It's International Women's Day on 8th March and Gemma shares a recipe passed down from one of the special women in her life - her mother-in-law!
Let’s hear it for mother in laws! They have a hideous reputation but truth be told, I have learned as many cooking tips from my mother in law, who I have known for twelve years, than my own mother. And the recipe for bunyols de vent is probably her best gift to me and my family.
I come from a culture where, still today, recipes and cooking tips are passed down from mother to daughter. Yes, my repertoire is full of British dishes my daughter loves (such as bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie) passed down from my English side – my grandmother and mother. But the cuisine that defines my heritage best is definitely Catalan food, and that was passed down from my paternal great-grandmother (my grandmother was never a great cook) but mostly the women in my husband’s family. And with International Women’s Day coming up on the 8th of March, let this be a homage to all the lovely women I’m lucky to have in my life.
I’ve never been very good making sacrifices, so it’s fortunate that bunyols de vent feature at such a time as Lent (Quaresma in Catalan). They are in every bakery in Catalunya, mums all over the country will be making them every weekend for 40 days and kids learn to cook them in school.
Bunyols are popular because they are tiny bites of doughy happiness. Comparable in every way to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. They are a delicious sugary kiss and I could have kilos of them every week. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own batch:
Bunyols de vent (Fried Dough Balls)
250ml of milk
200g of flour
50g of sugar
50g of butter
½ glass of ratafia (if you can’t get hold of ratafia you can use rum or any aniseed-flavoured liqueur like Sambuca or Pastis)
1 tbsp baking powder
Peel of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
Olive oil for frying
1. Boil the milk in a saucepan with the sugar, butter, pinch of salt and the peel of one lemon.
2. Once it’s boiling add all the flour in one go and work the dough with a wooden spoon. When the dough is smooth and it doesn’t stick to the sides, remove the saucepan from the heat.
3. Once the dough has cooled down, add the eggs one at the time and combine. Add the baking powder and the ratafia and mix into the dough.
4. Leave the dough to rest for half an hour.
5. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and take a portion of the mix with a spoon. Put the spoon in the oil and fry the bunyol until golden. Be careful not to heat the oil too much, otherwise they could be raw inside.
6. Once the bunyols are out and still oily add extra sugar, so it sticks.
Inspired? For some delicious doughnut recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.