Monthly Archives: October 2013

Muesli Biscuits, For Those Who Hate Pleasure

It’s 330pm on Saturday afternoon here in London. The weathermen are apoplectic with excitement as a ‘hurricane’ is due to hit the shores on Monday sometime, and meanwhile we’re having a fun time negotiating the wind. My fancy black decking out the back is covered in the dead and dying leaves of THE BASTARDING TREE OVER THE BACK FENCE, nicely complementing the contents of the dog’s recently dodgy bowels.  Setting this duo off are a range of dead herbs in buckets hanging on the wall like the ghosts of summer past. I suppose that’s what they are. Poetry, that.

Today I had planned a lot of jobs. These included and were not limited to:-

(i)  Cleaning up the deck (boyfriend being responsible for cleaning the dogshit, obv) – leaves, dead stuff, etc

(ii)  Going to the petshop to get food for the dog, who is almost out and, because she is spoilt and our middle class guilt doesn’t allow us to buy her supermarket food, sups on special stuff we have to make extra trips for

(iii) Going to the supermarket to stock up on human food. This inevitably entails trying to figure out what we might want to eat for supper in the coming week. That inevitably entails me working out what I am prepared to cook.

(iv) Washing the dog. She deserves it.

(v) Doing all the washing in the house, including towels and sheets and stuff, notwithstanding the fact that because the weather is so shithouse I haven’t room to hang it all.

(vi) Walking the dog.

I’ve done precisely none of the above. Last night it was my turn to try to sleep in a bit, which I obviously failed to do, but which resulted in me stomping downstairs unkempt and un-refreshed about 9am to join the boyfriend on the sofa, where we failed to move very much for a good while, apart from plugging NewHuman with a bottle and then passing him into the care of his cot for a couple of hours.

Parenting is easy, no idea why people make such a fuss about it.

ANYWAY

Last week I made muesli biscuits. I in fact thought they were ok, specially because I added some choc chips to the mix. Boyfriend was unimpressed but he basically doesn’t like anything that resembles health. Got them from the below book:-

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This book is stuff of legend in my childhood. We had one at home, absolutely abused it was, too. Brilliant. I found it, sold as ‘vintage reprint’ in the local newsagent when back home in Perth so I bought it.  Boyfriend has turned down the pages of several future bakes, mostly involving hours of separate stages and, thus, making them unlikely to ever see the light of day. If he’s lucky he may get some Weekenders.

K. Muesli biscuits, actually quite nice.

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Preheat your oven to about 170C.  As it’s an Aussie recipe it doesn’t faff about with such things as Gas Marks or Farenheit.

Gather:

185 g butter, melted

130g (1 cup) toasted muesli (use whatever you have lying about, will be fine)

90g (1 cup) coconut

90g (1 cup) rolled oats – whole or not, doesn’t matter

75g (half a cup) self-raising flour

110g (half a cup) raw sugar – I used demarara

35g (quarter of a cup) sesame seeds

1 tablespoon honey

1 egg, lightly beaten

** I added half a pack of milk choc chips. Was nice.  Think was about 50-60g, so not too many.

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Basically chuck everything in a bowl and mix through.

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Does it look like particularly chunky sick?

Of course.

That’ll be good, then.

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The recipe says to mould level tablespoons of mixture into balls. I reckon dessertspoons would be better and found that wetting my hands every few biscuits or so definitely helped with the bit of work required to get the biscuits to ball up. As it were.

Flatten them slightly. A bit. With your hand. Don’t go too hard.  You should get somewhere between 20-30 biscuits.

Into the oven for about 15 mins or until golden.

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Relations on the NewHuman and dog front appear to be coming on very well.

Don’t overcook the biscuits, and don’t take them off the trays straight away – let them cool there for a while on the trays.

Eat.  I suspect they’d be quite nice crumbled over icecream. Or the mixture crumbled on an oven tray and dried out a bit, used as a crunch topping on desserts. Or whatever.

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Jamie Oliver’s One-Tray Chicken Bake Thingamajig

So yes, we are back from our trip to Oz, myself and NewHuman, and were happy to discover the boyfriend had not gone at all feral during our absence. Happy but a bit disappointed. The house was clean (thanks, cleaner) and bedsheets were fresh and fruit was made available and milk had not turned to cheese. Dog was initially stoked to see us but returned to her usual aloof ways within about 60 seconds. Perfection.

Australia was busy. I am tired. NewHuman travelled very well, being popular with grannies and aircrew alike. His indiscriminate muppet-style face-cracking smile meant I could do a lot of, ‘oh, do you want a cuddle?’ at various people across Australia’s departure lounges and in the cheap seats on the plane.

Anyway the below is something I made a version of for friends in Queensland, and have remade now am home to London and it’s all grey days and dark nights, slimy leaf-ridden footpaths and damp airs. Bloody delicious it is, too.  It’s so easy as to be almost offensive, and is the sort of thing you can shove at people you have latterly invited over for lunch and whilst they exclaim at its flavourful appearance you can take all the glory without once letting on it basically consists of throwing things in an oven tray and taking it out about 90 mins or so later.

You should def make it.

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Pre-heat your oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4.

Please gather:-

• Small ciabatta loaf – don’t go too small, the bread is arguably the best bit of the whole thing.
• 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks – I use 4 of each
• 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes – I use whatever nice-looking tomatoes are the go, slightly bigger ones are fine
• Bunch of basil, leaves picked
• 1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, skin on
• Handful of black olives, stoned – I didn’t stone mine. I’ve always found the best way to stone olives is to just eat them yourself and spit the pips out
• Olive oil
• 1 dried red chilli – I used about half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
• 8 slices of pancetta, or thin-sliced smoked streaky bacon – I bought proscuitto in a jetlagged haze, so substituted for streaky bacon at last minute. Was the right decision.

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Throw everything into a nice big oven tray.

Seriously, that’s it.

Season it well and mix it about, leaving the chicken on top.

Chuck it into the oven.

After 30 minutes stir it all around a bit, turning the chicken if you want to.

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After an hour throw the basil leaves in and lay your bacon over the chicken pieces and back into the oven for 15 minutes.

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This is my Nana’s rescue dog. He’s allegedly a shitzu. He’s a shit-zu. A terrible example of the breed but has global skills in snoring, sliding on cork floors and sitting up to beg, fruitlessly, for treats.

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I obviously ensured NewHuman got a foot in Aussie waters. Coolum did the job for us this time. He was unsure, so I just left him in the water till he was sure.  Ace parenting.

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Right. Tray out of the oven.

The chicken and bacon should’ve been having a nice pash and the tomatoes having had a major breakdown means the bread can get greedy and suck up all their emotional juices. As it were. Bloody lovely.

Eat. You should probably add a green salad with this, for health, but the boyfriend is allergic to lettuce so I didn’t…

I know.

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Leon’s Cherry & Almond Cookies

OK so today I’m catching a plane from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and, I’m hoping, coping BRILLIANTLY with international and domestic travel with a fickle 4-month old.  In my Other Life I’ve just made some biscuits from the Leon ‘Brownies, Bars and Muffins’ book. I think I thought the recipes would be better than they are, in terms of things I’d want to cook, but I shall keep at it. They use lots of interesting things like spelt flour. I’ll have another crack when I’m back in London.

These biscuits looked good on first glance. I think I fucked them up a bit but they tasted great regardless.

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Gather:-

200g unsalted butter, softened

235g soft brown sugar

2 small free-range eggs (I only had large so used one whole egg with extra yolk, maybe that’s why finished biscuits were a bit freaky)

130g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

185g rolled oats

150g dried sour cherries (I used dried morellos)

50g flaked almonds

75g choc chips (I used 100g of dark choc chips)

Pre-heat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Get a few baking trays sorted with oil/lined with sheets.

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Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, and then add your eggs one at a time.

In another bowl mix together the flour, bicarb soda, oats, cherries, almonds and choc chips.

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Add the dry stuff to the wet, combining carefully and being careful not to overmix.

Continuing our fine tradition it looks somewhat like rather firm sick.

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Give the dog a beater. Do not confuse with beating.

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Lay out a good tablespoon of mix on the tray and flatten out if it’s fairly dry and/or cool. I think (i) my mix was a tad dry and (ii) I didn’t flatten things out enough. Leave lots of room to spread. If yours work then the cookies should spread to about 10cm.

Into the oven for 10-12 mins or until golden.

Let them sit on the baking sheets for a few minutes before you transfer to a rack. Eat.  Boyfriend assures me they taste delicious even though I DID THEM ALL WRONG.

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