Oat Cookies

26Apr10

Completely unrelated to Oat Cookies, but a beautiful image..

I’m lying in bed feeling a little unwell. A sore throat infection thing has attacked me! Poor me. I have endeavoured to comfort myself with food and books. So far I have fallen in love with Henry James via The Portrait of a Lady (it’s one of those books I have borrowed from the library four to five times and never built up the gumption to read). I have also got sucked into Anna Karenina, which I have looked at on the bookshelf for a very long time. Thankfully I have discovered/been loaned a different translation so my relationship with Tolstoy has improved.

The list of what I have eaten while endeavouring to recover from this throat thing is a little long to catalogue (for some reason I don’t tend to lose my appetite when ill). So I thought I would just post this recipe for simple Oat Cookies. It was inspired/borrowed/adapted from the Pioneer Woman. The cookies remind me of porridge…. at least in terms of comfort. If that doesn’t inspire you to cook them you are missing out on a dose of good hearted warmth.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Method

Cream butter and sugars until well combined. In a seperate bowl beat eggs and vanilla. Add eggs to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.

Sift in the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix carefully until well combined, then stir in the quick oats. Once you have a firm dough, take teaspoon size pieces and roll into balls. Place these on a baking tray and press down to make a small disc shapes. **I then pop the baking tray into the freezer for 15 minutes to chill… somehow this makes them cook better!

Bake in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden.


I thought that as recipes have been few and far between since the oh so exciting Chickpea Bake … I should just forget about the food for a split second (if that’s possible) and share my ‘songs of the moment’. The four which have been spinning in my head are:

1. Yeasayer’s jubliant song O.N.E., it makes me feel unreasonably happy with life. Plus it is also amazing for solo dance offs.

2. I love Chiddy Bang! Their song Opposite of Adults is awesome and incidentally it opens with a blatent rip from MGMT’s song Kids (whose new album, Congratulations is coming out next week, VERY divisive psychedelia). Anyways, back to Chiddy Bang… these two boys from Philidelphia are a bit cheeky but AWESOME. Be warned though, there is some hamster voice love in their song Never.

3. Whitley with his werewolf song KillerI’m starting to get over it now but this track was great during the stressful upheaval of city swapping.

4. Last but not least I have to bring up Washington. The coverart for the single How to tame lions is gorgeous.. plus it has the lyrics ‘you be my Arthur Miller, I’ll be your Marilyn Monroe’. How could you NOT love a song with those lyrics?


Well, that’s a long story. The foundation of my blogging silence is the fact that I’ve moved cities, I am now living in Sydney (see photo below for confirmation, I took it on my first ferry ride across the harbour)!

The reason for my relocation is that drumroll I scored my DREAM JOB. I’m now working for triple j as a radio producer!!!! This amazing fact means I can indulge my love of music pretty much full time. Unfortunately it also means less time devoted to cooking up messes.

In the haze of crazy relocation I’ve just been cooking up my old favourites i.e. risotto+pasta. The capabilities of the sharehouse oven are yet to be fully tested in the baking arena, but I did cook a roast on Sunday and it was amazing… despite the fact that there are no temp measurements on the oven – just a burning gas flame blazing at the back!

But don’t despair I have got some AMAZING cookie recipes I haven’t blogged from the past month (that would be before the oven with the burning flame).


Chickpea Bake

07Feb10

Savoury crumble. For some reason it is one of those food concepts which just hasn’t taken off (hence my choice of ‘bake’ in the title), but 2 days ago I was seized with a desire to experiment.

Inspired by Nigel Slater’s comment that “…an onion, a can of chickpeas and another of tomatoes” can be a fair enough supper if oven-baked slowly with garlic, I set to work. Being experimentally brave I also decided to open the packet of sumac spice which had been sitting in the cupboard for far, far too long. 

Sumac (if you’re wondering) is a deep-red coloured spice used in Middle Eastern cooking to add a tart, almost lemony taste to meat or salad dishes. I was a little worried about its hithertoo unknown quantities – but as the dish got rave reviews from its eaters I will not be sumac shy again.

Ingredients
For Chickpeas
1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 400g can of diced tomatoes
1 400g can of tinned chickpeas
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sumac spice (optional)

For Crumble
50g wholemeal flour
25g cornmeal (if you don’t have it just use extra flour – but it won’t be golden)
75g rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 tsp baking powder
50g butter
squeeze of lemon juice

First up prepare the crumble as you want to chill this for at least 20 minutes. In a small bowl mix flour, cornmeal, oats and baking powder. Rub in the 50g of butter with you fingers until you’ve got a mixture resembling breadcrumbs (it’s easier if you’ve let the butter get soft and chopped it into cubes). Finally squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the crumble, mix in and place in freezer for at least 20 minutes or more to chill.

Turn the oven to 160C/325F. Rub a baking dish (20x20cm is good) with one clove of mashed garlic and put it in the oven to warm up. In a small pan fry the diced onion with a dollop of olive oil. When the onion is soft, place it in the hot baking dish along with the drained chickpeas, spices and remaining garlic. Pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes, then add the diced tomatoes and give the mix a good stir. Leave in the oven for another 10 minutes, before sprinkling the chilled crumble on top. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until crumble is golden.

Source: My brain with some inspiration from Nigel Slater’s food column.

Best cooked to… The sad thing is I can’t remember what I cooked this to. But as I’m typing it up Sarah Brightman is singing in the background with the soul-quivering romantic Time to Say Goodbye.


This cake is simply and utterly amazing. The moist, apple texture is divine and it’s perfect dusted with icing sugar and cut into slabs. The recipe came from Deb at Smitten Kitchen and was her mother’s Jewish apple cake recipe. My family has firmly adopted it as their own and it will be reguarly served up for birthdays, treats and days when no celebratory justification can be found except a love of apples.

Ingredients
6 apples (if they’re large, otherwise 7 or 8, be generous)
1 tbsp cinnamon
5 tbsp raw sugar
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar (I use 1 1/2 of caster sugar and 1/2 cup of raw)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan and line the bottom with paper if you are worried about sticking. Peel, core and chop apples into hearty chunks. Toss with the cinnamon and sugar, set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl whisk the oil, orange juice, vanilla and sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix. Then add your eggs, one at a time (I tend to break them into a seperate bowl and whisk them individually first, but this is probably over-zealousness in action).

Pour half the batter into the greased tube pan. Place the apples on top, pouring all the cinnamony juices in as well. Then top the apple with the remaining batter. If you want keep back half the apple for sprinkling on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours (mine took only an hour, so keep checking until the tester comes out clean). Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

Source: The wonderful and incomparable, Smitten Kitchen.

Best cooked to… The best and only band you could cook this to is The National. Being from Brooklyn they seem to naturally mesh with this recipe. My favourite songs are Slow Dance and Fake Empire.


Sometimes I am seized by a desire to make a certain recipe. These gorgeous puffs were lunch a few days ago, but they would be great for a party. You could even make them half the size if you’re going for the small nibbly look.

Ingredients
280g/10 ounces frozen spinach
110g/4 ounces feta cheese, coarsey crumbled
2 cloves garlic, pressed
About 20 grinds black pepper
Small dash nutmeg
Flour, for dusting
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/375F. Thaw the frozen spinach by covering it with warm water for 5 minutes and then drain it, squeezing out excess liquid.

In a bowl mix the spinach, crumbled feta, garlic, pepper and nutmeg.

Flour a dry table or kitchen bench and lay out the puff pastry. Cut each sheet into 9 squares. Plop a teaspoon of the spinach mix into a corner of each square. Fold the pastry square diagonally over the mixture so you have 9 triangles from each sheet. To seal wet the edges with water and press down with a fork.

Place the finished pockets on a greased baking tray and cook for 15 minutes until they are golden and puffy. Best served hot with a green salad if you’re going to make a meal of it.

Source: Adapted from Dave Lieberman’s recipe (his spinach mix is great, but he makes the whole puff pastry thing a little complicated).

Best cooked to… Well I don’t know if it’s the best choice for pastry puffs… but I made this while listening to Simian Mobile Dance Disco’s song Bad Blood. What makes this song is the vocals by Alexis Taylor – brilliant.


Chewy Macaroons

03Feb10

These macaroons are more like chewy nougat then traditional macaroons. The magic of them is that the egg whites aren’t whisked… plus they’re gluten free, contain no oil or butter and are a one-bowl cooking affair which makes them just about perfect.

To be 100% honest they’re not technically macaroons, their true name is hagdi badam or an Iraqi Passover cookie. Nigella Lawson subconded them from Daisy Iny’s Best of Baghdad cooking for her chapter on Passover recipes in the sumptous book, Feast. But whatever the semantics they are heavenly, so enjoy.

Ingredients (makes 28)
200g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
1/4 tsp finely ground cardamon (optional)
2 egg whites (from large eggs)
1-2 tbsps rosewater
28 blanched almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.

Mix together the ground almonds, sugar, ground cardamom and egg whites (remember there’s no need to whisk them for this recipe). Knead the mixture with you hands until you have a doughy, thick paste.

Sprinkle rosewater onto your hands and form little balls out of the grainy paste. Wet and scent your hands before rolling each one (if you don’t have rosewater use water flavoured with almond essence). Place the balls on a lined baking tray about 3cms apart.

Press down with the palm of your hand to form little patties, before studding the centre of each one with a blanched almond. If you only have raw almonds in the cupboard pour hot water over them first, let soak and then peel off the skins. Bake for 10-12 minutes, they should be pale so take them out of the oven when the edges begin to golden.

Source: Daisy Iny’s Best of Baghdad Cooking via… Feast by Nigella Lawson.

Best cooked to… hmm, well I was in such a rush that I forgot to put any music on (shame). But I recommend Corrine Bay Railey, her music is soulful with a jazz tint. She released a new album, The Sea in November, with the gorgeous song I’d do it all again (click to watch the video).




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