Christine Meintjes is the founder of The Pretty Blog, a professional photographer and a wife and mom. She kindly agreed to create a gorgeous, fragrant treat for our Caesarstone fans to bake in time for the Easter weekend – something she could also relish doing with her husband Iaan and baby, Adi. And as you will see, her Caesarstone countertops enjoyed the hands-on activity as much as Adi did! Enjoy…
I recently received a text message from a friend. It was one of those forwarded videos that get sent from one person to the next. Usually I skip over those, but for some reason I clicked on this one: probably because I hoped it would have meaning, especially in a time like this. The video showed numerous scenes of kids playing, families laughing and semi-chaotic homes, but it was evident they were having fun. It then transitioned to scenes of empty streets of famous cities, followed by something like ‘while the streets were empty, the homes were filled with life’.
Of all the WhatsApps and Instagram posts I’ve seen during this bizarre time, those words have – by far – had the biggest impact on me. Sure, COVID-19 has changed the world as we know, forever… As much as it’s a global pandemic, I’ve chosen to treasure these 21 days of lockdown. Instead of looking at it as a prison sentence, I’ve decided to rather see it as something I’ve been gifted with; a special pause on as life as we knew it and a strange, yet extremely special bubble of time to spend with my family.
By trade, I’m a photographer, entrepreneur, visual communications consultant and blogger. And like most people I’ve also been trying to make ends meet within a world of chaos. But first and foremost, I’m also mom to my one-year-old son, Adi.
I’ve been altering my work hours the past few days (like most parents) and working at completely random hours because if you don’t know, keeping a one-year-old busy and safe is pretty much a full-time occupation!
But some of my most treasured memories during this time have definitely been in the kitchen. First, for my own sanity and secondly, because it’s something Adi and I can do together. I come from a family that loves eating (who doesn’t!), probably because my mom is a phenomenal chef! Even though Adi is still really young, Iaan and I have been trying to include him during our time in the kitchen, even if it’s just occupying him with a spoon and bowl while I’m cutting veg. (His first birthday gift was a toddler kitchen setup).
FAVE FACT: Caesarstone is non-porous and therefore incredibly easy to clean and hygienic. Keeping your surfaces clean and your family healthy has never been more essential, which still makes Caesarstone the World’s Best Surface. CLICK HERE for our care and maintenance information.
The past few days we’ve been baking almost every day. Probably not good for the figure, but most definitely great for my soul! And since Easter is just around the corner, I wanted to share my hot-cross bun recipe with you. This time with a bit of a twist. Quite literally. Adi and I made quite a mess in the kitchen today, but it was totally worth seeing him having a ball! And with my Caesarstone Alaska kitchen countertops, as always, cleaning was a breeze! Hope you enjoy it…
- 300ml warm milk
- 7g or 2 tsp dried instant yeast
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 50g of unsalted butter, in pieces, plus extra to grease
- 550g bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon
- 2 tsp of allspice (or alternatively use a combination of cloves and nutmeg)
- zest of 2 oranges or naartjie
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 large egg lightly whisked, for glazing
- Firstly, we’re going to make the dough. Combine the warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a mixing bowl. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 -10 minutes until yeast is activated and the mixture is fragrant and foamy. This is a very important step to activate the yeast.
- Place the cup of raisins into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the raisins soak for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside the plump raisins.
- Add the remaining sugar, eggs, and melted butter to a stand mixer bowl and whisk to combine until well incorporated. Switch the whisk to the dough hook on your stand mixer.
- Add the yeast mix to the egg mixture.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and all spice. With the mixer running on low speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Once incorporated, add remaining 1/3 of flour mixture. Add drained raisins, followed with remaining flour mixture. Once dough has formed, increase speed to medium-high and knead dough for 3 to 5 minutes until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel and place in the sun or warm area. Allow the dough to rise for the next 60 to 70 minutes until dough has doubled in volume.
- Remove cover and gently remove risen dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into long pieces. Place all three pieces together and start plaiting the dough until you bring the opposite ends together.
8. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
9. Place the dough on a baking pan. Repeat the plaiting process with remaining dough. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes until the loaf has increased in size.
10. Glaze with whisked egg.
11. Bake for 20 -25 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius or until golden brown.
12. Serve with butter and honey.
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You can keep up to date with Christine and her creative ventures by following her on @cmeintjes and @theprettyblog. For Design inspiration we also have regular updates on social media so make sure you are following us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook @CaesarstoneSA and here on our blog.
To see Christine in action click the images below for more…