12.5.18

Donuts (homemade)


It was our friend Annika that warned us of donuts on the pier, she said we hadn't 'done' the Brighton experience unless we'd paid more than necessary for more doughnuts than we actually needed. Generally I would think of myself as a healthy eater and actually happier with cous cous than creme caramel but, in this instance, Annika was right. Donuts did solve overcast Tuesday blues, for a moment or two. 

They have become something of a talking point. Should the doughy pillows be filled with jam? Or custard as St John's have suggested? Should they be baked or deep fried? I spent my Saturday perfecting a recipe which I think, outshone those dirty ones from the pier. 






Makes 6 Doughnuts 
(recipe adapted from Felicity Cloake)

225g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
½ tsp salt
20g caster sugar, plus extra to dust

20g unsalted butter, 
65ml whole milk, warmed
45ml warm water
1 egg, beaten
2 litres vegetable or sunflower oil, to cook

1 tsp cinnamon
1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Put the butter into a bowl with the warm milk and water, and stir to melt. Pour this into the mixing bowl, along with the egg, and stir until it comes together into a dough: it should be firm, but soft.

2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface, or into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Put into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).

3. Shape into 6 balls of about 80g each, folding each side tightly into the centre in turn, turning as you go, then turn the ball over and put it on a lightly floured baking tray or board, spacing them well apart. Cover and leave to rise again for 45 minutes.

4. Heat the oil in a large pan or deep-fat fryer to 160C. Cook the doughnuts in 2 batches for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden, then blot with kitchen paper and sprinkle with caster sugar and ground cinnamon.

11.4.18

The best beetroot espresso brownie

Such is the brownie’s reputation; it can cope with an unorthodox intruder. Both the beetroot and the coffee make this particular version sing; it is bitter, but not too much, rich but not to it’s detriment and even gluten free to satisfy those guests. 

 

BEETROOT ESPRESSO BROWNIE


MAKES 16 BROWNIES

PREP TIME - 20 MINUTES

COOK TIME – 45 MINUTES



INGREDIENTS

200g raw beetroot, peeled  (approximately 2 medium)

250g 70% dark chocolate


2 heaped tsp. instant coffee granules

200g unsalted butter


400g caster sugar

4 medium eggs, beaten

50g cocoa powder

50g plain flour


Pinch of salt



You will also need a 20cm x 20cm x 4cm square tin



1. Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Line a 20cm x 20cm x 4cm shallow brownie tin with parchment paper.



2. Prepare the beetroot by peeling and grating on the fine side of a box grater.   



3. Melt the chocolate, butter and coffee granules very gently in a large, heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped beetroot, caster sugar sugar and beaten eggs. Combine thoroughly before adding cocoa powder, plain flour and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Stir well.



4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until just cooked, brownies are easy to over bake. The top should be dried to a paler brow, but the middle should still be dark and dense and gooey and only just firm. Allow to cool completely in tin before slicing, as it will continue to cook until cooled.


12.2.18

Foolproof Ultimate Pancakes



Every year for I’d say, 15 years I’ve made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Lent beginning was a major thing at home and sitting around the kitchen we’d each resolve to change habits or indeed, take up new challenges. Mum would always aim to eat fewer nuts, she could survive on salted peanuts if she had her way and dad would invariably deny himself double cream for forty days.  As I write, I’m thinking about what shall be my challenge for this year and I think my diet coke habit could be kicked into touch or that 4pm coffee…  

This recipe for pancakes is stolen from my days at Leith’s (I think) or given to me by somebody, I don’t remember who. They are the best I’ve had and should be wolfed down as soon as they touch the plate.

FOOLPROOF ULTIMATE PANCAKES 

110g Plain Flour 
A pinch of salt 
A pinch of sugar 
1 egg 
1 egg yolk 
285ml Milk 
A little butter, to fry 

Put the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the egg yolk and milk until smooth. Rest for 30 minutes. Fry in batches in a buttered frying pan.