Thursday, August 27, 2015
A big hello from Manila! I've been here for a week and practically everything I've eaten has been amazing. I love visiting the local markets anywhere I go travelling - from New York to Penang- and of course the Bondi farmers market is part of my weekend ritual. I love seeing exotic tropical fruits and locally grown vegetables, homemade pickles and preserves and street food cooked fresh in front of your eyes. The last time I visited before I left Sydney, I was excited to find fresh chamomile flowers, and I just knew I wanted to do something tasty and pretty with them.
Most people have tried chamomile tea, but the flowers can also be used fresh or dried and have some pretty incredible health benefits. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and high in anti-oxidants, which make it soothing for burns and cuts, colds and flu, stomach aches and even PMS! It's also great for your skin and hair, and because it is caffeine free, can help you get a good night's sleep.
My newest favourite last minute dessert is Ricotta Doughnuts - did you know you can have fresh homemade doughnuts in less than 20 minutes? They are really very easy. No need to wait for a yeasted dough to rise and they turn out super light and fluffy. I stuck to a classic flavour combination that I knew would be lovely - honey, lemon and chamomile. If you can't find chamomile flowers, this recipe can also work with chamomile tea. And of course, they are best enjoyed with a nice cup of tea!
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Friday, October 10, 2014
I say it all the time, I love what I do, but I have pretty much forgotten what a weekend feels like. A day off is an extremely precious thing not to be taken for granted. Waking up on a day free of work to do anything you want to do - or nothing at all - feels as good if not better than waking up on your birthday! Oh the beautiful possibilities.
After a sleep in, a lazy cup of coffee and a walk in the sunshine to the farmers market or the beach or my favourite café, my favourite thing to do on my day off is, of course, baking.
I have quite a large archive of doughnut recipes. I do love making them and coming up with fun flavour combinations, but deep frying can be messy and tricky to keep the temperature at a consistent level. When I saw this recipe for baked doughnuts that claimed they were as good as the fried kind, and didn't need a specialised doughnut pan, I obviously had to try it out.
It is a yeasted raised recipe from one of my most trusted sources on all things doughnuts, Lara Ferroni. Of course containing yeast, it does take some time to prove, but I had all the time in the world on my glorious day off to potter around the house while I waited. Bliss.
Fresh berries are just starting to come into season and they are wonderful so far, definitely one of my favourite things about spring time. I wanted to achieve the classic look of a pink glazed doughnut but using fresh berries and pomegranate for flavour and the perfect colour, without artificial ingredients or food colouring. And of course, I piled as many fresh berries and pomegranate seeds on top as would fit. The combination is delicious.
This is a great base recipe to start from and would be delicious with any flavour of glaze or icing you can imagine! If you prefer a more traditional doughnut, you can brush with melted butter while fresh and hot from the oven and dip straight into cinnamon sugar.
When eaten fresh, these doughnuts are truly as good as the real thing, but a whole lot better for your waistline. I'd definitely recommend eating these on the same day as you bake them - all doughnuts are best eaten fresh but these ones especially. However if you do have some left over, store in an airtight container and warm them up for around 10 seconds in the microwave to soften them back up before you eat.
Monday, February 10, 2014
It was only after I'd made, styled and photographed this dessert that I planned to post next week that I realised that it'd actually be a pretty awesome dessert for Valentines Day. Apparently in February I develop an infatuation with doughnuts and raspberries, as last year's post contained accidentally similar flavours!
Let me preface this post by saying I've never been a fan of the rampant commercialism that comes along with VDay. This is also my first one as a single lady in years... But this year I'm actually a little thankful for a little reminder to show and tell my friends how much I love and appreciate them, because it's something we perhaps don't do as often as we should. I know I'm guilty.
I like to show my love for the people in my life with cooking, whether it be making their favourite foods or express posting them a batch of cookies. More than anything I wish I could teleport all of my friends from their various corners of the globe, get them all in a room together, drink some wine, laugh a lot, cook them an incredible meal, and finish with this dessert.
So whether you're spending time with your boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend, I hope you tell them how much they mean to you. And not just on Valentines Day, but often. I urge you to avoid the tacky store-bought flowers and overpriced chocolates. This year, show your love with something homemade instead, whether it be a home-cooked meal, a scrapbook of photos, or if you're crafty, a DIY gift. There's lots of ideas over here!
These churros all but vanished, they were consumed so fast. A few even went missing during the photo shoot. I love this combination of flavours - a barely sweet doughnut cooked to a perfect golden brown, paired with a white chocolate and raspberry ganache, that also includes a healthy splash of Chambord raspberry liqueur. And some sprinkles for good measure, because lets face it - sprinkles are never a bad idea :)
Monday, February 11, 2013
Ahhh Valentine’s Day. Since I can remember, I have not been a fan of the nauseating commercialism that surrounds the 14th of February. I'm fairly certain I’ve never posted anything heart-shaped on this blog! The boy and I have never even been on the same side of the country to actually spend it together. Showing love to your partner and friends on just one day of the year is, frankly, not good enough. As I’ve said before, I think it's the small thoughtful gestures shown on a regular basis that are truly appreciated.
So there will be no bouquets of roses around here on Thursday. But a bouquet of doughnuts? Well that's different! I can almost guarantee your Valentine (or your friends) will love a homemade gift, and these ricotta doughnuts are perfect.
They're easy to make, but super cute and delicious - just mix everything all in one bowl - no rising, rolling or proving here! The recipe came from fellow blogger Lara Ferroni's great book, and has made some of the lightest and fluffiest doughnuts to have ever come out of my kitchen.
I experimented with fresh raspberry in these doughnuts as an alternative to jam and I think it worked really well. I served them with a simple dusting of icing sugar but if you want to get even more fancy, try a honey and rosewater glaze or serve with white or dark chocolate dipping sauce to turn this into a decadent and romantic dessert.
Are you guys on Vine? I gave it a try for the first time when making these doughnuts. It was fun and I was quite pleased with the results, so behold, a little video for you as well! Click here to see it, and feel free to follow for more mini videos in future too.
I'm interested to know, what are your thoughts on VDay? Let me know in the comments!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I love the idea of transforming classic sweets into a completely different form, and these days my choice of form seems to be doughnuts. After my Lamington Doughnuts were such a success for Australia Day, I wanted to try my hand at Hot Cross Bun Doughnuts for Easter. Yes, I am shameless, but can you blame me? They're so cute! And trust me, they taste even better.
I made a batch of my usual go-to doughnut recipe, and then filled them with a spiced custard and brandy-soaked currants before finally dipping the tops in dark chocolate and piping the signature cross in white chocolate. They were a tiny bit fiddly I'll admit, but I reckon they're completely worth it. And assembling these for Easter dessert is made much easier if you make the custard and soak the currants in advance.
I can't get over how much they actually taste like hot cross buns thanks to the fruit and that awesome custard, which is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cloves. I hope I don't have to do too much convincing to get you guys to try these ;)
I hope every one of you has a fabulous Easter break! I'm heading over to Perth early tomorrow, where I hear the weather is going to be lovely. See you next week!
Hot Cross Doughnuts
Makes about 20
(adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying
• Dark chocolate, for dipping
• White chocolate, for piping crosses
Spiced Custard (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup cream
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ½ ground cloves, optional
• 6 large egg yolks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/3 cup cornflour
• 3 ½ tablespoons butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Booze Soaked Currants
• 1/4 cup currants
• 3 tablespoons brandy
To make the spiced custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, spices, cover and allow to infuse for 45 minutes. Reheat to just before boiling point before continuing.
Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, pour about ¼ cup of the milk mixture through a sieve into the egg yolks – this will temper or warm the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk through the sieve. Pour back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, and whisking vigorously and constantly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot) bring the mixture to a boil.
Keep at a boil, still whisking for 1-2 minutes until thickened, then remove the pan from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape into a bowl and press a plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate until cold. It can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the booze soaked currants, combine currants and brandy in a bowl. Cover and allow to soak at least overnight.
For the doughnuts, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds - 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).
Knock back the dough and roll out on a floured surface to 2cm thick. Cut out 5cm circles, place on trays lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and allow to cool slightly.
Make a small hole and pipe in spiced custard into each of the doughnuts. Through the hole, add some currants, pushing them inside with a chopstick. Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl, and dip the top of each doughnut into the chocolate. Place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to set. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate and place into a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe crosses onto each of the doughnuts and place in the fridge for another 10-20 minutes to set.