So the other day, the maniversary of two of my friends and the first anniversary of the beginning of the best year of my life to date, I was making cookies with three good friends. I love to bake (no duh) and they like to eat, and they wanted to learn how to bake so they could eat their own confections. So I brought over Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours and we made chocolate malted whopper drops. I’d give you the recipe but I’m not quite ready to relinquish it yet (we had to do with less eggs and other things, so I’m going to make them again so I can tweak them to my heart’s content.) Meanwhile, these are B’s thoughts on the matter:
Sweet Ixcacao! I just started eating those cookies. And I ate too many and I am going to die. I am literally going to die! I am super legitamately going to experience death by chocolate. My heart just went into cardiovascular shock on account of how delicious these cookies are and my body is literally being consumed and falling into a warm deadly chocolately coma. When I wake up my gun will be rusted, my wife will be dead and I will a footlong beard. That’s assuming I do wake up and don’t choose to merely spend eternity in a sweet sweet chocolate limbo wonderland free of my bodily limitations where I can consume thine dark lips of the goddess that lives inside these cookies and never feel pain nor hardship nor guilt ever again.
Maybe I don’t need to tweak them at all.
I have been struggling recently with getting motivated to do stuff. I have wonderful aspirations all the time, but they only get set in motion some of the time, because I’m lazy and I leave things to the last minute.
However, I’m working on changing that, and I’m also working on being ok with that. It’s a bit oxymoronic (maybe just take out the oxy part of that word… : ) But, as Dan Parsons so eloquently puts it, it’s all up to you, firestarter. And I can start fires, I can do anything if I put my mind to it. It’s all up to me.
To journal. To contemplate. To cook. To garden. To be a better me, to write poems and make them live in other people’s lives, to create habits and to break habits, to do something. Anything.
I was talking about how I’m becoming a hippie, and my sister laughed and said “Becoming a hippie? Becoming more of a hippie, you mean.”
Woohoo! my sister thinks I’m already a hippie!
Well, I did preserve plums yesterday. I was home for a few days and my mum had acquired a vintage preserving vat.
So, because we have a plum tree that gives and gives and gives, and because I want to become a producer, not a consumer, because I love food and love to give, because the vat is amazing and vintage and I wanted to be able to say that I’d preserved something;
all of these reasons culminated in me and my sister and my mum preserving plums yesterday morning. Even Dad helped. (he stones the plums for us.:)
So, I’m becoming a hippie, and I’m also becoming very domesticated. I think it helps that I’m living with people now. I have people to domesticate for. I’m very happy.
Oh my Gosh I Can’t beLieve it. There are officially photos on the cookie cutting blog. It’s amazing.
So, here at this juncture I must explain the lack of photos thus far. I have a digital camera. It’s approximately ten years old (ok, I’m being dramatic – it’s maybe five or six?). Therefore, I don’t use it. I haven’t for eons. I may have to dig it out at some stage but I suspect that the photo quality will be poor. SO. No food photos.
I lament over this, I really do, but I’m a student and so have no money, and I had other things to ask for this Christmas. Like, a bed to sleep on this year. I’m sorry.
However, I do enjoy photography, and I do love food. So of course the first photos on this blog will be of food. Pizza, to be exact.
I love making homemade pizza. And the funny thing is, there are so many recipes for the perfect pizza base out there. I used one from Mediterranean Kitchen and although the recipe says it makes two thirty centimeter pizzas, I managed to stretch it to four. Not only do I love a crispy base, but I had a lot of mouths to feed. Seven, to be exact.
The best thing about pizza, of course (pasta, too, if you don’t use a food processor) is that you have to knead it for about a century so it gets that smooth, elasticy exterior, not sticky but dry. So if you have a problem to think about, something you need to worry over, or even just someone who you think needs a good kick up the you-know-where, pizza is great therapy.
So here it is.
Basic Pizza Dough
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 pkt instant yeast (or 2 tsp dried or 15g fresh)
3 2/3 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil (I feel terrible here. I had no olive oil. It was not to be found. So I used vegetable oil instead. I do not recommend this to anyone. Get the real deal.)
Place the sugar, yeast and 80ml warm water in a small bowl and lightly whisk together. Put aside and wait until it froths some. If it doesn’t, it’s dead. Throw it out and start again.
Put the salt and flour in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the yeast mix, oil and 135ml warm water and mix together until lightly clumps together. Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 mins or until it’s dry to the touch and elastick-y.
Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and roll the ball of dough around in it until it is also coated with oil. Leave the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or in the fridge for 8 hours. I left mine on the trampoline in the sun; if you turn your oven on to about 150ºC and then turn it off when it’s reached that heat and then put your dough in, it works quite well.
When it’s about doubled in size, press down on it gently, then divide into 2 or 4 portions. One at a time, press or roll them out to about 30cm discs. Cover with your favourite toppings and bake in a preheated 230ºC oven for about 12 mins if thicker or 5-7 mins if thinner. We put tomato paste mixed with garlic and basil as a base, then scattered home grown tomatoes, olives and mozzarella over. The meat-eaters in the family added bacon and pepperoni.
Seeing as I don’t live at home anymore, and I work on Saturdays and often on Mondays, often during the week, and I study and you know, the life of a student (and a two – more on that later) is a very busy life. I’m young, right? I live.
So all things considered, I don’t get home very often, but when I do it’s always a treat. I get to sleep in (mostly) I get my meals made for me, I can lounge in my pj’s (assuming I remember to bring them with me… yeah…) and I get to see my family, which is moderately large. I’ve met larger, but we’re definitely larger than average.
The best thing about this particular trip home (I say, sitting in the sun in the dining room, with wireless internet and awesome company) is that my sister’s back from her nine-week-long trip overseas. I haven’t seen her for ages. It’s lovely. We get to chat about stuff and exclaim and be sisters. It’s awesome.
Soooo, it’s been a couple days since I hinted as to an amazing recipe I was about to make. And they were amazing. I’ve already shared a flourless chocolate cupcake recipe with you because I have a friend who’s allergic to gluten. Now, ta-da! Introducing spelt flour! It’s really nice flour – spelt is an ancient form of wheat that doesn’t have as much gluten as modern-day wheat, so it’s ok for people who are allergic. So I made muffins to share with both my house (eek! four people, three of whom I barely know! Let’s make muffins so they like me!) and my internship group (we’re spending every Thursday together. By midafternoon, we need a sugar hit.)
And so. I knew I wanted to make muffins because I’d made spelt scones before and they worked really well, so I knew muffins would benefit from the sturdiness of the flour and it wouldn’t matter too much if they didn’t rise as well. And I’m trying to add as much fruit and vegetables into my diet as I possibly can, because being a vegetarian, variety is even more important.
Pear, lemon and raspberry spelt flour muffins
So I got the base recipe from Smitten Kitchen but I tweaked it around so much it’s barely recognisable. I also used mini muffin pans because I couldn’t find large ones in the supermarket. I do not recommend this. They turned out fine but I just ate about five of them in one sitting and this could have been rectified had I made larger ones – they are much more satisfying.
Yield: I got 56 mini muffins. I suspect you could get around 24 large muffins. Deb got 18. Use your judgement, and don’t skimp when you’re putting the mixture in the cases. I also feel that 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon was too much, although this could be because the lid fell off the container I was using to measure it out so I may have gotten a whole lot more than 1 1/2 tablespoons. Use your judgement, again.
2 1/2 cups spelt flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
large pinch salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
150gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, plus extra to sprinkle over the top
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups greek style yoghurt
2 corella pears, peeled, cored and chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
about 1/2 cup frozen raspberries.
Preheat oven to 220ºC. Set out paper cases in two 12 muffin muffin pans.
Mix together first 5 ingredients (dry) and set aside. Cream butter, then add sugars and beat, scraping down sides. Add egg and do the same. Gently mix in yoghurt and fold into dry ingredients. Mix in pears, raspberries and lemon rind and stir until just incorporated. Fill muffin cases – like I said, don’t skimp. Spelt flour doesn’t rise too much, so feel free to fill to the top. Liberally sprinkle extra brown sugar over the top of the muffins.
If you’re making mini muffins like me, bake at 220ºC for 5 mins, then lower heat to 200ºC and bake another 5 mins. If you’re making large muffins like I should have, bake at 220ºC for 10 mins and at 200ºC for about 10-15 mins. Take out of the oven and let sit for about 5 mins, then take out of pans and let cool on a rack before packing them away, if you can bear not to gobble them up all at once.
*If you don’t have spelt flour, don’t worry. You can use all plain flour or one cup plain flour and one cup whole-wheat flour instead.
I’m making tonight?
apples or pears
bi carb soda
You say goodbye, I say hello.
I have compiled a list of things about goodbyes, hellos and airports. Some are good, some are bad, some are just plain weird. I might just let you figure out what’s what.
18)Farewell, or fare thee well