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The last days of Lent are full between w51bOCZagW9L._AA160_orship, study, shopping, cooking, and baking.   I often read THE LAST WEEK by Borg and Crossan…day by day or occasionally a couple of days at a time. (Read my Lenten blog Good Friday post here.)

Good Friday is, for me, Hot Cross Bun day and this year I used a new recipe from the BBC Good Food site by master baker Paul Hollywood. (Original recipe here. Scroll down for a printable copy of my  adapted American version.)
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I adore these new buns and have now changed my recipe allegiance to Mr. Hollywood. (Here’s my old one.)  Where else would you look for a Hot Cross Bun recipe?  (Read about the famous buns’ history here.) Make some and cement friendships as well as protect yourself from evil!  Or just make them because they’re good.  Sing along to “Hot Cross Buns.

Rosie has kept herself busy “chasing” deer from one window to the next as I bake.  Tucker isn’t so energetic and knows the deer will be back soon. We’ve all been waiting for Emily to come home and she’s here!  I’ve made Clam Chowder for lunch to go with the buns.IMG_7408

d5e69-emily-graduationseminaryHere’s a photo from nearly two years ago now when she graduated from seminary and we sang in the choir for her service.  We’ll have to grab some pics this weekend, which is already feeling too short.

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ADAPTED HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE– AMERICAN PRINTABLE VERSION HERE.

ABOUT MY BUNS–just in case you use the original BBC recipe:

1. The recipe uses metric measurements mostly, but not totally.  You’ll need to weigh your flour, sugar, etc.  I didn’t do the conversions to cups, etc., because I don’t mind baking like this.  If you don’t have a scale and need a chart for comparison/conversion, use this.  The recipe is worth it. (Soft, fluffy, flavorful rolls studded with gorgeous raisins flavored with orange and cinnamon. Sigh.)

2. The recipe calls for 3 proofs or rising.  I used two, refrigerated the dough in the middle, and found that worked fine.  In other words, I let the first rise go for a little more than an hour, punched down the dough, put it into a zip-lock bag, and threw it into the fridge overnight.

3. Next morning, I added the apples, cinnamon, orange rind (skipping the rest of the dried fruit–no loss) and formed them into rolls.  Onto  parchment-lined pans they went covered with oiled plastic wrap to rise again on a stove with the oven on preheating.  (See my printable recipe for a another version of making the dough a day ahead as I’ve now done this a few times!)

4. After reading the recipe reviews, I didn’t make my crosses with flour paste, but rather made a simple vanilla buttercream icing and piped the crosses on with a quart plastic bag that I clipped a corner from. I like them better that way.

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And just in case you’d like to make the chowdah….

QUICK CLAM CHOWDER  serves 4

This is so simple I didn’t see a reason to write out the recipe totally. Ingredients are in italics. Read through and you’ll have the idea.  You can embroider this Friday Fish Soup with added chopped asparagus or chopped tiny green beans. In my book (and here), I add fresh green peas. No bacon or salt pork in this recipe, though; it’s still a Friday in Lent.  Or try grating  some sharp cheese into each bowl — a nice addition.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a 6-quart pot. Add a finely chopped onion, two each stalks of finely chopped celery and carrots, and a minced garlic clove.  Season with two teaspoons dried thyme, a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Cook covered over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add 4-5 chopped new unpeeled red potatoes and heat through.  Pour in 1/2 cup white wine and let cook down a couple of minutes.  Pour in two bottles of clam juice and the juice from one 5-ounce can of clams. (Save clams to the side for a few minutes.)  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes just a bit with a potato masher.  Throw in a handful of chopped parsley.  Pour in 2 cups  milk and 1 cup half an half and heat through without boiling. Stir in clams; warm through. Season with a few drops of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with oyster crackers. (Whoever gets the bay leaf has good luck until Lent begins again.)

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If you observe Good Friday traditions, I hope your day goes exactly as you need it to.  If you do not, just make some good bread and soup and enjoy.

Sing a new song,

Alyce