St Patrick’s Day Shamrock Buns

These cute little Shamrock buns were a breeze to make and are very healthy. Not only do they have quite a high proportion of wholemeal flour, they also hide broccoli in them. And they’re delicious, especially with cream cheese (lots of cream cheese)…
I adapted this recipe from the “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” site. For those unfamiliar with this revolutionary method that involves neither kneading nor multiple rises, check out this post.

Bright green Shamrock buns for St Patrick's Day

Yield: 8 buns
1 2/3 cup of raw broccoli florets
1/2 cup of water for cooking
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon Vital Wheat Gluten*
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon of warm water
Optional: 1/3 cup of grated cheese for sprinkling – I left this out
I also added a few drops of green food colouring

*(I have this as I use it a lot. You could skip it, but your buns might not rise as much. To add some more gluten to your dough, you could use bread flour in place of the plain flour. If you are planning to bake with wholemeal flour again, you should be able to buy vital wheat gluten from a health food shop)

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Add the broccoli and cook covered for about 4-5 minutes. Pour water and broccoli into a blender and blend until fairly smooth. I added a few drops of green food colouring here to make the colour pop.
Mix the flours, gluten, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and broccoli puree and mix with a spoon (or in a food processor). You might need to use wet hands to make sure there are no pockets of dry flour.

This is the dough after it is mixed but before resting

Set aside in a warm spot, covered (I use a plate to cover my bowl) for 2 hours.
Now you can refrigerate the dough for later use (up to 7 days). The original recipe calls for 3 times the amount, so you could bake 3 batches at 3 different times.
I chose to bake it straight away. I floured my bench, plopped the dough onto it and shaped it into a ball. I cut that dough in half, and cut each half in quarters so I had 8 roughly equal portions of dough. I divided each of those portions into thirds and formed them into balls which I placed onto a baking tray that I covered with baking paper. I arranged the little balls in groups of 3.

The original recipe calls for 4 balls per group, to make a 4-leaf clover. But shamrocks actually have only 4 leaves. I also omitted the muffin tin because I was aiming for a more defined leaf shape.

Now is the time to pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
After a 20 minute rest (40 if you’re using refrigerated dough), I baked the buns for about 20-25 minutes.

They're ready - aaand... kinda.... green...

Of course you could experiment with other ingredients. Maybe try beetroot instead for pink bread and make flowers out of 6 little balls of dough (one in the centre and 4 petals).
Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!!

How to make hearts from sausages, cherry tomatoes or grapes

I know I should have posted this a couple fo weeks ago in time for Valentine’s day, but I only just thought of this little trick again. It’s really quite cute and who needs it to be Valentine’s day to show our loved ones how we feel about them?
And they’re really quite quick to make, which is a bonus.

Butterfly sandwich decorated with FooDoodler food colouring mrkers and spaghettin antennae, sausage hearts & blueberries

You can make hearts out of other things like grapes or grape tomatoes, too.

For a sausage heart you need a small sausage, wiener or cheerio, a knife and a piece of uncooked spaghetti – that’s all.

Boil the sausage as usual, then cut diagonally through the middle and turn one half by 180 degrees.

Turn one end of the sausage around by 180 degrees and secure with one or two pieces of uncooked spaghetti. They will soften by lunchtime.
(If the sausages are too long to form a nice shaped heart, you can cut a section of the centre out to make the sides of the heart shorter)

Break off the excess spaghetti and you’re done!

You can use the same principle to make hearts from things like grape tomatoes (they’re like mini roma tomatoes) or grapes.

tomato heart

diagonally cut wedges off 2 similar sized tomatoes or grapes, Put the 2 large pieces together and secure with a couple of pieces of uncooked spaghetti


How to use egg moulds

This is a picture of eggs using all our available egg moulds. The bunny & fish are decorated with icing eyes.

Did you know that had boiled eggs, when still hot, are so flexible that you can shape them into many shapes? The resus will amaze you and it is so quick and easy.  If you don’t believe me, try it out yourself. Hard boil an egg, peel it and while still hot squeeze the 2 end together a bit between your thumb and forefinger while holding in a bowl of cold water. Hold this for a few minutes and you can make a spherical egg.

But now to more important instructions of how to use our egg mould
Firstly you need to chose the right sized eggs. Depending on the brand, you need large to extra large eggs. They should not be too fresh as fresh eggs tend to be very hard to peel. About a week old is usually good.

How to make shaped eggs using an egg mould

  • Hard boil your eggs with your favourite method and to your preferred done-ness. It does not matter whether you use a special egg cooker, boil them or steam them. See below for instructions on boiling eggs.
  • When the eggs have been boiled drain them and fill the pot with cold water to cool them a little so you can handle them. But they still need to be very warm. Peel the eggs. If they are a bit hard to peel, you can peel them under running warm water (so not to cool them down too much).
  • If you want to colour them, this is when to do that. Half fill a cup with hot water and add a few drops of food colouring. Submerge the egg for a few minutes, depending on the strength of colour you want. If you want to leave them white, skip this step.

    Peeled hard boiled egg submerged in a cup of hot water and food colouring

  • Rinse the egg mould briefly under cold water and place the egg (still very warm) into the mould. Place the mould into a bowl of cold water and leave for 10 minutes
  • Carefully open the mould and remove the moulded egg. Store in the fridge and consume within 24 hours.

    How to hard-boil an egg

    I have one of those gizmos that you place in the pot with the eggs and it changes colour when the eggs are ready.
    This is a way to boil eggs the old fashioned way:
    Place eggs into a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for:
    5 minutes if you like a softer centre.
    6 minutes if you like them cooked all the way through.

How to make Octodogs!

Octodogs are so cute and really easy to make and you don’t need any special equipment. Use your favourite cocktail sausage. We love csabai, a spicy Hungarian sausage, or cheese kranskies. But plainer ones will work as wellOctodogs - finished

  • Slit one end of the sausage in half lengthways. Only cut half way through the sausage. Then slice each half into 3 or 4 tentacles.
  • Slit Octodogs
  • Place the sausage into a pot of simmering water. Don’t boil too rapidly. Simmer for about 5 minutes. The ends will curl upwards.
  • Cooking Octodogs
  • Drain the sausage and decorate.You can use our nori punches to make the face of the Octodog. Or you could do what I usually do. With a knife or the tip of my cooking tweezers (I have a pair that is dedicated for kitchen use) I make 3 little incisions for the eyes and mouth. Then I insert black sesame seeds into the slits (this is much quicker and easier with tweezers).
  • You can finish them off with a cute hat pick.
  • Or make a whole tray of them for a party!!!