Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, finely crumbled (or 1 tsp. powdered saffron)
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 pkg. dry active yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg white
- raisins or currants to decorate
Crumble saffron threads into melted butter. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour (this intensifies the saffron flavor).
Heat milk to a light boil, turning off heat when it reaches the scalding point (with small bubbles across the top). Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and allow to cool until “finger-warm” (still quite warm, but just cool enough to touch). Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix 3 1/2 cups flour into liquid. Stir in two well-beaten eggs. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough (just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You don't want to add too much flour).
Transfer dough to a large greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a racquetball) and roll into "snakes." Shape snakes into "S"-shaped buns or other desired shapes (please see my photo gallery of Lucia buns for traditional examples). Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with the towel again, and allow to rise until doubled (about an hour).
Decorate buns with raisins, brush with egg white, and bake in preheated 375º oven about 15 minutes, just until brown. Yield: 20 St. Lucia Buns ("Lussekatter") St. Lucia buns may be made ahead of time, frozen, and quickly reheated in the microwave before serving.
As always I was in a hurry and the children were hungry. As it happened, I had ready rolled shortcrust pastry in the fridge so I decided to make a cheats Pizza!
cooked and ready to eat!
- 1 pre-rolled shortcrust pastry placed onto a rectangular baking tray.
- Pre-bake it in the oven until it is almost cooked (about 15 mins). The reason I do this is so that the base is not soggy.
- Don’t worry if it makes bubbles, when you take it out of the oven just pierce them with a knife.
- Tomato Sauce. You can use pre-made Dolmio or any good supermarket will have their own brand. I made my own tomato sauce from the tomatoes I had left on the vine. (8 lg tomatoes roughly chopped, 3 cloves of garlic crushed, olive oil, salt and pinch of sugar) I put all of the ingredients into a hi-sided frying pan and let it cook until it was syrupy and the tomatoes soft. Refrigerate for a couple of days if you think you might need it or freeze it until you know you do!
- Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza base (if you prefer a smooth sauce, liquidize it before you use it.)
- Grate cheese over the top. Sadly the mozzarella I thought I had lurking in the fridge was mouldy! So I resorted to the pack of Gruyere which was easy to grate and a delicious surprise.
- Put in the pre-heated oven 180 deg until ready about 10 minutes.
Serve with salad
Did you know that you can make delicious and quick pastry in a food processor?
A top tip is to use the pulse setting, so that you avoid over handling the mixture which can result in hard, dry pastry – a common fault in pastry making.
Ingredients for 10oz of pastry
- 200g / 7 oz plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 110g / 4 oz butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
- 2-3 tbsp very cold water or 1 egg yolk mixed with a little water (this makes a richer pastry)
- Place the the flour, butter and salt into the bowl of the processor.
- Using only the pulse setting, pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Avoid over mixing if you can,
- Through the funnel on the top of the processor, slowly add the water a little at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Wrap the pastry in Clingfilm / plastic wrap and chill as above in the hand-made method.
After 1/2 hour you can roll it out and use.
Remember when you roll out use a little flour, just enough to stop the pastry sticking and remember to flour your rolling pin too.
These is the most delicious pseudocereal, neither a grain nor cereal but seeds that behave like coucous. They swell up when cooked and have a delicious nutty flavour.
- Rinse and cook the Quinoa according to the cooking instructions.
- Fry 1.5 Tablespoons of pine nuts and sunflower seeds (or whatever seeds you may have lurking in the larder) and put aside.
- I steamed fresh broad beans, broccoli and courgette (don’t overcook them, they need to retain their crunchiness) then drained and refreshed with cold water to keep the colour.
- Chopped up 3 lg tomatoes and mixed into the quinoa. Chop up herbs (parsley, thyme, chives) use any or all of these and mix them into the quinoa.
- Put the quinoa into a dish and mix in your favourite oil and vinegar dressing. If you prefer a oriental flavour why not try this dressing:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
Assemble the salad by mixing the quinoa with the herbs, place the quinoa in the dish making a well in the centre for the vegetables. Sprinkle with the nuts and you are ready!
This looks as good as it tastes and would be a great way to use up any left over chicken. Surround it with a collection of lettuce and pile the chicken and broccoli in the centre.
Delicious oriental flavored chicken salad
- 3 chicken breasts or the meat off 1 pre cooked chicken.
- 1 .5 heads of broccoli
- 1/5 pack of sesame seeds browned in a frying pan
- 1.5 TBSP Soy sauce
- 1tsp nut oil mixed with 4 TBSP light olive oil
Shred the chicken pieces into a bowl. Steam the broccoli and refresh under cold water (this keeps the colour) and mix with the chicken. Brown the sesame seeds in a frying pan. Mix the soy sauce and oils (adjust this to your taste and add chili peppers if you like it hot) and add it to the sesame seeds. Mix the chicken with the soy/sesame sauce (make more if you need it) Put the salad leaves on the outer edge of a dish and pile the chicken mixture in the middle. Serve with crusty bread.
The recipe for this is just a guide so you can change it to suit your tastes!
Inspired by my trip to France this week and the amount of delicious vegetables that are ready to eat in our garden I came up with this simple but delicious fish dish that we baked wrapped in foil on the barbecue.
Easy and delicious baked fish recipe
Recipe for 4
- *1 x 1kg piece of hake with the scales removed from the skin
- 2 courgettes ( chose 1 green and 1 yellow) sliced about half cm thick
- 1 med size red onion sliced thinly
- 3 tomatoes sliced thinly
- fresh thyme
- Olive oil
*(this is very easy to do with a sharp knife, just run the knife the opposite way to where the scales lay and they will easily come off. The skin is then very soft and delicous to eat with the fish.Tear off several large pieces of foil and but them over each other in a cross shape.
Mix the raw vegetables together and put as a heap in the centre.
Sprinkle with salt, olive oil and thyme (you could add some chilli too at this stage if you like a bit of spice!
Put the prepared Hake fillet on top of the fish and pull the foil over the top to wrap so that it is sealed.
Either place on a covered barbecue or in an oven. It takes about 30-40 minutes. Check after 25 minutes, it is cooked when the fish meat comes easily away from the bone.
I served it with freshly steamed carrots and minted new potatoes! Good news is that the kids loved it as Hake has only got one large backbone so it is easier to eat!
Easy and delicious baked fish recipe
I made this recipe for dinner last night. It was quick and delicious. Praline is very easy to make and here is a basic recipe.
For 6 people you will need:
- 1 pint cream
- caster sugar
- 1 small packet hazlenuts
- 1/2 punnets of fruit
- 2 egg whites.
Measure out the same amount of sugar to shelled hazelnuts. Bake the hazelnuts in the oven until they get a little tanned, then cool on a sheet of foil.
Pour the sugar into a heavy based saucepan under high heat until it liquifies. Do not stir it as it will create crystals, you can gently shake the pan once in a while to encourage the sugar to even out and melt quicker. It will start to look like the photo.
As soon is it is liquified, tip in the hazelnuts, gently stir and tip back onto the foil to cool and harden.
NOTE: put the pan under v. hot water to get out the rest of the caramel!
When the praline mixture is hard, liquidize until it is like fine breadcrumbs. Keep until needed.
Whisk 1 pint of cream in a bowl into soft peaks, chopped up 2 punnets of raspberries (you can use any soft fruit) and rougly mashed it into it.
Mix in the fine praline.
Separate 2 eggs and using only the whites whisk them until they hold peaks then fold (with as few folds as you can) into the cream.
Divide between ramekins or glasses, as I did, chop some strawberries for the top and serve.
I was reading the Laura Craik article this weekend in the Sunday Times Magazine about wearing pastel colours. As you can see below she is pictured wearing a very pretty (very light) outfit.
The point about this is that she said anyone who can wear an outfit like this, ‘never forgot to hand in the form for her child’s Christmas card and end up begging Prontaprint to do a rush job for six times the cost’!
Well my first thought was ‘thank god it’s not just me!’ second thought was, are pastels still off the list despite the fact that my children are no longer toddlers?
Question was answered about 30 seconds later when as part of my Summer (trying to look acceptable in a bikini) exercise regime I dressed up in a white (yes white) skirt and top. After all it is supposed to be Summer today. I sat down to eat a very delicious, juicy Mango and immediately spilt the entire thing onto my lap. My skirt now has a very orange blob on it and because I have given up, I have not washed it off, I have just decided that the skirt will have to become multicoloured and am planning beetroot for lunch!
For the Croutons and Chicken
2 slices old bread cut into cubes about 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 chicken breasts (each 2 to 3 ounces and 1/2 inch thick)
1 package romaine lettuce hearts (18 to 20 ounces)
For the Dressing:
60ml cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
60ml cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 oz grated Parmesan
2 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (optional)
1 small garlic clove
- Make croutons: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes; remove from oven; and let cool.
- Make chicken: Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook thoroughly, 1 to 2 minutes per side; remove from fryingpan and let cool.
- Prepare lettuce: Cut romaine crosswise into 1-inch ribbons; wash and dry.
- Make dressing: In a blender, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, Parmesan, anchovy fillets (if using), and garlic; blend until smooth. If preparing this recipe in advance, see storage instructions (below).
- If stored in refrigerator, bring chicken and dressing to room temperature.
- Slice chicken breasts crosswise into strips; toss with croutons, lettuce, and mix with dressing.
*oringinal recipe from Martha Stewart