It’s Easter time and that means chocolate eggs and hot cross buns! Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, hot cross buns are enriched bread made with spices and citrus zest/peel. They are marked on top with the symbol of the cross, made from either a flavourless flour water mix or a mix of powdered sugar and milk.
This weekend I undertook a hot cross extravaganza and made hot cross cookies, scones and my signature buns known as hot cross bunnies; obviously made in the shape of a (Easter) bunny.
Previously I have made hot cross brownies and plan to make hot cross pancakes and muffins for next year.
Many recipes for hot cross buns call for ‘mixed spice’. So what exactly is in this blend?
Hot Cross Bun spice mix:
2 teaspoons of true cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon clove
This quantity will be more than sufficient for one full batch of hot cross buns. Use the leftover spice blend to make cookies, scones, cake or whatever else you can think of to ‘hot crossify’.
*For best flavour, grind the spices fresh just before using in a recipe.
*For more pungency double the amounts of allspice, nutmeg and clove.
Leading up to Easter is Lent, a time where fasting is observed. Passover, which coincides with the timing of Easter, does not allow chametz foods (i.e. fermented grains) to be eaten during this 8 day Jewish holiday.
Battle of the Indulge – Showdown with the (chocolate) Easter bunny
I did the reverse of Lent and went from feasting to fasting. I believe in eating seasonally and this time of year saw many reasons to indulge in unprocessed sugar and treats:
Participating in the vegan bake-off; my birthday; long-drawn out winter blues and its accompanying carb cravings
Easter is a moveable feast meaning it doesn’t have a fixed date. It falls on the first Sunday post first full moon of spring in the northern hemisphere. While some are feasting at the end of Lent I shall be observing spring cleaning as it pertains to diet.
Spring signifies new beginnings and the move from heavy to light fare and the consumption of more raw food with less emphasis on cooked. To help the natural cleansing mechanisms of your body, try incorporating the following into your diet:
drink lots of water with lemon
eat salad made with baby greens e.g. arugula, kale, spinach etc.
eat seasonal fruits and vegetables e.g. berries, asparagus
have light soups e.g. miso with vegetables and seaweed
reduce sugar consumption
increase probiotics in your diet by eating fermented foods (eek that means chametz!)
replace comfort foods with healthier choices e.g. instead of a chocolate doughnut, have homemade nutella on a rice cake
Lent has come to a close and the Passover Seder has begun which means lots of goodies to eat. Pigging out during the holidays is as much a tradition as the food so feel free to indulge and follow these tips to help mitigate the bloating during these holy-days:
Add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to your drinking water to help stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid (needed for digestion).
Supplement with digestive enzyme tablets.
Eat a salad full of raw vegetables to obtain digestive enzymes naturally.
Ensure you have a healthy dose of probiotics (i.e. through yoghurt, kefir, supplements) in your diet to encourage healthy intestinal flora.
Eat when calm. Stress inhibits digestion.
Take the time to chew your food slowly; it helps digestive enzymes do their work more effectively.
Avoid drinking water with meals; it dilutes the digestive enzymes which can lead to indigestion and bloating.
Eat small meals throughout the day instead of pigging out all at once. For the ‘big meal’ keep portions small so that you can enjoy a bit of everything.
Wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds (assuming there will be food left in 20 minutes time) to make sure your brain has time to give you the message that you are full.