Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…April 2022 …Kitchen Hacks, How does your Garden Grow, Recipes,Hot Cross Buns, and Mackerel Pate.

Welcome to my Green Kitchen where my aim is to cook food that is chemical-free, in season and grown either by myself or purchased locally and in season…

Produce which has just come into its season has far more taste than produce which is forced and grown out of its natural season …I also think it is the anticipation and the taste of the first of the season’s crops…those first root vegetables…are sublime! or those first strawberries there is nothing quite like the first strawberry of the season!

This month’s recipe “Hot Cross Buns

Yes, that time of the year is nearly upon us when we celebrate Easter with Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday is the 15th of April this year followed by Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday and Simnel Cake on Easter Monday.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

I have been seeing lots of alternative recipes for Hot Cross Buns...some sound delicious some sound as if they are made just because the baker can…

Most of the recipes from my childhood I don’t want to change… it’s tradition lest we forget…x…

So without further ado here is your recipe for…Traditional Hot Cross Buns...Warm from the oven there is nought better than a Hot Cross Bun buttered with lovely grass-fed butter…


For the dough

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 x 7g sachets of easy-blend yeast
  • 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g  butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • oil, for greasing
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.

The spices and dried fruit

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100g currants
  • Optional: Orange or lemon zest.

For  the pastry crosses:

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Let’s Bake!

Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well. If you want to add a little lemon or orange zest it can be added now. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.

Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.

Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place them on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.

Use a small, sharp knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas

When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.

Tip: I put my mix for the cross in one of those plastic refill sauce bottles as I find I get all sorts of shapes and sizes of the cross if I use a piping bag/greaseproof. clumsy klutz that I am..haha.

Everyone who knows me knows that I hate sneaky, lying manufacturers who play with words to suit them and deceive us… if the regulations were tougher and penalties higher we wouldn’t have to read and decipher every damn label(BUT) we do or I do…

What does the Natural label actually say?… We constantly see “Natural” or “All Natural” on packets of food it certainly needles me and apparently the regulators…maybe they need to do some re-regulating then…This Podcast explores “Who decides what Natural Means? ”

How does your garden grow ?…

As I am now completely in charge of the garden… my son is away for work… it’s keeping me busy he has left me a long list of when to water, feed, what to check for(bugs) etc etc…I haven’t yet killed his pride and joy(Habanero) chillies they are fruiting for the 3rd time this year so it looks like I am going to have to make more chilli sauce very soon…the long pepper is also fruiting really well so I will once they are all dried be able to check out some recipes …my favourite is the Chinese Kale it keeps on giving and is a beautiful vegetable we only have a few plants but the more you pick the more it grows and is easy to grow…you just pick it when the flowers just start to open…

It is one of my favourite greens…Chinese Kale has a high nutritional value since it is a rich source of antioxidants and anticarcinogenic compounds, including vitamin C, glucosinolates and phenolic compounds …

There are both yellow and white flowering cultivars ours is the white flowering kale. It is a vigorous, fast-growing species able to withstand both frost and high temperatures. The flower stems are harvested at an early stage while the flowers are still in bud. It is usually cooked by stir-frying although I like mine just lightly steamed also…What do you grow in your garden or pots?

The war by Russia against Ukraine is terrible it seems as if Russia can’t win then they will just demolish and flattened everything… But what will be the other far-reaching effects of this war?

What is happening to our breadbasket…

Ukraine is a major wheat exporter and has recently emerged as a corn powerhouse, too, supplying China and its booming meat industry with nearly a third of its feed corn imports.

What does it mean when a war of conquest descends upon one of the globe’s great breadbaskets in the 21st century? ….Click here to find out why we should be worried…

A kitchen hack or three…You will love these…

And they are all green...Did you know you could make a wood stain from coffee grounds and steel wool…neither did I…

Finally, just a little mackerel pate that we love…

Smoked Mackerel Pate…

  • 240 gm smoked mackerel with the skin removed.
  • The juice and zest of one lime.
  • 1 tbsp of capers, drained
  • 150 gm cream cheese.
  • Half a bunch of dill or parsley.
  • 2 tbsp creamed horseradish.
  • Black Pepper

Let’s Cook!

Whizz all the ingredients apart from the lime zest in your food processor, taste and season.

Put in a suitable bowl and sprinkle with some chopped parsley or dill, the lime zest and black pepper…

NB: Cooks notes as they were mithering me to make this pate I just chucked everything in including the lime zest and blitzed it all not what I would normally do but today I did…I used all the parsley so grabbed a couple of lime leaves for the image…But I got complaints so guessing it was to their taste…

Serve with toast or crackers…and enjoy!

That’s all for my Green Kitchen today thank you for joining me…I look forward to your comments…x


17 thoughts on “Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…April 2022 …Kitchen Hacks, How does your Garden Grow, Recipes,Hot Cross Buns, and Mackerel Pate.

  1. Sue Dreamwalker

    Oooh…. One a penny Two a Penny HOT Cross Buns… as the rhyme goes.. Lol.. They look lovely 🙂 Love them when freshly baked.. 🙂 Can almost smell them.. But they will be long eaten by now LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 3rd -9th April 2022-Monday Musings, A-Z World Cuisine, China , Food Review “Cabbage” and Saturday Snippets where “Bubble” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. beetleypete

    Julie can make excellent Hot Cross Buns, but she mostly buys Tesco Finest buns, which are very tasty. They are available every day of the year now, which I think is a shame. When I was young, they were a seasonal treat to look forward to.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Absolutely, Pete, I remember being sent down to Dorringtons’s bakers on Good Friday morning and getting a baker’s dozen of Hot Cross Buns hot from their ovens they were beautiful and a real treat I think its such a shame that nothing is really special any more 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…April 2022 …Kitchen Hacks, How does your Garden Grow, Recipes,Hot Cross Buns, and Mackerel Pate. – MobsterTiger

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