Sunday, 23 February 2014

Merryn's Menu: Jam Filled Donuts

Merryn's Menu: Jam Filled Donuts: Fresh and light bursting with raspberry jam delight! The day started out well; I accidentally put salt into my son's coffee inste...

Jam Filled Donuts

Fresh and light bursting with raspberry jam delight!

The day started out well; I accidentally put salt into my son's coffee instead of sugar.
My husband's car wouldn't start and there was no fresh bread.
Do you ever have days like that?

When this happens there is only one thing to do - cook and create in the haven that is your kitchen.
My son forgave me for salting his coffee, the mechanic was summoned and the need for bread could wait.
Gather your ingredients
and make a strong cappuccino.
I think a jam filled donut should be as light as air, melt in your mouth and be satisfying all at once.
Much like fairy floss or a gentle souffle.   Light as a whisper yet as tasty as a truffle.

The melted butter, warmed milk and eggs.
This is the texture when the dough is combined.
Just one advantage to living in the country is that you can leave your keys in the car 
for the inspection whilst you remain happily cooking in the kitchen.

Sometimes, on days like this you just need some seriously comforting food.
(Remind yourself that you will be happy if this is the worst thing to happen this year.)
Jam filled donuts are a family delight.
Accompanied by a glass of cold milk or a hot steaming frothy coffee.

Gently knead the dough, lift and push with your fingers only.

Look at these puffy balls of dough.

Fry for 1 - 2 minutes then turn over.
Fry for a futher minute and remove with
a slotted spoon.  These look quite brown
as they were fried in rice bran oil.
Drain on paper towel
then roll in castor sugar
and squirt the jam inside with a nozzle
fitted to a piping bag.

So tasty, fluffy, delicious and enjoyable.

Raspberry Jam Filled Donuts

500g  plain flour
60g  castor sugar
3 teaspoons dried yeast
pinch of salt
250ml milk
100 grams butter
2 whole eggs
Rice bran, vegetable or canola oil for deep frying
1/2 cup raspberry jam (you could use strawberry instead)
Extra, 1 cup castor sugar

Combine flour, sugar yeast and salt in a large bowl
In another bowl combine melted butter, warmed milk and eggs together then mix into the flour mixture.  You can do this in your mix master with a dough hook on low speed.  You don't need to add more flour even though it seems a bit doughy.

Knead on a floured surface until it becomes smooth.  Place in a greased bowl, cover and set aside for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Knead again on a floured surface, gently stretching and folding the dough for five minutes or until it is smooth and glossy.  Roll out dough to 2.5cm thickness.  Using a round cutter, approximately 7cm, cut out rounds and place on a lined baking tray.  Cover lightly with a tea towel and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a saucepan until a cube of bread starts sizzling straight away when dropped in the oil.
Gently place the donuts, about four per time and turn over after 1-2 minutes.  When puffed and light brown, remove and place on paper towel to drain, briefly, then roll in the extra castor sugar.

Place on a large tray and put the jam into a piping bag and insert into the middle of each donut, squeezing until sufficient jam is placed into each centre.

Buon appeitito, Enjoy Merryn

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day Lavender Wreath

Here is a unique present for the love of your life on Valentine's Day.

When love is fresh you might swap gifts of jewellery with each other
over a lovely dinner at a romantic restaurant.

On our first Valentine's Day we were living in Bondi, in a side street off Bondi Road.
We bought a bottle of Mateus, a popular affordable wine at the time and wandered up to
the China Moon,  past Kemenys and an amazing French bakery
for a delectable Chinese meal.

This was a journey we regularly made. 
 30 years ago Bondi was more like a country town than a City
where you knew so many people.
You could safely wonder the streets at night and knew the shop keepers by first name.
The China Moon is still there today but I don't know if it has the same owners,
or indeed the same atmosphere.
We, however, have very fond memories of dining on Bondi Road which 
shortly thereafter became a Mecca of dining establishments.

About 15 years ago we bought another similar bottle of wine on our anniversary for old times sake
but we realised that your taste for wine changes over time.

It is however the memories you make together that really matter
and sharing Valentine's Day together is special.
Dining in obscure establishments on Bondi Road still hold a firm place in my heart.

Here is a  unique Valentine's Day gift, made with love,
 you will enjoy for many years.

Cut fresh lavender stalks into roughly 7cm lengths.
Insert the stalks, with the leaves facing the same way,
as if they were still on the bush, into the cane crevices.

Continue doing all of the stalks with leaves, reserving the lavender heads for last.

Lavender symbolises peace, purity and tranquility.

When you are happy with the presentation and have all of the facing surfaces filled,
spray with hairspray to help the lavender retain it's colour as it dries.

Here I have created a gift for my Valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Buon appetito, Merryn.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Forster Foliage in February

We are officially in the middle of summer! 
Strolling around the garden there are so many delights to enjoy!
Here are mangoes, bursting with colour and vibrancy.

The biggest avocado tree is loaded with Secondo avocadoes, a semi dwarf variety
which is flourishing in our mid north coast climate.

Note the varieties of lettuce, protected behind a chicken proof fence
(I always think of rabbit proof fence when I walk past this garden bed).

Below is an example of what ten free ranging chickens can do to your garden.
This was a healthy patch of sorrel at Christmas time, before the chickens arrived!

The dwarf Pinkabelle and Granny Smith trees are a delight.
I plan to harvest them before the flying foxes do
(wish me luck).

 Figs Figs Figs!  Black Genoa, Brown Turkey and White Adriatic.
So sweet and succulent.
We check each morning and night to ensure we get them before the birds, blue tongue lizards or rats eat them.

A baby watermelon, proudly nestled on the ground, growing every single day.

The capsicums have been abundant, even looking slightly weathered as these ones do, 
they are still sweet and luscious when cooked or finely sliced for a salad.

I am so proud to show this Banana Passionfruit.
This is the first time I have ever grown a passionfruit plant successfully.
Previously they were planted too far from the house for frequent watering.

However I have found they are incredibly hard to spot on the vine.
The flowers were prolific, but I don't know where all of the passionfruit went -
did birds eat them or did they prematurely drop off?
 I don't know and would welcome advice as to how to harvest these passionfruits.

The next crop of bananas, biding their time to ripen to a golden yellow delight.

Tamarillos, or tree tomatoes as they are known.
I don't know what to do with them, apart from turning them into a chutney.
Any ideas are welcome.

I picked the first Pomegranate yesterday.
These are truly beautiful fruits.

I had to share this, these are beautiful chicory flowers, a traditional Italian vegetable,
the flowers are gorgeous and I love the idea of blue nectar in the bee hives. 

More rockmelons, we have been eating them for three months now, these vines are great~!

There are two (yes, 2) pears on the Williams Pear Tree.
I check them daily, as does a gorgeous Rosella, hopefully I will win
and taste the sweetness of the pears before the Rosella does ...

Three years in the ground and this dwarf Ruby Red Grapefruit has hit the jackpot.
It was well worth netting for protection.
You can see the colour is slowly changing.
Hopefully we will eat them in early Autumn.

This quince tree is only one year old and there are five gorgeous quinces growing firmly.
I can't wait to cook them.

My healthy bunch of lemongrass had to be moved as it was pushing out
the garden bed's wooden supports.
I literally dug a hole in the ground, in the middle of the lawn and planted some here.
12 months on and look at it flourishing, sometimes neglect is a good thing.

Tahitian Limes.  This Lime tree was a house warming present from my brother and three years on,
we will be picking many limes in the next few months.

This yellow aubergine (Eggplant) is fruiting continuously.

We have picked kilos of grapes, sweet and almost seedless, these are succulent.

Here you can see seedlings shortly to be planted out, gardening is a continual process.

These are the highlights of my February garden.
I hope you have enjoyed strolling with me around the Garden Share Collective this month.
Kind regards and buon appetito, Merryn