These bite-sized Menorcan joys are traditionally served as a dessert, but adding a little garlic and cumin turns them into a really quirky starter or appetiser.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Add a squeeze of lemon at the end, along with a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of honey, and your guests will start to wonder what stage of the meal they’re at! And if you’re still hungry after an evening of feasting, you can have one for dessert as well. If there’re any left . . .


  • 300 g (10½ oz) silverbeet (Swiss chard), stalks removed
  • 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
  • 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • large handful of parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • your favourite hard cheese, to serve
  • Grandma’s smashed olives (recipe here), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Sitting time: 10 minutes

  1. Slice the silverbeet leaves as thinly as possible. Rinse well in iced water, then drain and set aside on a clean tea towel to dry.
  2. Combine the flour, eggs, milk, sugar and baking powder in a bowl to make a batter. Fold through the garlic, parsley, cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper and the silverbeet, then set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan to 180°C (350°F) on a kitchen thermometer. Working in batches, spoon tablespoons of the batter into the oil and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden (they are so light, they usually turn themselves over). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to a tray lined with paper towel.
  4. Place the doughnuts on a large serving plate, sprinkle with some extra salt and drizzle over the honey and lemon. Serve with a big slab of your favourite hard cheese and a few olives, and get ready to lick your fingers.


Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99