Oh yes. They really are donuts.
A meet-up with food bloggers is guaranteed to bring a few interesting dishes. We gathered at Richard's for a post-Christmas catch-up, but perhaps the star of the show was Suze's Luther Burgers.
The Luther Burger, a bacon cheeseburger
sandwiched with a Krispy Kreme donut by Suze
The Luther Burger is named after Luther Vandross - some say it was his favourite snack, others say he invented it, using Krispy Kreme donuts to fulfil a hamburger craving when he ran out of hamburger buns. The burger was a regular menu item at Mulligan's, a restaurant near Atlanta in the USA.
In 2006, the burger received extensive news coverage when it was discovered that the burger had not only been included on the snack menu at the homeground of Illinois baseball team, the Gateway Grizzlies, but it was actually drawing in crowds because of it. The Grizzlies version includes a deep-fried Krispy Kreme donut that packs a whopping 1,000 calories.
Inside the Luther Burger
Coming face-to-face with a Luther Burger is a little daunting to say the least. There's a mix of shock, horror and a touch of devilish intrigue. As each guest arrives, it's hilarious to watch each person's face change from puzzlement to disbelief as they spot the burgers and then ask "wait, is that a donut?"
It feels so wrong to bite into a burger sandwiched with a donut. The glaze leaves a sticky residue all over your fingers, which makes it understandable to see why most places grill the cut side of the donut and then sandwich it cut-side up.
There's a moment of hesitation before I take my first bite. There's no resistance as I sink my teeth into the soft fluffy donut before it meets cheese, crispy bacon and the beef patty. Suze has added a fried egg which oozes a runny yolk, and a pineapple ring which provides a welcome acidity. The donut adds a strange sweetness to the burger which isn't altogether unpleasant, although the entire experience is tainted with dietary guilt - perhaps that's half the appeal.
Most of the females only attempt half a burger and I'm not sure I could eat a whole one - or whether I'd do it again!
Homemade tomato, ham and cheese bread by Shez
We feast on a communal contribution of dishes, the jar of American baconnaise piquing everyone's interest and added to everything in the pursuit of "research". The condiment has a huge list of ingredients but surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, bacon is not one of them. It smells and tastes like those "bacon bits" that come in a jar in the spice section at the supermarket, a thick creamy slurry that is sweet, salty and smoky.
Sausages by The Ninja alongside Richard's baconnaise
The baconnaise was sandwiched with sausages, but also worked well as a spread on bread on its own. There was homemade bread by Shez, Indian fried snacks bought by Leona and a creamy potato salad by Jacq.
Aloo bonda and samosas from Leona
Potato salad by Jacq
Chicken surprise by Simon
Simon's chicken surprise is so-named because some of the deep-fried chicken parcels contain vegetables, with one contained a generous patty of wasabi. The Ninja finally uncovers the wasabi surprise although he pronounces it tame, perhaps as a result of being deep-fried.
Pork belly by Richard
Richard's marinated pork belly is aromatic and sweet, unctious with the generous ribbons of fat. Billy's roast pork is still warm from the oven, the tender flesh dipped into hoisin sauce whilst the top layer of crunchy crackling is savoured last.
Roast pork by Billy
Desserts? Where does one begin? It was a herculean effort sampling each and every one of them - diligent research a pre-requisite for any committed food blogger of course!
Green tea-ramisu by Lisa
Tiramisu made with green tea matcha powder was an Eastern twist on a traditional Italian favourite.
Lemon cake with cream by Shez
Shez's lemon cake had a refreshing zestiness, the soft layers of cake sandwiched with fresh whipped cream. On a baking frenzy, she also contributed a chocolate fruit pudding which was boozed up with wine and served with cream.
Jacq's pannacotta was smooth and silky, topped with a layer of jelly and fruit.
Pannacotta by Jacq
Momofuku cookies from NYC courtesy of Teresa
When Teresa had said she would bring along Momofuku cookies, most of us expected a batch baked from the Momofuku cookbook. In fact these were straight from Momofuku in New York city, couriered personally to Sydney by a friend with very good taste.
The cookies were dense and sweet, soft chewy cookies that were mixed through with chunks of extra ingredients. We found blueberries in one, and a tasty mix of peanuts, choc chips and pretzels in another. Dark chocolate cookies had an intense cocoa flavour.
Steph blowtorching her marshmallow-topped chocolate cheesecake
Steph's marshmallow cheesecake came with a fiery finale, the surface scorched all over with a blowtorch, toasting the marshmallows to all shades of caramel brown.
Toasted marshmallow chocolate cheesecake by Steph
The chocolate cheesecake was deliciously bitter against the top layer of melting marshmallow. It was a rich dessert made all the more impressive by the blowtorch spectacle. This would be a great finish to any dinner party.
Strawberry and balsamic cupcakes by me
And my contribution? Cupcakes - of course. These vanilla cupcakes had a filling of strawberry jam, then topped with a swirl of balsamic icing and sprinkled with strawberry popping candy. The balsamic vinegar adds a piquancy to the icing - I would have preferred to have served with fresh strawberries and made a dusting of icing sugar, but made do with strawberry popping candy in this instance.
Later than evening Lex arrived with anchovy butter prawns, and still later, Yas with two huge platters of sushi. Thanks again go to Richard for being such a generous host and for the food blogging company who, it turns out, are not only great at Rock Band, but talented at Pictionary as well. Good times!
Strawberry and balsamic cupcakes
125g salted butter softened
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam
strawberry popping candy (optional)
125g unsalted butter, softened
250g-300g pure icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 170C or 150C if using fan-forced.
Combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla essence and eggs in a food processor and blitz until well combined. If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla essence and eggs and beat until well combined.
Add one tablespoon of milk and blitz/beat. Add the second tablespoon if the mixture still looks a little thick.
Distribute the batter evenly across twelve patty pans in a muffin tin. I usually dollop out a tablespoon in each. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
When the cupcakes are cool, use a piping bag with a plain tip to squeeze a small dollop of strawberry into the middle of each cupcake. Alternatively, use a small sharp knife to cut out a small circle, lift out gently, add jam and then replace the cake lid.
Pipe over with the balsamic frosting. Just before serving, dust with strawberry popping candy - encourage your guests to eat this immediately as the candy will quickly dissolve upon contact with the icing and lose its mouth-popping ability. The popping candy is available at supermarkets in the ice cream topping section.
Alternative serving suggestion: Instead of the strawberry popping candy, serve with fresh strawberry halves dusted with icing sugar.
Using an electric mixer, cream the unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 250g of the icing sugar, then add 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, adjusting according to your personal taste. You may need to add more icing sugar to get the icing to a pipeable state.
Makes 12 cupcakes
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Cupcakes - Banana
Cupcakes - Black sesame in ice cream cones
Cupcakes - Chocolate
Cupcakes - Coca Cola
Cupcakes - Ginger with chai icing
Cupcakes - Mini
Cupcakes - Popcorn
Cupcakes - Red velvet
Cupcakes - Vanilla
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12/30/2009 02:55:00 a.m.