Big Stevie Cool

Food & Adventures


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Easter is just around the Corner and one my favourite treats at Easter is Hot cross buns, but I've never made my own. I like to dabble in baking from time to time but I'm no Mary Berry, I had a search around a few websites and cook books for inspiration and decided to put a twist on mine by adding Chocolate Orange (all baking recipes are improved by adding chocolate orange).

For my recipe you will need:


625g Strong White Flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
45g Unsalted Butter (plus extra for greasing)
85g Sugar
The zest of 1 Lemon
1 1/2 tsp Fast Action Yeast
1 Egg (beaten)
275ml Tepid Milk
65g Mixed Dried Fruit
65g Chocolate Orange


2 tbsp Plain Flour
Vegetable Oil, for greasing
1 tbsp Golden Syrup (gently heated)

The Method:

Mix the flour, salt and ground mixed spice and pass through a sieve into a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and rub this into the mix with your fingers. Make a well in the mix and add the sugar, zest and yeast.

Add the egg and milk and mix together to form a soft, pliable dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and work in the dried fruit and chocolate orange. Knead the dough five minutes or (if you're lazy like me) use a food mixer with a dough hook.

Grease a large bowl and put the dough in and cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours until it's doubled in size.

Turn the dough put onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces and shape them into balls and then flatten into bun shapes. Cover with a tea towel and leave for for 5-10 mins

Grease a baking tray and transfer the buns, cover with greaseproof paper and then put the tray in a polythene bag and leave to rise again for 40 minutes.

Pre heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 8.

Take the buns out of the bag and remove the greaseproof paper, for the topping mix the flour with tablespoons of cold water. Using a piping bag pipe the flour in the shape of a cross on top of each bun.

Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes until they're the right colour (light golden brown is what you want). As soon as the buns are out of the over brush with the warm golden syrup and leave to cool on rack.

These were really easy to make but it does take a good few hours from start to finish but most of that time is spent waiting for the buns to rise. Not to toot my own horn but the are delicious. What do you think of my recipe? Do you have any traditional Easter recipes you like to make?

Well, that's all for now.


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Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns


Saturday, 30 March 2019

Top Five Castles in Northumberland

I love a castle and try to visit as many as possible when me and the family are travelling around the UK. One of the best things about living in Northumberland is that you're never far away from a Castle. Northumberland is the border county between England and Scotland so there are more castles here than in any other county in England, here are my five favourite castles in Northumberland.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Rick Stein Fish & Chips | Padstow | Cornwall

February half term this year was a bit of an epic road trip for us. We packed up the car and made the eight hour drive down to Cornwall. Me and Mrs. Cool have always wanted to go but have never had a car reliable enough to make to long trip. Fortunately, we now have a new car and with the kids now being at an age where they can keep themselves entertained on phones and tablets on a long journey it felt like the right time.


Monday, 11 March 2019

Captain Marvel Review

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Captain Marvel at Cineworld Screen X Review

Captain Marvel is the latest blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, released on International Women's Day and what a woman Captain Marvel is. Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Vers/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Ben Mendlesohn as Talos, Jude Law as Yon-Rogg and Annette Benning as Dr. Wendy Lawson.


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Top 10 Foodie Treats in Cornwall

We recently made the long drive down from Northumberland to spend a week travelling around Cornwall, visiting places like Bodmin, St. Ives, Newquay and Padstow. With so many stops we had loads of choice for our food and I've decided to share with you my top 10 foodies treats we enjoyed in Cornwall. Some of our trip was paid for through Mrs. Cool's work with North East Family Fun, I've put a star next to the meals that were complimentary.


Monday, 4 March 2019

Liberty Brown at The Palm: The Best Steak in Sunderland

*This is a collaborative post

This week I was asked to try out the Liberty Brown Steakhouse at The Palm in Sunderland. I had a day off work this week so was able to take Mrs. Cool and we made it one of our regular date days. The Palm is a Tropical Oasis away from the city and has a few venues to choose from and all sound pretty good with cafes, bars and restaurants but we were there to try the Steaks and the ones we had here were pretty special.


Monday, 11 February 2019

Pre-Treatre Dinner | Mexico 70 | Sunderland

Pre-Treatre Dinner | Mexico 70 | Sunderland

Last week me and Mrs. Cool had a night at the theatre (I know, fancy right?) we went to see War Horse at Sunderland Empire Theatre. The performance was amazing, you can read Mrs. Cool's full review here. But it left us with the question where to have dinner before the show, having grown up in Newcastle the thought of eating in Sunderland did not spark joy. Mrs. Cool told me about this Mexican place near the theatre and both being lovers of all things Mexican we decided to head there.

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