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Gingersnaps

2 Jun

Gingersnaps

As a university student, spent a couple of summers working with a treeplanting crew in northern BC. Back-breaking piecework (we were paid 10 cents a tree), it involved dragging panniers of trees up a recently logged slope, stopping every couple of metres to stick a seedling in the ground.

Up before 6am after a lousy night’s sleep in a freezing tent, a bone-jarring ride in the back of a crummy, ten hours relentless physical labour, another tooth-rattling ride, a shower if you were lucky, dinner, and bed.

Loading up the crummy

Ten – maybe fourteen days straight – before we got a day off to visit the nearest town. Lots of people didn’t last a weekContinue reading

Pork, chicken and cranberry pie

29 May

Pork and chicken pie

In the excitement of last year’s Great British Bake-off,  I rashly committed to baking all of the signature bakes.

Each week, I watched with growing dread to see what overambitious baking project I’d have to tackle next. I was fine with the drizzle cakeiced biscuits and Yorkshire pudding,  and managed to turn out a passable chocolate babka.

But the thought of making Danish pastries from scratch stopped me in my tracks for months.

However, I’m nothing if not an “completer-finisher” (eventually)… Since the show ended, I’ve gone on to make lemon meringue pie and Swiss roll. And at long last… pork, chicken and cranberry pie.

Strictly speaking, I seem to recall the brief was individual meat pies, but it seemed simpler to make one large pie instead.

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Chocolate sugar cookies

21 May

Chocolate sugar cookies

Chocolate sugar cookies aren’t on the decadent, gooey, indulgent end of the chocolate spectrum. They’re simple, satisfying, and slightly old-fashioned.

Chocolate sugar cookies are firm with just a bit of give – the addition of baking powder giving them a subtle cakiness. Adam describes them as “chocolate pudding in a biscuit.”

Because they keep their shape so well, chocolate sugar cookies make excellent filled biscuits – or little ice cream sandwiches. Continue reading

Carrot cake-muffins

5 May

Sometimes it’s hard to know where muffin leaves off and cupcake begins…

Is it the method – a brief stir with a wooden spoon, instead of using a food mixer? The nod towards “healthiness” – wholewheat flour, oil instead of butter, fruit instead of chocolate chips, going au naturel instead of sporting icing?

These carrot cake-muffins don’t do much to resolve the issue. Muffin by method and ingredients, the end result is so delicious it feels disingenuous to consider them a breakfast food.

And that’s before you add a generous spreading of the optional cream cheese icing..;-)

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Hot cross buns

15 Apr

Hot cross buns – once an Easter-time treat – are available in the shops all year round.

I suppose it’s old-fashioned of me, but I prefer foods keep to their allotted place in the culinary calendar. Something special to enjoy at a particular time of the year – I don’t want mince pies in May, or hot cross buns in August.

The supermarket was selling four hot cross buns for less than a pound this week, so why go to the trouble of making them at home?

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Carrot and sunflower seed energy balls

10 Apr

I haven’t really bought into the whole energy ball idea.

For starters, I’m anti-snacking – I’d much rather my family brought a good appetite to their meals.

Secondly, energy balls always seem to contain nuts, which rules them out for school lunches. In any case, they also seem to require storing in the fridge (or what, they melt?)

Thirdly, I’d rather eat the nuts, dates and whatever as they come, without first blitzing them into sticky mush. Continue reading

Coconut Nutella squares

12 Mar

coconut-nutella-squares

I practically never buy Nutella – it’s not a good fit with my “processed-food-avoiding, cook-from-scratch” approach to feeding my family.

So having reluctantly agreed to buy a jar for the pancake breakfast following a special sleepover, I was keen to use up the rest before the girls started thinking of Nutella as a store-cupboard staple.

These coconut Nutella squares from the Hungry Mum website were just the ticket. Unfortunately, they were such a big hit with everyone, I can see myself buying Nutella specially in order to make them again.

Or I could have a go at making homemade Nutella…;-) Continue reading