I have a huge fear of worms, and worm-like creatures. It is my one irrational fear, and they are the only creatures that’ll have me screaming like a 10-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I’m not the biggest fan of spiders and cockroaches, but I can easily just walk away and ask Frank to remove them. But worms, worms make me shudder and want to scratch my back and gag all at the same time.
The Pig Palace always gets an invasion of crawlies in April. I’m not sure if it’s the sudden drop in temperature or the increase in rain, but they move in with us in droves. Lucky for me the only worm-like creatures to make it into the perimeter so far were the five slugs sitting on top of the bin outside. (Which Frank was ordered in a hysterical voice to remove before I moved.)
The most irritating crawlies at the moment are the cockroaches. We’ve had our share of the ants with giant noses, but they only go for almond meal and are easy to get rid of. The cockroaches however scurry all over the place when you least expect it, and they don’t even bother to tread softly. Last night I opened the kitchen cupboard to find a jet-black roach staring at me. He then proceeded to waltz into the dark recesses and scratch around for food. I could actually hear him trying to decide between the peanuts and the risotto rice. Despite my frantic waiving of my flop-flop, he lived to feed another day. I’m almost certain that one of these days I’m going to come home and find him with my dressing gown and slippers on, drinking a glass of our best red. Or in my bed with his arm around me.
So, to use up all the good snacks from this roach’s selection and to celebrate Easter, I have made a batch of hot cross buns. They are delicious straight out of the oven, and also great toasted the next day. And they are roach-free!
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!
Hot Cross Buns – recipe from the BBC Good Food website
FOR THE DOUGH
450g strong white flour , plus extra for dusting
2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
150ml warm milk
1 egg , beaten
50g unsalted butter , melted, plus extra for greasing
oil , for greasing
THE SPICES AND DRIED FRUIT
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Put the flour, yeast, caster sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter.
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.
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 6.
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.