Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls.

This week Carol Taylor shows us how to prepare Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls (sorry Carol but I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere).

There have been packets of hot cross buns in our supermarket for the last four weeks, all with long expiry dates (suspicious)… make your own from scratch and enjoy not just the flavour but the knowledge that you getting the real thing.

Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls.

Yes it’s that time of the year nearly Easter although Easter Sunday falls on the 1st of April this year which is also April Fools Day

How many of you remember singing one a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns or am I showing my age?

It became an English language Nursery Rhyme and a street cry referring to those spicy Easter buns…associated with the end of Lent.

The earliest record in Poor Robins Almanac in 1733 was as follows:-

Good Friday comes this month.
The old woman runs with one a penny, two a penny hot cross buns.

I remember the warm hot cross buns and going with mum to the fishmonger as in England fish is traditionally eaten on Good Friday to get the fish and the fresh parsley for the sauce.

Steamed cod with parsley sauce, fresh carrots and peas from the garden and mashed potatoes…I still remember that and how good it tasted unfortunately I can’t get Cod here although we get lots of other fresh seafood’s.

We had until lunchtime to get anything we needed as the shops then closed and didn’t open until Tuesday morning unlike today when Easter opening times are not observed by many retail shops any more.

So without further ado here is your recipe for Hot cross Buns so you can have them tomorrow hot from the oven. Well you have to do a test run don’t you? That one above didn’t last long and as you can see hubby loves his butter.

Hot Cross Buns.

Ingredients: For the dough

• 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
• 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
• 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
• 150ml warm milk
• 1 egg, beaten
• 50g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
• oil, for greasing
• 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.

The spices and dried fruit

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp mixed spice
• ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
• 100g currants
• Optional: Orange or lemon zest.

To decorate

• 4 tbsp plain flour
• 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Let’s Cook!

Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix together. If you want to add a little lemon or orange zest it can be added now.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form dough I always start with a wooden spoon and finish with my hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.

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 the dough 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, and then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.

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

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.

Tip: I put my mix for the cross in one of those plastic refill sauce bottles as I find I get all sorts of shape and size of cross if I use a piping bag/greaseproof paper clumsy klutz that I am..Ha ha.

Hot from the Oven! Yum now legend tells us that if sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time or if hung in the kitchen they are said to protect against fire and all bread will turn out okay this is replaced every year. And I’m sure there are lots more traditions but I just want the butter to put on my bun.

Enjoy your buns with plenty of butter fresh from the oven.

Fish Balls.

As I can’t get Cod here and also because these are really nice I have lovely recipe for fish balls with parsley sauce. I remember my mum used to get a nice piece of Cod and cook it in milk with a bay leaf and other seasonings. Make her parsley sauce and pour over the fish……I have really happy memories of that but I have tweaked the recipe a little(don’t tell my mum) instead of a piece of fish I will be making fish balls but the white sauce recipe will be my mums..Untouched by time or me.


• A half a kilo of firm white fish.
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk or cream.
• Flour to bind the fish balls together.
• 1tsp of onion powder…I chop the white part of a spring onion(green onion) very finely…I just don’t do powders
• Some fresh basil washed, leaves picked and finely chopped.
• 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
• Fresh parsley washed and chopped.

Let’s Cook

Depending on your fish…pin bone it. Unless its fillets and you know there are no bones.

Mix all the ingredients together and blitz in the food processor.

Put mixture in the fridge for 1 and a half to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t got fish stock already made then get making or fish stock cubes are okay.

Because a lot of fish is eaten here I can always get fish to make stock and freeze it.

When your mixture is ready to cook, bring your fish stock to the boil at this point if you are making these for a special occasion or just because you want to …add a glass of white wine.

Using spoons dipped in cold water or your hands make golf ball sized balls.

I would recommend doing a tester as if it falls apart you will need to add more flour to the mix.

If they are okay then cook in batches until they are all cooked. Reserve the fish stock for your sauce.

To make the sauce:

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan; add 1 tbsp of flour to make a roux.

I use 1/2 cup of fish stock plus 1/4 cup of milk/cream. Gradually stir this in until it is all incorporated and you have a nice smooth sauce.

Remove from the heat and add lemon or lime juice, season with salt and black pepper and stir in 1/2 cup of washed and chopped parsley.

Serve with mashed potatoes and carrots or if they are in season, some lovely Jersey

Royal potatoes, carrots or peas.

N.B we also love this sauce with home cooked ham and carrots/peas and potatoes of your choice.

I hope you enjoy these Easter recipes what do you traditionally eat at Easter? Please let me know…I would love to hear as I know Easter food varies around the world…Here Easter is not celebrated as it is a Christian celebration.

Until next week when I will bring you some recipes for Easter biscuits and maybe a pudding…nothing fancy as I am not a baker really…

You can find my previous columns in the directory:

A huge thanks to Carol for her commitment to providing these recipes for us by slaving over a hot stove…. especially as they have been enjoying 90 degree heat for the last few days. As she keeps telling me as I lamented our snowed in status…..thanks Carol..

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog:


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Looking forward to your comments and it would be great if you could hit a few share buttons..thanks Sally

40 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls.

  1. Thank you, Sally, for allowing me to share my recipes and I am so pleased you appreciated me sharing the sun and warmth we have here…lol..although a tropical storm is forecast for this afternoon.. it will still be warm so never fear…I won’t have to dig out the cardi Hugs 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. I remember that rhyme Carol. I still love hot cross buns though it is while since I baked any. I like the idea of using the sauce bottle for the crosses. Yours look pretty immaculate. Fish and parsley sauce – yummy. Thank you ladies. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this recipe. Every year I try a different one in an attempt to find THE best. Perhaps this is it. I’ve not seen the tip to cut the top before… I had decided to give up and use an icing cross as I just made a mess. Now I’ve got this tip, I’ll use the cut method and cross my fingers, after piping of course. The other surprise in this recipe is two packs of yeast. I’ll make my buns in Kritsa, Crete to share with neighbours who are so generous in sharing their seasonal, celebratory foods with us.
    Thanks again, X

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Carol you are so talented. I am in awe of your baking (and don’t tell me it’s easy. It’s not for me! it’s hard!). I too remember those days of the shops being closed for half the week at Christmas and Easter.,,, now they are barely closed for the day. Although I am not religious I do miss the traditions and the Anticipation and the Sense of something magical was happening. Now Easter Eggs start to appear in the shops the day after New Year! And Christmas starts in September….. by the time it arrives your are desensitised! Sadly!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sally, thanks for another delicious post from Carol.
    Carol, I am glad you described your mother’s fish recipe (since I can’t have eggs for your fish balls). I’ve never had anything like that, and it sounds easy and wonderful. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I can imagine the heady scents in the kitchen. This sounds like something I can manage but will not because I’ll be tempting continued taste tests till they are all gone. Of course, I could make them for my grandchildren… 😉
    Thanks for the recipes. Sounds awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. My first job at a hospital in the UK started on a February and I remember one of the doctors, a foody, insisting on introducing all of us, new foreign doctors, to hot cross buns. I don’t like tea and not big on buns or scones (or butter or marmalade, so you can’t see the problem) but it will always remain one of my memories of the job and the place. Thanks very much

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. I have been very remiss in replying to all the comments on this post I have no excuses unless it was the week I was without internet but I am so sorry and thank you everyone for your kind words and if you made the buns I hope you enjoyed 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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