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Hot Cross Buns

Around Easter, the supermarkets here stock hot cross buns. I love them. They’re soft fruit buns, subtly flavored with cinnamon and other spices and studded with sultanas or currants and sometimes other fruit. On the top is an icing cross. Some supermarkets have also come up with chocolate buns and other combinations — even fruitless ones! — but for me, the only one is the traditional one. I’m having these ones for breakfast.

They’re best slathered with butter — real butter, not margarine. I left the butter out on the bench last night so it would be soft for my buns this morning, but it was a chilly night and I don’t have the heating on yet, so as you can see, the butter was still pretty firm. But never mind, they’ll still be delicious with my morning coffee.

Some people zap them in the microwave or pop them in the oven to heat them up, and if you’re baking them at home, they’re yummy straight from the oven. (There is a recipe here from a favorite site, which includes a a no-knead version, and another one from the BBC. I haven’t tried them but they’re both reliable sites.) But hot cross buns are still delicious cold. When they get a bit stale I’ll toast mine, though there’s probably no danger of them lasting that long.

I once read a regency novel where the heroine was eating “cross buns” and I blinked when I read it, and then realized that the author must be American, and was being literal because the buns were not hot. I chuckled, because hot or cold, we still call them hot cross buns, and I’ve never heard them called “cross buns” which conjures up an image of a seriously grumpy fruit buns. I suppose we call them that because of the old nursery rhyme — “Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny two a penny hot cross buns.”

When I was growing up, Mum was very strict about not eating hot cross buns until Good Friday morning, and they were a real treat. There are still people who wax furiously about them becoming available weeks before Easter. Not me. The moment I spot them in the supermarket  I snap them up. (They usually bake them in-house at my local supermarket and the smell is irresistible.) After Easter, they’ll disappear again, and though the supermarkets still sell fruit buns they are not the same — the taste is quite different — so Easter is the only time I get these yummy treats.

Whether or not you celebrate Easter (culturally or otherwise) do you have any special food you eat at this time of year?


A nice review

I was browsing Instagram the other day and came across this lovely review from the New York Public Library.

I was especially pleased, because this book has the least-liked cover of all my books, and tells you nothing about the story. It also has the lowest sales of all my books, (presumably because of that cover) but it got some excellent reviews and was listed on Library Journal’s “Best books of the year” in the USA. (See here)

Plus I had fun writing it. It’s my “chick in pants” romance, set  partly in Egypt, with a feisty heroine and a gorgeous hero who discovers love can strike in the most unexpected situations. You can read an excerpt here.

So thank you, New York Public Library, and thank you to  NY Literary for posting it on Instagram. 

Do you visit Instagram? If so, I’d love it if you followed me. Just go to my page — click here — and click on “follow”. That’s all.  Dead easy. 

The ARRA Awards

I’m thrilled to be a finalist in the annual ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) Awards.  I’m listed in two categories — Favourite Historical Romance (for The Scoundrel’s Daughter) and also in Favourite Australian Author, which is a huge honor.

Congratulations to all the other finalists — the full list is here.    (Please note, only members of ARRA can vote.)

I particularly liked that they included  Favourite Debut Author, because there are so many new authors coming up in Australian publishing, which is very exciting. I also liked that in the “Readers Choice” categories, which change from year to year, they included Favourite Anthology, which showcases more authors.

Thank you to the ARRA organizers of this wonderful event, and to all the many readers who took the time and trouble to nominate the books.