Achin’ for some bakin’

My love of food is no secret. I’m fascinated by the production, preparation and of course, the consumption of all things delicious. Every two weeks (I am chronically unable to budget on our fortnightly pay system) I take great pleasure in spending much of my weekend buying up seasonal fruit, veg, herbs, meat and other treats. Today was a fairly productive day in the little Randwick kitchen. First I made meatballs to take for fun work lunches:
Originally I intended to make the Swedish version but my hankering for a thick tomato sauce and oregano won out and I went the Italian route. These cook so simply in the tomato sauce, no frying required. Delicious with creamy mashed potato or some pasta. Next time I might try baking the whole production in the oven, with a bit of cheese on top. That is, of course, after I wrangle some lingonberry jam from IKEA and go all Swedish chef. This bad boy also comes highly recommended. Meatball cooking soundtrack: Animal Collective “My Girls”, Grizzly Bear “While You Wait For The Others” and Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”.
Next I made my old faithful choc-chip-and-cranberry cookies. These get a workout nearly every time I bake, generally in double batches. They’re from a great recipe book my mum gave me last year called Apples For Jam. For extra special occasions I love to use chocolate with almonds or hazelnuts. I have to let my butter soften on the window sill for a while though, because our kitchen is totally devoid of cooking applicances so all beating is done with a wooden spoon! Cookie bashing soundtrack: Camera Obscura’s “French Navy” and TV On The Radio’s “Wolf Like Me”.

75g butter
50g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1 egg
a few drops of vanilla extract
160g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
110g dark chocolate
50g dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 190. Mash up the butter and sugar, beat until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Sift in flour and baking powder, add a pinch of salt. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth and sandy… add broken up chocolate and cranberries. Press out teaspoons of the mixture onto paper-lined baking trays, allowing room for them to spread. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden… Then eat while the chocolate is warm and gooey, or take a tin into work to effectively atone for any level of professional misdemeanor!
As well as chopping up a fruit salad I also did a roast chook for dinner. Again the recipe was based on one from Apples for Jam, although I ad libbed stuffing based on memories of Dad’s stuffing rather than just shoving some garlic and thyme in the cavity. Stuffing included rye bread, an egg, pine nuts, lemon zest, garlic, finely diced onion and fresh oregano, thyme and sage. Rubbed the bird down with butter and salt, surrounded it with chopped spuds, some garlic cloves and thyme sprigs, and doused the whole thing in lemon juice. I’m a slut for lemon on EVERYTHING. The whole thing took nearly 2 hours in the oven (poor Aimee was starving) and straight gravy probably would have been better than the pan-juices-and-cream concoction my cholesterol-loving cook book advocated. But – YUM. Before:
Roasting soundtrack: M Ward “Absolute Beginners” and the rest of Hold Time. Now I’m fed, watered, in bed and listening to the rain. Finally nailed the rest of The Heart of the Matter and I’m starting a Christos Tsiolkas book called The Jesus Man. Hopefully the rain will clear overnight so we can get a swim in before work!

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