Homemade jam donuts and a new op shop

Arthur has been asking me to make jam donuts for a long time.  About four years in fact.  When I last made jam donuts, DeeW was crawling around and we had to put the deep fryer in our bathroom to keep her away.

So I agreed to make the donuts but we first had some stuff to do in the morning and went to an op shop as I had donations to drop off.  I’m supposed to be decluttering but I walked out with all this for the grand total of $2.50.  I already have two of these glass jars so I always snap them up when I see them:

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I wish I’d photographed the original Simon Says game I saw.  Boring, you say.  What’s so good about Simon Says? you say.  WELL.  My fellow Aussies will oooh excitedly when I tell you it’s Simon TOWNSEND Says!  If it’s still there the next time I visit I’ll take a pic.  I think it was $10.  Worth it for a photo of Simon’s haircut on a box, don’t you think?

I was recently reading Woman In Real Life’s blog post about an op shop she visited and the Leave It To Beaver books she saw there.  Who knew they made Leave It To Beaver books?  And who knew they’d end up in a Melbourne op shop?  It was $5, bargain price for such a book but I resisted:

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So, the donuts.  I really dislike deep frying so you can see why it’s been four years.  But I do love hot jam donuts and buy some from the van at Preston Market but that’s not often at all, which suits me fine.

Anyway, Arthur was also nagging for some spring rolls (lumpia) so this time I said I’d use the deep fryer.  When I made the spring rolls last week or so, I just used a pot on the stove.  I figured the deep fryer would be easier because you just put everything in the frying basket and let it go.  But oh my goodness you use SO MUCH OIL to fill the fryer.

And here’s where a slight problem starts.

The deep fryer is stored in a little storage room next to our laundry.  The deep fryer was put there around four years ago.  Except the deep fryer, from four years ago, had not been emptied before it was put away.  I’m pointing the finger at Husband.

Imagine four years of stinking hot summers and a deep fryer that still has the oil in it.  There was no mould but the rancid oil smell was bad enough.  Not to mention how sticky it all was.  I made Husband wash it out while I got stuff ready.  Even though he washed it thoroughly it still has that awful smell.

Anyway, I was going to use a fantastic recipe from “The Bread Book” by Linda Collister.  I’ve made it once before but it involved a fair bit of prep work– the first rise of dough, then you stamp out circles, plop jam on a circle, seal with another circle, leave to rise again, etc.  I don’t have the room to stamp out dough (well, I would if I cleaned the kitchen table) and I wanted something quick.  So it was a pretty cool coincidence that the latest free issue of the Woolworths Fresh Magazine had a recipe for donuts, although theirs were filled with chocolate.

This recipe was super easy.  I added 1/8th teaspoon of turmeric for a yellow colour but I could have added more as it wasn’t all that yellow and I doubt that much turmeric would affect the taste.  You know the nice yellow colour from the donut vans?  That’s what I wanted.

After the dough had doubled in size, DeeW and I rolled walnut sized balls:

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then they were lowered in to the CLEAN deep fryer and cooked:

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and finally a squeeze of jam and some caster sugar:

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Getting the jam in was hard and we used a metal piping set.  Look what happens when you put too much jam in:

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They tasted good but were nowhere near as beautiful as the donuts I made years ago, where the jam is placed inside the dough for the second rising.  That ensure the donuts stayed perfectly round.  Today the donuts got squashed a bit when we put the nozzle in.  They kind of look like demented eyeballs.

These are not something I see myself make again.  I felt sick from eating that oil (I get awfully queasy most of the time after eating something deep fried).  Still they were tonnes better than the gluten free jam donut I tried last week which was horrible and pretty much a solid oil formation.  I still feel sick thinking about it.  In future though, if we want jam donuts we’ll just go and buy them.

You can find the recipe on about page 26 of the Woolworths Fresh mag by following the link above.  I used egg replacer in place of the two egg yolks without a problem.  We used strawberry jam my mother in law made but nothing beats the jam the donut vans used and I have no idea what that is.  Or even if it contains strawberries.

Mmmm donuts!

Mothers Day treats from Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop

It feels like we haven’t been to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop in aaages.  That’s probably because we haven’t been in aaages.  Arthur had requested I make pancakes for Mothers Day (as in, Mother does all the work) and I said think again buddy cos I’m not going near a frying pan.  We decided on treats from Mister Nice Guy to take to my Mum’s house for afternoon tea.

As usual, there were lots of lovely treats at the bake shop:

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My sister and I were pitching in for afternoon tea so got some cake (yum!) and a piece of the grasshopper cheezecake which is mint flavoured.  As it was brunch time when I visited the bake shop and I hadn’t had breakfast, I decided to try the ‘BLT’ bagel.  Oh my, it was delicious:

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Part of our day today involved passing through the suburb of North Melbourne, a lovely part of town:

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I love this old lettering on a store right near Mister Nice Guy’s:

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… it matches this stove someone put out on the nature strip (grassed areas outside homes):

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Best Mothers Day present: my legs look long and skinny!
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Best wishes for a fantastic Mothers Day, to all you mums out there!

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A really slack “What I Ate” moment

I’ve been slack AGAIN with my ‘what I ate this week’ posts.  Meal planning has gone out the window for another week because of Husband’s unpredictable work schedule.  I did manage to take some pics of various this-and-thats!

Kale and chickpeas dressed with lemon juice and nooch:

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I can’t tell you how happy I am that Arthur and DeeW are eating porridge.  I get to cook ONE BIG BOWL then serve it out.  Bliss!  I had some with currants and golden syrup.  With toasted coconut, I call it ‘ANZAC Biscuit Porridge’:

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Bad photo of the vegan packet rendang mix with leftover potato and sweet potato mixed in:

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In the week before Greek Orthodox Easter my mum made vegan ‘koulourakia’.  Koulourakia are bready-biscuitty things served alongside coffee and tea.  Mum’s usual recipe has butter or cream but this version is made with oil.  Everyone makes their koulourakia differently.  My maternal grandmother made big hearty versions but my paternal grandma made hers sweeter and heavier.  My mum makes hers somewhere in between:

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Speaking of Easter, here are the flowers Mum had on the table for Easter Sunday lunch:

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For lunch Mum made rice with veg.  My sister made the roast veg and a leek potato soup.  Due to an unfortunate miscommunication, there was no vegan dessert.  It didn’t matter though as I was pretty full anyway:

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One of my favourite smoothies is made with orange, lemon and frozen bananas:

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I made a walnut basil pesto which was delicious.  I tried some gluten free rice macaroni.  The first time I cooked it according to the instructions.  Sat down to eat and the pasta was still hard (yes I’d tried a piece before turning the stove off!).  It was so hard I threw everything away and made a second batch.  I had to cook the second batch for double the amount of time stated on the packet and the piece I tested had turned to moosh.  Sat down to eat the second time and some of the pieces were still too tough and I’m not talking al dente!  I ate it  because I was starving but I’m never buying it again:

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A Lebanese zaatar bread from Zaatar on Sydney Road in Coburg:

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I went to lunch at Zaatar and ordered their falafel zaatar focaccia, which they assure me has no animal content at all.  It was delicious and I could barely finish it all:

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My mum’s vegan ‘yemista’, which are Greek stuffed vegies.  Mum always uses rice but this time she used burghul:

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I had a voucher for Lord of the Fries so I treated myself to their Spicy burger.  I forgot to take a photo until I’d demolished it:

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…and this was my view as I ate my burger at LotF near Flinders Street Station:

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It was a beautiful day and I had my camera with me, so I’ll leave you with some snaps of my super home town  🙂

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And home again:

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\o/

Watercress Coconut Lumpia Spring Rolls from ‘Vegan Eats World’

‘Vegan Eats World’ by Terry Hope Romero was a book I pre-ordered with much excitement.  Vegan food, world cuisine– I’m sold!  When the book finally arrived I waited until I had a completely uninterrupted few hours just so I could sit down on the couch and really take my time looking through it.

The way I usually look through a new cookbook is like this: I look at pictures first.  Then I flip through the pages from the start and get a rough idea of the recipes.  Then I go back to the very start and read everything properly, the dedications, thank yous etc.  I then get a stash of little strips of scrap paper to use as bookmarks so I can come back to those pages.

With ‘Vegan Eats World’, I had to run and get myself some more little scrap paper bookmarks.  One recipe I made sure to note were the lumpia, or spring rolls.  I’ve never really wanted to make stuff fried in oil so I was pleased to see the recipe gives an option for oven baking.

Terry’s lumpia are made up of dried coconut that gets toasted, carrot, potato, cabbage, watercress, onion and garlic.  That stuff gets cooked up then you fill spring roll wrappers and roll them up and fry or bake.  I went for the fry option this time, just as one of those “I never do this otherwise, so why not try it”.  And truthfully, I wasn’t sure if they’d turn out in the oven.

The filling has vinegar in it (the kinds of vinegar are listed in the recipe) but I left it out entirely.  I also left out the onion because of pure laziness.  I just couldn’t be bothered dicing an onion.  That’s me.  There’s a dipping sauce recipe listed but I just used sweet chilli sauce instead.

I was surprised that these turned out great.  Not that I doubted Terry at all.  It was more this pattern I have, where I put effort in to a recipe and then somehow it doesn’t end up the way I think it should be so I’m all mehhh won’t do that again.

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I ended up making another batch in the oven just to see how they turned out.  Baking does not give them the nice even browning and I found they went too crunchy.  Still, the kids ate them all up:

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Since the initial experiment I’ve made them a few times and added chopped kale to the mix. The only problem with them is you can easily eat the entire batch in one sitting…