Thursday, January 31, 2013

Biscuit Brownies

Its just about the second birthday of this blog. I've really enjoyed two beautiful years of cooking and writing.....and I love the places that this little project has taken me. When I first started writing about food (and of course love) I did it in a conscious effort to learn how to enjoy cooking for one. I had become so used to cooking for dates and boyfriends that I had completely forgotten how to cook a meal just for myself. Tonight I put on a record, poured a glass of wine and sat down to a big bowl of smoked salmon and mushroom ragu. It was delicious, but the best thing about it was how content it made me feel.

There are so many moments in my life at the moment where I am just so filled with joy by all the tiny bits and pieces that make up who I am and how I live my life. It makes me so incredibly happy to have this tiny little life, in this tiny little house, and a big scary job. One day hopefully I'll get around to writing a book about the adventures of a small pastry chef who spends all her time baking cakes and falling in love with the wrong people.......but until then I'll share with you a lovely recipe.

This recipe is from a wonderful new cook book I bought recently and have been so inspired by it. All the recipes are just so very beautiful and interesting. I'm really excited to make the maple bacon cupcakes! 

I made these cookies the other night when I was feeling a little blue. Ok lets be honest......I was feeling a little hung over, and I just needed something to help me feel a little grounded. Making cookies always brings me back to earth. So I made these and they made me quite happy.

Biscuit Brownies
From 'Sweet Tooth'

You will need:

  • 160g of plain flour
  • Half a tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 30g flaked almonds
What to do: 

  1. Mix together the plain flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. With a double boiler melt together the chocolate and butter.
  3. In an electric beater, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and slightly thick.
  4. Fold the egg mix into the chocolate mix.
  5. Stir in the flour.
  6. Place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 40 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 180
  8. Roll the cookie dough into desert spoon size bowls and press slightly onto a tray lined with baking paper (leave room for spreading.)
  9. Sprinkle with almonds.
  10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool on the tray. 


Monday, January 21, 2013

In The Freezer

Can I let you in on a little secret? I am unbelievably, irrationally afraid of the deep freeze at my work. I'm not exactly sure why yet but every time I go in there I find myself in a fluster. Im not sure if its because I can never find what I'm looking for or the fact that after ten seconds in there I can no longer feel my fingers. One time I was in there for a good two minutes looking for some back up pastries before I found them on the top shelf which I could only reach with a small step. By the time I got out I was so cold that my body felt like it was going into shock. It took me five minutes before I came back to a normal temperature. 

My biggest fear though is being locked in the deep freeze. Last week I panicked when I thought I had locked myself in. Its lucky those freezers are sound proof.....I swore so loudly, only to find that there (or course) is a handle on both sides of the a normal a normal person would presume. 

This week I've been thinking about how life at time can be a bit like a deep freezer. You find yourself in a situation and before you know what's going on your whole body goes numb and you find yourself in a pannick. I guess the lesson is, that there is always a handle, always a way out. You just have to take a moment to look for it. My aim for the coming week is to look for these handles. Take a few deep breaths, and maybe put on some gloves. 

With all this freezing going on....and a decent chance of hyperthermia, I'm off to have a glass of wine (to bring up my body temperature.) Or something like that. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My two favourite places.

I think its so important in life to have a place where you feel you belong. A place that is simply your own. A world that no one can touch. I personally have two of these places. The kitchen and my tiny bedroom. One of my favourite writers once wrote "we live this life simply to go to the table, return to the bedroom and go back to the table." When I first read this, it made perfect sense to me. I think I live life for these two pleasant sanctuaries. 

This last week of starting back at work was at times insanely stressful. On my own for three days I managed to run the pastry kitchen of a five star hotel. Its something I have dreamed about for years, and its so amazing to finally be living this life that I have worked so hard to create. I had to call one of my best friends from back home yesterday just to yell down the phone "I'm doing it! I'm actually doing it! All those crazy plans we made, all those hours we spent talking about what we would do with our lives, have actually become a reality."

Apart from all the stress of long hours, no breaks, and huge prep listes I actually had a lovely time. The kitchen always feels like a home away from home. It was nice to be able to turn off my phone and just cook for nine hours. I felt like I had escaped the world in my tiny kitchen under the ground where I decorated cakes all day and plated up high tea for guests in the restaurant. Sometimes cooking feels a bit like falling in love. You know how you want it to work out, or how it 'should' look in your head, but it doesn't always go the way you plan. It is beautiful, and scary and intense, but you love every minute of it, even when you dont know why. I remember making my first croissant as vividly as I remember my first kiss. Its a private world that you can dive into and watch as something beautiful appears. It was almost a relief just to push everything to the side this week and say "This here, at work, is my time." There was no drama, no tention, no tears, but just me, a couple of cakes and a spatular. Honestly it was bliss. 

Today I am in my second favourite place. My room. I've been a little sick this week so I've locked myself up in this beautiful space to sit in bed, read books and eat pastries. Its so perfectly indulgent, and another place when I can just unwind. I could just loose myself in how lovely it is being here. 

I will sometime soon leave my bed, leave the kitchen and return to the 'real world.' I'll see my friends and get on with life. I will get around to posting a recipe on this blog. For now though, I'm so blissfully happy here, and I might just stay for a wee bit longer.