Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Perfect Onion Rings

OK, OK! I know fried food is bad for you.  Especially me, with my alleged cholesterol problem and all.  But there’s a maxim I heard somewhere:
“Eat as much junk food as you like, so long as you make it yourself”

...the idea being that whatever you do, you can never make food as bad for you as the processed food industry would (who notoriously throw in things like corn syrup, emulsifiers, cancer causing flavourings and the like).

I saw an article in the newspaper recently for onion rings, where someone used beer batter, chilled in a fridge to make it like tempura, and was inspired since I had a stack of red onions kicking around with nothing to do.

Not being able to find the fabled recipe from the paper, I scanned the net and found this recipe (presented here with my own variations) which is MUCH SIMPLER. While making these I was taken back to other American classics I’d made like Kit’s Fried Chicken (What?  No recipe for that in this blog?  I’ll remedy that soon).

This recipe may not be for people watching their weight, but were so delicious and simple (and as American as rock 'n' roll), I just had to let you know.

WARNING: there is a slight fire risk when frying oil on open flames, so be sure to keep a pot lid bigger than the pan handy in case of oil fires.   If a fire breaks out, cover the pan with the lid to smother the flame, and turn off the stove.  NEVER try to put out an oil fire with water.  Did you hear about the mother lying in bed on mother’s day?  She lay there and heard her kids making her breakfast, then she heard them fighting, and then there were screams.  They’d set a pan on fire, and one of them had thrown water on it, spreading the flames, setting the house on fire.  “Happy mother’s day mum” I can hear them saying now, as they all stood on the footpath and she watched the house burn down.  This is a true story (I heard it on the radio news a year or two ago).  So please, be careful.

Makes four serves.


  • 2 large red onions, cut into 8mm slices
  • 1 ¼ cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh fine bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of dried taragon
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil (at least half a bottle) - DO NOT USE Olive oil (the burn temperature is too low)


  1. Separate the onion slices into rings.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. Dip the onion rings in the flour to coat them, then set aside.
  4. Whisk egg and milk into the flour mixture.  Dip the onion slices into the batter to coat then place on a rack to drain until the batter stops dripping.  This is hellishly messy, so I put the rack on the kitchen sink drainer to wipe down later.  If you were doing this commercially, you’d probably save the drips to put back into the batter.
  5. Put rings one at a time into the crumbs mixed with the herbs and spices (i.e. tarragon, paprika and garlic powder), scooping the crumbs over the ring to coat.  Tap them as you remove to get rid of loose bits.  The coating should cling very well.
  6. Fry the rings in a small pan (I used a skillet) in plenty of hot vegetable oil so they float (if you’re a maniac with a deep fryer, heat the oil to 185 degrees C).  It takes about 2 or 3 minuites, until golden brown.  This is the time to have your large pan lid handy for any fire risk.
  7. Remove the rings to a bowl with paper towel to drain and sprinkle with a little salt (you won’t really need much, since there’s salt in the flour).

Delicious.  I can understand why fast food joints love onion rings.  Cheap, and filling, providing these with other food reduces the amounts you have to serve of more expensive foods like fish, or steak, or whatever.  Half an onion per person, with oil and bread crumbs, they cost next to nothing to make (especially if you recycle your frying oil; save it by waiting till it’s cool, then strain it back into a frying oil bottle) and will leave everybody grinning, greased and gassed.