Saturday, February 27, 2010

DOUGHNUTS ~ FOOD FOR THOUGHT

This is my fourth contribution to Food For Thought. A fortnightly meme, the brainchild of the wonderfully talented Jain of food With Style and of  Once in a Blue Moon

If you read a book and love to cook post a post as Food For Thought.




OLIVE KITTERIDGE BY ELIZABETH STROUT
**** and a half


Lives lived are mostly dysfunctional. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout throws that fact into our faces. And I find it hard to dispute otherwise.

Olive is a large woman, solidly built, who lives without apology. She may be illogical, logical, temperamental, perceptive, obsessive, ego-centric, compassionate or abrasive. Or all of them at once. You feel her rage, you connect with her frustrations and her denials but at times you also despise her. Finally you sympathize in her fight to endure.


This is a book about several people, each, neck deep in living out their lives and reacting. Some desperately, some resignedly and some stubbornly to the crap their world has to offer.


This is also a story about the pain of growing old, the feeling of despair and frustration when you watch your stroke striken spouse become blank and distant then relieved and heartbroken when he dies. It is about the anger welling inside of you as you watch your children grow away and who seem intent on breaking your heart. It is about being "done with that stuff" in regards to bedroom life and about "I don't care if I die either....Long as it's quick."

This is a story about spouses who sense the infidelity, each in the other, mentally or physically, but who sometimes choose to pretend otherwise, to appear, even to themselves, to understand, intent on rationalizing the unacceptable or where things happen that alter their perception of each other forever. 

It is about wondering how or why you have become what you are and your marraige what it is. This is a story about life. Take it or leave it.


There is no plot really. Like real life. Strout presents Olive Kitteridge through the stories of uniquely different people each connected to Olive in some way, significantly or otherwise, in a small town of Crosby, Maine, a town by the sea where the waves lap, the seagulls squawk, the wind blows and the flowers bloom.

It ends with Olive Kitteridge feeling vindicated in her belief at the age of seventy four "that lumpy aged and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young firm ones."



I found the book depressing but from page 203 onwards Strout 's descriptions of situations and characters began to take on the occasional hilarious streak. Some simply made me laugh out loud. 

Olive is a multi-faceted character, like us. And to be able to write about people like us in minute and introspective detail, with clarity, is astonishing and, to read it, is frightening.


This is not a book for everyone. It wasn't unputdownable for me simply because it was mostly depressing or perhaps because it was too raw, uncomfortably truthful and blatant about angry feelings, about growing old, about infidelity, about imperfection, about real life. Perhaps we all live in denial at some point of our lives.


It won the Pulitzer Prize and I can certainly see why.


Perhaps ~

We may be old enough to make choices but we may never be old enough to know if we have made the right ones. 


Olive Kitteridge loves doughnuts. 


Dunkin donuts was where Olive and Henry, her affable husband, would stop by for a coffee, for doughnuts and for the doughnut holes. Doughnuts feature consistently in the book and I knew it had to be either donuts or doughnuts for Food For Thought.

It's amazing how pretty and playful doughnuts can look. I'm not much of a doughnut person and am amazed that people actually make a long bee line for doughnuts from a shop called Big Apple Donuts when it opened several years ago. I must say their toppings simply set them apart. They were gorgeously pretty. You just have to click on their link.They are beautiful! Sorry Dunkin Donuts!

If I had a little bit more love for doughnuts I would probably be queuing up myself.


This doughnut recipe belongs to Delia Smith. These doughnuts are gorgeously delicious, soft and thick. I've never tried any other doughnut recipe but my son says a lady at his university canteen sells doughnuts that are just so good because they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. But I don't have her recipe so Delia Smith's it is.


The recipe ~
Makes 8 doughnuts......

8 oz plain flour
11/2 oz castor sugar
2 tsp dried yeast ( I used the same amount of instant yeast)
1 egg, beaten
1 oz butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 T milk
3 T boiling water

Oil for frying


Method......

Measure the milk into a measuring jug and then add the boiling water, a teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast. Stir it and leave the jug in a warm place for about 10 minutes till the yeast mixture froths. Put the rest of the sugar, the salt and the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Then pour in the beaten egg and frothy yeast mixture and stir and mix to a smooth dough. If it sems a little dry add a tespoon or so of warm water. 

Turn the dough out onto a board and knead for about 10 minutes by which time it should feel springy and show slight blisters just under the surface. return it to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

When it has risen tip it out onto a board and punch it down to disperse large air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and flatten to a disc.

At this point I depart from Delia Smith by shaping it into a ring instead of filling the centre with jam. 

Once shaped place on a baking tray and enclose them in an oiled plastic bag or a bin liner as Delia suggests. Let them rise for 30 minutes. Heat up enough oil (I used canola) in a pot to deep fry to about 185 C and fry the doughnuts, turning them frequently so that htey will brown evenly. About 4 minutes frying time.

drain on kitchen paper tehn toss then on a bowl of castor sugar or any sugar combination that you like.






58 comments:

KennyT said...

I agree with you, we all live in denial at times. This book, as you said, seems to be quite depressing, but I'm going to look for it at a bookstore today, thanks for the wonderful description of this book.

terri@adailyobsession said...

it does sound like a depressing book for melancholic people. but it sounds 'deep' too. hm. shd i risk reading it?

hey, ur doughnuts look meaty, the kind i love. i don't like those light fluffy doughnuts.will print this out.

hey, a few days ago, the news making the headline in our local daily (daily express) was about a piece of half-melted plastic straw in a banana fritter. shocking, but plastics in fried bananas is REAL! tell ur kids!

Federica said...

ciao! questi doughnuts sono una delizia...con la cioccolata poi...mmmmm....me ne lanci uno? sto facendo colazione!!! :)))
Bravissima!!
un abbracio! ciao ciao ciao!

Angie's Recipes said...

I think I would love the book...growing old is something we all can't avoid, but growing older and wiser is something different. Thanks for sharing the thought and the doughnuts...which look absolutely gorgeous.

Juli Herman said...

oh mummy, it does sound depressing...i hate books like that ...but it makes me want to read it too LOL..stories about growing old always have humor in them...i find the best sense of humor in older ppl...i guess bec they have been through life, relatively.
as for the donuts..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i MISS malaysian donuts! the donuts here are mostly cake donuts..i don't like cake donuts..fahzy and the kids crazy over the cake donuts..i prefer the malaysian yeasty version...tried making them but could never make one like the ones in malaysia...i don't hv patience for shaping them (cutting, but they always end up ugly LOL)...and I can already think of a caption for your donut photo: "don't look at the hole, look at the donut!" read it from a book LOL...glass half empty half full , donut version LOLOLOL

chabb said...

Tanti tanti complimenti per il tuo blog bellissimo, piacere di averti conosciuta!!
Sandra

Deeba PAB said...

I'm with you Zurin.... and I love how plump and heavenly your donuts look. Just bought a donut cutter from my little shop the other day. You are tempting me to take a shot at them! YUM!!

3 hungry tummies said...

Thanks for the intro, i thik i can do without such a heavy book at the moment but give me the donuts anytime, with extra chocolat please!

Rettabug said...

Zurin, your doughnuts are magnificent! They remind me of the ones my Father used to make when I was a child. I MUST try doing some myself.

Thanks for such a clear review of this book. I think I'll pass on it, though. I prefer to live in denial...its just easier that way. LOL

lostpastremembered said...

Perfect donuts and a good honest review... sometimes books, like films, can be great but not grab you... you really said that well.

Allie and Pattie said...

I think I'm going to print out this review (I can't say it any better than you did) and bring it to our next book club. Doughnuts?? My family LOVES them
xoxo Pattie

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing this book, it may be a tad depressing for me and my TBR pile is overflowing! The doughnuts however are another story. If I could just have one please with my morning coffee?

Zakiah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zakiah said...

Phew! What a review! Yes everyone of us lives in denials sometimes. Yup, depressing as it sounds, we all live with those things mentioned in your review. Nope,I will not look for such books as there are too many living examples...as for the doughnuts, YES will try soon or as usual ..you can courier a dozen to North Borneo...we will be waiting. LOL

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Perhaps I'm not donut person myself, too!!?? But, I don't mind having one or two once in a blue moon. They're actually very good, hahaha ...!

Yours look very soft & fluffy! I love them with a thin coating of sugar! Cinnamon sugar works, too!

La Table De Nana said...

I have it..it's on my list..loved reading your review..it's so honestly true:)

I bet I'll finds spots of me in the book..:)

Your donuts.. could make old age seem a better place to be:)
I love unputdownable though..I hope it's a bit that:)

JUli:)

Fimère said...

a mon avis il t'en reste plus rien c'est normal ils ont l'air excellents
et très savoureux
bon weekend

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Juli, I'm with you! The donuts in SG & M'sia are the type I love. Spongy, airy and bread-like. Nothing cakey. :) I love these donuts you made, Zu!!! They are exactly what I am looking for in a recipe. When I make donuts, I will head straight over here. My daughter has been bugging me to make some for the longest time.

I've only just recovered, so forgive me when I say, I only gawked at your food. :P

zurin said...

thank you everyone for your visits....this is what i love about posting..I get to hear from all of you!!

Juli, lol ok ill look at the hole!

Terri, maybe skip the book for now..read it when your very happy and uve made the donut :)

Ju, hope ur feeling better. :)

zurin said...

Monique, yes its a little unputdownable ..no... it is quite actually, in a way..very gifted writer..a little too serious for me in a depressing way.

Cathy said...

Your review reeled me in, Zurin, and as depressing as it may be in parts, I'm compelled to read this. Growing old isn't for the faint of heart. It usually is a bumpy path. Thanks for an excellent review and photos of mouthwatering donuts.

Barbara said...

I liked Olive Kitteridge but my daughter thought it was depressing. Different generations!

I must admit I think donuts go with anything! Anytime!

once in a blue moon... said...

oh i am so glad you had a chance to finish in time, i adore your posts and you would be sorely missed! i have read this book and enjoyed it, i love seeing it thru your eyes and words, you are magical at this~ i love how your write, egads as good as you cook and take pics, is it wrong to dislike you for having it all? am i sounding to olivey???!

i LOVE how you describe this book, as you know, i am vague and vapid when writing about books, you are rich and revered!

and then we even get to SEE more... your fabulous donuts~ they look so bitable, makes me want to rush to the nearest bakery in town!

thank you so much for always dazzling my senses, i love how you embrace food for thought, you are fabulous and fun with your books, i am so grateful you share with us all, good book, good food, good friends!

Sook said...

What a great post! Those donuts are shaped perfectly. They look so delicious!

The Gypsy Chef said...

I enjoyed reading your review, however I don't think I'll read this book. It does sound too depressing for a late winter read.
Your doughnuts look divine. My son and I are going to give them a try.
Pam

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Zu, congratulations on another well written, insightful reveiw. Your review reminds me of the film 'Revolution Road' - where the plot is broad and leads one through the seemingly nuanced but potent disillusions of each other as dreams give way to reality. As with all successful sensitive and real plots like these, the reader/viewer will be depressed but it takes a sensitive and thoughtful reader to appreciate and stick through the plot. I think a book/film should not just have one laugh/cry while reading it - it should have the ability to provoke thoughts that readers/viewers can take away and resonate with.

I had bought 2 donut cutters but have not made any yet - put off by all the deep frying required. But your doughnuts look plump and luscious.

Percicilan said...

I am such a donut addict you made me droooooool first thing tis Sunday morning!! arrghhh!

But thanks for the wonderful looks easy recipe tapi tak tau bila nak buat hehehe

Trix said...

You're right, the book does sound depressing but that's not always a bad thing, as you indicate. I think I would really like it - and how interesting that such a sad and melancholy book leads to such a whimsical and fun food, isn't it? Your doughnuts look so light and airy, one would hardly believe they are fried!

Trissa said...

The book does sound depressing - but if I ate it with your doughnuts then it would make things better! :)

muffinsareuglycupcakes said...

the texture of the donut looks amazing!
i made donuts once myself.
but i ate them so fast when i took so long to make them :P
too lazy now i'd probably just buy them!
haha but singapore's donuts arent that fantastic really.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

That sounds like an amazing book, albeit not an easy one to read. Thanks for sharing your impressions of it with us. Like you, I'm not a big doughnut person, but yours look soft and delicious.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

They look wonderful! And I have to say Zurin that I love your book reviews and recipes together as I learn all about new books! :D

pierre said...

my problem with dougnut is the smell of frying oil !! that's why i buy them but yours look srcumptious !! cheers from Paris pIerre

iheartcakes.wordpress.com said...

Your donuts look so curvy and cute! There's no one selling good donuts around here, so I'll have to make them myself if I want some. And I sure do now! :)

Anushruti said...

The doughnuts look absolutely gorgoeus!

Pam said...

You did a great review and your doughnuts look great! The book does not sound like an easy read but, it sounds very interesting and I will check it out.

I'm a donut lover but not of Dunkin Donuts as we have a great doughnut shop near us also.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your wonderful posts!

Faida said...

What a great posting aunty Zurin. Nicely and naratively in line with the doughnut making. I envy your creativities.This is among the very entertaining posts you did.

Daniela said...

Favolosi i tuoi doughnuts, li proveri tutte e due, anche le foto sono bellissime. Ciao Daniela.

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Wow. Your summary of this book is enough to make me want to go out and get a copy. Are you sure you aren't a professional book critic! As for the doughnuts - not really a fan, although your efforts look about as good as they get. Well done zurin. Your photos have a nostalgic touch about them. They're lovely.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Zurin,maybe next time you can try my recipe -http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.com/2010/01/sweet-sweet-ring.html, I have been using this recipe many times and my kids just love it. Anyway, your recipe looks also good, maybe next time I give it a try to do a comparison.

ovenhaven said...

What a great review; definitely sounds like a great read :)

And while they may not be the ones your son had, I'm sure those doughnuts come nothing close to yours! Yours look sooo fluffy! I'm totally bookmarking this :D

2 Stews said...

Wonderful post and Juli's "look at the doughnut and not the hole" comment seems to bring it all full circle. Yes, life is/can be dysfunctional, but if you can grasp onto the full side, it is a little sweeter!

Thanks for the recipe...I hardly ever eat them, but the kids seem to love anything fried, so they love them!

Diane

Mary said...

You do these reviews so well. Your words, photography and recipes are letter perfect. I really enjoy coming here to see what you've done. I'm never disappointed. Have a great day...Mary

Kitchen Butterfly said...

They look so good! Of all the things I've never felt confident to make, donuts must top the list!!!!!!! Now, I have some dough in the fridge.....hmmm, I may try it!

Stella said...

Your doughnuts look wonderful, and I always say the 51st state is the state of denial! I get myself in trouble for that though...

Stella said...

Your doughnuts look wonderful, and I always say the 51st state is the state of denial! I get myself in trouble for that though...

Barbara said...

Loved the book, but my daughter did not. She thought, like you, it was depressing. I think it's an age thing.

Great donut recipe!

tasteofbeirut said...

Interesting post! I enjoyed reading your book review. I also enjoyed the pics of all the donuts, checked out the store (and lost you for a few seconds) and came back. Last time I had a donut at Dunkin Donuts I almost got sick from sugar overload. Not crazy about all that sugar.

Pam said...

This book has been on my list for awhile, and now I can use it as an excuse to eat some donuts!

Marysol said...

Oh, I'm old enough to know whether I have made the right choices in this life.
And, while I love to read, my two kids and work impede any/all futile attempts at leisure.

But Zurin, sometimes, I manage to speed walk to a favorite hideaway, long enough to steal a few paragraphs from my modest arsenal of books.

In any case, the following may not be the right choice for my hips, but, it's a choice, nonetheless...
I'd love to pounce on one of those magnificent donuts, particularly the chocolate-covered one!

Divina Pe said...

I do have my own denials sometimes but I don't want to grow old like that. I think I'll have the donuts first before reading the book. The donuts are perfect.

Anh said...

Your blog is so delightful. I love to read all of your post, one by one.

The description of the book is lovely. I will check it out!

COLARGOL said...

Superbes beignets !! j'aime beaucoup

ganache-ganache said...

Hey, these doughnuts looked so doughy, am going to try it out ! U know Big Apple ones are so airy & oily, too light we don't like them. Talking about DD, they're a big disappointment, tried some few months back, they were so dry & tough !!

Bit of Butter said...

enak sekali!

Mina said...

hi ! I just found your blog and loved your photos ! yesterday I made my first attempt to make doughnuts . They were ok but something was missing so I am interested in your recipe . Two questions : 1. the sugar doughnut is yours or dunkin donuts (not the one with the chocolate)? 2. when you say "3 T milk" you mean tablespoons ?
thank you in advance
Mina

Mina said...

hi! when you say "3T milk" you mean tablespoons ? the sugar covered doughnut are made by you or they are dunkin donuts?

Mina said...

hi! when you say "3T milk" you mean tablespoons ? the sugar covered doughnut are made by you or they are dunkin donuts?

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