hot cross bun pudding

i love eating seasonally – there is something very comforting that no matter what else changes in life, we still eat hot cross buns at easter/autumn, fresh corn in late summer, strawberries in december, mandarins at the beginning of winter, apples and pears in autumn, asparagus in spring…. i could go on and on.
My mum is passionate about eating in season and eating local/New Zealand grown produce, (which go entirely hand in hand) which she has passed on to me. Lemons from the USA? Garlic from China? No thanks! (ps please don’t take offence guys, i’m sure they’re great!)
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The only exception would have to be coffee and the odd bit of tropical fruit  – but once global warming heats Dunedin to a balmy coffee plantation temperature, just you wait – i’ll be the first to jump on that bandwagon ;)
So hot cross buns is a kind of incongruous addition to that list – i hear you ask – but anna, flour and dried fruit and yeast are hardly seasonal ingredients: we eat bread all year round! what are you on about girl? but what i mean is that they appear in shops for easter, and disappear afterwards.
wholeheartedly embracing this seasonal, locavore eating, i have enjoyed quite a few hot cross buns over the last few weeks ;) – toasted with real butter, they are hard to beat! of course, if you’re looking to jazz some stale ones up a bit, i have another recipe to present to you – a hot cross bun pudding! I made a thick rich custardy sauce, poured it over them then baked in a water bath for 45 ish mins – and it was delicious! I have evidence to prove it – soon after i took it out of the oven and dished myself up a generous portion (dessert for dinner is ALWAYS a good idea) i retreated to the library to get my life sorted. An hour or so later, i received a text from one of the boys that simply said “that hot cross bun pudding was awesome”.
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and it really is – the liquid forms little pockets of creme brûlée in the gaps and the hot cross buns get crispy on top and soft and custardy underneath. I refrained from butter because I read the nutritional info on the cream bottle and it scarred me for life  I decided to not further pain the old arteries – but if you want to substitute the cream with milk partly or fully, i would defs consider buttering them. I would also consider upping the sugar if you know that you like your desserts on the sweeter side, as this pudding is a very restrained sweetness, which i like. alternately, just serve with lots of vanilla ice cream! we didn’t have any because ice cream has a life expectancy of approximately 2 1/2 hours around the flat ;)
oh my goodness – the new zealand cricket team, the black caps, are in the final of the Cricket World Cup against our arch nemesis/ bffls Australia (we have a complicated sporting relationship haha). The whole country will be on the edge of their seats tonight and i’m just hoping and hoping we manage to beat them. The Black Caps have never made the final before, let alone won it, New Zealand will just be the happiest place to be over the next wee while if we make it!! though to be honest, I think we’ll be good either way – everyone is just so proud of them for making it this far and that’s really really cool. Back the Black Caps! #backtheblackcaps!
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hot cross bun pudding
ingredients:
8 hot cross buns, split in half
500 ml cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
Preheat oven to 160 C and boil a full kettle of water. Arrange the buns in a deep baking dish. Heat the cream, sugar and cinnamon quill gently in the microwave or stovetop until sugar is dissolved and the cinnamon quill has infused the mixture nicely. Allow to cool and then remove the quill. Add vanilla and eggs to the cream mixture, whisking vigorously to combine. Pour custard over the buns and allow to soak in for five or so mins. Put a roasting dish that will comfortably hold your baking dish in the oven, put baking dish into it and then pour in the boiling water around the baking dish- it should come to halfway or two thirds high (you may need a couple of kettles worth). Bake for 45 mins or until nearly set in the middle (it pays to check at 30 min mark). I covered my baking dish with the glass lid, but i think you could get away with it uncovered – it may dry out slightly though. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 mins, and then serve with vanilla ice cream. enjoy!
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7 QT – hyde st, the bachelor and study inspiration

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1. we had the hyde st party on saturday which is basically the dunedin student event of the year! 4000 people pile into one little narrow street and have the biggest party. I missed out last year so i was so excited to go – and it was amazing! we dressed up as a basketball team – as you can see we had fun taking pictures! we had a champagne breakfast and crepes with yummy toppings beforehand which was perfect. I feel like i’ve ticked it off my dunedin bucket list, which is handy with it being my last year here and all ;)

2. the bachelor has come to new zealand and its just the best thing! i’m liking matilda so far – such a cute name right? oh ps on the bachelor usa i was so so pleased chris chose whitney and may or may not have cried – it was just so perfect!
3. i made this recipe for dinner the other night and it was so so good – i used to make it tons last year and it is always so yum.

4. i went to the career development centre at uni the other day and got majorly guilt tripped about my lack of extra curricular activities while i’ve been at uni – i was such a committed wee chicken at high school and then i got to uni and it all flew out the window haha. i thought all students were only supposed to study and drink – what is this other business?

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5. i am hanging out for the easter break!!!! i get to spend ten days at home with the family and whats more they are also on holiday at that time!! i can’t wait to do lots of fun activities and outings with my sister and mama. sarah, get ready for some cafe trawling!

6. i got given a brand new iPhone 4s back when i sent it in to get fixed and i cannot get over how good the battery life is!! i haven’t charged it once today and it’s still on 40% at eleven o clock at night!!! it used to die three times a day! i honestly couldn’t care less about the fact I am 3 versions behind, my family were gunning for me to get upgraded when i got the phone back but the battery life is a treat and all i need is insta, feedly and snapchat #reallife.

7. in my chinese cinema paper we’ve just had a response paper due and i stupidly agreed to do it in chinese – instead of english!! it was stressing me out big time and i felt like i couldn’t remember how to say anything.. but sure enough after a few days of reading and writing chinese i got back into it and feel insanely proud to have submitted a 700 word film critique in chinese! (which translates to like 1000 words in english – we anglo saxons are a lot wordier). it’s a personal win – i have the strongest sense of accomplishment that will stay with me for a while. it’s just brilliant to know that even after a nearly 5 month break from using a language, i will be able to pick it back up and surprise myself. i was pinning a LOT of pinterest inspirational quotes to get me through and making them my screensaver etc – here are some of my faves:  i hope if you’re having a crazy week these help you like they helped me!

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right, i’m off to the library to catch up on the notes that i have rather neglected in my chinese concentrations! happy week all – we bought ingredients for a hot cross bun bread and butter pudding which i’m going to make for the fatties flatties later on this week, so i’ll report back if it’s extra yum!

a plain good day

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yesterday was just one of those excellent days, that you have a beaming smile on your face all day long. it wasn’t even supposed to be a particularly good day – i was off to a tutorial, then dashing to give blood, then dash to work… you get my drift. but against all odds it was absolutely great!

ok, about to stand on my soapbox here, don’t worry it’ll be over in a sec:
give blood!! to be fair, this was only my second time giving blood and i’m nearly twenty which is pretty naughty, but it’s something i now feel very passionate about. it was something i’d always planned to do but had never gotten around to doing. i just needed an incentive/ to be told to!! my friend clara was booking herself in for an appointment in october last year and nicely-but-forcefully got me and our friend Jess to put our names down too (under the pretext: it’ll be fun! we can chat during and eat biscuits and drink tea together after!) (see, you can tell she’s a good ‘un)

i found out i was O positive which is a very lovely and obliging blood type, as far as blood types go- second only to O negative. O+ blood means that i can help fellow O+, As, Bs and ABs if they need a blood transfusion – and that’s over 90% of the population!

so i guess..
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..to give blood!

go on, do it! and be sure to eat plenty of wheaten chocolate digestives afterwards to reward yourself for being such a good human. and feel free to be just a little boasty about saving three people’s lives. go on, milk it! i sure do ;)

so as this liquid gold  O+ blood of mine was being donated, i had the greatest chat with the nurse about Croatia – a subject i am practically evangelical about, oh boy! i had to put down that I’d visited it on holiday in 2014 and so we got chatting about how she’d always wanted to visit, and me telling her all the places we went and islands we hopped around and how the water temperature is a goldilocks level of perfection. she was off home to get talking to her husband about Croatia for their next holiday!
it was so great!  and now i have my fingers and toes crossed that i’ll give blood again later on in the year and i’ll have the same nurse who’s just back from her croatian vacation and we can compare stories. stay tuned guys ;)

then afterwards, while i was nibbling on the afore mentioned chocolate digestive, the girl beside me looked very familiar and we both realised simultaneously that she’d been my netball coach when i was year 11 and she was year 13! and we had a wonderful catch up where you just relay the last 5 years of your lives. these happen more and more as i get older and i just love it – i’m hanging out for the day when it’s like 20 years to relay haha. she’ll be a fully qualified dentist at the end of the year which is so exciting. i just love that we all have our separate loves and interests in life – it fascinates me how we all love such different things.

then my beach date with clara was just perfect – i am crazy about the beach (or any body of water: lakes, rivers, not fussy). if i go too long without it .. i just don’t feel myself. something about the blue of the water and the sky just refreshes and calms me. i love this poem i found on pinterest.
that line “i need the sea because it teaches me…. the fact is that until i fall asleep, in some magnetic way i move in the university of the waves” – it echoes within me in the sweetest way. i wish i had Neruda’s way with words – such a clever man.
I borrowed Alexander Mccall Smith’s book Tears of the Giraffe, which i got about a chapter in then realised i’d already read – it’s the second ladies detective agency book. it was so sweet though as it reminded me how much i enjoy his writing – such gentle, cute prose that is so enjoyable to read. it also makes me want to travel to Botswana so badly!

sunshine + chats + beach + darling friends = day well spent. dear reader, you may notice there was no mention of study? ah, shall we assume that not studying is correlated with happy days?
…hehe, sorry, economics joke – such a geek. what can i say, with taking 3 eco papers this semester it’s bound to rub off on me!

stay tuned for a pie recipe potentially? i found out that tomorrow is Pi day – so i might just have to whip one up! better go watch waitress for inspiration. happy weekend!

healthy eating on a student budget: part 1

so after making cinnamon scrolls for the flatties last night (oops that autocorrected to fatties which is a fair call tbh) and a saturday market date this morning which involved a chocolate mousse doughnut, i was in dire need of some vegetables. luckily, past Anna (an overused expression of my sister’s, which i now seem to have picked up) was a thoughtful wee bunny and had prepared cooked lentils, homemade sun dried tomatoes, and feta in the fridge plus some frozen spinach in the freezer so i have just eaten a tremendously healthy lunch which my gluten weary body is thanking me for profusely. now don’t get me wrong – i’m no gluten nazi – but i feel so good when i’m not eating much of it.
eating healthily on a student (or any) budget is hard. bad food is just so cheap! and plentiful! and considering we buy bread as a flat, i could get by so cheaply if i just ate peanut butter toast for every meal of the day. and while that sounds like fun for the most part, not so good for this body of mine.

here are two tips, if you’d like (i will be doing more posts on the subject in the future. here are the two that come to mind for me right now!)

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1. preparation is yo friend
– the key to eating healthy food on a budget is sorting yourself out in the weekends or evenings or whenever you’ve got some free time. it is so so sooooo much easier to eat well if your fixings are sitting there in the fridge, and a mere five minutes away from a good meal. it’s when you’ve got nothing sorted that you resort to takeaways or junk food.

my fave preparations are
– lentils. protein yeeha! if i’m feeling fancy i’ll saute some onion and garlic to begin, add some spices and then the lentils and then stock, and cook it down like a dry dahl. otherwise i’ll just boil them in some salted water. these can be paired with just about anything to form the basis for a meal.
– roasted root veges. obviously a winter time thing. i’ll do pumpkin, kumara, beetroot, parsnip, carrot… basically anything i’ve got on hand, with the exception of potatoes.
– sun dried tomatoes. very cheap in the summer! basically just dribble over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or malt if you’re a poor student) and chuck them in a low oven (130 ish) for a few hours or until shrivelled and crinkly. and i don’t even like tomatoes that much, but i love these.
– some kind of good fat – avo, feta, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews.. they add interest and yum to a salad.
– green vegetables. get that chlorophyll in ya! i find it easiest to buy frozen vegetables such as green beans, edamame, or frozen spinach portions. all it takes is a zap in the microwave (or even just popping them in frozen if i’m making my lunch in the morning, as they’ll be defrosted by lunchtime.)

some fave combos
– plain lentils, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and feta
– avocado, sundried tomatoes and a poached egg
– spicy lentils with a fried egg on top and feta/halloumi sprinkled over
– roasted veges, lentils, green beans, feta, and a cashew/cranberry/almond nut mix
– spicy lentils with spinach stirred through
…and much more

psst – if you don’t love lentils, then you can sub Israeli or regular couscous into most of these. which does mean you’ll be eating that wheat we’re trying to avoid, but still pretty healthy!

I also love love roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and will very happily munch my way through a heads over a few meals.
i like…
– cauli roasted with curry powder and mustard seeds, then a quick tangy yoghurt sauce to top
– broccoli with parmesan/ feta and pumpkin seeds/flaked almonds

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2. get on the oat buzz
my weekday breakfast HAS to involve oats in some shape or form – all very well to munch on scones or eggs or scrolls on a weekend, but porridge or bircher is my go to on a weekday. i generally eat bircher in the summer and porridge in the winter. plus they’re so much cheaper than buying breakfast cereal! and i love that you can precisely control the amount of sugar. i bought some stunning rhubarb from the market today which i have already roasted with a little sugar and am looking forward to eating it with my bircher tomorrow!

some toppings/ combos
– cinnamon and fresh pear
– cinnamon and dates
– roasted rhubarb and vanilla yoghurt
– stewed appple made from proper cooking apples
– canned black doris plums and custard
– coconut, linseed and cranberries 
– brown sugar and cream
…yum!

life right now : the word that comes to mind is busy! i’ve just found out i have the dubious pleasure of two midterm tests on my birthday – cheers eco department. however, i’m powering on! i had a brilliant day today and got to spend time with some of my favourite people – had a morning market date and an afternoon tea with Paris tea and scones with cream and jam and gorgeous chats. i sure am a lucky ducky. plus my flatmate’s nana dropped round a ridiculous amount of baking complete with the butteriest shortbread i’ve ever tasted – mmm.
i have cinnamon scrolls to share with you – unfortunately i didn’t manage to take pictures of the finished product as we pounced on them! but my dear friends have kindly volunteered to come over to eat them this week so that i can get more photos – what selfless, charitable gals eh ;)
until next time, friends! have a great sunday! i hope you drink lots of coffee and read the sunday paper and stay in your pyjamas until at least lunchtime. xx