Friday, September 25, 2009

Flexible fritters

Autumn, like spring, is yardwork time. The end of colourful blooms, harvesting vegetables and putting the finishing touches on some much needed renovations.

Thankfully, that list of tasks comes with some neighbourly help. There is a group of us that, when there is work to be done, are always available to help. It's still work but with a good dose of socialising, snacks and dinner in the mix for balance.

We were expecting a damp day, not terribly cool but just enough so that you could be comfortable working in the yard. You might, however, keep a light jumper handy and partake of a little something sweet for sustenance.

So, I'd mixed up a batch of fritters (aka doughnuts) the night before to get us started. The dough is quite remarkable in the sense that it allows you to mix up tender yeast dough in the evening, proof overnight in the refrigerator and have lovely light fritters in time for coffee. I put a pot of coffee on and got to the business of frying.

Coffee-glazed Fritters

I don't use the instant espresso powder called for in the recipe, rather a 1/4 c of stovetop espresso (omit other liquid) works just fine. These are light textured, bordering on fluffy and with a delicate sweet coffee glaze. Good for a cool spring day and perfect if you feel your morning tea is lacking in the sugar department.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


I spent what is now the summer before last in Central Otago. The predominate association with Central Otago, for me anyway, is none other than it's divine Pinot noir. However, while I spent my days amidst the vines, my flatmates spent their days in the fruit packhouses of Alexandra, Cromwell, Clyde and Roxburgh.

Not that I didn't benefit from their toil. A few of the packhouses allow some fruit (that is for one reason or another unsuitable for shipping) to make its way back to the flats of the seasonal workers. Of course, we ate much of it fresh but there were also desserts.. courtesy of the communal Edmond's Cookbook. Even though many of the girls returned to ovenless apartments in Taiwan, there were still several copies of this New Zealand institution packed securely for the trip.

On days off (Waitangi Day) and weekends, various puddings were made (crumbles, sauces and cakes.. no fruit dessert was left out) regardless of the soaring Central temperatures! Thankfully, two good swimming holes on the Manuherikia were close by for a refreshing dip. There was, however, one evening near the middle of February, that was unseasonally cool. We'd had rain that day and when the humidity dropped, it left the evening feeling more like late autumn than summer. Now, I'm usually thinking about food and food projects but it was a girl from Japan who actually got me to (seriously) thinking about making jam. All she said was how she wished that she could take some fruit home with her. And of course, that's entirely possible. In the form of peach jam.

After a trip to New World for sugar, pectin crystals and a box of jars, we got to the business of peeling and dicing and washing and sterilising, all the while thinking about scones, pancakes and toast. Then, assembly line style, we made 4 small batches of the most gloriously golden peach jam (infused with a bit of ginger). We each got 3 jars (heavy little tokens from summer in Central) and a small pottle we put in the fridge for eating straight away.

Scones anyone?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

French toast and grilled peaches

Something about bright colours and breakfast. I had some leftover wholemeal bread that I always use for french toast and I'd been thinking about using a punnet of blueberries to enhance some maple sirup. However after getting a look at the baskets of peaches covering endless tabletops at the market this morning, I had other ideas. It is getting toward the end of peach season so there are always a few that are perfect for the grill.

French toast at our house takes many forms depending on the season. Varying from a simple, weekend treat with fruit and sirup to a more elaborate stuffed holiday version accompanied by thick cream, preserved berries and their lovely liqueuered juices, french toast makes an ordinary Saturday morning special and a special Saturday even moreso.

You can whip up soaked bread just before you plan to cook for an easy spur of the moment breakfast or make it up the night before and have it ready to go from the fridge. The latter option is great when an early morning is a guarantee.

This morning, however, after seeing the brilliant golden interiors of these Red Haven peaches. it was a last minute inspiration that coincided with a planned grill session and just in time for A Taste of Yellow. A few beaten eggs, splash of milk, a pinch of cinnamon and little grated orange zest and juice make a lovely bath for the thick sliced wholemeal loaf.

The toast can either be cooked stovetop or in the oven (great for large batches) but I simply fried the bread this morning while the peaches were given a turn on the grill. We were already heating the outdoor grill this morning for some tomatoes and peppers that would be salsa later on. If grilling isn't an option, a quick turn under the broiler or in the same frypan are easy, and just as tasty, alternatives.

With the bread golden brown pefection, I remove it to a plate. They sirup is simple as adding a little peach juice and maple syrup to the still hot pan, just to warm through, and tossing in the grilled peaches to coat.

Pour peaches and sirup over the bread and it's to the table.


It is with much gratitude to Barbara that I post this in recognition of her hard work and inspiring attutude that make A Taste of Yellow into the meaningful event that it is.

To further raise awareness, this link is to a site and video that I hope will remind Ontarians and all Canadians that we have one of the top 5 Cancer treatment facilities in the world in Toronto. The Princess Margaret Hospital, like similar centers, do amazing work because people care enough to donate their time, money and energy be it in events like A Taste of Yellow, walks, runs and cycling events. So little from so many makes all the difference to those that need it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Taste of Yellow 2009

Hope everyone has created their favourite yellow recipes for A Taste of Yellow 2009. I am very much looking forward to the roundup.