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Category: Charlie's Stuff

  1. Yuzu and Honey Hot Cross Buns from Yutaka | Review

    Posted on

    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. Making Manly Truffles Inspired by Yutaka

    Posted on

    We're not really big on Valentine’s Day in our house but Charlie is partial to a spot of cooking and since Daddy Moo stopped eating meat we have had to start being a lot more adventurous in the kitchen. In Japan, the tradition is for women to give the men chocolates, rather than the other way around. And it’s not only partners who get gifts – chocolates are offered to male friends, colleagues and relatives too.

    Japanese food company challenged us to re-create a range of manly truffle recipes including Japanese Curry. They’re coated in toasted panko breadcrumbs with sugar and cinnamon and the truffle itself has a warm hint of curry, making it a delicious treat. The recipes designed to appeal to a male palate are:

    • Miso Caramel - think salted caramel with a twist

    • Cinnamon Curry – a spicy truffle with crunchy, toasted panko

    • Yuzu Soy – yuzu and soy give this a sweet and salty appeal

    Charlie cooking japanese truffles 

    I'd forgotten how easy it was to prepare truffles so simple Charlie was able to do this no problem. We shall definitely be making more and adding truffles to our cooking repertoire.

    Truffle Recipe : 

    Truffle ingredients – makes approximately 30 – 36

    • 200g dark good quality chocolate

    • 60ml double cream

    • 80g unsalted butter

    • Truffle cases

    Method for all truffles : 

    In a double saucepan (or a Pyrex bowl in a saucepan), place chocolate, butter and cream. Heat through slowly until smooth whilst whisking. Remove from heat and divide into 5 equal portions, adding the various flavourings to each individual portion as below. Place in the fridge to set – overnight if possible.

    Filling & coating ingredients :

    miso caramel truffles

    Miso caramel sauce filling :

    • 75g sugar

    • 25ml water

    • 50ml double cream

    • 1 tbs Yutaka Miso

    • 100g milk chocolate – gently melted for coating.

    Miso caramel flavouring method :

    Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir and leave on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel in colour. Carefully add double cream (it will hiss a little) and whisk whilst off the heat, add miso paste and whisk thoroughly until smooth. Add 2 tbs of miso caramel sauce to the remaining truffle mixture. The remainder of the sauce Olive hijacked by dipping apple pieces in it as a super tasty snack. I was so surprised how delicious the miso caramel was. I'm a massive miso fan and love nothing more than a bowl for lunch I'd never have thought to use it as a baking ingredient but miso caramel is going to be a great quick sweet fix.

    We also didn't coat the truffles in chocolate and then leave to cool so they had a hard outer shell, instead we opted for cocoa powder and chocolate flakes which we covered a chopping board in and then simply rolled the truffles on. Out of all the mixes the miso was the nicest to work with. However it didn't firm up hard like the rest so in hindsight the hard chocolate coating may have worked a little better.japanese truffles

    Cinnamon Curry flavouring : 

    • 1 tsp of Yutaka Japanese Curry block mixed with hot water

    • 50g of Yutaka Panko Breadcrumbs mixed with 3 teaspoons of sugar & 2 teaspoon of cinnamon toasted in oven until golden brown

    We diluted the curry block and then added to the truffle mixture to taste. I don't like curry so this was left in the capable hands of Charlie who added a lot of curry then proceeded to drink the left over with a spoon! The Panko breadcrumbs were a bit hit and miss, nobody could decide if they liked the cinnamon combination. Megan however loves Katzu Chicken Curry so has her sights set on making this next.

    Yuzu Ponzu :

    • 1.5 tsp Yuzu Ponzu

    • Flaked milk chocolate for coating

    This mixture was a little harder to roll in your hands and started to kind of melt, I found it much easier to roll over the chopping board that was covered in cocoa powder and chocolate flakes.japanese truffles boxed

    As it's Nanny Moo's birthday, Charlie and I filled some pirate cake cases with the various truffles and placed inside a party box, which created a lovely little gift. These manly truffle flavours went down really well and even Olive who is a fuss pot enjoyed trying them. This is a perfect cooking activity for making gifts for both Mother's and Father's Day too.