Hot cross heaven

17 Feb

Today I ate my first hot cross bun of the season. I was trying to wait until at least March but I was tired and emotional when I was shopping last night so they ended up in my trolley. I like to put them straight in the freezer to keep them fresh, then I microwave them as needed. They are warm and taste like they are just taken out of the oven. And the butter melts..that is key.

Hot cross buns are amazing plain and toasted and they make the house smell like a holiday. But I do have a terrible secret to share. I’m ashamed of this fact. I’ve fought it and fought it…I eat fruit free hot cross buns only.

I know, I’m like a child, but I’ve never been a big fan of fruit breads and fruit cake. It’s only as an adult that I’ve started trying them. But when it comes to hot cross buns I can only eat the fruit free ones. They have all the taste and none of the fruit and peel. When I was little I used to pick all the fruit out until a pile of sultanas was left on my plate. As a result it took me ages to eat a hot cross bun which wasn’t ideal when we were rushing around getting ready for school. When I first moved in with my husband I did the same. I loved eating hot cross buns (they weren’t doing fruit free yet) and raisin toast but I would always pull all the fruit out and my husband found it very unappealing. I decided to only eat fruit breads in secret. There’s no need for him to see me doing that.

Food is such a memory trigger for me and hot cross buns remind me of our house in Annangrove and when our family would come over for Easter lunch. My mum would spend days cooking and would get up at 5am to do lunch. It was amazing and elaborate. There was bread with whole eggs in it and as always, lasagne which was part of any traditional Italian feast. We don’t do lasagne anymore…too many food allergies and food preferences. Now we cook pasta, gluten-free pasta and two different sauces. There are different spoons for serving…lasagne was easier.

I remember my mum cutting into portions with a metal spatula. My Dad would get the biggest piece – almost a quarter of the tray – and the rest would be spread out amongst the family. Sometimes she did two trays. I loved sneaking into the kitchen and eating the crispy bits that were stuck to the pan. And leftovers. Nothing has ever tasted as good as reheated lasagne.

I loved and still love Easter eggs too, but there are so many different varieties now. You can find Easter eggs in every flavour. Easter for me is still a plain, hollow Easter egg. I loved the first bite or sometimes I would smash it with my hand before unwrapping it. Either way I liked to be left with a pile of small pieces and crumbs of chocolate.

I used to get this amazing Easter egg pack from relatives – it had a hollow egg and was surrounded with chocolate with soft, yummy fillings. They don’t make it anymore. Now it’s all about Ben 10, Dora and every other novelty toy for kids. Some Easter eggs come with toys like torches and drink cups. The kids love them and sometimes even forget to eat their chocolate. Lucky for me. Oh, and the Parramatta Eels Easter Eggs that are an important part of our family too.

The countdown to Easter is on and now that it is almost March I feel like I can truly begin to look forward to it. I tried not to look at the Easter eggs and hot cross buns at my grocery store on New Year’s Day. The lead up to Easter is all about March and April for me.

I haven’t mentioned religion in this blog. Religion is a personal thing but there are movies I watch out for at Easter time and plenty of conversations with our children to explain what we feel is the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not all about the Easter bunny in our house and I love that too.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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