Nutella Chocolate Brownies with Hazelnut Lindt Balls

by April@MyFoodTrail on July 27, 2017

in Baking, Recipes, Slices

I love Nutella. I love chocolate. I love brownies. What happens when you combine all three? Yep, I LOVEEEEE it ūüôā Plus add in extra hazelnut Lindts balls and it’s decadence in slice form! I made these Nutella chocolate brownies when my brother Brian was in town as he’s not around often and loves my homemade treats. He’s trying to be healthy so quite often only has a very small slice of a sweet dessert. He ate 7 of these!! That’s a 10/10 review right there!

I originally saw this recipe on Taste.com.au but they used Ferrero Rocher. You can basically use any type of balls that you like. I tried making them another time with chopped up hazelnut chocolate and it didn’t taste as good. Definitely try to use either Ferrero Rocher or Lindt balls. Remember not to overcook your brownies if you like them gooey. Once they’re overcooked, there’s no turning back. At least if they are a bit under, you can still cook them a bit longer and they will cook a bit further as they cool in the pan.

Nutella Chocolate Brownies with Hazelnut Lindt Balls

Nutella chocolate brownies

Ingredients
3 eggs
130g brown sugar
300g Nutella
120g plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped or dark chocolate chips
12-16 Hazelnut Lindt balls

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced).

2. Lightly grease and line a square 20cm tin with baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang on the sides.

3. Using an electric beater, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale, thick and doubled in volume (at least 3 minutes).

4. Melt the Nutella in the microwave initially for 30 seconds, and then continuing with 15 second bursts and stirring in between until warm and just starting to melt (needs to be quite liquidy).

5. Fold the melted Nutella into the egg mixture with a spatula until just combined.

6. Fold the sifted flour, cocoa and dark chocolate until just combined.

7. Pour 3/4 of the batter into the tin and keeping 1/4 aside for later. Smooth the surface then press the Lindt balls into the batter.

8. Pour in the remaining batter to cover the Lindt balls. Make sure they are covered with the batter or else they will form craters in the finished brownie.

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until almost cooked. Brownie should still be a bit undercooked in the middle.

10. Set aside to cool completely in the tin. Lift out once cooled and cut into 16 pieces.

Notes:
Store brownies in an air tight container for up to 4 days (probably longer but they will get eaten before then!) Brownies do not need to be kept in the fridge.

Nutella chocolate brownies

Over & Out, April xx

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Ordering home delivery using Foodora

by April@MyFoodTrail on December 21, 2016

in Camberwell, Italian, Takeaway

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a savoury cooking recipe on my blog, but I do cook at home. In recent months, especially when Miss Food Trail was born, getting takeaway home delivered has become a regular occurrence! The logistics of going out to eat with a young baby who isn’t awake for very long, plus a toddler, is too hard at the moment so we don’t do it very often. That’s why I am so happy that food delivery companies like Foodora bring restaurant quality meals straight to my door when we can’t be bothered cooking! While you could always get home delivery from your local neighbourhood restaurants, Foodora brings a wider variety of restaurants that wouldn’t normally deliver.

The ordering process from Foodora is very quick and easy. Just enter your delivery address on the main page and a list of restaurants that deliver to your area will appear. The hard part is making only one choice of restaurant when you’re hungry and want to eat EVERYTHING ūüôā On this occasion we felt like pasta and decided to try Sauced in Camberwell for the first time. You choose your delivery time and add items to your cart by clicking the “+”. There is a $25 minimum order amount and a flat $5 delivery fee per order per restaurant. You can even order from Foodora’s app which will give you update notifications on your order like when it is on its way to you.

Our food arrived within the specified time, was well packaged and still pretty hot. The chips were a bit soggy, but that is to be expected and I like soggy chips anyway!

Fettuccine marinara in aglio olio Fettuccine marinara in aglio olio with scallops,prawns, calamari & white fish

Sauced signature Parmesan dusted chips Sauced signature Parmesan dusted chips

Try Foodora for yourself and get $10 off your first order with my referral code https://bnc.lt/YR5e/SePxshuyUD (and I will also get $10 off).

EDIT: If you would also like to get $10 off your first order with UberEats, my referral code is eats-yd10v. Just enter the code under “Promotions”.
To get $5 off your first Deliveroo order, use my referral code roo.it/aprilt. Happy eating!

Content sponsored by Foodora

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Call me an ignorant Melbourne cityfolk, but¬†Bendigo wasn’t on my radar as an exciting weekend away. I was recently invited to a road trip to Bendigo which changed my point of view! After spending¬†36 hours in Bendigo, I ended up eating one of the top 10 meals I‚Äôve ever experienced and developed¬†a new found respect for a destination I would definitely label as a gourmet foodie region. Go Bendigo!

Interestingly, I discovered some other Bendigo claims to fame during the road trip, which include:

  • Francis McEncroe invented the ‚ÄúChiko Roll‚ÄĚ in Bendigo after¬†being inspired by a Chinese chicken spring roll¬†
  • Bendigo has the oldest Chinese restaurant in country Victoria
  • Bendigo has a long history of winemaking, with the first vines planted in the Bendigo region over 160 years ago
  • The very first Myer department store was opened in Bendigo by Russian immigrant Sidney Myer in 1900
  • Bendigo has the oldest vintage tram fleet in Australia
  • The Hazeldene Bendigo Easter Festival is Australia‚Äôs longest running community festival (almost 150 years!)
  • The Bendigo Art Gallery is Australia‚Äôs largest regional art museum, founded in 1887. Currently the Marilyn Monroe exhibition is running until 10 July 2016.

36 hours in Bendigo, Heathcote and Marong

Despite my initial thoughts, there was actually a lot more than I expected going on in Bendigo. The weekend was so much fun, with lots of food, wine and activities to keep us busy around Bendigo, Marong and Heathcote. Here were the highlights:

Eat

Stay

Drink

Play

 

FOOD FOSSICKERS

It all started on a Saturday morning in May. Within a comfortable 2 hour drive from Melbourne, Thanh (@ieatblog), Angie (@feedmeichi), her husband Ronnie and I were standing outside the Bendigo Visitor Centre. We had gotten up early in time for the Bendigo Food Fossicking Tour. In my head, I was almost imagining foraging the forest floor for mushrooms, digging up white truffles and maybe even climbing some trees. While it wasn’t quite that adventurous, it did involve shovelling copious amounts of food in our bellies while visiting some of Bendigo’s foodie hotspots.

First stop was Bendigo Wholefoods, a gourmet one-stop food shop with a greengrocer, delicatessen, kitchen nursery and providore. If that wasn‚Äôt enough, there was a machine that turned roasted nuts into fresh peanut butter!! This was my type of place. The tasting spread at Bendigo Wholefoods was impressive – breads, cheeses, condiments, pickles, olive oils and these organic, vegan, whole grain crackers called ‚ÄúMary‚Äôs Gone Crackers‚ÄĚ. Seriously, these were like a vegan‚Äôs version of pork crackling – so incredibly crunchy and tasty. When I thought it couldn’t get better, the Wholefoods kitchen next door brought in something I didn‚Äôt expect – a sample of their vegan and gluten-free zucchini bolognese. Put a blindfold on me, and I would be hard pressed guessing this dish didn‚Äôt have meat or dairy. The bolognese was a mushroom and lentil sauce with fresh tomato, kale, cashew cheese and roasted almonds served on top of zucchini ‚Äúspaghetti‚ÄĚ. It turned out to be one of their famous ‚Äúwholebowls‚ÄĚ, and is one of those dishes that make me think becoming Vegan is certainly achievable (yes, Brando The Pig just wrote that).

Next stop was The Epicurean Delicatessen, an authentic Italian inspired delicatessen. A butcher‚Äôs display fridge with a large selection of small goods and imported cheeses greeted me as I walked in the door. After a coffee and donut, I was transported back to memories of my last holiday in Italy. The Italian style donuts served at The Epicurean are¬†called ‚ÄúZeppole‚ÄĚ, and we were told the secret ingredient was potato! As we moved onto the next stop, I left with my eyes firmly fixated on the hams, which were local, free range and nitrate free.

A few minutes walk away, I thought I was looking at a either a funny shaped chef’s hat, or a giant helicopter landing pad. It turned out to be The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery Рthe company that brought local sourdough to Bendigo. The bakery was set up in a circular shaped heritage listed site that was a former Beaurepaires Tyre building. And it was no gimmick, the baked goods here are award winning and tasted delicious! The Pumpkin Semi-Sourdough was my favourite Рa fluffy corn and wheat based dough with a touch of sweetness from roasted pumpkins. Respect to The Good Loaf bakers who endure 1:30am starts to produce these baked goods for Bendigo!

On to the next stop Рan artisan chocolate shop called Indulge Fine Belgian Chocolates. Having worked in a confectionary company for almost 10 years, I always get excited about local chocolate offerings. To my surprise, my picky tastebuds were very impressed! The chocolates at Indulge are made using Callebaut Belgian Couverture Chocolate and skillfully transformed into the various flavours sold in store. I fell head-over-heels in love with the Indulge Salted Milk Chocolate block and ended up eating so much my stomach started hurting. No regrets. I had to force myself to walk out before I ate the whole store.

 

The Famous Masons of Bendigo

25 Queen St, Bendigo VIC 3550

The last stop of the Food Fossicking Tour, was the recently hatted restaurant in the 2016 The Age Good Food Guide – Masons of Bendigo. Set in a former glass factory and run by husband and wife couple, chefs Nick and Sonia Anthony, I had no idea what I was just about to experience.

Warialda beef carpaccio Warialda beef carpaccio with black pepper, candy cane beets, smoked aioli, fried onions and kipfler potato chips

The first dish served was Warialda beef carpaccio with black pepper, candy cane beets, smoked aioli, fried onions and kipfler potato chips. The dish was plated beautifully, and it tasted as good, if not better, than it looked! The depth of flavour was impressive considering it was carpaccio, and the dish was well balanced, with elements of texture, smokiness and an acidic finish. I rated the dish 10/10 and honestly can say it was one of the best dishes I’ve eaten this year.

What was even more fascinating was the most of the elements of the carpaccio dish were sourced locally within 100-150kms of the restaurant. The grass-fed beef was sourced from Warialda Belted Galloways in Clonbinane, the herbs from B&B Basil in Bendigo (Victoria’s largest micro-greens grower), olive oil from Salute Oliva in Boort, eggs from 400 Acres Paddock Eggs and salt flakes from Pyramid Salt. It was beginning to dawn on me that the food here wasn’t just about the flavours or the chef. It was about sourcing the best available produce locally and bringing them to life on the plate.

Mcivor Farm Berkshire pork belly skewers Mcivor Farm Berkshire pork belly skewers, green mango, macadamia, coconut caramel and lime

Mcivor Farm Berkshire pork belly skewers were next, served with green mango, macadamia, coconut caramel and lime. The pork belly was so tender, delicious, and surprisingly not greasy, which prompted me to ask Chef Nick how he did it. The pork belly was braised in master stock and twice cooked. I quickly scribbled this tip down for future reference. Mcivor Farm is located in Tooborac, in between Melbourne and Bendigo, where the Old breed Berkshire pigs live in a free-range, chemical free environment.

This drew our Food Fossickers tour to an end, but we stayed for lunch to try and plough through the rather large menu. Approximately 70 locally grown products are showcased at Masons and I wanted to try as many as my stomach could fit!

Pheasant terrine Pheasant terrine, pate, sourdough wafers, pistachio, charcuterie garnish, raisin puree Zucchini flowers George‚Äôs Fried ‚ÄúCauliflower Cheese‚ÄĚ Zucchini Flowers with smoked paprika mayo, pickles and lemon

These stuffed zucchini flowers were just stunning. Biting into the crunchy exterior opened a whole new world, with delicious Taleggio cheese and buffalo mozzarella oozing out. It was balanced with pickles that added zing and tasted amazing. Together as a whole, the dish was delicate, flavourful and harmonious Рit was so beautiful I felt like I was going to shed tears of joy even though I hardly ever cry! Incredible.

Sweet and Sour Mcivor Farm Pork Hock Sweet and Sour Mcivor Farm Pork Hock, spring onion and peanut salad, lime

This is on par with some of the best pork dishes I’ve ever tasted. It reminded me of my favourite pork belly dish in Melbourne that I liked so much I ended up hosting my wedding reception at that restaurant. After eating the reshaped Pork Hock at Mason’s, I was tingling with how good it was. The charred edges added depth and crunch, with a clever use of peanuts accentuating this. The pork surprisingly wasn’t greasy, and was kept fresh with a good amount of acidity from the lime and cabbage. A well balanced caramel just elevated the dish to Heaven. Foodgasm material. This is an absolute must order dish from the menu. Another 10/10.

Mcivor Farm Berkshire Pork Fillet Mcivor Farm Berkshire Pork Fillet, Pork Belly, milk braised breaded shoulder, morcilla and crackle pinwheel Roast Wanbi Plains Lamb Loin Roast Wanbi Plains Lamb Loin with crispy belly, rolled shoulder, beetroot, black olive caramel, fromage and beetroot crackle Dessert Tasting Plate Dessert Tasting Plate – Creme brulee, Holy Goat & lychee pannacotta, choc-hazelnut delice, macaron, strawberry ice cream sandwich, chocolate pot with coffee soil, Opera Cake with orange curd, Favourite Flavours ice cream & Persian fairy floss

The Dessert Tasting Plate closed out one of the top 10 meals I’ve ever eaten. After the meal, I wanted to stand up, start a slow clap and give the chefs a standing ovation. The depth of flavour, the textures, the presentation, the concept, Masons had it all. Additionally, I could feel the love in the food, and the whole meal paid respect to the local, seasonal produce. Truely great and a very memorable dining experience that will bring me back to Bendigo.

Bendigo Corner Store Café

305 View St, Bendigo VIC 3550

Tomato & quinoa fritters Simply Green Tomato & Quinoa fritters

The Bendigo Corner Store Cafe was a bustling little cafe situated in a former¬†neighbourhood milk bar.¬†Beautiful full bodied Clark street roasters coffee and a delicious sounding menu greeted us as we sat down for breakfast.¬†I decided to take a bold risk and ordered the Simply Green Tomato and quinoa fritters. It turned out to be a great bet – they were incredible! It was unique, crunchy and flavourful,¬†with delicious pickled onions bringing¬†the whole dish together. I’d highly recommend ordering this dish!

Big Breakfast Big Breakfast

The Big Breakfast hit the spot with free range eggs and bacon, Otway Irish pork sausage, hash brown, balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, sourdough and a very memorable tomato relish that took the dish to the next level.

Smoked salmon & poached eggs Ocean breakfast with free-range poached eggs with smoked Atlantic salmon, wilted spinach and hollandaise, dusted with sesame seaweed, on organic sourdough.

A modern breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a sweet element to it, and that’s exactly what Angie ordered – House made¬†ricotta pancakes with blueberries, lemon syrup and citrus sugar, house made coconut yoghurt, lemon balm, a grilled lemon cheek and vanilla Persian fairy floss. It certainly rounded out a satisfying feed.

Heathcote Harvest

32 Tuscan Court, Heathcote VIC 3523. Open Friday to Sunday.

The stars aligned for us to have a family style Sunday lunch on the Heathcote Harvest 20 acre working farm, about 40 minutes outside of Bendigo. Boris the Berkshire boar greeted us in the carpark, along with a number of varieties of chickens as we walked into the restaurant.

Cured meats

We feasted on locally produced prosciutto, hams, salumi, local cheeses, house made terrine, spicy snags, pickles and condiments. And ofcourse a side of free range Berkshire bacon. What a spread! Then came a¬†pork schnitzel with creamy mash and red-cabbage sauerkraut. I¬†still remember the crunch. Turns out the batter was¬†house made sourdough that was blitzed and used to coat the schnitzel. It was one of the highlights for me, and a dish that almost didn’t make the menu.

Overall it was a lovely paddock to plate experience, and I couldn’t leave without buying some of the fresh free range eggs. Not bad for a couple who came to Victoria to retire.

Marong Family Hotel

26 High St, Marong VIC 3515

I loved the beautiful community feel to the Marong Family Hotel. It¬†felt like more than just a pub, so I think it is well described as a “Family Hotel”. A variety of areas cater for a broad crowd, where you can catch up with mates over a drink, keep the¬†kids entertained in the games area, all while with a dining area serving delicious local fare.

As we scanned the menu for food, we drank some¬†Connor Park wines, with grapes¬†grown on the owner’s property 10km away. I could almost picture the farm-to-table¬†lifestyle as I drank the wine, thinking I hope one day I can grow my own grapes and turn it into wine. My attention moved to the part of the menu¬†with the signature range of dishes –¬†specialty paddock-to-plate lamb which the owners source from their farm at Connor Park.

After much debate (sign of a good menu), we ordered the Dukkah Spiced Lamb Backstrap which came out in a generous portion Рliterally a mountain of food! The lamb was served with smashed potatoes, honey Dutch carrots and sauteed spinach.

We also tried the lamb shank special and couldn’t leave a country town without trying the Chicken Parma. Lovely service and experience.

STAY

BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park

We stayed at the BIG4 Holiday Park in Marong. Marong is a small township about a 15 minute drive west of Bendigo, and despite a population under 500, it has been identified as one of the next growth areas around the Bendigo region. I have to say I enjoyed my stay outside of the busy built up areas more than I thought Рwaking up to wide open spaces and gum trees surrounding Marong was certainly different for me and made me feel like I was on holiday.

Big 4 Caravan Park, Marong

Staying at the BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday¬†Park also opened my eyes to the world of BIG4 Holiday Parks. My impression of “Big 4” prior to my stay in¬†Bendigo was that it was budget accommodation¬†for families. After a night at the BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday¬†Park, I found the accommodation much higher quality than expected. The room I stayed in was¬†clean,¬†modern and comfortable. While we didn’t stay long enough to fully enjoy the facilities, we did have a quick burn on the peddle cars on a man-made go-cart track. I felt like a kid that wanted to stay and play all day, but my parents (or in this instance, travel buddies) were trying to remind me of the schedule¬†and to get in the car.

I enjoyed my time at the BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park to the point that I have subsequently used BIG4 for accommodation for a weekend getaway and have even signed up as a BIG4 Loyalty member.

DRINK

Both Heathcote and Bendigo are two of¬†Victoria’s 21 distinct wine regions, and while I was excited to dive¬†into the Heathcote Shiraz tastings,¬†I never really knew Bendigo had so¬†many wineries until this visit. Bendigo’s Mediterranean style warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters make it well suited to producing full-bodied wines and I wished we had more time to explore more.

  • Balgownie Estate¬†– considered one of the pioneers of¬†Bendigo‚Äôs modern wine industry with a larger estate in the Yarra Valley
  • Sandhurst Ridge¬†– A welcoming winery founded by an Italian family and now run by two of the brothers who live on site. There are also two luxury cottages available for guests to stay the night. Interestingly the vineyard is named after Sandhurst, the former name of Bendigo!

Heathcote is blessed with a microclimate similar to France’s Rhone Valley, combined with a¬†distinguishing spine of Cambrian rock that runs north-south through the region. The breakdown of this rock creates the mineral rich, red soils which give Heathcote wines their unique character.¬†Driving through the Heathcote township, I was surprised how big the town was – there were even wineries on the main street! It turns out that Heathcote has Australia‚Äôs longest country town main street, and is surrounded by the largest remaining Box-Ironbark forest in Victoria.¬†

  • Downing Estate¬†(Heathcote) – A friendly cellar door in a modest garage setting. Downing Estate is a 5 star James Halliday rated winery¬†with 100% estate grown wines. Also has hours of entertainment playing fetch with the wine dog.
  • Flynn‚Äôs Wines (Heathcote) – My favourite wine of the weekend was a Heathcote Shiraz from¬†Flynn’s. The Flynns Multi Clone Shiraz 2012 was full bodied and I could distinctly pick out the blackberry notes. The wines are made on site, and while the winery was built from scratch in 1999, the Shiraz’s score¬†well in the 2016 James Halliday Wine Companion.

PLAY

Bendigo was alive with the¬†youthful film star buzz of Marilyn Monroe. The famous capture¬†from the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch” can’t be missed as Marilyn’s¬†giant white skirt lifts high¬†into the trees of Rosalind Park, with the¬†8m high Forever Marilyn sculpture making a statement that Marilyn is in town!

Giant Marilyn Monroe in Bendigo Giant Marilyn Monroe

In collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox,¬†Bendigo Art Gallery¬†presents¬†Marilyn Monroe¬†in one of the most comprehensive Marilyn collections in the world. Even though I didn’t know that much about Marilyn, I was in awe and even a little inspired seeing this time lapse of Norma Jeane Baker’s transformation from an orphan into one of the most recognisable film stars of her time, Marilyn Monroe. There¬†were some tempting moments where I wanted to whip out the camera to snap a quick picture but photos weren’t allowed. Marilyn’s wardrobe was pretty amazing, along with some interesting personal artefacts. There were several¬†points in the exhibition with quotes by Marilyn, and the one that stuck with me was her quote “Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer”.

Our Marilyn themed weekend continued on the Sentimental Journey on Tram 880, one of Bendigo’s famous vintage trams which was converted into a special evening ride of sipping cocktails, munching on charcuterie boards and getting lost in the soothing tunes from Jazz legend, Ella Fitzgerald. The Sentimental Journey explored the friendship between Marilyn and Ella, and was a unique way to spend a Saturday night unwinding with friends.

For something different, away from Marilyn hysteria, we visited the calming environment of The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. A stupa is a Buddhist religious monument and The Great Stupa in Bendigo is the largest Buddhist monument in the western world (more than 6 times bigger than the Forever Marilyn sculpture!). The Great Stupa will also hold the largest gem quality Jade Buddha in the world after carving is finished by master carvers in Thailand.

CONCLUSION

I was¬†really quite pleasantly surprised by this excursion. The weekend in Bendigo and Heathcote convinced me we have some of the best quality food, wines and experiences in our Victorian backyard.¬†There is certainly¬†a lot more that meets the eye in Bendigo, and it’s a place¬†I’m keen to explore further in future trips. Good to know also that there are V/Line trains from Melbourne just in case my car breaks down and I need to sneak in another trip to Masons of Bendigo. Seriously so good. Thanks Bendigo, I’ll see you again soon.

Brando attended this trip as guests of Bendigo Tourism and BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park.

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Happy New Year to My Food Trail readers! Welcome to our first post for 2016, I’ve¬†been incredibly busy already, but¬†I’ve got so much to share with you.¬†Where do I start!?

Let’s start with Christmas. I’ve always wanted to make my own bacon, and after overdosing on brisket in American BBQ Nirvana (Texas) over Summer,¬†I was¬†convinced¬†Santa would¬†bring me a Smoker. As circumstances would have it however, I¬†ended up splurging our savings on¬†a brand new TM5¬†Thermomix!¬†Not quite a bacon maker, but known as “The World’s Smallest, Smartest Kitchen”, and it has opened my world¬†into endless food producing possibilities.

But I have a confession to make. Until recently, I was skeptical, even anti-Thermomix. I felt this machine¬†was taking away the “art of cooking”, where people could make anything at the press of a button, completely skipping the process of learning the fundamentals and putting love into¬†cooking a dish.

My view changed over time, once I realised how much more you could do in the kitchen with a Thermomix. Things like:

  • Making precisely heated and smooth lemon curd (This¬†is important because my wife LOVES¬†lemon curd. Happy wife, happy life. I can also use lemon curd to bribe¬†her hehe)
  • Freshly milling rice flour from rice grains or blitzing¬†sugar into icing sugar. Instantly, I can reduce the 10 or so different sugars in my pantry by a third. Strangely, clearing the overcrowded pantry also¬†makes wifey happy…
  • Stirring my¬†risotto and kneading¬†my bread while I do¬†other more important things¬†like checking Instagram…(wife not so happy)

Seeing the potential that a Thermomix could help me¬†bang out a¬†dish I’d made many times before, but in record time,¬†I took the Thermomix leap and didn’t¬†look back.

Thermomix Vs Man – Oliebollen Dutch Donuts

Oliebollen donuts

The first big test I put my Thermomix through was a head-to-head Iron Chef battle¬†against my father-in-law, Rob. Rob is a proud Dutch-Australian and amongst his many talents, he has become¬†legendary for his Dutch donuts. Dutch donuts are¬†known as oliebollen, or translated from Dutch as “oily balls”. These balls are¬†made from a batter consisting of flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and milk, then¬†deep fried in hot oil.¬†Usually they are¬†loaded with dried fruits or¬†apples, and even a few swigs of beer¬†in place of the yeast.

Legend has it that¬†a Germanic goddess called Perchta, flew around Holland during the twelve days of Christmas, looking for food. Perchta would slit open the belly of anyone she could find and steal the food in their belly. If you had eaten oliebollen however, the “oily balls” would protect your stomach, and make Perchta’s sword slide off your belly.

Not that I needed another reason to eat oliebollen. The¬†first time I tried oliebollen was at a small food stall in Salamanca Market¬†while holidaying in Hobart several years ago. I curiously bought one, and remember the sweet crunch followed by a fluffy centre with moist sultanas. It was a simple, yet satisfying ball of dough. I didn’t get to encounter that oliebollen feeling again (they are surprisingly hard to find in Melbourne), until I discovered my in-laws made them around New Years, a Dutch tradition they subscribe to every year.

So it was for years, I would ask (or some might say, beg) to help my father-in-law make his famous oliebollen. I never managed to hustle my way in to this secret oliebollen making ceremony. Until recently.

What I¬†discovered in the process was how seriously the Dutch take their oliebollen. Every year around Christmas time in Holland, one of the national daily newspapers, the¬†Algemeen Dagblad, run a competition to find Holland’s best oliebollen. The AD Oliebollentest¬†competition¬†is in it’s 23rd year, and holds high prestige, with the 2015 winners,¬†Master Bakers Cees Weeda and¬†Arnold Kabbedijk, claiming “this is a baker’s best prize.” Their winning bakery,¬†Meesterbakker Voskamp,¬†also won the coveted award in 2010, which quadrupled their sales. In the lead up to New Year, they were able to sell up to 12,500 oliebollen an hour, and almost half a million oliebollen in total¬†during the Christmas/New Year season. Like I said, serious business.

In comparison, Rob and I worked our backsides off over several hours, making and¬†selling over¬†400 oliebollen¬†for a Christmas carols event. And that’s not including that one’s I ate!¬†I ate so many oliebollen I literally lost count.¬†We were exhausted but it was an amazing day!

The day started with helping Rob prepare the mixture. I hear some Dutch families keep their oliebollen recipe physically locked in a safe, and while Rob doesn’t, I’m sworn to secrecy. However, I can share a behind the scenes view of Rob’s secret process, and there is an oliebollen¬†recipe I used in the Thermomix below too.

The Oliebollen Dutch Donut process

STEP 1 – Rob prepares his secret flour mix, a combination of flour, yeast, salt and sugar, mixing them together by hand in giant tub.

Oliebollen mixing dough Hand mixing the dough

STEP 2 РRob then adds the wet ingredients, milk and eggs. He hand mixes the dough until he reaches the consistency where there are no flour clumps

STEP 3 РRob uses raisins and currents in his standard oliebollen mix, adding them as the final step

Oliebollen adding raisins and currants Adding in the raisins and currants

STEP 4 – The oliebollen mix is transferred into a bin, covered, then left in a warm spot to rise. Over the next 1-2 hours, depending on temperature, the oliebollen mix should more than double in size

Oliebollen dough proving Transferring the dough so it can rise

STEP 5 – Deep fry the oliebollen in hot oil and remove when golden brown.

Oliebollen donuts frying Deep fried golden donuts!

STEP 6 – Dust the oliebollen with a generous serving of icing sugar and serve

After a random poll of 10 people, 80% loved Rob’s hand made oliebollen. MAN wins!

Recipe – Thermomix Oliebollen

Adapted from Devil of a cookbook by Fiona Hoskin

  • 60g sugar plus extra to dust (Mill 4 sec @speed 9)
  • 1 medium size Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and quartered (Chop 5 sec @speed 4)
  • 2 sachets dried yeast (14g)
  • 130g water
  • 450g plain flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 250g full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g currants
  • 30g raisins
  • Vegetable oil to deep fry
  • Ground cinnamon to dust doughnuts

Method

  1. Mix yeast and water together in the Thermomix, 2 minutes, 37 degrees @speed 2
  2. Add the flour, salt, milk, eggs and sugar into the mixing bowl, then knead for 1.5 minutes
  3. Add currants, raisins and apple, stirring for 20 secs, reverse, speed 2 until combined
  4. Pour the mix into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (approx 1-2 hours)
  5. Heat oil to approximately 150 – 160 degrees, and deep fry the oliebollen until golden
  6. Generously dust the oliebollen with cinnamon and sugar. Serve immediately

Much more to come on my new toy in future posts.

Until next time, happy eating, Brando

{ 7 comments }

Maiden post, maiden port call and the best of Mark Best

December 4, 2015
Ms Noordam at Port Melbourne

Hello and welcome to my first post for My Food Trail! Not to be confused with Mr FoodTrail (yes, it happens a lot!), my name is Brandon but people online know me as¬†Brando The Pig. I’m excited to share some of my adventures with you, and hope you enjoy them as a new addition to […]

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My Food Trail has a new contributor!

November 20, 2015
Thumbnail image for My Food Trail has a new contributor!

I am pleased to welcome my brother, Brando, as a new contributor and writer to the My Food Trail blog! He is otherwise known as @brandothepig on Instagram and loves eating and taking photos of his food as much as I do. Maybe even more ūüôā Brando is a keen home cook and I have […]

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Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen + a stay at Hilton, South Wharf

November 12, 2015
Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen

Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen 2 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf VIC Hilton Melbourne South Wharf (03) 9027 2122 This post is long overdue and it certainly feels like a distant memory since I was having the best time on my staycation at the wonderful Hilton Hotel in South Wharf stuffing myself silly with good […]

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Recipe: Golden Gaytime Slice

August 13, 2015
Golden Gaytime Slice

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last blogged! And it’s been a ridiculously long 4 years since I last posted a baking recipe! *cue hands on face shocked face emoticon* It has been so long, I actually forgot how to log into my blog to post, not to mention my password! Then […]

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Dining Out: Sake Restaurant & Bar, Melbourne

June 1, 2014
Sake Restaurant, Melbourne - Scampi tempura

Sake Restaurant & Bar Hamer Hall Arts Centre Melbourne 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC (03) 8687 0775 http://www.sakerestaurant.com.au/melbourne After our last baby free lunch, hubby and I thought it would be a while before we could enjoy a long, relaxing lunch (or meal) again. Junior is in childcare one day a week but as […]

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Recipe: Huon smoked salmon tartare on a potato rosti

April 6, 2014
Huon Reserve Selection smoked salmon tartare on a potato rosti

One of my all time favourite foods is raw salmon. Like last meal on earth kind of favourite. Smoked salmon also falls into this category so when Huon Aquaculture contacted me and asked if I would like try out their Reserve Selection salmon range and create a recipe, of course I said yes! The most […]

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