Because cookies.

It's been a quiet couple of weeks in my kitchen. There was a quick chocolate tart for a fundraiser, and zucchini slice…..oh that giant carrot cake….and the first cake I've ever been paid for, which was the four tier version of my hubby's birthday cake.

I guess I've really just been slack at taking pictures and writing posts.

This morning, while hubby was at work (not a fan of him working Saturdays) and I sipped a cup of coffee with an unexciting sugar-free biscuit I nearly had to slap myself. Its Saturday. I'm not at work, there's no distractions, and I'm eating a store bought cookie? What on earth is going on here?!

So to rouse myself from my biscuit faux pas I made two different types of cookies. They were all laid out cooling on the worktop when sadly hubby knocked an entire tray of salted peanut butter cookies onto the floor….but the recipe made so many that I'll forgive him….this time!

I've made this Frangipane Jam Drop cookies once before, and while they are very soft, they are quick to disappear.

These salted peanut butter cookies are a new find from SmittenKitchen….and I have to admit I was hesitant about the sprinkly of sea salt….but now that I've tasted one (or two, or um anyway) I'm totally sold on the idea. It will be interesting to see how long these last….given how hard it is to not pick at them constantly.

The Salted Peanut Butter Cookies recipe can be found here, and are quick and easy to put together.

The Frangipane Jam Drops are from the Womens Weekly 'Baking Day' (yes the same as those Lemon Squares). I didn't use a wooden spoon though…I used the round end of a metal teaspoon.

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 120g almond meal
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g plain flour (sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two oven trays with baking paper.

Beat butter, extract, sugar and almond meal in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating until just combined. Stir in sifted flour.

Drop level tablespoons of mixture on trays 5cm apart. They will spread a little. Use the round end of a metal teaspoon to make a small hole in each biscuit. Fill each hole with 1/4 teaspoon of jam.

Bake about 15mins each, and allow to cool on the tray.

 

Advertisements

35 and counting.

Friday the 16th was hubbys birthday. And while last years Four Element Rum Cake will go down in history as the most appropriate cake ever made for him, it was perhaps not thought of so fondly by the parents of the young children we shared it with.

So this time, I took the rest of my audience into account, and made perhaps my most visually impressive cake of all time.

I found this recipe in the Woolworths free recipe magazine, and instead of making my own chocolate bark, I just bought up a bunch of chocolates and decorated like crazy.

Given the numbers I was catering for I also chose to make two two-tier cakes instead of one four-tier. Although if I did that again I'd make more of the nutella buttercream frosting.

This cake was dense, and the buttercream mellowed out the strong nutella flavour. So even a couple of 'non-nutella' people (who are they?) liked the cake.

The first one we ate with hubbys family (there was 11 of us, but one too little for cake), with a slice saved over for my sister….who shared it with her daughter who demanded 'more cakey mummy' between bites.

The second one we actually took camping with us for the weekend, and shared with a group of nine. Only made possible because one couple has the most amazing 4WD caravan with a proper fridge.

If you have something a bit special to celebrate….this is certainly a very very delicious chocolate way to do so.

 

Ramen?

While in Sydney for work recently, a friend and I tried a restaurant we'd never been to before. I was lucky and had the seat facing the restaurant, and got to watch the way the staff all called out to each other, shouting and repeating and who knows what else. It was hugely entertaining, and I wish I knew what the routine was.

I also got to watch all the other meals come out for various dinners, and a look at the menu left me none the wiser.

Welcome to my first ever Ramen experience. I ordered the chicken ramen, and bravely, when offerred included the egg.

It took us a while to work out the chopsticks and soup spoon combo but we got there, and I'll be honest, I can't wait to have Ramen (or at least good Ramen!) again!

For a loud, vibrant experience, I can't recommend Ippudo enough!

 

Its just a little crush

I have a girl crush. It’s true, I even told my husband about it (and my sister, my friends at work, pretty much anyone who’ll listen really). While my adorable niece was napping during my babysitting stint, I discovered Rachel Khoo and her little Paris kitchen.

I watched the first three episodes of the first season and I was in love. Her bright red lipstick, polka dot dresses, and her attitude in that tiny tiny kitchen were like a life affirming slap in the face. I wear red lipstick (not everyday granted), and have a growing collection of polka dot dresses and my kitchen IS MUCH BIGGER. Sadly I think we’re about on par for bench space though.

But it has encouraged me not to use my kitchen as an excuse not to try something. And while we’re enjoying a break in the relentless humidity I’m taking my inspiration from her and making a quiche. Not a quiche lorraine though, because I have some things to use up.

I had a quick look around the interweb for some shortcrust pastry recipes, and in the end went with the recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking…..but not the method (blasphemous I know!). I really did just put everything except the water into the food processor and blitz it, then slowly added the water. When I tipped it out onto the cling wrap I realised the butter wasn’t as combined as I’d hoped.

I was valiantly hopeful that it wouldn’t matter. It probably didn’t….until after frying off some red onion and bacon and popping the oven on to preheat I realised that my kitchen was now too hot for pastry. I tried to roll it out….but it stuck to my baking paper, and was really more like a pastry spread. Much like what happened last time I just made the most of it, and spread it into my tin, the popped it into the oven for 10minutes.

My filling was red onion, bacon, a mixture of eggs and buttermilk, nutmeg, salt, pepper and then asparagus and a sprinkling of feta.

It made a very nice dinner for us, once I’d calmed down and gotten over my second pastry fail in a row (hey at least it was still edible). But my big takeaway right now is, if like me you live somewhere that is crazy hot and humid for a portion of the year, BUY pastry for that season, don’t try to make it. You’ll just end up frustrated and disappointed.

We had leftovers for a late lunch with a scoop of tomato relish. Now that was VERY nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waffle I do?

I still had jam left over. And trying not to waste my very expensive, foolishly purchased strawberries I decided to make something for breakfast the next morning to help use them.

I don't have a waffle pan. Its a dangerous thing, waffle pans….it encourages you to eat more waffles.

I do have a griddle pan. And Jamie Oliver, has a griddle pan waffle recipe.

Winning.

Griddle Pan Waffles

I would suggest you jump straight over here to view the recipe: Jamie Oliver Griddle Pan Waffles

I enlisted the help of my hubby to do the flipping, because its a bit tricky to flip as one giant piece, and I may or may not have forgotten to add the melted butter. Maybe. I'm admitting to nothing. I also had my stovetop to hot, hence the somewhat blackened centre. Nevermind.

My first waffle had bacon, eggs and maple syrup, which was delicious. The next one used up the left over jam with a little scoop of yoghurt. Both ways worked really well.

 

 

Whats leek got to do with it?

So as part of not eating endless bad food I had a good dig through my Save with Jamie cookbook. Because I'm a bit of a fan (hubby buys me a Jamie cookbook every Christmas) and those recipes have the nutritional information on them.

I got a bit excited about trying his Leek and Potato soup….mostly because it had a poached egg sitting proudly on top. (And yes, I'm well aware that I over cooked my egg, but I'm not wasting an egg for a photo. I'll do better next time. Promise.)

So last night, I gave it a go, and was surprised to find I liked it! Although I'll be granted, a bowl of green soup is not necessarily the most eye-pleasing dinner.

Jamie Olivers Leek and Potato Soup

from Save with Jamie, serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 750ml boiling water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • 2 slices of nice bread

Fry off the leeks and onion with a lug of olive oil and the thyme for about 15mins. Add the potato and water, bring to the boil and simmer for 25minutes until the potato has softened. Blitz with a stick mixer and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Poach the eggs, and toast your bread before splitting the soup between two bowls and topping with a slice of bread and an egg (or two if you're my husband).