Easter feasts: hot cross buns at home

hot cross bunsEaster is fast approaching and for some it can mean a long weekend filled with chocolate. If you’re interested in eating something else this Easter weekend, grab your baking trays and try this hot cross bun recipe.

For a chocolate alternative, replace the currants and sultanas with choc chips for a bun that will melt in your mouth.

These traditional British Easter buns are enriched with dried fruit, milk, butter, egg and spices. If you do not have a piping bag to make the crosses, improvise by snipping the corner tip off a small plastic bag.

Makes: 10
Prep time: 120 min
Cook time: 20 min
Special equipment:  baking tray, baking paper, small saucepans, pastry brush, wire rack, piping bag
Nutrition: high in carbohydrate
Skills:  sifting, kneading, proving, glazing


¾ cup (190 ml) milk
3 teaspoons (15g) dried yeast
3 tablespoon (60g) caster sugar
2 ½ cups (375g) plain sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5g) salt
½ teaspoon (1.25) mixed spice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons (30g) sultanas
2 tablespoons (30g) currants
1 tablespoon (15g) mixed peel
1 egg
1 ½ tablespoons (30g) butter

Cross mixture
3 tablespoons (30g) plain flour
2 tablespoons (40g) caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons (30ml) water

2 tablespoons (40g) caster sugar
4 tablespoons (80ml) milk
Extra butter to serve









  1. Grease baking tray and line with baking paper.
  2. Warm milk in a small saucepan until luke warm.
  3. Mix yeast and sugar in a small bowl with a little warm milk. Allow to bubble.
  4. Sift flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add dried fruit.
  5. Lightly beat egg.
  6. Melt butter in another small saucepan, and add remaining milk and egg. Stir in bubbling yeast mixture.
  7. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and combine to form a dough.
  8. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
  9. Return dough to bowl and cover lightly with oiled cling wrap. Leave in a warm place to prove for 40 minutes.
  10. Return dough to floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes to expel air. Divide dough into 10 even pieces, shape into balls and arrange about 1cm apart on tray.
  11. Set aside to prove for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  12. Make cross by combining flour, sugar and water in a small bowl to form a smooth paste.
  13. Put mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross onto each bun.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  15. While buns are baking, make the glaze by dissolving caster sugar in milk in a small saucepan on low heat. Boil for 1 minute.
  16. Remove buns from oven and immediate brush tops with warm glaze. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
  17. Serve warm with butter.


The Food BookThis recipe is taken from Oxford’s The Food Book.

Connecting with Law Short Film Competition launches for 2015

Connecting with LawThe Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is an annual event run by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. Now in its eighth year, the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is open to all tertiary students currently enrolled in an Australian law school.

The Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is an annual event run by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. Now in its eighth year, the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is open to all tertiary students currently enrolled in an Australian law school.

This year, we are asking participants to ‘bring your favourite case to life’ in the form of a video case note. To enter, students need to create a 2 – 5 minute film that provides a summary of their chosen case that will educate, entertain and engage students and help them connect with law.

We are looking for original and creative entries that highlight cases of interest to Australian law students (this means thinking beyond Donoghue v Stevenson’s snail in the bottle!) and show an ability to successfully prepare a case note and analyse case law. Not only are there great cash prizes to be won, but this is also a unique opportunity for students to get their names known in law.

Want to learn more? Visit the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition homepage  to read our submission guidelines, get tips on preparing a case note, download an entry form or watch the 2014 winners.

All of the winning and commended entries from previous years can be viewed online on the Connecting with Law Film Library.
Written by Stephanie Swain, Higher Education – Product and Marketing Specialist

Victorian Fairy Tales


This newly published anthology contains 14 imaginative tales are full of whimsy, fantastical happenings, dark happenings and, of course, sometimes even fairies. Many are by authors who you would not necessarily associate with fairy tales; John Ruskin, Rudyard Kipling, William Makepeace Thackeray all have stories included in this anthology. Adding to the charm of the tales are reproductions of some of the original illustrations, by some of the greatest figures of Victorian art such as Richard Doyle, Ford Madox Ford, Arthur Hughes and Walter Crane (whose beautiful wallpaper design, ‘Swan, Rush, Iris’ adorns the book cover).

This is a lovely book to dip in and out of but it also caters to those who want to know more about the Victorian literary marketplace and chronology of fairy tales; the anthology includes historically informed explanatory notes, biographies of the authors, a chronology of Victorian fairy tales and extracts from some of the authors’ musings on the nature of fairy tale and its importance.

Victorian Fairy Tales
Edited by Michael Newton

Michael Newton

Source: Universiteit Leiden

About the editor: Michael Newton has taught at University College London, Princeton University, and Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, and now works at Leiden University. He is the author of Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children (Faber, 2002), Age of Assassins: A History of Conspiracy and Political Violence, 1865-1981 (Faber, 2012) and a book on Kind Hearts and Coronets for the BFI Film Classics series. He has edited Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son for Oxford World’s Classics, and The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories and Conrad’s The Secret Agent for Penguin. He has written and reviewed for the Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, the New Statesman, and The Guardian.

Related blog post: Marina Warner’s Once Upon A Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale

Aussie terms we didn’t realise were Australian


Waratahs – a staple feature in many native gardens

Oxford Dictionaries recently announced the largest ever quarterly update of Australian English on OxfordDictionaries.com, with over 500 entries added to the free online dictionary of English.

These aren’t new terms; they have been added because they represent a historical and cultural breadth of the use of English in Australia. It certainly has been an education for us here at Oxford Australia; there are words and terms included in the update that we never realised were specifically Australian!

We’ve included a selection below. How many of these did you know started in Australia?

play lunch ▶noun Austral./NZ a snack eaten by schoolchildren during their mid-morning break: she was always snatching things from him, eating half his play lunch in exchange for secrets. A mid-morning break for schoolchildren: I was put into third class and sat there till play lunch.

long service leave ▶noun [mass noun] Austral. a period of paid leave granted to an employee who has served a specified period of continuous employment: it was an opportunity to spend time as a family while her husband was on long service leave.

lolly water ▶noun [mass noun] Austral./NZ informal non-alcoholic or weak alcoholic drink: all three of them were on the lolly water—apparently they had early starts | an ice-cold, full-strength can of beer rather than some lolly water.

muck-up day ▶noun Austral. informal an end of year celebration for school students, especially those in their final year: he spent muck-up day squirting people with a water pistol. – origin 1960s: from the phrasal verb muck up in the Australian sense ‘misbehave’ (see muck).

mum and dad investor ▶noun Austral. a small-scale risk-averse shareholder, typically the average person with a mortgage and family: these companies are collapsing and thousands of mum and dad investors are in jeopardy.

pharmaceutical benefits scheme ▶noun Austral. a government scheme which provides medicines at a subsidized price: we need to put the country’s pharmaceutical benefits scheme on to a sustainable basis.

native garden ▶noun Austral. a garden consisting entirely or mostly of indigenous plants: there’s a preference for native gardens, rather than the European-style gardens of the past.

meat tray ▶noun Austral./NZ a prize in a raffle consisting of a tray of different cuts of meat: the winner receives a $50 meat tray from Prime Meats.

neenish tart /ˈniːnɪʃ tɑːt/ ▶noun Austral./NZ a small sweet pastry case filled with cream or mock cream and topped with coloured icing: Jess has a very sweet tooth and loves her neenish tarts. – origin late 19th cent.: origin unknown, but later variant spellings including nenische and neinich suggest the possibility of an origin in a European Germanic language.


*The terms included were chosen from an Australian English Dictionary, but selected by a team at Oxford University Press in the UK.

Aboriginal words and terms added to Oxforddictionaries.com

Oxford Dictionaries recently announced the largest ever quarterly update of Australian English on OxfordDictionaries.com, with over 500 entries added to the free online dictionary of English.

This update included a selection of Aboriginal words and terms relating to Aboriginal culture.

The words in this update recognise the complex role of Aboriginal language in Australian English. The dictionary update shows that borrowing from Aboriginal languages is a continuing process, with more words being recognised as having their origin in Aboriginal languages, and other words moving from Aboriginal languages into mainstream Australian English. Maluka (the person in charge; the boss) is derived from the Aboriginal language Djingulu, for instance, and has moved into general use; similarly, the word munjon (an Aboriginal person who has had little contact with white society) was borrowed in the 1930s from Yindjibarndi.

Below we’ve included some of the terms* that we found interesting, some we knew and some that were new to us (we love learning new words).

The full range of terms is available at OxfordDictionaries.com

coolamon /ˈkuːləmən/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal container made of wood or bark, used for holding liquids or goods, or carrying a baby: a coolamon of water. – origin mid 19th cent.: from Kamilaroi (an Aboriginal language) and neighbouring languages gulaman.

kangaroo dance ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal dance in which the movements of a kangaroo are represented: novices perform a hopping kangaroo dance to demonstrate their acquisition of ritual knowledge.

keeping place ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal cultural centre dedicated to the preservation of traditional Aboriginal culture, artefacts, etc.: the site also features an art gallery and an indigenous keeping place.

kopi /ˈkəʊpi/ ▶noun [mass noun] Austral. powdered gypsum, used in ritual Aboriginal mourning. – origin late 19th cent.: from a dialect of Baagandji (an Aboriginal language) gabi.

Mabo /ˈmɑːbəʊ/ ▶noun used in reference to the 1992 ruling of the High Court of Australia that Aboriginal claims on land supersede Crown sovereignty and white settlement: since Mabo, Australia effectively has two land tenure systems. – origin 1990s: from the name of Eddie Mabo (1936–92), a principal claimant in a legal test case of 1992 that established tenure in relation to the Meriam people.

makarrata /makəˈrɑːtə/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal ceremonial ritual symbolizing the restoration of peace after a dispute: [as modifier] a traditional makarrata ceremony. A treaty or agreement: they conducted an inquiry into the feasibility of a Makarrata between the Commonwealth and Aboriginal people. – origin 1930s: from Yolngu languages makarrarta.

mimi /ˈmiːmi/ ▶noun (pl. same or mimis) Austral. a spirit person depicted in rock and bark paintings of Western Arnhem Land: they say that the mimi can magically bring a rock wall down, paint on it, and then raise it again | mimis were mischievous beings who lived in caves. – origin 1940s: from Gunwinygu (an Aboriginal language) mimih.

mindi /ˈmɪndʌɪ/ ▶noun Austral. (in Aboriginal mythology) a creature in the form of a huge snake that brings disease: they believed the hostile tribes had unleashed the power of mindi on them. – origin mid 19th cent.: from Wemba-wemba (an extinct Aboriginal language) mirnday.

nardoo cake (also nardoo bread) ▶noun Austral. a savoury cake or bread made by Aborigines using nardoo flour and water: the Aborigines fed them with fish and lumps of nardoo cake.

native title ▶noun [mass noun] Austral./NZ the right of indigenous peoples to own their traditional lands and waters, as recognized by common law: the ruling recognized native title.

pirri /ˈpɪri/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal leaf-shaped engraving tool made of stone or quartz: the pirris from both archaeological sites were made from local stone. – origin late 19th cent.: from Arabana (an Aboriginal language) birri ‘fingernail’, extended to refer to any pointed object.

pitchi /ˈpɪtʃi/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal container made of wood or bark, used for holding liquids or goods, or carrying a baby: they all drink from the pitchi, including the boy. – origin late 19th cent.: from Western Desert language and neighbouring languages bidi.

rainbow serpent ▶noun Austral. a widely venerated spirit of Aboriginal mythology, associated with the creation of the earth in the Dreamtime: popular representations in literature reinforce the deity status of the rainbow serpent.

weet-weet /ˈwiːtwiːt/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal throwing weapon consisting of a flexible handle with a wooden or bone knob at the end: he was astounded by their skill in throwing the boomerang and the weet-weet. – origin late 19th cent.: from Wuywurung (an Aboriginal language) wij-wij.

wilgie /ˈwɪldʒi/ ▶noun [mass noun] Austral. the pigment red ochre as used by Aborigines to paint the body on ceremonial occasions: the boys are painted all over with wilgie and are then fed by the old women with various grass seeds. – origin early 19th cent.: from Nyungar (an Aboriginal language) wilgi.

wirra /ˈwɪrə/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal tool used for digging, in the form of a cup-like scoop traditionally made of hardwood: their only tools are a yam-stick and a wirra. – origin late 19th cent.: from Western Desert language.

wirri /ˈwɪri/ ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal weapon used as a club or missile: he is allowed to carry a wirri for killing birds. – origin mid 19th cent.: from Gaurna (an Aboriginal language).

witarna /wɪˈtɑːnə/ ▶noun Austral. a wooden object which makes a loud noise when whirled around, used in Aboriginal rituals and considered to be sacred: two men come towards them, stamping, biting their beards, and swinging the witarna. – origin mid 19th cent.: from Banggala (an Aboriginal language) widarna.

yabber stick ▶noun Austral. an Aboriginal medium of communication consisting of a piece of wood carved with symbolic patterns, handed from one community to another: he read the message of the yabber stick with the dignity befitting his position. – origin late 19th cent.: from yabber ‘to chatter’.


*Please note: these are not new terms, but new to oxforddictionaries.com.
The team at oxforddictionaries.com have selected the words for the update.

Born on this day: Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame was born 156 years ago today in Edinburgh, Scotland. Shortly after his fifth birthday, Grahame and his three siblings moved to Berkshire to live with their Granny Ingles, after their mother’s death from scarlet fever. He was taught to row by his uncle, and loved the countryside, especially the upper part of the River Thames.

Although Grahame did very well at school and wanted to attend Oxford University, financial constraints meant he was unable to pursue further education. Instead Grahame moved to London and began working at the bank of England. In 1897 he met Elspeth Thompson and they married in 1899. Their son, Alastair (nicknamed ‘Mouse’), was born the following year.

Grahame invented bedtime stories about a toad and his riverside friends to sooth his young son to sleep. The swaggering character of Mr Toad is based on his son Alastair, who, despite suffering from blindness in one eye and ill health, was very headstrong. He later compiled these stories into what would become his most famous work, The Wind in the Willows, which was originally published in October 1910.

To celebrate Kenneth Grahame’s birthday, here are five weird and wonderful words from The Wind in the Willows and what they mean:

Boles: tree trunks
‘the black boles of the trees showed up in a light that seemed to come from below’

Halberd: a weapon that is a combined spear and battleaxe
‘their halberds leant against the wall’

Panoply: an impressive display or collection of things
‘A good deal of his blustering spirit seemed to have evaporated with the removal of his fine panoply’

Pettifogging: paying too much attention to unimportant details
‘It was hard, he thought, to be baulked by the want of a few wretched shillings and by the pettifogging mistrustfulness of paid officials.’

Rumpus: an uproar; an angry protest
‘such a rumpus everywhere!” continued the Otter.’

Want to know more about Kenneth Grahame?

The Wind in the Willows 9780192732347

The Wind in the Willows Gift Edition


The Wind in the Willows 9780192738301Oxford Children’s Classics
The Wind in the Willows


The Wind in the Willows 9780199567560 Oxford World’s Classics
The Wind in the Willows

Oxford Word of the Month – March: Ned Kelly beard

Ned-Kelly-beardNed Kelly beard – noun: a full beard.

Today many fashionable young men are sporting the latest trend in facial hair—the full beard, which has not had a fashion moment since the 1970s. In Australia, the association of Ned Kelly (arguably Australia’s most famous historical figure) with the style is an evocative way to describe the new look:

All right, what is it with the Ned Kelly beards? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everywhere I look young men are striding about town with bushrangeresque-style beards on their otherwise clean-cut faces. (Brisbane Courier-Mail, 9 November 2014)

Ned Kelly achieved notoriety as an outlaw and bushranger after he and his gang killed three police officers in 1878. He was captured two years later after a violent confrontation with police, and was hanged on 11 November 1880. The best-known photograph of Kelly was taken at Melbourne Gaol the day before his execution. In it he has a luxuriant beard, a moustache, and short, styled hair. It is an image familiar to generations of Australians, and it provides the inspiration for the term Ned Kelly beard.

The term has gained currency in Australia in the last few years thanks to the adoption of the new fashion, but it is not a recent coinage. The first evidence for Ned Kelly beard appears in a 1932 review of the play The Girl Who Helped Ned Kelly, which describes the actor playing the bushranger as having the ‘traditional Ned Kelly beard’. (Melbourne Table Talk, 22 September). Another early example, suggesting a shift to more general use, appears in a description of war correspondent John Brennan: ‘Brennan, a tall, picturesque figure, with a ‘Ned Kelly’ beard, is a popular member of the correspondents’ corps.’ (Brisbane Courier-Mail, 18 December 1944)

The evidence for the term is infrequent in the 20th century but trends strongly in the 21st century. The initial spike in the early 2000s may be a result of the 2003 film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger resplendent with beard. More recently the Ned Kelly beard inspired a competition:

A bit of shampoo, conditioner and the occasional softening treatment was Greg Abel’s secret weapon in the inaugural Ned Kelly Beard competition at Beechworth. Held as part of the Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend, the competition attracted 19 men and one woman to see who had the longest, lushest and thickest beard. (Melbourne Weekly Times, 6 August 2008)

Increasing evidence in the last four years is related to the current fashion, often associated with hipsters:

You don’t have to go far in the city’s hip bars to find some dude with a Ned Kelly beard, wearing tight jeans and a cardigan and talking about how sterile it is out in the boonies. (Melbourne Sunday Age, 2 October 2011)

You could go down to Surry Hills and find a young man perched on a milk crate drinking a craft beer through his Ned Kelly Beard and call him a hipster and he would be insulted. (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 2014)

Ned Kelly has historically been a productive term in Australian English. Ned Kelly beard is yet another of the bushranger’s contributions to the Australian lexicon.

Ned Kelly beard is being considered for inclusion in the second edition of the Australian National Dictionary. To find out more about Australian slang, why not check out the ozwords blog.