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  1. Charlie had such great fun making chocolate truffles using Yutaka ingredients such as miso soup paste and curry sauce. He used the left over ingredients to create an amazing chicken katsu curry (on the first day of snowmaggedon) that when they got back in touch about using yuzu to make hot cross buns we couldn't say no. The yuzu gives the hot cross buns a zesty tang, whilst the honey imparts an additional depth of flavour.  As soon as you open the bottle you are hit with a strong citrus smell, which we have since been adding to stir frys too.

    Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns : Makes 15-20

    Ingredients :

    For the buns:

    · 575g strong bread flour

    · 75g caster sugar

    · 75g sultanas

    · 50g mixed peel

    · 7g quick working yeast

    · 1 tsp salt

    · ½ tsp ground nutmeg

    · ½ tsp ground cinnamon

    · 250ml milk

    · 3 tbsp honey

    · 1½ tbsp. Yutaka Yuzu

    ·  2 tbsp water

    · Zest of 2 lemons

    · 50g butter

    · 2 eggs beaten


    For the cross: 75g plain flour

    For the glaze: 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water

    Method :

    • Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.

    • In a small saucepan, heat the milk, honey, yuzu, water, lemon zest and butter stirring constantly until butter has melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes then pour into a well in the centre of the flour mix.

    • Combine using a wooden spoon then use your hands until the ingredients are all combined. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy. (Watching Match of the Day at the same time is optional!) hot cross buns

    • Place your dough in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size. Then add your sultanas and mixed peel whilst still in the bowl, knead to combine all the ingredients and leave once again to rise for about an hour. Make sure the cling film is also greased to avoid a crust forming on your dough.

    • Once the dough has risen again, divide into 15-20 pieces and roll into smooth balls. Line them up on parchment-lined baking trays allowing enough space for them to once again expand.

    • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a further hour. (ours really didn't rise much this time round)

    • Preheat oven to 220c or gas mark seven. Mix the flour for the cross with some water to make a basic dough. Place in piping bag and pipe one line across each bun then repeat to form the cross. (Charlie just rolled some of the flour mix, flattened the sausages and lay over the buns rather than using a piping bag)

    • You can brush buns beaten egg to give a glaze.

    • Bake for around 20 mins or until buns are golden brown on top. Remove pan from the oven and let buns cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

    • Mix the caster sugar with boiling water and, once buns have cooled a little, brush with glaze. (Charlie totally forgot about this stage! But they still tasted lovely!)

    Easter Basket 2018

    Although they didn't rise the second time round and Charlie forgot to glaze with icing sugar the hot cross buns were still really delicious. You could smell and taste the citrus yuzu and they were so yummy warm from the oven (yup we just couldn't wait!). Charlie filled a lovely Easter basket with his buns and hollow fair trade Easter eggs from Co-op and presented them to his grandparents on Easter Sunday. Everyone was amazed at his baking skills and loved the gift. He promptly asked for the basket back!


  2. As the weather started to change to that dreary winter grey and it was time to pull on our warm winter coats I decided to make sure mine made me smile. I opted therefore for a bright yellow raincoat and have since walked into winter smiling. My coat soon became the butt of all jokes, namely surrounding fishing and Captain Birdseye. When the opportunity arose to review a Lottie Doll I knew exactly which one I would choose. “Muddy Puddles” Lottie Doll who comes equipped with her own yellow hooded raincoat with blue striped lining, she literally is a mini me! raincoat lottie

    Lottie is a much needed asset in the doll department. Not only can you choose a doll that suits your child's interests space, fossil hunting, fairies and also a gymnastics (this outfit is perfect for Olive's birthday) but Lottie is designed with kids in mind. Unlike other dolls Lottie is age appropriate, with proportionate body parts of an actual 9 year old. There are no high heels, super thin legs, Lottie can actually stand unaided, jewellery or breasts, Lottie is designed as a positive role model and a doll that children can identify with.

    Olive was delighted to find Lottie not only wearing my coat but also welly boots! Olive loves nothing more than channeling her inner Peppa Pig by jumping in muddy puddles. Lottie has bbendable knees with ball socket hips and arms, another more realistic aspect of the dolls body.

    Lottie at Warwick Castle

    Lottie is also the perfect size for pockets! Being that she is a proportionate 18cm tall. We went to Warwick Castle during half term, Olive changed Lottie's clothing for a Rapunzel dress, to match her own outfit and carried her around in her pocket for most of the day! Unlike many dolls, Lottie is easy to dress and undress, meaning your child can easily undertake this activity themselves. (Yes Olive is wearing a Rapunzel dress with a dragon hat! This caused much hilarity during our trip and knights shouted at her that she was either a) a dragon or b) a princess dragon slayer who was wearing her victory spoils!)

    We already owned Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Welsh Mountain Pony, some of the dolls come as sets rather than a stand a alone doll. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft Lottie's hair is which doesn’t tangle and knot unlike other dolls on the market. Nobody tells you that tangled dolls hair would be such a bane of your parenting life! lottie doll muddy puddlesEach Lottie Dolls is presented in a giftable, fully illustrated and collectible doll box bag that contains minimal plastic packaging. Lottie has won 19 international awards the core theme behind Lottie Dolls is be bold, be brave, be you. There are so many peculiar and odd toys on the market these days that it's lovely and refreshing to see Olive indulging in role play with her Lottie Doll. 

    Prices start from £18.99 for a themed doll, you can also purchase accessory packs.