Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I am currently embroiled in a love affair with my new air fryer (yes, I’m such a kitchen geek)! I’d wanted one of these for a couple of years now, but had always talked myself out of buying one. I thought it would be just another kitchen gadget that I’d quickly loose interest in, that would remain on my kitchen counter taking up precious space. However, I could not have been more wrong. These things are amazing! I honestly wish I had bought one sooner. Somehow they add crispness and flavour to foods even without prior marinating (and I’m the marinating queen) and all with minimal oil.

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After lots of research I decided on the Ninja AF100UK as it seemed perfect for a family of four, and I have not been disappointed. It’s really easy to use (I used it without looking at the manual) and cleaning up is easy as the pan and grilling tray are non-stick and can be popped into the dishwasher. Honestly, I’ve found a way to use it every day since it arrived and the great thing is that I can make healthier meals for my family without compromising on the taste.

One of my kids’ favourite treats are freshly fried cinnamon sugar donuts (the kind I remember getting at the fair when I was little), so I decided to have a go at making a slightly healthier air fryer version. I kept the recipe pretty much the same as when I make them for the frying pan, but reduced the cooking time and brushed the surfaces of the donuts with melted butter after they were cooked to give the cinnamon sugar something to cling on to. The result is a tasty, sugary, soft donut that the kids could easily polish off in one sitting. And unlike the frying pan version there was no excess oil to have to somehow discard afterwards.


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Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Recipe

Makes: 12 ring donuts and 12 donut holes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Leavening Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the donuts:

  • 205 g strong white bread flour
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 7 g dried fast action yeast
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 50 g salted butter melted, slightly cooled plus extra for greasing the bowl
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract        
  • 1 medium egg beaten

For greasing the donuts before and after air frying:

  • 6 tbsp melted butter

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the donuts (flour, sugar, yeast, nutmeg).
  2. Add the milk, vanilla extract and egg to the butter and mix well.
  3. Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients whilst mixing with a spoon until a slightly tacky dough is formed.
  4. Knead by hand or using dough hooks on a hand mixer for around 5-10 minutes until the dough is less tacky.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the inside of the bowl with some additional melted butter, it doesn’t matter if the bowl has some dough residue. Then place the dough back into the bowl and turn it over so that the top and bottom is greased.
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and place a clean tea towel on top. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 even balls and spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the tea towel and cling film. Use a rolling pin to flattten the dough balls into rounds approximately 6 cm in diameter and 8 mm thick.
  9. Use a 3 cm diameter round cookie cutter to cut out donut holes. Set the donut holes aside.
  10. Brush tops of donuts and donut holes with a quarter of the remaining butter. Turn them over and brush the other side of the donuts and donut holes with another quarter of the butter.
  11. Heat the air fryer at 190 °C for 3 minutes.
  12. Cook the donuts in batches (I cooked 4 at a time) on the crisper tray in the air fryer for one minute per batch until the donuts just start to go a tiny bit brown. Cook the donut hole batch for around 45 seconds.
  13. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  14. Brush the tops and bottoms of the donuts and donut holes with the remaining butter, then toss them one by one in the cinnamon sugar.

NOTES

  • These are best devoured while they are warm.
  • Don’t over cook as they will get hard.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

In keeping with my theme of hygge for January (and as a nod to Vaganuary), there’s nothing more cosy than indulging in a hot chocolate and a slice of cake on the sofa whilst snuggled under a warm blanket. Here is my favourite hot chocolate recipe – it’s rich, smooth and vegan. It’s really quick and easy to make and requires only 4 ingredients.

Now, I’m not actually vegan, and I don’t think I ever will be (since I love meat so much), however I do recognise and value the health and environmental benefits of plant based foods. For these reasons I started incorporating vegan dishes into my diet. And I actually believe that some vegan foods actually taste better than their animal product containing counterparts. A prime example is the vegan hot chocolate recipe. It’s so creamy and delicious, and all without the dairy!

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Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Makes: 1 mug
Preparation Time: 1 minute
Heating Time: 1-1.5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • oat milk

METHOD

  1. Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar and cinnamon to a microwavable mug and mix well.
  2. Add a few drops of milk and mix well to make a paste. Keep adding the milk a few drops at a time until the paste starts to thin out. Then stir in the rest of the milk.
  3. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and enjoy!

NOTES

  • If making hot chocolate for a number of people then just multiply the quantities by the number of mugs required. Add the dry ingredients to a sauce pan and mix well before gradually adding in the oat milk and mixing well. Heat on a low-medium heat for around 3-4 minutes. Do not let it boil.
  • Serve topped with plant based whipped cream – I love whipping up some Elmlea Double Plant Cream Alternative. Mini marshmallows are also preferable.
  • I would recommend Oatly oat drink as a non-dairy alternative to milk as it doesn’t curdle like some oat milks do and it doesn’t have the strong taste that you often get with coconut or nut-based milks.

The Ultimate Burger

Happy New Year!

With December being the month for giving to others, I think January should be the month for being kind to yourself. After over indulging and over spending during the Christmas season this new month is the perfect time to reset, recharge and prepare yourself for the year ahead. Often there is pressure to hit the ground running in January – I used to set myself big resolutions for the New Year, sometimes they were over ambitious and I would crash and burn after a couple of weeks and feel disappointed. So now I take a more chilled out approach. Being in the dark depths of winter, and now in the middle of yet another lockdown (here in the UK), this was always set to be a tough month. So, I think January is the perfect time to unleash your inner hygge! Make sure you are comfortable and cozy, and do things that make you content. Take that bubble bath, read a novel, binge on a series (I would totally recommend Bridgerton by the way), eat well and nourish your body but allow yourself a little comfort food too. Just ease your mind and body into the new year. Then, when YOU’RE ready take your place in the world and slay 2021!

On the notion of comfort food, I have an amazing burger recipe to share. The patties are well seasoned and then double cooked to perfection – they are first browned on a grill pan and then steamed in the oven. The result is a super succulent burger with a tender texture and uber flavour. Trust me, this beats any restaurant burger, and is incredibly quick and easy to make for mid-week meal.

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The Ultimate Burger Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 32 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the burger patties:

  • 1 slice of bread (crustless and cut into 1 cm squared chunks)
  • 40 ml milk (I use oat milk but dairy milk is fine too)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced and chopped
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 0.5 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 750 g beef steak mince (around 15% fat)

To put the burgers together:

  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 4 yellow cheese slices
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato finely sliced
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 8 slices of crinkle cut pickled gherkin
  • BBQ sauce, yellow mustard or additional ketchup
  • 4 slices grilled smoked streaky bacon (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional).
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the burger patties together except for the mince.
  3. Add the mince and use clean hands to mix thoroughly.
  4. Divide the seasoned meat into 4 pieces and shape into patties.
  5. Heat a lightly oiled grill pan on a medium heat. Cook the burgers two at a time for 6 minutes on each side. I use my Tefal Grill Pan.
  6. Place the burgers in a baking tin and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Assemble the burger. Around 5 minutes before the burgers are done place the buns in the bottom of the oven to warm up. Slice the bun in half and top with a cheese slice lettuce and tomato. Add a burger patty. Top with your sauce of choice, sliced onions, a couple of gherkin slices and bacon if using.

NOTES

Paratha Roti

I love bread and pretty much anything full of carbs (though I really do try hard to to make sure I eat in moderation – so difficult). I’ve been experimenting with flat breads such as naan and tortillas, but I’m really loving roti at the moment, especially the Trinidadian-style paratha roti which also goes by the edgy name of “buss up shut”. This flat bread is soft but is super flaky. It is normally eaten with meat or lentil curries as the flaky texture of the roti makes it perfect for dipping into sauces. In Trinidad the colloquial term “buss up shut” refers a shirt that worn and torn up, the texture of the flaky parathas looks similar to this, hence the alias of “buss up shut” when referring to the roti.

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Rotis are surprisingly made from only a few basic ingredients that you’re already likely to have in your kitchen: flour, water, sugar , salt, oil, baking powder and butter. It is the technique when making the dough that produces the flakiness. In essence the dough is rolled out flat and brushed with butter before being rolled into a special cone shape and left to rest. Prior to cooking these dough cones are rolled out flat. It is the layers of dough separated by the butter that produces the flakes.


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Paratha Roti Recipe

Makes: 8 rotis
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp caster sugar
  • 220 ml water
  • 115 g butter melted

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, oil, salt and sugar and mix well.
  2. Add the water in use your hands to form a dough. Knead it in the bowl for 2-3 minutes. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into eight balls.
  4. On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a thin circle approximately 27-28 cm in diameter.
  5. Brush the top surface of the dough circle with some of the melted butter and then lightly sprinkle some flour on top.
  6. Cut a radial slit from the centre of the dough circle to the edge. Take the dough at one edge of the slit and roll the dough into a tall cone enveloping the buttered surface. Place the cone on a plate and push inwards the peak of the cone.
  7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 for the remaining dough balls. Cover with clingfilm and leave these slightly flattened dough cones to rest for a further 30 minutes.
  8. On a low-medium heat brush the base of a frying pan with butter. Roll one of the dough cones out on a floured surface such that it forms a 28 cm diameter circle again. I use a Tefal frying pan for this, click here for more details.
  9. Place on the frying pan and brush the top surface with melted butter. Allow it to cook for around 3 minutes until it begins to puff up. Flip it over and allow the roti to cook for a further 3 minutes.
  10. Repeat steps 8 to 9 for the remaining dough cones.

NOTES

  • Serve with lentils or a curry.
  • These are also ideal for making wraps.

Banana Bread

I know I’m a bit late to the banana bread party (everyone seemed to be baking banana bread during quarantine/lockdown!), but I found myself making banana bread today and wanted to share my favourite go-to recipe. This banana bread is so quick and easy to make – it can be prepared in less than 10 minutes! The result is a moist banana bread that is not overly sweet. It’s ideal as a snack, but because it is less sweet than some versions it’s also really good for breakfast spread with Nutella.

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Banana Bread Recipe

Makes: 1 loaf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking: 45-50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 115 g unsalted butter melted, plus extra for greasing the loaf tin
  • 3 medium bananas mashed
  • 2 large eggs beaten at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp almond essence
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 240 g plain flour

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C fan (190 °C conventional). Grease a 2lb (23 cm x 13 cm) loaf tin with unsalted butter.
  2. Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in the bananas eggs, vanilla essence and almond essence.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one third at a time and mixing well.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean
  6. Leave to cool in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack.

NOTES

  • This is delicious served warm.
  • Great for breakfast spread with chocolate spread.

Siopao (Filipino Sweet Steamed Buns)

Siopao has to be one of my ultimate favourite Filipino snacks. It is essentially the Filipino adaptation of the Chinese barbecue pork bun (“char siu bao”). It consists of a sweet bread-like dough filled with a saucy barbecue or hoisin-style meat. The bun is steamed in a Chinese bamboo steamer resulting in a light and fluffy white bun that is slightly glossy on the outside.

Siopao (pronounced “sio-pau“) is a popular Filipino street food. It is typically filled with pork, although there are other variations with minced chicken and mixed meats and salted duck egg as fillings. In my version I use shredded chicken. Siopao can be enjoyed pretty much any time of the day – from breakfast to a heavy snack to a light lunch. In the Philippines it is often requested as a snack by kids on their way home from school. My fussy child absolutely loves to eat siopao when she gets home from school.

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Siopao Recipe

Makes: 10 buns
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Leavening Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

For the buns:

  • 400 g plain flour
  • 70 g sugar
  • 7 g fast acting yeast
  • 0.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 160 ml milk lukewarm
  • 80 ml water lukewarm
  • 3 tbsp butter cubed and at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 625 g chicken diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 stalks spring onion white part finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp five spice
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 120 ml water
  • corn flour slurry (2 tbsp corn flour mixed with 80 ml water)

Additional:

  • 1-2 tbsp cooking oil for oiling the bowl and the dough
  • cornflour for flouring your work surface
  • half a small cup of water for sealing the buns
  • 10 flattened out cupcake cases
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar (used during steaming)

METHOD

  1. Prepare the dough for the buns. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, yeast and baking powder and mix well.
  2. Add the milk and water and use a wooden spoon to start to bring the ingredients together into a dough.
  3. Mix in the butter and knead the dough using a dough hook for around 6 minutes or manually for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, oil the bowl and then add the dough back to the bowl. Turn the dough over to ensure it is slightly oiled all over.
  5. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave the dough to rise for around 90 minutes.
  6. Next prepare the filling. Sautee the garlic and spring onions for 3 minutes. Add in the chicken, five spice, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and water. Simmer on a low-medium heat with the lid off until the sauce has reduced, around 15-20 minutes, mixing every 5 minutes to ensure that the sauce doesn’t dry out.
  7. Add the cornflour slurry and mix well until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, use two forks to shred the meat, and then leave it to cool.
  8. Once the dough has risen divide it into 10 equal sized pieces. Use cornflour to flour your surface and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls back in the bowl and cover with a damp clean tea towel.
  9. Working with one of the dough balls at a time roll the ball into a circle around 15 cm in diameter.
  10. Spoon some of the meat filling onto the centre of the dough circle. Dab your little finger into the water and moisten a 1 cm thick circle at the edge of the dough.
  11. Seal the bun by pulling opposite sides of the dough circle around the meat towards the centre of the circle and squeezing them together. I usually squeeze together eight opposing sides.
  12. You can then roll the bun in your hands slightly to even it out if needed. Place the bun seam side down on the cupcake case.
  13. Repeat steps 9 to 12 for each of the dough balls and until all the meat filling is used up. Place the buns on a large baking tray, cover loosely with cling film and then a tea towel and leave to leaven for a further 30 minutes.
  14. Next pour 1 litre of water and the tablespoon of vinegar into a deep frying pan or a saucepan and bring to a simmer on a medium heat. I use my favourite 28 cm Anolon Sauté Pan for this, click here for more details.
  15. Place the buns into a wooden steamer ensuring that there is 1-2 cm between each of the buns and the sides to allow them to expand as they cook. Steam the buns for 20 minutes. I use my BestCool Bamboo Steamer for this. It is a two tier steamer roughly 25 cm in diameter – one tier can comfortably hold two or three buns, so I steam the buns in two batches.
  16. Carefully remove the buns from the steamer and place them on a baking tray to cool for 5 minutes. Serve the buns while they are hot, remember to peel off the cupcake cases first.

NOTES

  • You can use either chicken breast or thigh fillets in this recipe. If you want a more even texture then use chicken breast as it is easier to shred. I personally prefer chicken thigh fillets as the meat is more succulent.
  • The vinegar is added to the steaming water to stop the buns from becoming overly yellow in colour as they are cooked.
  • These can be made as appetizers by dividing the dough and the filling by 20 to make smaller size buns. These are also more kid friendly.
  • Tip: To get even sized buns you can weigh the risen dough, divide the weight by 10 or 20 (or however many buns you wish to produce) and then make sure that each of the pieces of dough in step 8 are this weight. Similarly you can weigh out the filling too.