Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Buttered Grapes

So recently I had a parting of ways. I ended things, it was not mutual, it was probably not on the happiest of terms, but alas it was time for things to end. We both gave it a decent crack and put in a lot of hard work, still however things just didn't feel right. I may have said a few "It's YOU not me" comments, but this is irrelevant.

Before you go jumping to conclusions and presuming that somewhere in amongst my busy life I have managed to fit in a secret love with one of the usual suspects (actor/writer/chef/singer/wine maker/director/some ridiculous creative type) I'll set the record straight. I have not been going through a break up. I have however left a job, which I had very high hopes for.

Being the person I am, and seeing things the way I do, I treated leaving a job in the same way I often treat parting of ways with a significant other (to me food, cooking and romance are all the same so its hard for me to distinguish between any of them.)

I may have shed a few tears, I may have drank one too many glass' of wine, and I may have hashed over the details repetitively with my friends and family. Lets be honest, the whole experience shook me so much that I couldn't stand to bake a single cake, or even look at a Donna Hay magazine. I was too heart broken.

Like any good heart break, your life becomes shaken up enough to take a good look at who you are and where you are going. After three years of working pretty nonstop at culinary school, and a five star hotel, I realised that I was pretty tired. I also realised that if I kept working so much I would start to loose my love of food. Too many chefs work themselves into the ground, only to forget why they are actually in this industry.  I totally had one of those huge 'Wow maybe I've got this all wrong" moments, where I realised that life is speeding past me very very quickly, and unless I start doing the things I want, and taking time to enjoy it, very soon I will miss these moments. Don't get me wrong, Im not saying in any way that I don't love being a chef, I'm just saying I think I love being a person more.

So here is what I plan on doing. First of all I have taken a job at a really cute little cafe right down the road from my house, which means no more 4am starts and 12 hour days without a break. Next I have taken a very long nap (actually I napped for a good part of a week), and now it is time to extend all this loveliness to you, my readers. I want to take some time to actually make some food I love (simply because I love it)

and share it with you. I want to tell you about all the glorious things going on in my kitchen, be it a lovely bottle of wine I'm drinking, some flowers I've planted in my back yard, a wonderful tattoo I got on my ankle (yes mum I got another tattoo), how wonderful my friends are, all the dinner parties Im planning on hosting, and just how damn good it is to be alive. So if you're up for all this, then so am I! Welcome to my rebranded blog. Welcome to my rebranded new little life. Welcome to nonstop wonderfulness.

Friday, January 3, 2014


So this is the new year. It seems to be a year of new things too. I have happily settled into a new house, a new job, a new romance, with a couple of new cook books for inspiration and a new bike. Everything seems so exciting and fresh. I am about to endeavour on a whole year of bold adventures, and Im pretty thrilled. 

I have been promising a doughnut recipe for sometime now. I'm pretty keen on making doughnuts these days. I actually haven't made any for about two weeks and today I had such a craving for them. 

The recipe comes from a book called "Doughnuts, simple and delicious recipes to make at home." Its one of my new favourite books. I found the following recipe on a great blog called 'Leite's Culinarie' Hope you enjoy it. 


  • Quick Glance
  •  1 H
  •  3 H, 30 M
  •  Makes 8 to 14 treats

Buy the Doughnuts cookbook
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  • For the doughnuts
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to 110˚F (43°C)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surfface
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the sugar glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
  • For the chocolate glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)


  • Make the doughnuts
  • 1. In a medium bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the yeast in 3/4 cup of the warm milk. Stir in 3/4 cup of the flour to create a smooth paste. Cover and let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Combine the remaining warm milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the flour mixture along with the sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. Mix on low for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and mix until it becomes incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to a dough hook and, with the mixer turned off, add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time. Knead the dough on medium speed between additions until the dough pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. It will be very soft and moist, but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. (You may have flour left over.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  • 3. Line a baking sheet with a lightly floured dish towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes. (Note: If making filled doughnuts, clearly, don’t cut out the holes.) You can re-roll the scraps and cut out additional holes.
  • 4. Place the doughnuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm spot to proof until they almost double in size, 5 to 20 minutes, peeking every five minutes. To test whether the dough is ready, touch it lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has over-proofed, in which case you can punch it down and re-roll it once.
  • 5. While the doughnuts are proofing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360˚F (182°C). With a metal spatula, carefully place a couple of doughnut holes or doughnuts in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and holes, keeping the temperature consistent.
  • Make the glaze
  • 6. Whichever glaze you’re making, place the sugar (and cocoa powder, if relevant) in a bowl and slowly stir in the milk and vanilla, if using, a little at a time, to make a smooth, pourable glaze.
  • Glaze the doughnuts
  • 7. Pour the glaze into a shallow bowl. Dunk the doughnuts, let any excess glaze drip off, and then transfer them to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet or over a sheet of parchment paper to rest until glaze sets. (Who are we kidding? We know these glazed doughnuts are going straight from bowl to gaping mouth.)