Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

As soon as I saw the picture of hot cross bun bread on the cover of the April issue of delicious. magazine, I knew I had to make it. I usually make a batch of hot cross buns each year but I was attracted to the idea of something different. This bread is basically a giant hot cross bun, baked in a 20cm round cake tin. It is ridiculously easy to make (as long as you're comfortable working with yeast) and makes a gorgeous dish for Easter. We enjoyed ours for morning tea.

Another treat we enjoyed this Easter was the Farmers' Market at the Collingwood Children's Farm. It's an oft-made comment about the Farm but it is still true: it is hard to believe that this slice of the country is so close to the Melbourne CBD. We arrived early and enjoyed bacon and eggs at the busy Farmers' Cafe, which offers bucolic views over farm paddocks and Yarra River cliff banks. Then it was time to wander through the stalls and take our pick of peak autumn produce; there was a wonderful array to choose from.

Stalks of rich red rhubarb were first into the trolley, followed by a bag of Royal Blue potatoes. I've bought these before and they're wonderful all-rounders. We stopped at the honey stall, whose owners travelled from Kyneton for the market, and came away with a jar of mildly aromatic yellow-box honey, perfect for our toddler son. Pale-green leeks, fat pumpkins, sweet carrots, ripe radishes, leafy bunches of herbs, fresh pears, chestnuts, organic chocolate and Gundowring ice-cream all beckoned. A tin of Persian fetta from the Yarra Valley Dairy and pistachio and white chocolate biscuits from Michel's in Castlemain were indulgent purchases. We bought a bag of Jonogold apples, a sweet, juicy variety that I haven't tried before. Recipes spun through my head as we wandered from stall to stall and it was difficult to restrain myself from buying everything in sight. We are so lucky in Melbourne to have wonderful farmers' markets to give us access to fresh produce and speak to the growers.

After filling our trolley, we wandered among the farm animals, thrilling our toddler son. Heather the cow was being milked and 11 piglets were running around in the sty. It was a wonderful day out and I can't wait to visit again. The next farmers' market at the Collingwood Children's Farm is on 9 May and there's one at the adjacent Abbotsford Convent on 25 April.

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