Tag Archives: sweet

Wake up and smell the cookies

I love reality. I love the world. I love the smell of it. I love it.
~ Andrea Corr

Bake these soon, won’t you? Preferably in the black of night. With the brightest lights in your kitchen switched on – and no competing smells in your kitchen (i.e. well after dinner time). Eat some* till two in the morning. With company, so the blinding temptation to eat them all doesn’t engulf you and make you very ill indeed.

* Slip the remaining “some” into a container, and leave them in a safe place. Away from prying eyes, teeth and fingers.

Your oven will sing with maternal pride as the little balls of dough stretch and change and become ready for consumption. The cookies will lead you into a happy drunken stupor, as your eyelids take on the world-slicing powers of a kaleidoscope and show you tiny identical wedges of cookiecookiecookie.

Your nose may tell you it never wants to smell anything else ever again.

When at last sleep clutches at your eyelids and happy brain, you will find that you sink into a deep spell of sleep and the richest of dreams…

* And in the way the best dreams go (when you wake and wish it weren’t just a dream), you’ll find a hidden stash of cookies in the morning that smell just like the ones in your dreams. You can still dream your Sunday away.

Thanks Kath for the recipe! :-)

I’m also submitting this entry for Sweet New Zealand, hosted this month by Arfi at HomemadeS by Arfi. Click here to join in the Sweet NZ fun!

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Ready for cookies

I treat each cookie that I bake like a precious gem, which is especially important if you’re one of those people who are able to eat just one at a sitting… to me, each cookie is just as important as the one baking next to it.
~ David Lebovitz, Ready for Dessert

Some days call for moderation; others, for multiple batches of cookies. If you should choose to start your day by casually leafing through David Lebovitz’s “Ready for Dessert” like I did recently, then you may have to prepare for a not-so-moderate day.

How to resist falling prey to David’s recipes and photos? … c’est difficile à faire.

No one’ll look down on you for losing the battle with yourself to resist making something from David’s book or website, though. I promise.

So I have yet to attempt many of David’s recipes, but the few I have tried so far have made him one of my go-to people for inspiration and in times when I really want something to turn out well. The way I see it, most professional chefs can probably write recipes in their sleep – but not everyone can successfully write recipes for the home cook/baker who fumbles, can’t multitask that well and doesn’t have a gamut of equipment… and have him/her turn out good things at least 90% of the time.

Here are some photos of my attempt at making David’s “nonfat gingersnaps”.

I usually avoid baking recipes with “nonfat” or “healthy” in the title… what is nonfat baking? My approach is to eat salad sans dressing to be really nonfat, or bake real cake. I see no reason to avoid butter completely unless specific health reasons demand it (though I also loathe butter in excess).

When I saw the words “molasses” (never tried using it), “applesauce”, “candied ginger” and “black pepper” in the list of ingredients for these “nonfat gingersnaps” though, I knew I had to overlook its title…

So, attempt these I did. Dough clung to whisk like a pining lover; fragrance whirled around the kitchen in a style not dissimilar to how red wine tends to colour my face. And the muscovado, molasses, cinnamon and double dose of ginger caused magic to bubble in the bowl…

They emerged less crisp and “snappy” than I expected…

…but very nicely spiced, and on re-reading David’s recipe which says “such a soft, chewy texture”, maybe they aren’t TOO far off from what he first whipped up in his kitchen.

I might just have to keep working on it, though. Practice makes perfect, y’know? :-)

Next on the agenda was David’s “chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons” (not to be confused with macarons).

Eight egg whites are used in this recipe, but good news – there is no painful whisking (usually an egg white requisite) involved!

My nose kept hovering too close to the pot in the making of this one.

[Coconut, I like how you make things smell so nice!]

[I also like the fact that you like chocolate as much as, if not more than, I do…]

Though really… if you’re feeling lazy/not-in-the-mood-for-chocolate (it happens, right?) these macaroons are also pretty good on their own…

The recipe said the batter would generate 60 cookies, but somehow I ended up with substantially less than that amount, even taking into account the fact that I made them quite large. There were certainly more than enough to give away, so not complaining.

Enjoy your weekend, dear readers! And I hope you bake some cookies soon.

Lamington

[Of lamingtons] “…those bloody poofy woolly biscuits.”
~ Lord Lamington


Photo from here, generated by Google Images.

Today, my colleague bought a big pink lamington from the supermarket and shared half with me. Another induction into one of New Zealand’s (or some argue, Australia’s) iconic foods! So there we stood, next to our computers, eating our lamington halves of coconut-coated sponge, jam & cream with teaspoons… chatting about food, culture, and how much cream we like on our cakes… it took all of 15 minutes, but it was delightful.

Lamingtons on Wikipedia

The sweetest spears

One word, in this place, respecting asparagus. The young shoots of this plant, boiled, are the most unexceptionable form of greens with which I am acquainted.
~ William Andrus Alcott, The Young House-keeper

I love the pure, magnificent sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Oh, I do adore the golden spark of chocolate chip cookies and smooth decadence of berry cheesecake… but there is something so honest and good about earth’s bounty that sets it apart from anything flavoured/modified/processed.

A crunchy asparagus spear, for instance, is like a springtime shower to me. Fresh. Playful. Invigorating.

I chewed on one such stalk while cooking a slightly modified version of this dish from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries” tonight:
#47 Linguini with Asparagus & Prawns – Page 293

Modifications: I adjusted the quantities of ingredients to make half the amount of pasta, and used frozen cooked prawns instead of raw prawns, spaghetti instead of linguini, and port instead of brandy.

Hey, asparagus puree makes a good sauce base.

If tonight’s dinner was a musical, thyme was the soundtrack. The fresh thyme sprigs smelled amazing in this dish. I stood stirring and humming in the kitchen, bending down every so often to draw in a deep breath, eyes closed, head slightly woozy from its sweet, distinctive fragrance.

If I ever master the elusive technique of growing green things successfully, I will plant a herb garden. One thing I’ve discovered through this cook-through project is the absolute magic of fresh herbs. I can liken my fresh herb experience to the day I first tasted a chocolate truffle from a chocolatier. It seemed ridiculous that I had once been utterly satisfied with chocolate bars from the supermarket.

Oh, and prawns! I love prawns. Grandma’s prawns fried with chilli and black sauce. Prawn dim-sum in Chinese restaurants. Prawn tapas. All seafood, actually, is heavenly – the French apparently call it fruits de mer – ‘fruits of the sea’ – a gorgeous expression, don’t you think? Anyway, a bag of lovely pink prawns went into this dish… delightful.

The result was a sweet palatable pasta dish, simple, light and satisfying. All turned out well considering the fact that my first lot of pasta, in my carelessness, scalded me and disappeared down the insinkerator because I didn’t grasp the pot firmly while draining the water out. Tips: 1. Always keep spare pasta in the pantry. 2. When draining cooked pasta, hold on tight to that pot or use a sieve! :-)

Matt also baked us all a fruity crumble – a hearty tasty dessert, a sweet finish to our night!

PS. I’m really sorry about the quality of some photographs on my blog (especially those taken at night time under unforgiving artificial light conditions), by the way. I have a very basic camera which doesn’t like night as much as I do… and I don’t edit any of my photos before I post them.

Caramel Ice Cream

Sugar in the gourd and honey in the horn, I was so happy since the hour I was born.
~ Anonymous

From Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#42 Caramel Ice Cream – Page 383

Caramel isn’t one of my favourite foods to eat, but it always smells like a delicious dream, a new story, a tasty bubble. Like toffee. Childhood. Something just beyond verbal description. Such was the smell of our kitchen last night as the ice cream mixture bubbled gently on the stove, and Matt made hot chocolate on the other stove for us lucky flatmates, and the meringue clouds puffed and sang in the oven…

Somehow, cooking makes me fall deeper in love with the world.

I also think stovetop hot chocolate (along with most real chocolate) puts Cadbury to total shame. :-)

I took the mostly frozen brown icy sherbet mix out of the freezer this morning and gave it a good whisk with our eggbeater before pouring it into an empty ice cream container for further chilling. This is the second ice cream recipe I’ve tried from Tessa Kiros’ book, and I do like her recipes but I can’t figure out why they have this slight sore-throat-inducing effect that comes even after one spoonful… that really puts a dampener on things! Do you make your own ice cream? Suggestions welcome!