Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Pieces of Heaven (aka mini donuts)

You know when your 7-year-old puts something into his mouth and groans "Ohhhhhhh! Pieces of heaven!" that you have just scored major mama-points!

We have had quite enough healthy baking on this blog recently. So these are full-fat donuts - no parsnip or butternut squash in sight. 

For some reason I always thought donuts were difficult. Needing yeast and rising time and specialist equipment. Which is why I was so chuffed with my earlier Instant Donut recipe. But these. These are as good as the best donuts I have ever eaten, sold by a man on the streets of Dorchester. We had some this Easter, which my daughters adored a much as me, so I know my taste memory is not dusty. These truly earn their moniker. They are nothing short of heaven.

If your only experience of donuts is shop bought jam filled. Then let me kindly and gently say: YOU HAVE NEVER LIVED UNTIL YOU HAVE EATEN A FRESH, HOT DONUT!

And these, with three kids under 8 helping were done from first weighing out, to first donut in mouth in ten minutes. 

THEY ARE SO EASY. So I demand that you try them. NOW!!!! And then come back here and kiss me!

They are adapted from The Hummingbird Cafes's latest book Home Sweet Home - they make them to go on jam filled cupcakes - I say WHY? And they roll them in cinnamon sugar - again WHY?

So here we go. After a write up like that, I now require your trust. I know what follows looks like a sloppy scone mix. It is. But holy mother of all things wonderful, it makes donuts that will take you straight to paradise.

Preheat deep fat fryer to 160 C (medium)

Makes about 16

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
35g cold butter cut into cubes
35g caster sugar
1 large egg
120ml full-fat milk

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Rub in the flour with your fingertips as you would making scones until there are no lumps of butter left. 
Whisk up the milk and egg in a jug with a fork. Make a well in the flour mix, pour in the milk and egg. Mix gently with a blunt knife. 
Pour onto some lightly floured baking parchment, it will be like a loose scone dough. gently squash together with your hands (coated in flour) and pat down to 1 cm thick. 
Now either use a small cutter (about 2cm across), or take heaped teaspoon sized pieces in your hands and gently roll into balls and put onto a plate. Cook in batches of 6-8. Put them in using a spatula or deep frying implement with holes in. They take about 2 minutes on each side, you need to turn them over half way. Cook  till golden.
Take them out and drain for 1 minute on kitchen paper, before tossing in a bowl of 100g caster sugar. 

Eat and enjoy! These do not keep and must be eaten within a couple of hours, but preferably when still warm!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hot Cross Buns... with a side of Food Blogging Events

I have no time for baking I'm afraid, real life is FAR too busy... Oh except for Hot Cross Buns! How I love that seasonal treat - it's so special to make something just once a year in these times when nothing is that sacred. I couldn't find my normal recipe (from Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookbook, so decided to try) - and of course adapt - I just can't help myself! - Nigella's from her Feast book, that I had photocopied many years ago. You'll have to wait till next year for me to share them!! But here's a pic to whet your appetite!

I am just finishing off my third book, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood  and will be sending it off to the publishers at the end of the month (you can see an extract from it this week over on my personal blog, Dreaming Aloud) so you'll have to excuse my relative quiet here at the mo.

But that's not all, oh no!

I have been helping Darina Allen with her blog prior to the Ballymaloe LitFest of Food and Wine which is almost upon us.

I will be on a panel on Food Writing for the Digital Generation at the LitFest, alongside Caroline Hennessy, co-founder of the Irish Food Bloggers, Michael Kelly, founder of Grow Your Own Ireland, and Aoife Carrigey of Holy Mackerel. I will also be answering questions in the next session which is all about self publishing, sonething which I've been immersed in for nearly two years now!

Then, on 18th May I will be teaching Food Blogging at Ballymaloe Cookery School - this half day course is perfect for those wanting to start out, and those who have recently started but are wanting to grow their blog.

And finally I am delighted to share that a piece of my food writing, The Taste of Cherry Blossom, has been accepted for BlogHer's new anthology entitled Roots: Where Food Comes from and Where it Takes Us, which this time focuses on Food and Traditions. It will be launched at their June conference in Chicago!

Busy times!


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