Hot Cross Cookies

One of the highlights of being back in Australia is being able to cook in my Mum’s wonderful kitchen. Combine that with pregnancy hunger and I’m in heaven!!

My Mum was raving about some cookies that my sis had made recently… and so we made them together! It combines the deliciousness of hot cross buns, but without the hassle of waiting for them to rise, etc. Here are the results:

So rarely do my cookies turn out so round and picture perfect!

Georgia starting the icing…

Voila!

Who said hot cross buns had to have crosses?

The recipe is a Donna Hay recipe, taken from the Sunday Mail. This recipe made us 22 big cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 125g softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
  • 2.5 cups SR flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice*
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sultanas**

Icing: 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tbsp. water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
  3. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, then the lemon rind, flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, milk and sultanas.
  4. Mix until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls and bake for 14-15 mins (or more realistically, about 12 mins). 
  6. Cool. Then use a piping bag to pipe the icing.

*I don’t think it would hurt to use a little extra spice!

**We used a mix of sultanas, raisins, cranberries and choc-chips

When we’re back in Beijing, I will definitely be making these for Easter!

 

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Masterchef Beijing

When Masterchef Australia finished for the year, I felt that there was a hole in my life. It’s slick. It’s addictive. It’s nail-bitingly tense. It makes you drool. And, it’s educational.

What better way to fill that hole but with more food!! So, we hosted a Masterchef challenge at our place. Every participant was given a mystery ingredient, and that ingredient had to star in 3 courses. We all voted, plus we had a guest judge, in case of any close calls.

The results were fantastic! We had such a wide variety of delicious food – way too much though. Next time, we need to invite extra guests as well.

We had a quite a few dietary restrictions within the group, which made it an extra challenge! By looking at the dishes, you can probably guess what they were.

My ingredient was ginger. For my entree, I made sushi with pickled ginger. When pickling ginger, if it’s young enough, it should naturally turn pink in the pickling process. Mine had no luck  though, so I cheated and used some food colouring. I did a sushi making course ages ago at my fave Japanese restaurant, Hatsune, and I’d been dying to try it out. I think it worked out pretty well! I filled the sushi with carrot, cucumber, daikon and fried enoki mushrooms.

Pickled ginger recipe from: http://www.rain.org/~hutch/ginger.html

My main course was fried tofu in a ginger broth. I really struggled with this one. I think I put a lot of extra thought into my dessert, and lost a bit of focus on the main. It was yummy, just nothing exciting.

My dessert was based around gingerbread. I made edible cups and spoons of gingerbread. Then I filled them with chocolate risotto. I’d seen Jamie Oliver make choccy risotto on TV, and had been dying to try it out. I topped the dish with candied ginger too!

Candied ginger from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/12/candied-ginger/

And here are some pics of what the other contestants cooked:

Andy‘s ingredient was carrot. He made carrot soup with baby carrot rolls, carrot ravioli with pickled carrots and carrot cake icecream with candied carrot. And, he was the champion of the day!

Michelle‘s ingredient was lemon. She made baked fennel stuffed with lemon, lemon risotto and lemon curd panna cotta.

Nic’s ingredient was chocolate. She made mexican chocolate soup, mole and jicama salad, followed by Ancho chilli and chocolate truffles.

Zac‘s ingredient was chilli. He made pan-fried salmon with chilli salsa, chickpea and chilli curry and chocolate chilli muffins.

As you can imagine, after all this food, it was nap time!