I think this might be the fastest turn around time between baking, photographing and posting something here since I started this blog. Nevertheless, this is going to be a quick one, because I’m trying really hard to switch off in the evenings, spend quality time with my husband, and get into bed before 11pm. It’s been a crazy past few weeks, with lots of exciting things happening, including moving into a gorgeous new apartment and adopting 3 (YES, THREE) very small kittens. Each of these things totally warrant their own posts, so I’m not going to elaborate, but we’ve definitely moved into the next phase of life in Shanghai. Year Two. Along with the sense of calm that’s brought about, I’ve also had a gnawing feeling like I need to figure a few things out this year.
In the meantime, here’s a list of some things in 2017 that I’ve figured out so far:
- I’m still getting used to my new name, and do a double-take every time I see it, and then the butterflies follow…
- Big Little Lies should’ve had at least 10 episodes, and absolutely needs to release a soundtrack so I don’t have to go back and SoundHound my way through each one. Also hoping like hell there’s a second season.
- One of my latest and greatest musical discoveries (thanks to Big Little Lies) is Michael Kiwanuka. If you haven’t listened to any of his music, you need to get on that as soon as you’re done reading this.
- I need to spend more time exploring ways of overcoming my anxiety issues – there’s probably a post in the near future about that.
- Bottle-feeding, weaning and house-training three kittens is not for the faint of heart. It’s also crazy how something so small and fluffy can become such a big part of your life, scratches and all.
- If you’re an expat in China then you have to download the english version of the Yihaodian app, because your life will never be the same again, and you’ll wonder what you ever did without it. Just search for “YHD Expats” on the app store and prepare to go down a very long rabbit hole.
- The cocktail menu at The Bunker by Flask, found at the back of the Xintiandi Green & Safe, is fantastic! I could very easily sit there for an entire day and try every single one of them. The Apple Punch, Spumoni, Primo Summer Tea and the Mrs. Kostas come highly recommended.
- Brown rice makes for an incredibly filling breakfast, stir-fried with kale and topped with a fried egg + a splash of green Tabasco.
- I have an online shopping problem. Learning how to use the Taobao app (that’s in Chinese) and setting up my Alipay account was the best bad idea, ever.
- I need to find the perfect doughnut recipe. I’ve been testing out a few from various sources, and am yet to find The One. I’m going to share this anyway, because despite not being The One, they were still good and received some pleasant reviews from my guinea pigs (aka colleagues).
Rose + Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts
These doughnuts were adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe I found in their March 2017 issue. The method for making these is very similar to that of brioche, where you only begin adding soft butter after you’ve made the dough. After rolling and cutting doughnuts, I let them prove overnight in the fridge, and then let them come back up to room temperature before frying them. I’d like to try this recipe again, but instead of rolling and cutting pre-fridge, I’m going to let the dough rest overnight and then roll + cut the next day. Makes around 9 doughnuts.
- 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 1/4 Cup Rose Bud Tea
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- 7g Active Yeast
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour + Extra
- 60g Soft Unsalted Butter
- 6 Cups Vegetable Oil + Extra
- 1 Cup Icing Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
- Crushed Rose Bud Tea
- Roughly Chopped Pistachios
- Place milk and rose tea in a pot. Slowly bring up to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for around 10 minutes.
- Strain milk into the stand-mixer bowl (making sure it’s still lukewarm, around 45 degrees°C), add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast. Gently stir and set aside and wait for around 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. You’ll know that it’s activated when the mixture appears foamy and smells yeasty.
- Add egg, egg yolk, honey, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and mix gently until just combined.
- Add the flour and knead on a medium-high speed, in the stand-mixer with the dough hook attached, until the dough comes together and doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl anymore. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Begin adding the butter, in small pieces at a time, until it’s all incorporated.
- Turn the dough out on to a lightly-floured surface and knead with your hands until the dough is completely smooth.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and roll out on a lightly-floured surface until around 1.5cm thick.
- Using a doughnut cutter or round cookie cutter, cut out doughnuts and place on a lined baking tray. If you have any leftover dough, re-roll and continue cutting if need be.
- Cover the tray with a tea towel and place in the fridge for a few hours, ideally overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and allow doughnuts to come back up to room temperature. In the meantime, fill a deep heavy pot fitted with a thermometer with the vegetable oil. Bring up to around 165°C over a medium-high heat. If it gets a little too hot, you can control the temperate by turning down the heat or turning it off completely for a few minutes.
- Carefully fry around 3-4 doughnuts at a time, making sure you don’t crowd the pot as this will mess with the temperate of the oil. Cook for around 2 minutes on each side, until a deep golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
- While the doughnuts are cooling, make the glaze by combining the icing sugar and water. Mix until you get a smooth, thick glaze.
- Dip one side of each doughnut into the glaze, topping with pistachios and rose petals.
These are best eaten the day you make them, which really isn’t that difficult.
I’m also going to start adding step by step recipes to SideChef under the Lotuses+Lanehouses profile, so if you’re wanting to make them using a hands-free step by step cooking app (that comes with with loads of other cool features and information) you can download it for iOS or Android.