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Hot Cross Buns for Easter!

One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!



Hot cross buns are traditionally baked to be eaten during Lent, the 40 days before Easter. The bun acquired mythical properties over the centuries and early literature reveals that the hot cross bun was also known as the Good Friday Bun.

The most famous story says that the origins of the Hot Cross Bun date to the 12th century when an English monk was said to have placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honor Good Friday. Throughout history the bun has received credit for special virtues, among them that of ensuring friendship between two people sharing a bun. An old rhyme states, "Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be."

Another tradition holds that a hot cross bun should be kept hanging from the kitchen ceiling from one year to another to ward off evil spirits. Healing properties were also attributed to it. Gratings from a preserved bun were mixed with water to provide a cure for the common cold.



There are loads of delicious ways to eat this legendary treat: you can slice them, toast them and butter them! I love them toasted with real butter and strawberry jam! This recipe is an old family one and it makes about 10 buns - but we always double it up!

Hot Cross Buns


My Ingredients:
450g bread (strong) flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp mixed spice
75g butter
7g fast action dried yeast (generally 1 sachet)
50g caster sugar
1 egg
275ml warm milk (40 seconds in microwave will do)
200g dried raisins or currants (I don't like the traditional dried mixed fruit - but if you do, use that instead)
grated rind of an orange

My Method:
1. Put the flour, salt and mixed spice in a bowl and give them a quick whisk to mix. Rub in the butter to the flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the yeast, sugar, beaten egg and milk and stir together into a soft dough.
      2. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you are using a mixer to make these buns give it five minutes on low with the dough hook. Add in the dried fruit and the grated orange rind and knead for another minute.
        3. Roll out the mix slightly and cut the dough into 10 pieces. Roll these into balls on the table using the flat of your hand and place on a baking sheet or tray. Leave their own width again between each bun so they will have room to rise.
          4. To make the cross mix 1 Cup flour with about 3 tbls cold water to make a basic soft dough. Roll it out really thin and cut into little strips. Dampen with a little water and stick to the top of each bun. Take a length of plastic wrap and brush with a little cooking oil. Place this loosely on top of the buns (oiled side down) and leave in the kitchen to double in size - about 20 minutes depending on the weather and the warmth of the room. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 390ºF (360ºF if a fan oven) for 20 minutes.
            Hot Cross Buns were traditionally brushed with a sugar & water glaze when they're still hot, but I prefer to brush them with local honey from the Saturday country market in Leghowney, near Donegal Town!


            And Here's my recipe for Hot Cross Buns with American Cup measurements
            http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/Irish-hot-cross-buns-recipe-for-Easter.html

            Enjoy!

            Zack

            Video & Music by http://www.youtube.com/user/annshelaann

            Major Food Tourism Workshop in Donegal Town - Free Registration

            The Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s Longest Defined Coastal Touring Route. Irish people and visitors to the west of Ireland who travel the route, find it really inspiring, renewing, relaxing and invigorating. 

            From its northernmost point in Donegal to its southernmost in Cork, the Wild Atlantic Way offers one of the world’s most diverse and spectacular coastlines. You can immerse yourself in the culture, music and food found in the towns and villages along the way, climb the most breathtaking heights and experience a landscape that revives the soul.


            In response to the greater emphasis our international visitors now place on food as part of their overall holiday experience, Fáilte Ireland, Ireland's National Tourism Development Authority, has developed Ireland’s Food Story – a resource packed full of engaging content and inspirational advice to help people in business to capitalise on this growing trend.

            Fáilte Ireland has recently asked all their Food Champions to host workshops to help people in the tourism business along the route to develop their Food Story using the new Failte Ireland Food Story Toolkit



            Let's Talk Food on the Wild Atlantic Way is a workshop on how Food Tourism can enhance your marketing and drive sales to your business.

            As there are four Food Champions in County Donegal and here being the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way, we decided to host one central Donegal Workshop to avoid duplication. 

            Sliabh Liag sea cliffs are on the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal

            Let's Talk Food on the Wild Atlantic Way will provide practical tips and advice on how to write a food story for your business and how it can deliver additional business.

            Workshop Content:
            • Food and the Wild Atlantic Way – how and why it’s important to your business
            • Examples of the food experiences your target market wants
            • Marketing tips to create, promote and deliver your food story 
            • Examples of how other businesses have used local food to gain business, stand out and drive revenue 
            • Ireland’s Content Pool – How to access the free collection of images, video and copy to use in your marketing material

            This three-hour workshop is open to everyone who is interested in building and promoting their business on the Wild Atlantic Way. It will be especially beneficial to managers, marketing managers, business owners and the people who write content for your website, social media, brochures, advertising etc.

            This Free Workshop is fully subsidised by Fáilte Ireland and takes place at: 
            Donegal Town Community Enterprise Centre, in Donegal Town
            on Wednesday 22nd April from 10.00am – 1.00pm.

            Directions to Donegal Town Community Enterprise Centre

            To Register email development@donegaltown.ie

            or contact any one of the four
            Donegal Failte Ireland Food Champions
            Mary McGettigan 087 1777140 (A Taste of Donegal Food Festival)
            Hugh O'Donnell 087 7975704 (Kitty Kelly’s Restaurant Killybegs)
            Zack Gallagher 086 6632079 (The Irish Food Guide)
            Donal Doherty 087 2195577 (Harrys Restaurant & Harrys Shack)


            This is a great opportunity for people in business and potential new businesses to learn from and work with some of Failte Ireland's Food Champions and to make the most of this amazing country we live in.

            I look forward to seeing you there!

            Zack

            Seven Irish Food Producers celebrated at the 2015 Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards

            Seven Irish Food Producers were celebrated this afternoon, at the 2015 Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards and Lunch which were hosted at l'Ecrivain in Dublin by top chef and avid Irish food promoter Derry Clarke.

            The Irish Food Writers' Guild (IFWG) was formed in 1990 to promote high professional standards of knowledge and practice among writers about food, nutrition, food history and other allied matters and to assist in the forging of links and networks between professionals in the food industry.

            The IFWG Food Awards are considered one of the most prestigious of their type in Ireland. They are also unique in that the members of the Guild are the sole nominating and decision-making body and no company or individual can enter themselves for these awards.


            Each year they present awards that celebrate homegrown producers, organisations or individuals, whilst also celebrating the heroes who have devoted and are continuing to devote their lives to supporting and promoting Irish food. Now in its 21st year, the annual Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) Food Awards is a firm favourite on the Irish culinary calendar. 

            Food provenance and authenticity were top of the agenda at this year’s Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards, as seven food producers were awarded and honoured for the high standard and impeccable quality of their products, as well as for their unwavering dedication, devotion and commitment to Irish food. At the event in Dublin today, special mention was also given to producers who embraced sustainable practices and techniques.

            Chairperson of the Irish Food Writers Guild, Lizzie Gore-Grimes - Picture courtesy Aoife Carrigy

            Lizzie Gore-Grimes, Chairperson of the IFWG said, “The origin of food and drink products is becoming an increasingly important and influential factor for consumers; more and more we are seeing ‘local’ and ‘homemade’ as key factors in their decision-making process. What’s more, as the consumers’ knowledge and interest in food provenance grows, so too does the need for complete transparency on the part of the producer. The stronger the story behind the brand and the more that is known about its origin, the greater the connection between the consumer and the product.

            “All of our winners are flying the flag for food provenance this year. They come to the market with products that are real, authentic and bursting with honest-to-goodness quality. The quiet success of these seven winners is in no small part due to the richness of their produce, the strength of their story and the passion of the people behind them." said Lizzie. "What may initially have started as a labour of love for our award winners is now reaping the rewards today. All of our winners are wonderful ambassadors for Irish food, and I am certain that they will remain key players in maintaining Ireland’s enviable reputation on an international stage.”


            The 2015 awards were held  at Derry Clarke's much-celebrated l'Ecrivain Restaurant and the Guild presented seven awards at an event which was attended by some of the biggest names in Irish food!

            The winners at the 2015 Irish Food Writers' Guild Award are:


            On the Pig’s Back  www.onthepigsback.ie
            Home Made Pates & Terrines. Farmhouse cheeses, Charcuterie. Stall in the English Market in Cork, and Cafe-Deli in Douglas, Co Cork.
            (@PigsBackCork on Twitter)



            Skeaghanore West Cork Duck www.skeaghanoreduck.ie
            Fresh farm ducks, hand reared and fed a 100% natural cereal-based diet by Helena & Eugene Hickey in Ballydehob, West Cork.
            (@SkeaghanoreDuck on Twitter)



            Wild About Foods www.wildabout.ie
            Artisan chutneys, preserves, syrups, seasoning rubs, cocktail bases and wild pesto made fresh from ingredients sourced locally, foraged in the wild or grown in Malcolm and Fiona Falconer's permaculture gardens in Co. Wexford. (@WildAboutFoods on Twitter)




            A special Irish Drink Award was presented to 
            Richmount Elderflower Cordial www.richmountcordials.ie
            Husband and wife team, David and Martina Burns,make Elderflower Cordial from pure, natural ingredients without any concentrate or artificial sweeteners, flavourings, additives, colourings, or sulphites in Co Longford (@ElderflowerLfd on Twitter)



            The Guild’s Environmental Award, where the Guild recognises the integrity of the production methods went to Foods of Athenry www.foodsofathenry.ie
            Family Bakers of Gluten Free products and wheat & spelt in their second and separate bakery, all containing no preservatives , additives or hydrogenated fats.
            (@FoodsOfAthenry on Twitter)



            Birgitta Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse www.burrensmokehouse.ie
            was honoured for her notable contribution to Irish food. Originally from Sweden, Birgitta origionally studied marine biology and started up Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna in 1989. It produces award winning smoked organic Salmon, Trout, Eel and Mackerel.
            She is Chairperson of Slow Food Clare, Chairperson of IASC and a member of Good Food Ireland. They opened their Visitor Centre in 1995 to showcase their own products and other local gourmet products and crafts. It has become a popular tourist attraction in the North County Clare area and welcomes over 30,000 visitors from all over the world each year.
            Brigitta is at the forefront of promoting Irish Food and is very involved with Failte Ireland's drive to make Food Tourism an major component of the future of modern Irish Tourism.
            (@BurrenSalmon on Twitter)





            Veronica Molloy of Crossogue Preserves www.crossoguepreserves.com
            won the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to growing on the home farm and the consistent innovation of her range of artisan Irish preserves over 20 years.
            Veronica was taught how to make preserves by her mother-in-law Nancy and many of the recipes used today are family recipes passed down through the generations.
            All her preserves are made using traditional cooking methods using the highest quality ingredients and produced in small batches by hand to maximise control procedures and taste; no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives are used. Although this means that production is labour intensive it results in a unique and distinctive flavour.
            This continuing dedication aimed at producing a superior product has brought success in the shape of national and international Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards over the last ten years.
            Crossogue Preserves remains a family owned operation with an experienced and dedicated team. Veronica's aim has always been to produce quality products with efficiency and to offer excellent customer service.
            (@CrossogueP on Twitter)


            The Awards are supported by Bord Bia which was commended by the Irish Food Writers' Guild for its tireless support of the Irish food industry both in Ireland and abroad.

            Zack

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            The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

            It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

            “My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

            Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

            Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit www.IrishFoodTours.ie

            The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route