As promised in my last post, I gave the baked doughnuts another go last weekend. This time I used a different recipe that I had found online and thought it would be better to master a basic ring doughnut before I attempted the filled doughnut again. I’d also seen online, people mentioning that they had used their air fryer to bake their doughnuts. An excuse for me to use it again (I also attempted kale crisps in it last weekend. Did not go well for me. The kale blew up into the element and started to burn. Thinking about it, it might have been because I used shredded kale (leftovers from last weekends smoothies) rather than kale pieces. Might consider trying again at a later date). Back to the doughnuts. I used this recipe that I’d found online for making the doughnuts and this recipe for guidance on baking in an air fryer. Due to the unsuccessfulness of my last attempt at these, I decided I would do half a batch which was easy as it didn’t have any egg in it (if I can’t easily halve the amount of egg in a recipe, I’ll always make the full batch). So, for this attempt I decided to use my stand mixer to make the kneading easier (I always struggle with this when doing it by hand. Always takes me three times as long). As we are going through our cold spell at the moment in the UK, I didn’t feel it was warm enough to prove the dough out on the side so used the oven technique instead (Turn oven on full. When heated, turn off and put dough in to prove). Instead of cutting the doughnuts and placing them on some greaseproof paper, I placed them in my doughnut moulds. As I managed to get 7 doughnuts out of the dough and I only have four ring moulds, I used the stated method for the remaining three. I set my air fryer to 160C (only needs 3 minutes to warm up!) and cooked the doughnuts in batches for 5 -7 minutes until golden brown. Whilst still warm, I brushed with the melted butter and rolled in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Voilà, cinnamon ring doughnuts.
Verdict: After I proved the doughnuts, I noticed they had a crust on the outside. This was due to putting them in the oven. Next time, I need to leave them out in a warm place. The doughnuts hadn’t puffed up as much as the doughnuts shown on the recipes website. However, they did look like those on the ‘baking in an air fryer’ website which I guess is a good thing. The doughnuts had a close, bread like texture which was a bit disappointing (not as bad as attempt one mind). Personally, I liked the cinnamon flavour however Mr W wasn’t as keen (hence, leftover doughnuts are currently in the freezer waiting for me to eat them. Normally I can rely on Mr W to finish my bakes). His opinion being that doughnuts should either be iced (think The Simpsons) or filled with something sweet. So, I have found a third recipe on the Lakeland website which is for use with the mould kit I bought. It gives suggestions for ring and filled doughnuts. This will be used for attempt three with Mr W providing suggestions for fillings and toppings.
Smoothies. For those interested in smoothie recipes. This weekend I have been having strawberry, banana and spinach smoothies. I have been blending a handful of frozen strawberries, half a frozen banana, and two handfuls of spinach with some low fat natural yoghurt and water. Personally, I prefer using spinach to kale as it’s not as bitty when blended. I might try last weekends recipe with spinach instead of kale.
Mexican night. A few months ago, my sister and I went to a Mexican Street Food cookery class (I mentioned it in one of my previous posts). This weekend we finally got round to cooking what we learnt for our other halves. My sister took on the corn salsa, guacamole, radish pickle and tomato salsa. I took on the chipotle chicken, black bean tostadas (with feta and coriander garnish) and green rice. We did learn how to make our own tortillas but I decided to buy these in instead. It went down a storm with the favourite dishes being the chipotle chicken and black bean tostadas. Below is a picture of our efforts. Used it as an excuse to make up some sangria (I know it’s not Mexican but goes better with a meal than a shot of tequila). Now we just need to decide on our next cuisine type.
I hope the first week of 2016 has been good for you all (especially the dreaded first full week back at work). I know I’ve been feeling it a little this week and coming home from work a little tired but it’s a good excuse to snuggle up on the sofa wrapped up warm.
Rather than set resolutions this year (I know I can never keep them) I have decided to set myself (and Mr W in some ways) challenges/goals for the year. The main focus for this year is to be healthy through healthy eating and exercise. I’m wanting to make sure that we both get plenty of fruit and veg in our diets so that we are getting all the right nutrients. So, an obvious thing to start doing was to introduce a meat free day. I wanted to do ‘Meat Free Mondays’ but then realised that my job may require me to eat meat on Mondays so Mr W suggested a meat free day a week instead. So this Monday started off with a home-made vegetable soup for lunch that I found in my go to Good Food cookbook recipe here. I did cheat and use dried herbs and it did require a bit of seasoning (and good old Worcester sauce) to lift the flavour. The leftovers went in the freezer ready for this Monday. Tea had some Italian inspiration using gnocchi and butternut squash with a rosemary butter sauce. If anybody has any suggestions for meat free recipes, please leave a comment as inspiration is always needed.
I came to the realisation that during the week I can easily reach and surpass my 5 a day recommendation for fruit and veg (more veg than fruit mind) as it is easy to snack on this at work. But when it comes to the weekend I find that I can struggle to get past 3 servings (and drink my usual 2 litres of water). So, I have decided to make myself smoothies for my weekend breakfast. Last weekend I was on kiwi and spinach smoothies. For those who want to try it, chop up two kiwis and add to a blender with a couple of handfuls of spinach, couple of spoons of natural yogurt and 100ml water, then just blitz together. This weekend I’m on banana, pineapple and kale. So it was half a frozen banana (slightly defrosted), 12 chunks of pineapple, a couple of handfuls of kale and 100ml of water blitzed together. If you’ve never had a smoothie before, these green smoothies do take a while to get your head round (Mr W always has comments on the greenness of it) but I feel like I am adding those extra nutrients into my diet. People can say that smoothies are high in sugar but by making them yourself you can control what goes in. I try to keep the fruit down to the equivalent of 1-1 and half servings then top it up with the greens (low in sugar and fat but have the iron or folic acid).
Exercise….Probably one of the main focuses of resolutions. For a few months now I have been doing some form of exercise for 5-6 times a week. These sessions haven’t been intense, some cardio or strength training to get my heart going in the morning. I think that this could be why I haven’t been ill so far this winter. Doing some exercise each day (along with a healthy diet) keeps the immune system at its best. However, too much exercise can put too much stress on the body and weaken the immune system. So remember, everything in moderation (exercise and diet). So for this year I just want to keep this routine going. It can take up to three weeks for your body to get used to a routine so I’m hoping that now I’m beyond that stage, I can keep it up.
In my last post I mentioned about some healthy baking. This weekend I am going to give the baked doughnuts another go (using my doughnut kit and possibly AirFryer, this is my new toy for the year). I will give an update on this in my next post. Again, any suggestions for uses of the AirFryer (I got a Phillips one after a colleague at work recommended it) please leave a comment. I will be attempting kale crisps in it later today so fingers crossed.
Just a quick post to wish you all a happy new year!!
Apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of months. I have seemed to have less need to go on the laptop recently and therefore not getting round to writing a post. I will admit, I have still been doing some baking with a few bakes making an appearance for the Christmas season (I’ll include some pictures below).
This Christmas has definitely been a ‘gingerbread flavoured’ Christmas (ignited by my introduction to Gingerbread Lattes…mmm). This inspired my Gingerbread and Vanilla Whoopie Pies and my Gingerbread and Cranberry Muffins. I also attempted a Vanilla Biscuit Christmas Tree for our Secret Santa present swap this year. As impressive as it looked, I used a kit from Lakeland which had all the required biscuit cutters. I just needed to make the dough, bake the biscuits and assemble. The biscuits were rather tasty although next time I need to be mindful they don’t burn.
The final (no) bake of the year, before everybody goes on the healthy eating kicks for the new year was Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Pretzel and Milk Chocolate Slices. This was one of those (no) bakes that was so easy to do, tasted so good and was so naughty. I halved the recipe and still ended up with 16 decent sized slices. Think salty sweet creamy butter with crunchy pretzels and a thick, sweet chocolate top. I still have some pieces in the fridge at work for those that weren’t in over Christmas. Here’s hoping there aren’t too many people on diets.
So, this year. This year my posts might not be entirely focussed around baking. I might have some posts on some savoury recipes I’ve made. With people (including myself) wanting to try and have a healthy 2016, I don’t want to be baking treats each week that might be the reason for people falling off the bandwagon. Well, at least for the first couple of months 🙂