Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Olive oil doughnuts


Blackberry season is upon us. I went to the farmers market, spent a small fortune on a huge box of them. Had big plans for making this thick, dark, gorgeous blackberry cordial laced with mint and lime juice. But It seems like fall has really made its presence known as far as my health is concerned. I was down with a cold the past few days. So blackberry cordial NO, fresh, sweet smelling local blackberries eaten straight out of the box YES.
Let's hope this is just my immune system (wanting to get stronger) playing tricks on me and getting ready to dodge all the viruses that might come my way this winter.
When I'm sick I'm always hungry. Weird, I know. I have strange cravings. I'm not talking about a healthy helping of hot soup needed for that oh so essential boost of vitamins and overall comfort of the soul. Oh, no. I'm talking fried dough. Lots of it. Drenched in some sort of luscious syrup or dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. And in this case served with a big bowl of blackberries.
But let's keep this short, sweet and addictively delicious. These are the easiest doughnuts ever. They are shortened by olive oil and sweetened by freshly squeezed orange juice. The blackberries are just a bonus.

Olive oil doughnuts

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup table cream
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
60 g sugar
90 g icing sugar
475 g self raising flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Combine egg and 60 g of sugar in a large bowl. Add cream, orange juice, olive oil and vanilla. Add flour to make a soft dough. Knead until it all comes together neatly. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces, then form 15 cm cylinders. Pinch ends together to make doughnut shaped rings. Combine icing sugar with cinnamon. Heat oil to 350 F and fry doughnuts until golden (turning once) about 5 to 6 minutes. Cool completely. Coat with cinnamon sugar. Let go of your willpower. They're worth it.
Recipe adapted from GT magazine.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Red currant vanilla squares and a farewell to summer


Summer is officially over. Loved it, as usual but it was about time. This summer was very different for me for several reasons, which I won't get into right now. The seasonal fruits and veggies, long, quite walks and warm summer rain will definitely be missed but now it's time for something new: my favourite time of the year, FALL. Fall with its gorgeous colours, candle lit evenings with friends and great comfort food, lots of crisp apples and juicy blackberries. For me it has always felt like a new beginning. I still have that back to school thrill running through me. Love the smell of new books, new leather shoes and the prospect of new wonders and adventures.
But since I'm not one for leaving any loose ends, here's my farewell to summer: deliciously juicy, sweet and tart red currant vanilla squares, that scream summery goodness. Made these last week with the last red currants of the season.

Red currant vanilla squares


350 g all purpose flour
200 g sugar
150 g butter, at room temperature
500 g red currants, cleaned
4 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
150 ml sour cream

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix 250 g flour with 50 g sugar.Add butter and mix with your hands to obtain a soft dough.
Knead for about a minute. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Grate dough into a medium sized square cake pan, lined with baking paper. Push on grated dough with the back of a spoon to even it out. Scatter over red currants.
Beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in salt, lemon zest and vanilla. Add sour cream and the rest of the flour and mix until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff, add to batter in two additions, gently folding it in. Pour mixture over red currants. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Cut into large squares and dust with icing sugar.


And now here's my wish list for my new "school" year:

Picture 17

Cradle of flavour by James Oseland. The author spent two decades exploring the foods of the spice islands. Need I say more?

Picture 13

Cook in Boots by Ravinder Bhogal. Coffee table/ kitchen shelf perfection from a girl who loves food and shoes even more than I do.

Picture 11

Turquoise by Greg Malouf. The most beautiful book ever from the executive chef of MoMo (Melbourne), author of Saha and one of Australia's best chefs.

Picture 10
Picture 9

A year in my kitchen and My favourite ingredients by Skye Gyngell, expat Australian, now running the kitchen at Petersham Nurseries.
Do you have a cook book wish list?