I've rolled over to http://beehive95.blogspot.com ....
over at http://beehive95.wordpress.com
It's my new gluttonous quest to find the recipe that replicates those chewy bakery cookies that causes me to consume much more fat and sugar than I should. I feel some sort of security with having my cupboards full of the various different coloured sugars and chocolate and also with my fridge full of cold slabs of butter. My previous baking binge was to find the perfect flapjack recipe, which lets face it, has nothing remotely healthy in them. Damn tasty though.
Supermarket Bakery Cookies
So Evie is six now. She's got attitude, bad ass styling and she watches Dr Who without being scared. She's growing up fast.
Hanging out in Stuart's old workshop, now to be the girls play shed and our summer evening hangout as it catches the last of the days rays. We just need a beer fridge and the BBQ on the door step and some sunshine. Roll on summer.
Newspaper bags - see how to make them here http://www.newspaperbagproject.com
Hand decorated by Evie and stuffed with drinks, fruit, chocolates, rubber alphabet stamps, Haribos (what party bag doesn't contain these), and crocheted hair slides. I took Evie and three friends to see Nanny McPhee. I loved it. I loved the set, the costumes and sitting still for 90 mins. The girls seemed to love it too but I think I did more.
I'm sitting here wondering why I can smell egg. Nearly one week after
the fierce boiling and colourful decorating of a dozen eggs I remember
where I left the returning un-hurled stinkers.
The annual Muckleborough Hill egg roll took place last Monday, Evie's
6th birthday. It was a fun few hours, cold, windy and sociable.
I'm not sure if there was a winner with the egg rolling as I think there was too much l cheating going on... I covered my egg in yellow crocheted jacket. It definitely didn't break up but it didn't go the full distance either.
I thought forgetting to add the sugar would make this ginger cake fairly bland but I was pleasantly surprised that the omission almost went unnoticed. When I remembered that the demerara sugar was still unweighed in the bag, I heated a heaped tablespoon of it with the left over stem ginger syrup and doused it over the just baked cake - I guess that's the reason that it tasted just sweet enough.
This photo was taken the day after it was baked but give it five days wrapped in foil and it will darken in colour and deepen in flavour. A good cake to prepare before a trip.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper.
Preheat Oven 180ºC. Line a 1kg loaf tin.
Evie thrust this picture along with three other family hand drawn portraits into my hand after school on Monday. It's a picture of me, Matilda and Evie in our garden by the bird table which Stu strapped to the pear tree with red rope when it was first snowing back in December.
Evie's not really 'getting' school. She loved half term being at home; drawing lots, sucking her thumb, day dreaming. At school she's not finding things so easy. Her creativity isn't recognised like it was in reception, her sentences don't make sense and she just wants be at home - hence the stream of daily drawings centred around her being at here. I feel for her and understand how she feels. She's already under pressure, she's given spellings to learn for homework and she's only 5. Instead of feeling free and happy she's feeling like she's underachieving at school and is copying her friends work so she doesn't fail tasks. I feel concerned for her, she's very creative with a desire to learn non school curriculum things. Perhaps this is quite normal.
Fresh from our sunny Sunday family bike ride along Marriotts Way, Evie was straight in with the question "Can we make cakes? You did promise...." The multitude of "can we's" seems quite feasible first thing in the morning but as the day progresses... all I want to do is read just a tiny bit of the paper.
Keeping my word (for once) we made chocolate cupcakes which we scoffed after large portions of roast beef. The buns weren't bad considering they contained liberal smattering's of both egg shell and spittle.
Matilda arranging 'Love Me Buns' on our Valentine mini-bird-table, left on our door step by a secret admirer....
I've just switched on Nigel 'unctuous' Slater and typically it's the one episode I've already seen. I made his burgers with Parmesan (I use minced beef not chicken) numerous times last year and can vouch for them being superb. I would never have thought of putting cheese in a burger, but what a revelation, I became a burger loather to a burger love overnight. And another reason to love burgers it's one of the few things Stu cooks - outside on the decking using the camping stove in almost all weather conditions. (I should add that the burgers get cooked outside as we have no extractor fan not because I don't let him in the kitchen).
Today has been my first marmalade day of 2010. I bought 7 kilos of Seville's for some reason, so that's two more batches to make this week. As always I use Sybil Kapoor's recipe, one batch made with the addition of blackstrap molasses and one with out.
I've also been making cookies; big fat, chewy supermarket bakery cookies. You know the ones stuffed with huge chunks of chocolate and ladened with sugar and butter? After a bit of googling, I found a recipe on Yahoo Answers which seemed to hit the right marks. Here it is:
Chewy Full Fat Cookies
250g all-purpose flour
2g baking soda
170g unsalted butter, melted
220g packed dark or light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
15ml vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
335g chocolate chips; white, dark and milk
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
I can't decide whether to ditch Typepad - I find it intensely frustrating, sometimes it loads, often it doesn't.
I've been erratically using the ever so simple Tumblr platform and I really like it's simplicity plus it's free.
Fathers Day at Fi's took us on a improtu paddle down the River Stiffkey. The river is just a 2 minute stroll up from Fi's house.
I got the giggles because I couldn't steer and then a herd of huge cows descended upon us - well almost. I finally got the hang of the steering which was a relief to Stu as he's been eagerly ebaying Canadian canoes and Kayaks. Sadly this red canoe was just borrowed.
I made these savory rice balls in May when the lovage leaves were young and tender. The Arancini recipe is taken from Hugh FW's weekly column in the Guardian, but I swapped a few ingredients around, adding the lovage and lemon and pancetta.
Lovage, used as both odour eaters in the Middle Ages and as an aphrodisiac in the 16th Century, has an intense celery like aroma and flavour. It's fabulous stuffed inside a chicken prior to roasting and also great when a small amount of leaves are added to pea and ham soup.
We've just eaten the first broad beans of the year freshly picked from the our back veggie patch. Damn tasty but the yield seems even lower than usual. Next year I'm taking a leaf out of David Barker's (Wolterton Hall's organic) growing methods and planting the plants close together. My method of generous spacing just makes the low yield even more frustrating as I could have been growing something else in it's place.
I recently bumped into a friend in one of the Asian food stores on Magdalen street. She was stuffing two boxes of Alphonso mangoes into the back of her son's buggy. With each box containing approx 12 fruit I wish I had asked her what she was going to do with them. I also bought a box of the delicious fragrant, deep orange coloured juicy mangoes and have eaten them just as they then sucking the stone ending up with a orange mustache no one told me about. Thanks kids.
Alphonso's are so different from the all year round mangoes, like the ones that never ripen which I buy in bulk from Lidls when they are 35p. They are great for mango chutney but truly disappointing eaten on their own when compared to an Alphonso.
The last time I bought a box (a grate) of mangoes was when I lived on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef - the fruit is grown nearby on the mainland. They were so tasty, so perfectly ripe that I couldn't manage to eat all the fruit and that's the only trouble with buying in bulk, you have to eat a lot of fruit or make something out of them. There I had no cooking facilities but Skye Gyngell has included a few recipes in her recent column for The Independent.
The Alphoso season is short, perhaps only available for the next week if that. I'm going to try and buy another box today and make a sorbet or ice-cream using the clever Play and Freeze which I was given last summer although Skye's jam recipes sounds just up my street.
These biscuits taste just like ones my Mum use to make when we were younger. They are light and crunchy with a buttery taste.
Chocolate + Nut Biscuits
Cream together the above ingredients in a bowl.
Add to the creamed ingredients -
Mix in -
Either roll into sausage, wrap in cling film and fridge or place teaspoons of mixture on to baking tray.
Bake at 170ºc for 10 - 12 mins.
I have a glitch in my router. I have discovered that Typepad doesn't like me blogging unless I reset the router. Weird and irritating, but at least I have now worked out the ferocious blogging deterrent that is just an irritating bit of router weirdness. Yesterday I was all ready to set up on Blogger, in fact I did, only I never got round to writing anything. Somethings never change.
As you can see from the egg and flour set up above, I tried to post a blog on pancake day. I had been hyping myself all day for the mess and fighting that would occur once the jug, whisk, egg and flour would be visible. My girls love to argue and cause a bit of competitive rumpus shoving and even more so when cooking is involved. Where as I like nothing more than to hear them get on and be kind to each other.
I seem to remember my Mum feeling a little beaten by Pancake Day, they were more a bi-anual tradition than an annual one. If Pancake Day could be Shrove Sunday, not Shove Tuesday it would be a lot more fun for me.
I started writing this on Monday and it's now Saturday. Some people blog effortlessly but my attempts are always thwarted by something or other. I have images stacked up in iPhoto, of subjects I want to eulogize about... one day I'll write about them.
We drove to London on Sunday to visit Simon & Angie at the very successful, 'St Judes in the City' exhibition held at the Bankside Gallery over the past 10 days. Before we hit the river bank, we took a trip to Spitalfields to visit the girls Auntie Miranda at her clothes stall in the market. Just next to Miranda's stall is one of the Leon Restaurants, a chain of eaterys set up by Allegra McEvedy, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent in 2004. The food is simple, seasonal, inexpensive, wholesome and tasty and perfect for family outings.
I've been cooking from the Leon book since Christmas when I received it as I gift. The Moroccan Meatballs have been eaten a few times, they're good and dead simple to make.
Here's a quick recipe how to make Meat Balls similar to Leon's:
500g minced lamb
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
lots for freshly ground pepper and sea salt
1 handful of both chopped mint and parsley
1 pitta torn up and soaked in milk
1 good pinch of dried oregano
1. Squeeze the excess milk from the pitta bread and add to a bowl with all of the other ingredients.
2. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
3. Roll into balls and either char grill as they do at Leon's, fry or bake on silicone sheet in hot oven for 15 minutes.
We eat ours with either a homemade spicy tomato sauce made from: two tins of whole plum tomatoes added to a pan which contains browned sliced garlic cooked in olive oil. Add a cinnamon stick, a pinch of chili flakes, a pinch of sugar, oregano, salt and black pepper. Reduce until thick.
Alternatively, serve with rocket leaves, tzakiki, houmous, pitta bread and baked sliced aubergine.
I can see I'm going to be spending some time converting some of my snaps into Polodroids - a free download that turns your photos into images that look like Polaroids. Polaroid is a recent discovery which I blogged about on the St Jude's weblog, All Things Considered earlier this week.
The above photos were taken on Boxing Day in the woods next to Wells beach, carrying a poorly Matilda on an hour long walk. I guess we shouldn't have taken her, but we thought the fresh air would wake her not send her to sleep in Stu's arms.
Below is the original of the above. Can you see why I love Poladroid - it even crops my head.