Easter Sunday, 12th April
Hot cross buns out of the oven. It’s the recipe I found on Twitter and I made them last night.
- Heat 300ml milk, stir in 75g caster sugar, and when the milk and sugar are hand-hot add 7g dried yeast and stir to dissolve.
- Mix 500g strong white flour with 1tsp salt, 2tsp ground cinnamon and zest of 1 orange.
- Melt 50g butter, beat a large egg and mix the two.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk and butter mixtures.
- At that point I put the lot in my bread machine on the Dough programme but you can mix it all together and then knead it by hand if you prefer.
- When the dough is done, you can add 100g mixed peel, 200g chopped milk chocolate and / or 200g sultanas. I didn’t bother with the mixed peel or chocolate, partly because I wouldn’t like that and partly because I didn’t have any.
- Make into buns – I got 14 out of this amount – and make a paste from 100g flour and 1tblsp water. I trickled on a cross on each bun, but the recipe suggests a piping bag.
- Leave them to rise for at least an hour, two is better. I left mine overnight and they were big and puffy in the morning.
- Bake in a hot oven (220 degrees C) for 25 mins, then glaze with heated golden syrup or apricot jam.Split and toast on one side and slather with butter!
We had coffee and hot cross buns together at midday, and discussed what Christianity meant to each of us. It was tranquil and harmonious.
I do a live instagram demo, because I have wanted to demonstrate how to get the best out of your fude pen for ages, and I wanted to reach out to people missing out on the Easter vibe. I use a Sailor pen, and while the company doesn’t sponsor me (despite mush begging on my part) they recently sent me a big box of pens in return for bandying about their name a bit (or to shut me up for a bit, more like). I am very happy to do so, as I love these pens. Here’s a good exercise: draw three boxes.
- Hold the pen at a low angle in the first, and make wide lines;
- Hold it upright in the second, and make lines of a medium width;
- Turn the nib around and make very fine lines with the reverse.
You can see the different lines in the three different boxes, and in the lines I drew underneath. So how does that relate to use when you’re sketching? For me, it’s twofold: you can use the skinny side to sketch out your subject, then use a broader line when you like what you’ve done – and, crucially, you can give lines different importance within your sketch. For example, your subject might have the most subtle of lines on its face, but strong lines along the body. A fude pen gives you the flexibility to do both with the one nib. Brilliant!
After a wonderful Easter dinner of roast lamb with rosemary and garlic, my husband Marcel insists we watch a film on Netflix called Jusqu’au Déclin. It’s about a group of catastrophists who go to a training camp in the snowy mountains of Canada. Stuff happens and I become tense to the point that I can’t look at the telly. “This may not be the movie for me at this time,” I say, but I am overruled. In the end I really enjoy it.
Wishing you a very happy Easter, wherever you are.