either slowly in the mixer or by hand until your dough is a soft consistency. The recommendation in the book is to knead by hand for 10 minutes or slow setting in the machine for 4. I kneaded for 10 in the mixer in the end as the dough looked too stiff. I can’t say whether this is the correct way, but for me the dough looked better for it.
  • Once kneaded, place your dough in a bowl covered with cling film or your handy shower cap ( I really must get some more, nothing so frustrating as cling film that won’t come off the roll with ease)
  • Leave for at least an hour to double in size. Mine took nearly two to do it’s thing.
  • Knock your dough back and then tip onto your work surface that you have already floured in anticipation of this moment. Cut it into two and roll each piece out into rectangles that measure around 38x13cm. As you can imagine from my hung ho approach to baking, I did not measure it but just rolled them out till they looked about the same!
  • From the filling list, brush your melted butter over each rectangle, sprinkle over the muscovado and fruit and then roll up like a swiss roll. Roll from the long side. Cut each roll into 8 and then arrange them in your tin quite close together and then cover and leave for 40 minutes or so to prove again.
  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees c or gas mark 6
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  • While they are baking you can prepare your glaze. Put all your glaze ingredients into a small pan and gently warm together. Do not boil.
  • When your buns are golden πŸ™‚ take them out of the oven and brush on your glaze and then return to the oven for a final 5 minutes.
  • When you take these out of the oven, leave them in the tin for around 10 minutes to cool slightly before you remove them completely to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Restrain yourself from eating them straight away the sugars are really hot and will burn your mouth. Almost worth it πŸ™‚

We found this recipe was really, really sweet and next time I make these I would reduce the muscovado probably by half. I am also going to add some cinnamon and other spices next time too. I suspect that will be delicious, so could possible reduce the sugars even further. The picture in the book also shows these with caster sugar sprinkled over the top! I would suggest that you don’t. Try them first, add if you need. Have fun playing around with the recipe, I would love to hear any thoughts on other versions of these.






P.S Whilst all this has been going on my cats who usually fight decided to try spooning today πŸ™‚ Please note Bernard (the one at the back ) has his paw on Agnes’s shoulder. Too, too cute. Shame it won’t lastΒ Bernard and Agnes

Granola – the perfect breakfast cereal of champions or ordinary mortals!

Granola As ever I have turned to my recipe book of choice. Nigella’s Feast has a fabulous breakfast section and I have tried most of the recipes. The recipe for Granola is not her own, she got it on one of her trips to the USA. This recipe is called Andy’s Fairfield Granola and was gleaned from a deli called The Pantry in Fairfield, Conneticut. As always I have tweaked a bit but as Nigella was so enthused by this recipe I will show the original recipe “with nuts” and my modified “no nuts” version. For both sets of ingredients the method remains the same. This granola is definitely one to add to your repertoire and I think benefits from some personalisation. Quite frankly if you are going to go to the trouble of making yourself home-made breakfast cereal it might as well include all of your favourite things.

Ingredients original recipe:

  • 450g rolled oats
  • 120g sunflower seeds
  • 120g sesame seeds
  • 175g apple compote or apple sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 120g brown rice syrup, or rice malt syrup or golden syrup
  • 4 tablespoons clover honey
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 250g whole natural almonds
  • 1 teaspoon maldon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 300g raisins

My ingredients list:

  • I replace the nuts for extra seeds.
  • I replaced the raisins last time for dried cranberries and apricots
  • I often add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon as I love it. I punched up the ginger last time too which was yummy.
  • Sugar content is pretty high for this one and I have reduced the brown sugar by half and the golden syrup by a third without it causing too much trouble. If you do reduce the “wet” sugars be aware that this will make the mixing harder and you will have a drier granola. You could add a little extra oil though if needs be.
  • Most dried fruits work really well with the granola, use whatever rocks your world.


  • Mix everything together except the raisins/dried fruits. Nigella recommends using two spatulas as this is a really sticky mixture. I have bought the disposable gloves you can get easily from the supermarket and just got stuck in with my hands. I find it easier to tell if everything has been mixed this way.
  • Spread the mixture evenly into two baking tins, large roasting size is about right.
  • Bake your granola in your oven at gas mark 3/170 degrees C for about 40 minutes. You will need to turn and stir your granola on occasion throughout the baking time to ensure you get a good even golden bake across the granola.
  • Once baked, leave to cool, add your raisins or other dried fruits, store in an airtight container.
  • I tend to serve this with vanilla yoghurt, strawberries or seasonal berries. So yummy and almost virtuously good for you.

Granola and yoghurt