Allow three hours to include rising time. Makes 16 buns.
1.5 tsp dried yeast
5 fl oz warm milk
1 oz caster sugar
12 oz strong white flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground or grated cinnamon
1 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 oz currants or mixed fruit – chopped a bit finer
Grated zest of one lemon
2 oz butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour and 1 tsp water mixed to form a paste - for the cross
1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp boiling water mixed - to glaze
Stir together the warmed milk, the sugar and yeast in a small jug or bowl.
Warm a large metal bowl gently for a few minutes on a low heat or in the oven, then put in the flour. Mix in the other dry ingredients – the spices, fruit, salt and lemon zest and rub in the butter.
Create a well in the flour and add the milk mixture, then the beaten egg. Mix the ingredients until well incorporated. Knead for ten minutes until a good smooth dough is formed. Cover with greased cling film or a clean damp cloth and leave until double in size (usually about two hours depending on room temperature)
When risen knock back the dough and knead for a further two minutes. Cut into sixteen equal pieces and roll into bun shapes. Put on baking parchment on a metal baking sheet a few cm apart and cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife. Leave covered to double in size.
Preheat oven to 375/190 Gas Mark 5. Just before cooking dribble the flour and water paste across the cut. Cook in centre of oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove from oven and glaze immediately with the sugar water glaze.
Oh dear, suffolkfoodie has gone to London, Veggieplot has been publishing books and InspectorX has been on the road, visiting hotels. Nobody left to explore Suffolk! InspectorX did manage a family outing to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas market today. The lack of artisan foodie producers was dissappointing. They were probably at the far better Craft Markets at Blackthorpe Barns. We did eat a good Suffolk Ham and Cheese Crepe ( £5!) a funnel cake ( £3.50) two cups of mulled wine, weak and warm for (£7) The best thing we ate were the two Tin Miners Pasties (£2.75) from Edis of Ely in St Johns Street on the way home, and they have been on here lots of times before.
Why not hold a Marie Curie Tea Party? My friend Margaret held one yesterday for her 50th birthday party. We made sandwiches, cakes, cookies, scones, muffins, pimms, pots of tea and also enjoyed strawberries and cream. The party went on until 9pm after a great afternoon of catching up with old friends. Margaret raised £200. Well done and Happy Birthday Margaret!
Real bread, please!
My grandfather, Jim Farrow, was a Master Baker and ran the bakery and post office at Ixworth for many years. His son David also learned this trade and makes his own fabulous bread every day although the bakery has closed. I remember it well; the warm yeasty smell, the size of the huge mixing bowls, the heat of the ovens and the mismatched lino...although my childhood fantasy of ‘choose what you like from the shelves bursting with cakes, sausage rolls and pork pies’ was never fulfilled, as Grandad only ever offered us things that were months past their sell by date. And as a result of having fresh bread at home all the time, I tried to be best friends with children who had white-sliced. But now I have seen the error of my ways I love a nice wholemeal loaf, and although I don’t always make my bread, I do try to buy it from smaller bakers who have survived the supermarket onslaught when I can. In this part of Suffolk we are lucky to have Palmers, their family still making fresh bread every day, but although I say it myself, they can't make Chelsea Buns like mine!
Paul Campbell is the founder of Local Food Direct, a social enterprise working to give local people access to local food produced in Norfolk and Suffolk. He contributes part of our feature here.
One of the things I have noticed recently is how few genuine bakers there are around – people making delicious, fresh bread from good ingredients and without preservatives. Real bread is skilfully made from four simple ingredients: yeast, flour, water and salt – and in sourdough there isn’t even any yeast! Compare that to the extensive ingredients lists that are impossible to decipher on the packaging of industrially produced bread – they are worlds apart. When we talk about something being “the best thing since sliced bread”, I’m not sure we’re really on the right track. I’d take a freshly baked rustic loaf with a flavoursome crust above a preservative-filled, generic, perfectly sliced bread any day – even if does require getting a breadknife out.
I was having a look online for some statistics to include in this post and I came across the Real Bread campaign (http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread/) It’s a lottery funded project run by ‘Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming’. I was interested to see that one of their criteria for “real bread” is that at least 20% of the ingredients are locally sourced – good on ‘em. Reading up on them I found the stats I was looking for – that 95% of bread in the UK is produced by a handful of industrial bakers and in supermarkets. The problem is that this bread is so over-processed that it’s not healthy any more, and has become part of the national problem of unhealthy eating. I recommend having a look at the Real Bread campaign’s “background to the campaign” page – it outlines the argument clearly. I see bread as another example of the shift our society has made away from local suppliers and towards mass-produced food – but I’m glad to say the tide is turning. We have more and more customers requesting ‘real bread’ with their deliveries and are really happy to work with Dozen Artisan Bakery in Norwich, where all the bread is baked using traditional methods and organic ingredients. As far as local produce goes, bread is one of the things that really is better when it’s bought locally – the closer you are to the oven it’s baked in, the fewer preservatives are needed, the better the ingredients will be, the fresher the loaf on your table will be and the better the taste.
So those of us who are the offspring of bakers, farmers and other food producers often take up these particular reins. The Telegraph recently featured ‘fresh young foodies’ and there were a few from Suffolk. Stephany Hardingham from Alder Carr Farm has developed a brand of ice creams – Alder Tree – which use the fruit from the pick your own business and the farm shop. ·And the Strachan family from Rendham have developed a specialist milk herd and supply milk from four farms to produce Marybelle products that include milk, yoghurt and ice cream and they sell it throughout Suffolk. These new food businesses are not just about profit, they are about putting a family and social responsibility first, and bringing delicious home-made food to our tables.
This tea room won Suffolk magazine's Food and Drink Award last year for best tea or coffee shop, and I always wondered what that big teapot sign led to - we really liked the lemon cake.
Made these on Saturday morning to impress my suffolkfoodie colleagues and everything went wrong - had the wrong fliour, forgot to double up everything and realised half way through so had to guess, thought there was too much sugar so unravelled them all to take it out then got dough struck everywhere...but ...once they were cooked they were the nicest thing we had ever tasted and looked perfect. We drank it with several cups of Suffolk roasted coffee. So moral of the story is - never give up, cook it anyway.
A second visit here to buy cakes that I ended up giving to other people. It was closing time so got two chocolate banana muffins, a piece of carrot cake (not for me - I don't like it much) and a piece of coffee and walnut. These cakes are the BEST for miles around but remember it's only every other week.
A small but lively event in a small but lively village - with really good cakes (especially the gingerbread) and hot chocolate or tomato and basil soup to sip while we watched the cheesiest outdoor cinema I have ever tasted.