Saturday, June 13, 2015
Monday, June 8, 2015
Winter's here, Brisbane.
Yes, dessert was an afterthought. Guess it goes to show how inspiring Yotam Ottolenghi's salad and grain recipes were.
There are a fair few chocolate/peanut butter ball/cup recipes out there, but I wanted something vaguely healthy, too. Angela didn't let me down. These little balls require only a few nutritious ingredients (dark chocolate! peanut butter! coconut!) and come dangerously close to satisfying my cravings for Reese's Peanut Butter cups. I'm in biiiiiiiig trouble.
I followed the original recipe pretty closely but added a little too much coconut flour, so they came out a bit stick-to-the-top-of-your-mouth-y. But I can live with that. These peanut butter cup wannabes are even better after a couple days in the fridge, and I shudder to think how good they might be out of the freezer.
I had to eat two just to get the picture you see above.
1 cup natural peanut butter (I used chunky)
1/2 tsp sea salt (if the pb is unsalted)
3-4 Tbs maple syrup or thick raw honey or a combo of both
1-3 Tbs coconut flour (depending on consistency)
1/3 cup crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup - or 130 grams - 70% dark chocolate (I like Green&Blacks! Go fair-trade for sure)
1/2 Tbs unrefined coconut oil
NOTE: it's less fiddly to do these as balls than cups and doesn't use all the paper wrappings, too!
1. Mix the peanut butter with the salt (if needed) and the syrup or honey until it's thick. In the original recipe, Angela talks about how the PB thickens up after a few minutes of stirring. Mine was always thick.
2. Add coconut flour a little at a time until the mixture is the texture of cookie dough and can be rolled into smooth balls that don't fall apart. I didn't need much flour at all with the peanut butter I was using, but at least put in some, because it gives nice tooth-feel. ;)
3. Stir through the rice cereal. Definitely don't skip it - you want the little crunches as you bite in.
4. Form the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and put them on a sheet covered in baking paper. Set aside or in the fridge while you make the chocolate coating.
5. Microwave or stove-warm the chocolate and coconut oil over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it's all melted together. Let it cool a little bit.
6. The original recipe suggests spearing a ball on a fork to coat it, but I preferred a plop-and-recover method using a spoon. This fancy technique entails dropping a single ball into the dish of chocolate and fishing it back out with a spoon, before returning it to the tray. When all the balls are done, pop them into the freezer for 10 minutes or so until the chocolate has hardened.
7. Serve these cool or at room temperature, and store extras in the fridge. Just remember to WASH or SOAK your bowl and spoon straight away or the chocolate will harden into something like titanium on them.
PS. I've always found it difficult to make those 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies you see on the web - something about all that peanut butter … But these? No problems at all.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
I'm on a bit of a massage thing at the moment, trying to sort out the clench of my shoulder blades and my hamstrings, the twinge in my lower back. Trying to relax. I go to those places at the shopping centres, where tiny ladies lean their elbows into you and your muscles explode. Amazing. Patentable.
I don't want to have to justify my habit, if you want to call it that--Reliance? Program?--but sometimes I feel the question rise up in me: Is a massage a week too much?
As far as I'm concerned, that's the answer to everything. Don't try to pin it down too soon, force it into something: if you let it breathe it can become so much more. More than you can ever imagine.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
*On that note, DO NOT skimp on the salt, even if it seems excessive when you measure it out - it keeps the concentrate fresh and seasons the food perfectly.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
|Female bonobo, San Diego Zoo|
|bonobos, San Diego Zoo|
Thursday, March 5, 2015
We recently had a dinner party for a bunch of our friends, because yes I'm crazy and I love doing this shit and you know you do, too, so stop being afraid and just invite some people over and feed them.
|dinner party for 8 - because friends are awesome|
Nelle, who's completely inspired by the show My Kitchen Rules, set up our "instant restaurant" for the evening. We called it Nelle's Garden, because it was held in our garden, and she set the table, and because I purchased a mega box of seconds produce at the greengrocer earlier that day, so I felt inclined to put fruit in EVERY SINGLE DISH.
Here's our menu (for 8):
Ok, sounds terrifying, but it wasn't. I'll walk you through it, you'll be fine.
|vegetarian dinner party|
My all-time favourite cracker recipe, which I've reposted below because it now has appealing photos. Because I'm now able to take better photos on my better camera and because I'm almost 40 and that's something. On a perhaps more-relevant note - the slight licorice-y flavour of the anise seeds complements the cheese and fruit.
(NOTE: I made the dough earlier in the day but rolled out the crackers right before people arrived so they were still a little warm. I cut the rolled dough very haphazardly because no one really cares what crackers look like. The recipe is perfect for this number of people.)
The plum cordial was tasty, but I probably won't make it again. I'm more of a lime-with-my-gin type, I think.
(NOTE: I made the cordial the day before and assembled the drinks when people arrived. The recipe is perfect for 8.)
BUT the bonus of the plum cordial was that I blended up what was left of the plums after straining for the cordial and added chia seeds and lime to it to make jam. How? 2 Tbs chia seeds per 1 cup strained, blended fruit, with lime to taste. It's amazing. I used it in the cake at the end and gifted some and still have some left for toast … all for practically FREE because the cordial recipe told you to throw that bit out. Ha!
I wanted something fresh, and this cold peach-and-tomato soup was tasty but not my favourite. On the bright side, it didn't take much effort just to blend the shit out of everything and pour it into cups. Next time, I want to try a strawberry gazpacho recipe I've spotted in one of my cookbooks.
(NOTE: I made this right before serving. The recipe was too much for 8 - I would halve it.)
OMG I loved the roasted carrot salad with oranges and avo!! I used regular carrots but cut them on angles so more surface area caramelised in the oven. A fantastic combination of flavours and a great way to use up carrots when you buy those giant bags of cheap "juicing" ones like I do. I went with a simpler dressing than called for - just a tiny splash of extra virgin olive oil and a hefty drizzle of rice vinegar. Hell yes, I'm making this again. And again.
(NOTE: I put the carrots in to roast right after I took the crackers out of the oven and assembled the salad right before serving. I didn't really follow the quantities in the recipe, more went by how many carrots I had and how many avocados I could afford*.) *these things are like gold in Queensland at the moment.
Two things here.
First - the combination of green pepper, apple and onion (with a dash of rosemary and basil) was a mouth bomb I learned from my very talented friend Cristjen, who made a stir fry with those ingredients on his recent visit. I put them fresh on pizza, added mozzarella and a little dressed rocket, and was VERY happy indeed. I love when people change my perception of what flavours go with what!
(NOTE: I shredded the cheese and cut the peppers and onions the night before, and stored them in separate covered containers in the fridge. I also drizzled the cut onions with a little vinegar to take the burn out of them. I used 1 red onion and 1 huge green pepper and a couple small green apples to serve 8. Herbs were from the garden.)
Second - I can never go back to pita pizza knowing how good the homemade stuff can be. I'm fucked. This dough was flavourful, easy to work with, and crispy and chewy in all the right places. Damn you, amazing pizza dough recipe!!
(NOTE: This is "overnight" dough but that doesn't mean you just put it in the fridge and it's done. There are
manya gazillion steps but they are very worth it! This served 8 easily, with tragically few leftovers. Next time you people are getting more gazpacho.)
Individual (vegan) cake portions in cute cups? I LOVE it!! I used this recipe, but substituted my homemade plum jam for the peanut butter because a) I had heaps of jam on hand and b) Australians are insane and do not in general like peanut butter and chocolate together. WTF?? And yet I became a citizen. Hmmm.
Anyway, I found the recipe a little challenging to make for 8 people, as the ingredients are listed by the single serving, but I did my best guesswork and everything came out deliciously. If you use super dark chocolate like I did, be sure to serve this with ice cream or fresh cream or sorbet to cut the bitterness. I cooked the batter in tea cups with enough space for dollops of ice cream and it was just right.
(NOTE: I mixed the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately before the party and assembled and microwaved while I brewed coffee. I employed child labor on the ice cream.)
Overall, this menu was great for a summery, vegetarian dinner party! I didn't spend too much time in the kitchen while our friends were here, except for the pizzas - but Nelle helped me with those. Next time, though, I think we'll do pizzas on the BBQ instead of in the oven so we can hang out with everyone else while they're cooking. I could hear snippets of interesting conversations out there!
Here's to enjoying your food, family and friends,
And - as promised - the crackers:
|olive oil cracker dough|
|anise and olive oil crackers with pear and melted cheese|
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Apparently there's a cyclone or two coming.
They say that Brisbane will get around 400-500mL (16-20") of rain
Robbie tried to convince Nelle that we're all going to spiral away in the winds to a land called Oz, which is kind of true, but also the wrong kind of cyclone. Luckily, she knows better than to believe him.
You know what I think? Our garage will flood. The dog will refuse to go outside. My hair will frizz. My feet will get wet. And my legs. Quite likely, all of me.
So I'm going to drink a lot of tea.
|A lot of tea|
And make comfort food.
|oat and sunflower biscuits, redux|
So here are the recipes I'm revisiting over the next few days -
- Creamy Pepita and Parmesan Pasta
- Scalloped Everything
- Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Oat and Sunflower Biscuits (I am so eating these with jam and cheese!)
- Orange Poppyseed Cookies
And right now? I'm making fresh bread and I reeeeeeally hope it works, because I need something NOW for butter and honey to go on. I'll let you know how we go :)
Stay safe and dry, friends,
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Now is time.
It's about being a LIVING BEING. Think: organ. And if you don't believe me, check the definition. It's about being a live, dynamic, breathing, sweating, farting, crying, laughing, stressing, eating, thinking being. Changing everything, just by living.
(Personally, I like being naked. Particularly in unexpected locations. Like mountain lakes. The rain. My living room. You should try it.)
You know what authentic is? Don't you dare tell me hipster, or Kinfolk, or those awesome Instagram feeds we all drool over (yes, I love them too … ;) ). It's YOU. It's your little happinesses, and anxieties, and dreams, and insecurities, and all those trillion thoughts that flit through your head every day. It's who you were and who you want to be and most importantly who you are TODAY.
Be YOU. There is no one else.
So does it matter?
You tell me.
Big love, friends,
PS. I get scared, too. That's cool. :)
Friday, January 9, 2015
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
The dreams will solidify, like clay left out in the dry air, formed and unformed and chalky in my hand. I'm going to write out my heart into science and short stories and essays and here, yes here. I'm going to stop worrying about whether I can be one thing or another thing and just do all these things, even the things that scare me. I'm going to push out, break out, crack open and live. Start seeing my real self in the mirror. Work towards strong. Experience individual moments. Carve my name somewhere. Taste my food, my world, my life.
That's my plan for 2015. What's yours?
Saturday, December 13, 2014
PS. The links here are to my Amazon affiliate account, where you pay the same and I get a small commission for each purchase. Thanks! I use it to buy books and coffee paraphernalia, mostly :)
Friday, November 28, 2014
|Post-Thanksgiving cookies - use up the extra cranberry sauce|
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
|sweet fig and creamy chèvre|
|chèvre and fig starter with bresaola|
It's all about time, really. And you have it.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Apple Cider Bread with Currants