About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, October 16, 2006
Hay Hay it's Donna Hay #6
I've had an idea for a post rattling around in my mind for a while now, when all of a sudden I came across the wonderful jenjen from MILK AND COOKIES who is hosting Hay Hay it's Donna Hay #6. The theme for this month's edition is fritters which is exactly the kind of post I was thinking about.

When I was sharing a house many years ago with another married couple with kids, every other weekend my kids would come over for a visit. So we were always looking for things to do to keep all the young ones interested and most importantly out of mischief. Fortunately everyone got on, so well that we all used to holiday together. Because I loved to cook, I would often take it upon myself to further the kids education in this direction and come up with little projects for them to make and cook.

One of the most successful projects was the making of fritters, not any old fritters mind you but ones with the charming name of Rat's Tails, taken from the book, Memories of Gascony by Pierre Koffmann. In it he speaks of holidaying at his grandparents farm at the time of the Mardi Gras which was traditionally the last day of carnival before Lent. After the Mardi Gras lunch all the children would dress up in specially made costumes to look like witches, devils, kings, queens, knights and princesses and would proceed to visit all the surrounding farms and houses in the local village. The occupants would give the children things like crepes, merveilles, queues de rat, gateaux aux fers and other such delicacies.

Of course when I read about the queues de rat (rat tails), it seemed such a natural thing for kids to make...."Look a rat tail, eeewwwww.....I'm eating one now, yucky!" So one Saturday morning I gathered all my helpers around and we made a big batch of them. The kids loved them because not only are they delicious, but so easy to make and a very hands on kinda dish. The kids talked about making them for years after that Saturday morning.

Queues De Rat - Rat's Tails
Adapted from Pierre Koffmann

4 eggs
100 g/4 oz caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
50 ml/2 fl oz oil
20 g/3/4 oz fresh yeast
vanilla extract to taste, or rum or orange flower water, etc.
100 ml/4 fl oz double cream
500 g/1 lb 2 oz plain flour
oil for deep frying

In a bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, yeast, flavouring and the cream. Add the flour and thoroughly mix. Take small pieces of dough, about 20 g/3/4 oz and roll them out on a bench or counter to form long 'rats tails'. Heat the oil to about 170 c/340 f and fry the tails until puffed and golden. Place on absorbent paper, then roll them in the sugar. Serve hot.
  posted at 7:26 am

At 11:42 am, Blogger Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Ah, they're not real!

When I read the title, and scanned down to the recipe heading, I really had it in my mind that you were cooking, well, rats' tails.

They sound strangely appealing.

At 1:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not as disgusting as the name would suggest. I'm just glad that it doesn't contain actual rats! Thanks

At 2:53 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi scott, believe me, if you have kids they are very appealing!

Hi jenjen, yeah, I know what you mean - it seems to go down the pig's ear path, but then everything is saved.

At 11:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fritters are so good for kids - easy to make, easy to eat and you can hide all sorts of things in there that they wouldn't normally eat. Being the owner of pet rattys, I was a leetle disturbed when I saw your post title in Jenjen's round-up!

At 11:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to Hay Hay Its Donna Day Neil. My children would have loved these when they were little. I'm pretty sure they'd love them even now they are big kids. Thanks for joining us.

At 2:48 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kathryn, no rats were harmed in the writing of this post, promise!

Hi barbara, thank-you for your warm welcome. I never realised I was going to be the first bloke to enter. Nothing says blokey more than rat's tails!


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