Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

In case you didn’t know, next Wednesday (the 25th of January) is St Dwynwen’s Day – our very own Welsh version of Valentines Day, where we exchange cards, flowers and love spoons – if we remember to!  And if we do, it’s kind of nice to quietly celebrate Valentines Day before everyone else jumps on the band wagon in February.

The story goes that Princess Dwynwen – the fairest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s twenty four daughters – went and did what all fairytale princesses do best; she fell in love with a boy that her father didn’t approve of.  For whatever reason, Maelon Dafodrill just wasn’t marriage material.  Tamping to tears, Dwynwen ran off into the woods and begged God to make her forget he ever existed.  An angel appeared, turned Maelon into a block of ice, and offered to grant Dwynwen three wishes.  First, she wished that Maelon be thawed; second, she wished never to marry; and third, she asked God to grant the wishes of all true lovers.  So the story goes.

Anyway, Sunny (my bearded beloved, in case you didn’t know) knows all too well that my heart mostly wishes for doughnuts.  And luckily for me (but not so much for my waistline…) they’re so easy to make!  Once you’ve cracked the dough, anything’s possible, not to mention the fact that you’re suddenly everyone’s best friend.  🙂  Back in November I made a bag of doughnut holes for bonfire night, and – this time around – I made these miniature ring doughnuts.  Blood oranges are in season at the moment and the juice makes the perfect pink glaze – no food colouring necessary!

Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 150ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of softened butter
  • 1 sachet of instant dried yeast
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 or 2 blood oranges (depending on the size and juicyness!)
  • powdered sugar (again, use your noddle and add whatever you need to make a thick glaze)
  1. If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re all sorted; put the water in first, then the dried ingredients and hit the dough program.  Easy!  If you’re a hand baker, then you’ll need to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the water, butter and yeast – gradually bringing the dough together.  Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with cling film and leave to prove somewhere warm.  Within about an hour the dough should have doubled in size.
  2. Knock back the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out your doughnut shape, and a smaller one to cut out the hole in the middle.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep pan.  You can use one of the doughnut holes to test whether it’s hot enough; if it goes golden brown (“texture like sun… la la”) in under two minutes then you’re good to go.
  4. With a spoon, dip each doughnut into the oil for about five minutes each – tipping  them over half way.  Dry them off on a plate with a paper towel and leave to cool.
  5. Make the glaze by mixing the blood orange juice and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the cooled doughnuts.
  6. Diet?  What diet?  🙂

Happy St Dwynwen’s Day!

Ponta de São Lourençao

On one of our last days in Madeira, we decided to drive to the eastern tip of the island.  Ponta de São Lourençao is a craggy peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic, flanked by islets and white water.  It’s a strange place; when you set out from the car park and walk between huge, red rocks it looks a little bit like somewhere in California or Arizona, and then you turn a corner and peer over the cliffs and you could be in Wales or Cornwall.  It’s a mish-mash of textures and colours, which only makes it all the more photogenic, I guess!   You can walk all the way to the tip (8 kilometers), but we gave up half way.  We’d tired ourselves out from walking up Pico Ruivo and the surface of the trail wasn’t the easiest the walk on.  Yeah, yeah!  Excuses, excuses!  😉








Coffee and TV



Almost a year since we moved in and we’ve finally found a coffee table for the lounge!  It’s funny, I guess coffee tables are one of those pieces of furniture that aren’t particularly big or expensive or showy, but when it all boils down to it they’re a huge part of the home.  Ours is made of wood and glass and Sunny picked it up in the Dunelm sale.  🙂

Câmara de Lobos

Let’s brighten up the grey skies and January drizzle with a throwback to the clifftops, banana trees and pastel houses of Madeira, shall we?  Or more specifically, Câmara de Lobos.  Just around the corner from the capital, Funchal, Câmara de Lobos is a pretty little town tucked away in a horse-shoe shaped harbour with colourful houses, clear waters and plenty of nice places to eat.  Apparently, it was the original landing site of the explorer, João Gonçalves Zarco, who discovered Madeira in 1419.  But I didn’t know any of that back in October when we parked up there for a stroll and an ice-cream.  🙂







While we were walking around the harbour we stopped to watch this kid who came along with a bucket, a loaf of bread and fishing rod.  He broke the loaf into tiny pieces and began fishing.  Sunny – who likes to think of himself as a bit of an angler (“If I went on The Island with Bear Grylls I’d be out there fishing every day!”) – went over and watched and asked the kid in broken Portuguese what he was up to.  I think even the kid was surprised when he actually managed to catch something, and said that he was going to take it home to his Mum so she could cook it for dinner.  Bless!  Mind you, to me it looked a bit small for that – the sort of fish you’d chuck in a fish tank not onto a plate…  🙂


If you’re starting to look into your travel plans for 2017 I’d definitely recommend Madeira; it’s such a beautiful island, and there’s a bit of something for everyone 🙂

Ten Things to do in Cardiff to Beat the January Blues

“January is my favourite month of the year,” said no one.  Ever.  I mean, come on, it’s bleak.  Christmas is over, it’s suddenly extra dark without all the fairy lights and decorations, and everyone’s either on a diet or hibernating in the dark.  It’s a depressing time of year.  But it doesn’t last forever, thank goodness.  A few little pick-me-up’s this time of year can go a long way to fending off the January Blues until Spring comes back around.

▲Go Trampolining at GoAir!  If getting fit or starting an exercise routine is top of your list of goals for 2017 then this will ease you right in.  GoAir! in Ty Glas is a trampoline park – a whole warehouse full of trampolines to spring and somersault around on to your heart’s content (…or until your legs turn to jelly).  Not only is it great fun, but I staggered out of there red-faced and spluttering for air, so it’s a great way of working off all those Terry’s Chocolate Oranges you scoffed for breakfast at Christmas (…oh no wait, that was me).

Cardiff's

▲Walk across the Cardiff Bay Barrage.  One of my favourite walks.  Park up somewhere near Penarth Heights and walk down past the Custom House, over the Barrage and into Cardiff Bay for food or coffee.  The walk takes you past the BBC studios, the Doctor Who Experience (which isn’t sticking around for much longer, I’ve heard), the Norwegian Church and the Senedd.

▲Escape Rooms.  Instead of staying in and Netflixing it with your mates or your family on a Friday night, why not lock yourself in a room with them instead?  There are several Escape Rooms in Cardiff to choose from (Check out my review of Escape Reality here), all with themed rooms in which teams have an hour to solve enough clues and riddles to be able to escape.  You’ll either be laughing or arguing by the end of it!

▲Museum Hopping.  And there are plenty of Museums in and around Cardiff to hop to.  In the centre of Cardiff there’s the National Museum of Wales (free!) and The Cardiff Story in the Old Library (free!).  Down the Bay there’s the Pierhead Museum (free!) and Techniquest, and just outside Cardiff there’s also the Museum of Welsh Life – also known as St Fagans (free!).

▲Go Karting.  If you’re a fan of classic games like Mario Kart and Crash Bandicoot then why not try the real thing out?  I took Sunny Go Karting for his birthday and we had a blast trying to beat each other round the track.

▲Eat!  There are so many great places to eat in Cardiff these days, it’s hard to pick a favourite.  There’s Hangfire in Barry when I’m feeling extra carnivorous, Joe’s Ice Cream on Wellfield Road when I’m craving ice-cream… Signor Valentinos for Italian food, and Antlers at the Thornhill Farm Shop for tea and cake with a view…  As for the rest, I’m still discovering them myself 🙂


▲Chips and 20p Machines at Barry Island.  Okay, technically, it’s not in Cardiff – but it’s close enough.  I’ve blogged about Barry Island so many times; it’s my favourite place for a walk along the beach.  Be sure to stop in at Bay 5 for a hot chocolate, or O’Sheas for Fish and Chips – take in the view from the top of the Barry Eye/High, and cash in your tokens for a Barrybados Mug in one of the Arcades.

▲Go bird watching at Forest Farm.  This place is a total secret and one of the best places to get out, walk and watch the birds.  Not far from Coryton, Forest Farm sprawls alongside the M4 (though you wouldn’t know it, it’s so quiet), and is a great place to explore on a clear and frosty winter’s day.


▲Explore a Castle.  We’re lucky that Wales has more castles than any other country in Europe.  Just in and around Cardiff alone there are at least three, and there are even more lurking close by if you cast your net a little wider.  Castle Coch (above) will probably always be my favourite, but there’s also Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle and plenty more out in the Vale; like Coity Castle.

▲Catch a Show or Live Music.  We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to places to see drama and live music.  In the centre there’s St David’s Hall, The Motorpoint ArenaClwb Ifor BachThe Sherman Theatre and The Chapter Arts Centre.  There’s also the Millenium Centre down the Bay, and the Welsh National Opera.  Did I miss anything?

What’s your favourite thing to do to fend off the January Blues?