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Why Yorkshire-based chef Sabrina Ghayour loves doughnuts in January

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2024 has really prompted me to think about life and while I am happy in life – as much as you can be in a world gone mad, I do worry about the fact that in the pursuit of achievement, I have overlooked one rather important element… myself. I have neglected my body and mind.

So how can I strike a balance? I am really thinking hard about where I can make the changes. If we really are going to do this whole New Year thing, you know, the health kicks, dry January, meat-free month, detox, whatever the heck you are going to throw yourself into, perhaps it's worth investing in smaller, less invasive changes that will benefit us long term.

But where to start? If I’m honest. Much like you, I already know what I should be doing, like exercise and eating better, regulating my meal times and eating less crap… we know this but beyond that, sometimes its not enough.

The one thing that I’ve noticed a huge increase in since I’ve glided into my later forties is increased anxiety; I worry about everything! Every. Little. Thing! Most of the times, things that don’t even need to be worried about and a few that I can definitely say still merit some concern but how can we soften this?

Reduce our stress levels? Live a better life without spending money we don’t have, just manage life in a way that actually feels manageable, affordable and realistic?

Alas I am no expert, no life guru, not a yogi, nor spiritual but I have learned a few things and I want to share them with you.

Firstly, life is too darn short – so eat the doughnut, act like a teenager and make more time to laugh until you cry.

Secondly, if you don’t look after your body and mind to a certain extent, you will end up spending more money than you make trying to claw back your ill health and improve your mental state. Lastly, if you want something to get better in life, you need to make time to improve your life.

I am guilty of ignoring the latter so much and I still struggle with it every single day but this year, I am going to put my all into making time for the things that improve my life while being brutal about cutting out the things (and people) that don’t.

Change can often be brutal but you need to be brave enough to make decisions that are right for you and there is no time like the present.

Now if you thought I would palm you off with some healthy salad recipe for the New Year, you clearly don’t know me very well. Now more than ever, spoil yourself a little and then begin looking at what you can do to improve your mind and body. So here it is, full force, unapologetically… I leave you with doughnut fritters because a good dessert may just give you the clarity you need to tackle the year ahead and somehow make it wonderful.

Recipe: Doughnut fritters with cinnamon-orange sugar

INGREDIENTS (Makes 20–24) For the doughnut fritters

250g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes

350ml boiling water

50g unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil

For the spiced sugar

200g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed oranges

2tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD

First, prepare the spiced sugar.

Mix the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Cover with clingfilm and set aside.

To make the fritters, sift the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.

Pour the boiling water into a measuring jug and stir in the melted butter.

Pour the mixture into the flour and combine quickly to make a sticky dough. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pour enough oil into a large, deep saucepan to fill to a depth of about 5cm.

Bring the oil to a frying temperature (add a pinch of dough: if it immediately bubbles gently, then the oil is at the right temperature).

Meanwhile, line a tray with kitchen paper. Using a metal teaspoon, scoop up a spoonful of dough. Push it off the spoon and carefully into the hot oil.

Repeat until the pan is almost full, ensuring there are not too many in the pan to avoid them sticking together.

Fry for three to four minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown. (If the fritters brown too quickly, the oil may be too hot – reduce the heat slightly if this happens.)

When they are cooked, transfer the fritters to the paper-lined tray to drain any excess oil, then roll each fritter in the spiced sugar to coat.

Recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour 

 

Repeat with the remaining dough, then serve immediately.

TIP: To make this a vegan recipe, substitute light olive oil for the butter.



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