Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.


In Australia hot cross buns first appear in the store just after Christmas. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, that’s a long time to keep them good for eating (nearly 4 months this year). The cross on the bun is to symbolise the crucifixion and the spices inside the bun are to remind Christians of the “spices put on the body of Jesus”.

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At this point in time I should let you all known that I’m not particularly religious, although growing up I celebrated the holidays by eating Hot Cross buns and hunting for Easter eggs on Sunday. Local to Mirboo North we have our own ‘Hot Cross Bun’ making lady – Betsy.

Betsy, along with her husband Greg and children run Oak and Swan, a traditional sour dough bakery. Betsy, originally from Leongatha, makes many different breads using her own five year old sour dough starter following a holistic organic approach. I have noted down Betsy’s Hot Cross Bun recipe to share with you.


1kg Flour – good quality, high extraction flour. Betsy mills her own from flour from organic grains grown in the Victorian Mallee Region

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300 grams sour dough starter

400 grams full cream milk – warm

100 grams butter – melted

10 grams salt

10 grams mixed spice

10 grams sugar

2 eggs – whisked

10 grams lemon zest

150 grams currents

150 grams sultanas

150 grams mescals

Extra flour, water and a little sugar



  1. Start the day before and soak your currents, sultanas and mescals by coving with boiling water.
  2. Mix everything together, including the dried fruit and its soaking water
  3. If your mix is a little dry, you may add a little more water
  4. Bulk prove your dough for 6 hours at room temperate, for a slow and even proving.
  5. Knock back the dough. Divide and shape into your rolls. You should have enough dough for 2 dozen rolls.
  6. Place on the tray they are going to bake on and prove again until the rolls have risen. This will take about 1 to 2 hours
  7. Mix together the extra flour water and extra sugar to a paste. Pipe the crosses on to the rolls. One year Betsy made Hot Cross Buns without the cross, which became difficult to sell, as they are not “Hot Cross buns” without the cross.
  8. Bake in a 220C oven for 20 minutes. You will need to check after the 20 minutes to see if they are cooked. If not, a little longer will be needed.Swan and oak 2017 009Betsy placing her hot cross buns in the wood fired oven

  9. Once out of the oven, quickly brush over a light sugar glaze.

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Eat fresh out of the oven, I know I did, ripped in half and plenty of butter.

If you would like me to get in any of Betsy traditional sour dough for you to buy and take home, you can order from Jacican by 7am any Thursday morning for pick up the following Saturday.


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Oak & Swan tradional Allen Scott wood fired oven

We make this recipe in my Cooking Class - Macarons, as well as macarons, appearing on the High Tea menu.

Together we can make pink Macaron shells to be filled with any pink flavor you can think of.
Maybe Strawberry bubblegum, raspberry, salt and vinegar, Watermelon, musk stick, red skin ... the list can just go on

Special equipment needed: electric beater with a metal bowl and whisk attachment, probe thermometer, piping bags (1 for the macarons and 2 for the fillings)


150 grams almond meal

150 grams icing sugar

55 grams egg white (approximately 1-2 egg whites)

150 grams caster sugar

38 grams water

powdered food coloring

½ teaspoon powdered egg white (you can use ready-made pavlova mix)

55 grams egg white (approximately 1-2 egg whites)


Sift icing sugar and almond meal together.

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Place the first 55 grams of egg whites in the metal bowl.

Combine caster sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

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Increase the heat and bring the sugar mix to the boil, heating it until it reaches 118oC. When it gets close to the temperature, add the powdered egg whites to the egg whites in the metal bowl and start to whip.

We make this recipe in my Cooking Class - Macarons, as well as macarons, appearing on the High Tea menu.

strawberry bubblegum macaron

Let's make the pink macaron shells first. To learn how to make your pink shells visit the Macaron - How to make pink shells recipe.

Strawberry Bubblegum filling


20 grams white chocolate

50 grams popping candy

150 grams strawberry puree

30 grams Hubba Bubba bubblegum

250 grams white chocolate, finely chopped

100 grams unsalted butter, finely chopped


Melt 20 grams of white chocolate to 30oC. Add popping candy and mix to combine.

Spread the mixture out onto non-stick baking paper. Allow cooling to harden. This will be the surprise center of the macaron.

Heat strawberry puree and bubblegum in a small saucepan over a medium heat and cook until the bubblegum softens.

Blitz with a stick blender.

Put 250 grams of white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot strawberry/bubblegum mixture over and set aside until melted.

Mix well to combine.

Cool to 50oC and pour into a bowl with the finely chopped butter.

Use the stick blender again to blitz the ingredients together.

Put mixture into a piping bag with a 7 mm nozzle.

Refrigerate until needed. It is a good idea to have made this filling yesterday for today.


PS I would like to knowledge Adriano Zumbo for his help with the base for this recipe.

On the back of the great success and fun we had at the Thorpdale Potato Festival's “Hessians on the Field,”  this year we are bringing 4 dresses  to the competition.

Jaci outfit for Potato festival

(pictured: Jaci's big reveal for the Thorpdale Potato Festival)

Outfits must be made from new or recycled hessian or potato bags and are judged on “Most Creative Outfit” and “Most Creative Design” in both over 16 and under 16 events, on Sunday 12 March 2017. The Thorpdale festival had been a highlight of the local area since 1977, and was revived after hard work by the locals to re-launch in 2015.


We have had 4 individual dresses designed using Hessian by Melbourne Designer, Moz Corrie, who has also been heavily involved with Leongatha's Lyrical Theatre in the past.


Not to give away too much information, the four outfits have been designed to flatter each of the ladies form, all are very different but quite dressy, including day wear dresses, evening dress and formal wear.


jaci website potato festival

(pictured above: last years catwalk entry)


I will also have a special stand at the festival, where I will again have my famous potato macarons, white chocolate (clean spuds), dark chocolate (dirty spuds), and dark chocolate vodka (very dirty spuds). All macarons are made with real potato of course!


All of us will then make a mad dash over to the “Hessians On the Field,” at 12pm, where you can see us in all our finery.


The Thorpdale Potato Festival will be held on the Thorpdale Recreation Reserve on Sunday 12th March 2017. It will be a fun filled day, with many attractions including potato picking and stacking competitions, sheep shearing, sheep dog trials, vintage machinery, historic car displays, CFA road rescue, professional wood chop, fashion, dance, photography, free kids activities, live music and over 100 food and market stalls.

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