Whilst I do deck myself out with warm team scarves, I do feel that the effort required to get out of bed in the freezing cold should be rewarded with some sort of snack. For the first Netherlands game last night, I decided the perfect snack to cheer them on with would have to be Oliebollen, literally "oil balls", or deep fried Dutch dough balls.
These tasty little doughnuts require only basic pantry ingredients, and can be fried up relatively quickly once the dough has risen.
They are chewier than the doughnuts that we are more familiar with, and are filled with fruit and cinnamon. Served fresh with a generous dusting of powdered sugar, the misshapen balls with their crispy and chewy bits definitely warm you up and keep you barracking.
Oliebollen are traditionally served in the Netherlands just before and after New Years Eve, but once you try them, you too won't see the point in waiting for that one night of the year!
Start with 500g sifted plain flour, stir in one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar and one 7g packet of dried yeast.
Mix through 500mL of room temperature milk in small amounts until a dough is formed. It may be a little lumpy, but that's ok.
Traditionally the fruit used is raisins or sultanas and apple cut quite finely. I think it is simpler to add little 25g packets of dried sultana and apple mix, whatever you choose; you will need about 100-150g. Add to dough with a teaspoon of cinnamon and mix through thoroughly.
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave somewhere warm for at least an hour to let the yeast activate and allow the dough to puff up.
The resulting dough is quite elastic, and can easily be scooped up with a spoon without dripping everywhere.
Pour enough oil in a saucepan to get about 5cm depth; I used canola oil which doesn't leave a strong aftertaste in the final doughnut. Heat the oil to the point where it is just smoking, about 195°c;.
Using two spoons, scoop small spoonfuls into the oil. About a desert spoonful is a good amount, it may look small on the spoon but it will seriously puff up once it hits the oil.
If the spoonfuls are too big, the outside will cook and burn but the inside with stay gooey. Try a few different amounts and adjust the temperature as required until you get it right, there is plenty of dough to practice with.
When one side is nice and golden, flip it over to fry the other, about 20 seconds a side, to end up with a deep golden ball.
Drain well on paper towel.
Pile nice and high and dust generously with powdered sugar. Eat while wearing a comfy tracksuit and cheering your team to victory.
By the way, the Netherlands came out the victors in their first game. I like to think I helped in some little way :)