30 April 2016

philosophy is the talk on a cereal box


In testament either to how good this granola is, or to what a monumental grub I am - why not both? - the last time I ate this granola was yesterday, in a charming tableau: I was on my bed, face smeared with organic coconut oil (it felt like a vaguely beneficial thing to do) and about to take a nap. I was, however, ravenously hungry. The jar of granola was the only thing I had to eat and it also happened to be on the floor by the bed. I sighed - so dustily unsatisfying, why couldn't I have a jar of cheeseburgers by my bed instead - and listlessly opened the jar to paw myself out a handful.

One chewy, buckwheat-rich mouthful in and I was all, oh that's right, I make amazing granola like it's no big deal. Verily, I began chugging it straight from the jar, which obviously-in-hindsight ended up with granola dust tipping out heavily onto my face and sticking to the coconut oil that I was thickly daubed in. This...this did not stop me. I kept eating it, while it was also stuck to my face, and like, I did shower, but it was quite some time later. If this visual doesn't impel you to make and eat this granola then frankly I understand completely.

This first time I ate it, I was catsitting for a good friend, on their wooden floor in a sunbeam like I myself were also a cat, eating it with almond milk and coconut butter, and reverently watching Beyonce's new visual album and masterpiece, Lemonade.


My takes on Lemonade are absolutely not required, but I will just say that it's one of the more exciting and beautiful and heartstoppingly good things I have ever witnessed, and whatever your thoughts hitherto on Beyonce and whether the music she makes is your kind of thing, you should 100% watch this. (Seriously: if you can sit through The Wall, you can easily make some time for this.) I was utterly transfixed.

This granola is largely comprised of buckwheat, which is super good for you and majorly gluten-free, despite the use of wheat in its name. I find this hilariously cavalier. Like what if a dog was all "I'm a horse. I'm not actually a horse, it's just the name of my species. Call me a horse!" That was an appallingly ineffectual analogy but I'm very tired so that allows me to get away with such things.)

But anyway - buckwheat has a pleasing crunch to it and that same kind of non-committal I-am-your-breakfast flavour that oats have, making it an ideal background to whichever direction you'd like to take your granola in. I decided to have coconut be a major player, as if it were as important as the buckwheat itself rather than just a mixed-in secondary thing, if that makes sense. I'd been given some dried cranberries and so it seemed a reasonable idea to add them to it, and they work beautifully - little bursts of sour-sweet liveliness amongst all the mellow coconut. This is very, very easy to make and gives you a great big jarful. To make the coconut butter that I had sprinkled on top of it, just place two cups of toasted coconut chips in the food processor and blitz them for ages and ages until you're scared that your processor will blow up, at which point let it cool down, and continue on until you've got what looks like peanut butter, but tastes like white chocolate. I let it firm up and harden, which made it even more like chocolate. It was a very good time.

buckwheat, cranberry and cinnamon granola

a recipe by myself

two cups hulled buckwheat
half a cup LSA mix (or other similar ground up thing, like plain ground almonds) 
one cup coconut chips/shredded coconut
one cup dried cranberries
two teaspoons of cinnamon but feel free to add more 
one cup mixed nuts and seeds, eg walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc, all roughly chopped
two tablespoons chia seeds (optional

Put the buckwheat in a large bowl or measuring jug and cover with water. Leave to sit for about an hour, by which point the grains should have swollen up and absorbed a lot of the water (and feel free to top it up if need be.)

Set your oven to 130 C. Drain and rinse the buckwheat in a sieve, then spread fairly evenly in a thin layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Pop the tray in the oven and leave it for about half an hour. Put everything else except the cranberries and chia seeds onto the tray, turn the oven off and let it toast slightly in the remaining heat of the oven (or you can just leave it there cooking for another 20 mins, this is just my small attempt at being conscious of power usage and stuff.)

Stir in the cranberries and chia seeds if using, add more of anything that you feel like it needs more of, and then tip into a large jar. 


This is the cat I got to hang out with. He's the same one I was looking after over Christmas and he is a character. I was incredibly grateful however that this time he did not bring me any offerings of rat. 

look at this snug little piglet


Oh yeah, and I bleached my hair the other day and instead of becoming some kind of platinum goddess it turned peach, for the sake of my poor hair I've decided to roll with it for a while though. No less than three separate people have been all "Debbie Harry!" at me though so I am now delighted with it. 
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title from: What I Am, by Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice. It's soooo nineeetieeeeees and so great. 
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music lately

Cream, Prince. Like many, I was massively saddened by his recent death. This song hasn't got any particular significance (I do remember dancing to it in a club in Greece one time I guess) but ugh it's brilliant. So brilliant.

LEMONADE. Find it. 
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next time: I made amazing fudge. AMAZING. You can make it too. 

21 April 2016

pile on many more layers, and i'll be joining you there

three chocolate cakes sandwiched together with cream cheese icing and crushed up creme eggs and you can't see it but there's also an implied *painting nails emoji*

Well, Mars may be in retrograde and my April tarot card may be the tarot card equivalent of a heavy resigned sigh, but: ya girl is out here being thirty finally. (She says, quite thirty-ish-ly.) It seems only right that the first blog post I do after my birthday is for a birthday cake, yeah? Not my own, but instead one I made for my pal-and-colleague's girlfriend's 21st, because that's a thing I do sometimes. Such a momentous occasion and an honour of a task calls for something a little no-holds-barred, and with the simple brief of "Cadbury Creme Egg" I set to work on what turned out to be this three layer masterpiece. Being the dingus I am, I stupidly only took a few cursory snaps of it on my phone rather than sitting it down and lovingly photographing it with my proper camera, but I was so pleased with the results - like, look at that thing! It's beautiful! - that I decided to blog about it anyway, hasty photos and all. Who knows when you, yourself, might need to make a three layer creme egg cake!

champagne for my real friends

As for my birthday, I won't sugar-coat it for you: it was wonderful! It started when the clock ticked over to midnight the night before because I was still working; however all the hugs and frolics made it fun and I liked that I got to catch my birthday in the act, right as it started, without wasting a drop of it. As someone who wastes a lot of time fretting about wasting time, that was nice. The day proper had a professional hair wash and straighten like I am a fancy rich woman who just does that, real champagne, delicious brunch, the receiving of exciting gifts like tequila and a gilded bowl and Lana del Rey vinyl and a rather gobsmackingly beautiful record player; rewatching Once More With Feeling; a phone call home where tales of my birth and incredulity at the passage of time since then were recounted, and then lashings of wine and platters and selfies with beauties at the place where everybody knows your name (yeah, that's right, I went back to work to hang out on my birthday, that's how much I like the place.)

a bad but maybe useful photo of the three layers waiting to be iced

So, the cake! Oddly enough it was incredibly un-stressful to make - I made it in my mornings between doing wall-to-wall shifts at work and was still generally very serene the entire time. The mixture generously makes three moist, rich cakes with near-perfect tops for stacking and icing (I sliced a bit off one to make it super evenly flat, and this is how I know it tastes extremely good.) The icing of it is also very straightforward, and in fact the hardest thing about it is getting your hands on some creme eggs. I was going to ice the whole lot like a more traditional cake but decided to leave the sides nakedly exposed with the icing tightly spread into every gap a la momofuku - it's actually much easier, and that way you can see the cakes themselves in a "you're damn right this cake is three layers tall" kind of way and it's all rakishly messy yet neat at the same time. 



I could've gone for a more hardcore filling but decided that the tang of the cream cheese would gently counteract the bone-dissolving sweetness of the fondant inside the eggs while still showcasing them. Honestly, the more novelty involved the more serious and thoughtful you have to be. This cake is so majestic and tall and the creme eggs look so cute all halved and nestled in together that you really don't have to worry about any further decoration but there's also nothing stopping you - my one concession was to quickly melt a caramac bar and pour it onto the top layer to echo the look of the eggs' filling, but it's not that necessary.

These recipe instructions are long as hell, I grant you, but it's honestly more or less chill. I just like to reeeeally explain stuff. As I point out in the recipe, I only had two caketins so baked two layers at once followed by a third, and it all worked out. Also, this would be easier with a cake mixer probably but I used a mere wooden spoon and honestly didn't even do that great a job of creaming the butter and sugar and it STILL worked out fine so - let's all just breathe.

triple layer creme egg cake

I made the actual cake itself by following the recipe from this site pretty well to the letter; all the random measurements are a bit of a faff but the cake same out perfect so I'm happily and trustingly passing it on to you. I deviated and made my own icing, if you wanted to take this cake in a whole other direction you could use whatever filling and icing you like. It's a very good starting point.

cake:

one and a half cups good cocoa powder
one and a half cups boiling water 
one tablespoon instant espresso powder (or plain instant coffee if it's all you can find)
three quarters of a cup of sour cream
one tablespoon vanilla extract
375g soft butter
two and a half cups sugar
three large eggs
one and three-quarter cups plain flour
one and a quarter teaspoons baking soda
a pinch of salt

Take three 20cm springform caketins and line the bases with baking paper. Grease the sides with butter and sprinkle a little cocoa over them, shaking the tins about till they're fairly evenly covered with a cocoa dusting. Set your oven to 180 C/350 F. 

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cocoa, coffee powder, water, and sour cream till smooth. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together till creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time till thoroughly incorporated, then add about a third of the flour and baking soda (you're gonna want to sift them if you're going to all this trouble, the last thing you need is baking soda lumps) along with the cocoa mixture in alternating quantities, mixing till it's a suddenly-enormous dark, smooth chocolatey batter. 

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake tins, smoothing down the tops. Place them all in the oven and bake for thirty or so minutes, rotating their positions on the oven shelves halfway through to ensure even baking. If you only have two pans, then just bake two cakes using 2/3 of the cake mixture, then while they're cooling, put the remaining third of the batter in one of the used cake tins and bake that after. This is what I did and it was totally fine. 

Allow the cakes to cool completely. 

Icing: 

100g soft butter
500g cream cheese (this sounds like a lot but it's just two of those Philadelphia packets) at room temperature
two cups icing sugar, but have more just in case
five or so creme eggs (perhaps grab a few extra in case anything goes wrong.) 

Make sure both the butter and the cream cheese are soft, and your icing sugar isn't lumpy, and then just mix the hell out of all three ingredients till you have a ton of icing. 

Assembly

Slice the peaked tops off any of the cakes if they've risen too much, so that they're all more or less flat. Place one cake on your chosen serving plate, and place a good dollop of icing in the centre. Spread it out fairly evenly using the side of a knife. Unwrap one creme egg, roughly chop it, and sprinkle/drop the whole lot evenly on top of the icing. Then place another cake layer carefully on top. 

Don't worry if there are massive gaps between the layers, we'll take care of that later. Repeat this process with the next layer of cake and another egg. 

Finally, put the top layer of cake on and spoon most of the remaining icing on top. You want a decently thick, even layer on here. Now, using the side of the knife, smear remaining icing into any gaps along the sides, running the knife's side around the sides of the cake to press it all in and to create a messy yet smooth look. Does that make sense? You kind of want the cake to look like it has just fallen out of a cylinder. Halve three creme eggs and arrange them, cut side up, on top of the cake. I melted a caramac bar and drizzled it into the centre just to add to the creme egg look, but it's not essential. You now have a damn creme egg cake. 



So I ate a bit of cake off-cuttage and a lot of icing and loved it all, but in order to strike real faith in your hearts about this recipe, let me quote the actual recipient of the cake, the birthday lady herself: "Argh it was amazing! With all of the layers and all of the creaminess and chocolate and just the fact that a cream egg could be transformed into a cake. Super awesome and delicious". 

I had a lot of fun making this cake and it was such a nice opportunity; and should you ever be called upon to make a fancy big cake I definitely recommend this one. If creme eggs are emphatically not your jam, I think this would be amazing with roughly chopped caramel-filled chocolate covering it with the caramel dripping everywhere; or with smashed up oreos, or with milk chocolate melted and drizzled all over the top, you see what I mean? For an enormous time-consuming cake made to a very specific brief it's really quite versatile. 

what a cute 30 year old.

Finally: fun birthday fact! It turns out that if you say "Happy Birthday" to me I'll immediately say it back to you without thinking. I'm not sure if it's cute or weird or both (the Laura Vincent Story) but it's what my brain has decided is a fantastic reaction and I can't break it. Not that I  - or indeed, you - have to worry about it for another year. Happy birthday! 
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title from: Pink Floyd, Shine On You Crazy Diamond. I may not be inspired by Pink Floyd to write poetry anymore as I was in my teens - for which we can all be relieved - but this song still goes off. Very slowly. And what an imperative in that title! 
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music lately: 

Something To Sing About, from Once More With Feeling. As I said, on my birthday I rewatched this, the musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon can be ever so Joss Whedony but I'll never deny the incredible cleverness that went into writing this episode. All the songs are brilliant and Something To Sing About is 100% NOT the best place to start if you don't know the story because of the massive spoilers and lack of context but it's still my favourite and you should watch it anyway. Buffy's eyes! The discordant wobble when she sings "heaven!" Spike's half smile when he sings back at her! The time signature changes! I died. 

By My Side, Godspell. I busted out my copy of the original broadway cast recording of the musical Godspell on vinyl and while it hilariously does not hold up, the music is still endearing and By My Side is still one of the most beautiful songs ever written. 

Penguins and Polarbears, by Millencollen. Couldn't say why, but I truly adore pop-punk singers when they sound completely congested, which Millencollen delivers upon handsomely. If the lead singer makes you want to swallow an antihistamine for your own safety, then chances are I'm all over it. (There's a point during the Green Day Bullet in a Bible concert performance of Brain Stew where I'm pretty sure lead singer Billie Joe is literally just dribbling incomprehensively and I love it.)
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next time: I think I mentioned last time that I made homemade matcha mayonaise but I also made this awesome granola stuff. Either way: deliciousness awaits you. 

15 April 2016

i'm free but i'm focused, i'm green but i'm wise


Ever since I was able to form cognitive thoughts I've been seriously into horoscopes and similar things. I can't decide whether to joke that this means I've been into them since last week or, to paraphrase the T-Rex song over the opening credits of Billy Elliot, to imply that I was analysing my star sign in the womb, but either way, yeah. It's a thing. It's my birthday on Sunday which means that my usual self-absorption and introspection is now off the scale. I can't stop thinking about myself! With all this in mind, my tarot card for this month was all, "don't focus on what you don't have and don't push people away if you're feeling down and don't be stupid you stupid idiot" and my horoscopes are all telling me about how Mars is going into retrograde on my birthday, which like, why doesn't the shunned fairy aunt in Sleeping Beauty just turn up and predict that I'm going to prick my finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a coma or something, and all in all I'm finding it a bit hard to just relax and be myself at the moment. It's not because of what the tarot card and horoscopes said, but it's more like I'm hyper aware of trying to not do stuff wrong because of their advice and I end up like a small bird flying into windows as a result. Classic Aries? Classic me, really. 

(Seriously though, if you ever read descriptions of the various star signs it'll be all, "Virgo - steadfast and thoughtful" and "Sagittarius people are ever so open-minded and motivated" and "Cancers are loyal and intensely nurturing" and then "Aries are big idiot babies who hit their head a lot and will not stop shouting to get your attention." I mean, I don't deny it...) 

I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah

However! I'm not all uselessness. A particular horoscope that I joyfully subscribe to is the wonderful Meredith Graves' Stargrazing column for Lucky Peach magazine. It's food-related horoscopes and they're very fun and interesting to read (truly - check yours out) and this month I was advised to get into soup, basically because I needed to be really kind and gentle to myself - funny that - and since I wasn't in the mood for actual soup I decided instead to go find the most aggressively, ludicrously healthy ingredients I could lay my hands up on and make a thing out of that in the name of self-care. Those ingredients were matcha powder and chia seeds.

And that's how I ended up with this matcha coconut raspberry chia pudding. Matcha powder is ground up green tea leaves and apparently one teaspoon of it has the power of 20 glasses of green tea, although it all depends on which Pinterest pin you're reading. I nevertheless feel very calm and trusting of it. Chia seeds are little microbeads of intense goodness, with a billion omega's and proteins and vitamins and antioxidants. Put them together and nothing will ever go wrong in your life, ever.

I'm lost but I'm hopeful, baby

Chia pudding is essentially a delivery mechanism for chia seeds to get into your stomach, but it is delicious. And easy. The seeds absorb liquid with the-thirst-is-real enthusiasm and end up like a cross between jelly and sago (which might sound horrifying, but go with it, please.) Pink and green are a rather ultimate colour combination in my opinion so scattering freeze-dried raspberries across the top helped both visually and flavour-wise, but honestly use whatever fruit you like - passionfruit would be cool here, as would defrosted frozen berries, canned pears, or juicy slices of ripe mango. Whatever fruit you put up on there will complement the delicate green flavour of the matcha-tinged coconut and look lovely.

And yeah, the flavour is what I would describe as very green. It's green tea! What did you expect? There's nothing wrong with this, but I add a little honey to gently sweeten it and mellow out any intense fresh-cut grass vibes. My tastebuds appreciated this - yours might too.

Wait, one more thing - okay so matcha powder and chia seeds are both expensive ingredients, but once you've got them you only need to use a teaspoon or two at a time and thus they last near-on forever. This is me here, I wouldn't just casually tell you to buy something pricey! (Without getting defensive about it first.)

matcha, coconut and raspberry chia pudding

a recipe by myself although let us be real, I am 100% not the the inventor of this or anything. This is just what I made for myself. 

one teaspoon matcha powder 
around 125ml/half a cup of coconut milk or your choice of milkstuff
one teaspoon of honey or similar - I feel like agave syrup would be perfect here
one tablespoon of chia seeds
a handful of shaved coconut or coconut threads
a couple of tablespoons of freeze-dried raspberries

Using the teaspoon you measured them with, mix the matcha powder, coconut milk and honey together in a glass or whatever receptacle you're making this in - I recommend a glass because that way you can see the pretty layers of colour, but that's just me. Also when I say teaspoon and tablespoon I don't, for once, mean the kind that you measure baking ingredients with. This stuff isn't an exact science, so just use the kind of spoon you find in the cutlery draw and don't worry about whether they're heaped spoonfuls or whatever. Likewise just add more coconut milk if your glass doesn't look full enough. 

Stir in the chia seeds, making sure there aren't any lumps, and then refrigerate the glass for about an hour, although you can leave it longer, and then when you're ready to eat it, pile it up with coconut shavings and freeze-dried raspberries and wade in with a spoon. 


and what it all comes down to is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet

It's so healthful that it seems like you're gonna actually levitate after eating it. I've made it almost every day since, and while I can't entirely tell if I feel more brilliant or not, it's got to be doing something, right? It's as easy to consume as it is to make- the swollen chia seeds give it this soft, barely-set texture and the zing of raspberries and quiet sweetness of the coconut milk work beautifully with the verdant-as matcha powder. It's also remarkably filling, so makes an ideal breakfast or mid-snack snack. 

And what with turning thirty and all, despite having done a deal with the devil so I look barely 22 it certainly doesn't hurt to think of one's health more, right? (I'm not being conceited here, it's actually bordering on super weird how young I look?) (it's also how I know I'm getting proper old: I used to be really indignant about being ID'd and now I'm like, "awwww yeah") And it seems this is how I prefer to do health: by slothing about all day and then engaging in hardcore consumption of actual green tea leaves ground into dust like I'm the bones-eating giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. Like health shift-work. A lack of moderation followed by a hardcore lack of moderation!

everything's gonna be fine fine fine 

But back to my birthday: if you're wondering to yourself, "what can I do to make more delightful the birthday of my favourite food blogger- nay, my favourite writer altogether" -  well! My paypal is always open (it's my email address - laura@hungryandfrozen.com) and any donations big, enormous or small would be majorly gratefully received by ya perpetually bank-account-challenged gal. For free you could spend the day in quiet, solemn reflection on how great I am on twitter, or...you could carry on with your day because I hear a horrifying rumour that I'm not the only person on earth to have a birthday and everything doesn't stop on Sunday just because I do. It's chill, I'll be over here serenely glowing with omegas and the power of a thousand glasses of green tea and being myself and seeing what comes of it.
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title from: Alanis Morrisette and her laconically powerful and kinda deeply meaningful song One Hand In My Pocket, from the iconic Jagged Little Pill album. I saw her in concert in 1996! What! Ladies be aging! 
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music lately: 

Boy Problems by Carly Rae Jepsen. Her E-mo-tion album is SO important and this video is so important and her haircut in it is frankly very important and it's all just very, very good.

The Kills, Sour Cherry. I've been watching a lot of Gossip Girl, and this song is on the soundtrack. I love how both this show and this band's main aesthetic is "bratty". I'm feeling very influenced by it, nearly ten years after the show actually screened.
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next time: I made a massive three layer creme egg cake for a friend's gf's 21st birthday and was thinking about blogging about it just because, otherwise I made this mayo from scratch with matcha in it and it was amazing, so on the very other end of the scale, there's also that. 

6 April 2016

everyone is waiting, waiting on you and you've got thyme

A Season For Peaches, a novel by Henri Michel

In case you are all, "damn that Laura is the epitome of perfection I really love what she does I just wish she'd sometimes display some kind of minor flaw to humanise her more" - and I have zero reason to believe this isn't what people are thinking all the time - then have I got a relatable and relatively dull anecdote for you about how I made a terrible dinner.

On Monday I was exceptionally tired and not really thinking and as a result, I made the most aggressively bland, horrible pasta of my life, and the more I tried to fix it the worse it got. I started off wanting to make some kind of dairy-free cauliflower sauce, where you puree an entire head of cooked cauliflower and it turns out all creamy and delicious. Why? Honestly, I don't know, but I've been reading too much pinterest but also if I can effortlessly conjure up a dope vegan pasta bake then that's a pleasing outcome. However it turned into the equivalent of mashed potato and refused to puree and also tasted of absolutely nothing so in a panicked state I ... upended an entire bottle of cream into it. It still wouldn't liquefy, so with mounting panic I mixed this mashed potato-esque stuff into cooked rigatoni along with some eggplant I'd roasted, so it was like...this weird billowy mass studded with the occasional piece of eggplant. How did I think this was going to turn into an awesome pasta bake? I topped it with parsley. That made it even less good. I shoved it in the oven to grill, which, as there was nothing in it to melt, just made it more warm and didn't change it miraculously on the cellular level that I'd been hoping for. 


It might sound "insufferable" or like "not a real problem" or "good god shut up Laura" but like I said, I was super tired and making dinner is a thing I'm always good at when all else crumbles around me and honestly, just the waste of money and ingredients was incredibly disheartening. However, I did manage to avoid panic-eating the lot, and dealt with it by going for a nap and searching youtube for ASMR videos specifically featuring someone telling you repeatedly in a very gentle voice that you're actually a good cook. (A later cursory prod of the abandoned pasta bake revealed that it had not improved with time but I made myself eat some anyway, because I was both hungry and miserably stubborn about the aforementioned waste of money and ingredients.)

This is all completely unimportant and not terribly interesting, it's just every time I do something stupid I feel pathologically compelled to tell the entire internet about it. An incident of totally sucking shared is an incident of totally sucking halved, I say.

Having since made a few things that mercifully turned out deliciously, I am safely back in the mindset that I love cooking and it loves me. For example, these honey and thyme roasted peaches. I went to brunch at Flight Coffee Hangar with one of my dearest friends Charlotte for her birthday and had brioche covered in vanilla mascarpone and said peaches. (It's one of those places where the menu is so good that it's actually inconvenient, because I can never choose what to get.) I was so taken with my brunch that I bought peaches on the way home and immediately tried to recreate what they'd done.


I don't know how similar my method is to what the cafe does, but it worked incredibly well for me. Before you even get to taste them, the slowly roasting peaches fill your house with their heady perfume, so rich and intoxicating that you want to float through the air with hearts for eyes like some kind of amorous cartoon animal from a bygone era. 

There's something oddly lovely and lazily sensual about drizzling sticky, slow-moving honey over soft freshly cut peaches before scattering them with fragrant herbs, like you have no cares in the world apart from getting weirdly skittish over ripe stone fruit. 

Cooked, they have this floral depth of sweetness from the slick of honey and the caramelising heat of the oven, and the smoky herbal thyme cuts through this and makes it more than just merely sugary. With very little effort suddenly you have yourself this gorgeous quantity of fruit that you can tuck around scoops of ice cream, stir through muesli, arrange on top of a cake, or indeed, add to toasted brioche with mascarpone as they did at the cafe. 

honey thyme roasted peaches

a recipe by myself, but inspired directly by my brunch at Flight Coffee Hangar

four large ripe peaches
two teaspoons runny honey
one teaspoon olive oil - I guess you could leave it out but I feel it adds some fruity richness and will put a shine on your coat
several sprigs of fresh thyme

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F. Roughly slice the peaches into quarters or thirds or whatever and lay them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over the honey and the olive oil, then scatter over most of the thyme leaves, and just throw the remaining sprigs on top. 

Roast for twenty minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the peaches in there while it cools, for about an hour.  Use how you please, and throw any remainders into a jar and keep in the fridge. 


That afternoon, 100% not sick of peaches yet, I ate them with Nigella's miso ice cream that I'd made a variation on (by adding shredded coconut and white chocolate) and it was an incredible combination, the kind of thing that makes you feel so incredibly grown up that you end up going full circle and feeling childish again because you feel so grown up; then this morning I added them to some intensely healthy chia seed muesli to which they brought depth and sweetness. I still have half a jar left, I may just eat them straight from it with a fork but I like the idea of deploying them savoury-ly, perhaps in some tagine-type dish or to accompany crispy, slow-cooked pork belly. What I'm saying is, you will not regret making these. If you avoid honey for whatever reason, I do believe maple syrup would be an excellent substitution; if you don't like thyme then that's a little harder as it's not as though you could successfully use, like, parsley instead - I'd just leave it out altogether. I adore thyme though and am pretty much forever trying to work it into everything I cook.



Because my friend Charlotte and I are practically twins (that is, we're very similar personality-wise and we were born only a handful of days apart, one can only dream of having a face as beautiful as hers) her birthday happening means that mine is getting super close. I'm feeling more chill about it than I was a few blog posts ago, I mean...it's going to happen. It just is. Also I remembered that you get presents and lots of attention, both things that I adore, and I'm frankly curious to see what thirty-year-old me is like. It will possibly involve singing Grown Woman by Beyonce with increasing desperation, but who knows!
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title from: You've Got Time, the stunning Orange is the New Black theme song by Regina Spektor. We have this cocktail at work that has thyme in it and whenever someone orders it I always get this song in my head, I figured I might as well pass on this gift and curse to you too. 
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music lately: 

Sevendust featuring Skin, Licking Cream. Some nu-metal is oddly timeless, okay? This song is so exhilarating and big and soaring and happy? And honestly it's impossible to tell who is hotter out of Skin or the Sevendust lead singer LaJon Witherspoon (when Skin sings "crawling down your spine" I'm pretty sure she wins but it's not actually a competition and I'm just incredibly glad they collaborated on this amazing song.)

Chelsea Jade, Low Brow. This stellar human who I am proud to call a pal has released this gloriously dreamy new tune with a video that's both beautiful and beautifully silly. "Just hold me closer than you know how to" - ugh it's so good.
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next time: I may well have to make some kind of elaborate pasta bake again to exorcise the demons of the last failed one. Will make sure I've slept enough this time. 

28 March 2016

perfect hexagon of the honeycomb and you soothe yourself with the shapes you know

how much trouble can one ice cream be?

Prologue: Laura.

Confused yet? I decided to write this blog post somewhat in the style of a Baby-Sitters Club book, for no good reason other than it occurred to me and I ran with it.

Chapter 1

WHUMP! CLATTER! 

That's the sound of me jumping onto my bed while holding a bowl of ice cream and delicious homemade honeycomb sauce, immediately knocking over the worrying number of empty juice cans that I'm lazily keeping beside it instead of putting them in the bin. "Auughhhh!" I just manage to stop the rapidly-melting ice cream and warm sauce from spilling over onto my bed. What a day!

I guess you're wondering by now who I am, and what I'm wearing. Well there's me, Laura - I hope you're taking notes, I'm going to quiz you on this later! Psych! I'm kind of the humorous one here, or so I always say. I've got chin-length unruly red hair and glasses, but people do still hang out with me. I'm wearing these old cerulean blue shorts that I think used to be part of some boys' high school regulation gym uniform (I love vintage!) and a white crop top that has the word "CHALLENGE" written across the front in big black letters, because I like to wear clothing that doubles as a friendly warning for what kind of person I am. I don't have pierced ears, but people do still hang out with me. Most importantly, I'm eating ice cream, even though it's not even breakfast time yet. I know what you're thinking - how do I eat all this ice cream without getting in trouble? The thing is, I'm kind of an individual when it comes to doing what I want. I'm also the only person ever that has ever been into cooking. It's kind of my one personality trait. If anyone else likes it, I'm certainly not acknowledging it!


this ice cream is sensitive and a good listener

Chapter 2

My best friends work during the day and I work at night, but when we get together, we always have a good time! We're the best friends you'll ever have. Does that sound like a threat? I'm inclined to tell you the intimate details of their respective family history, but that would be really weird, so I'll just do a brief hagiography (that means documentation of the lives of saints, it's a word I learned recently). There's Kim, who has lo-oo-ong dark hair and the enormous macadamia-shaped eyes of a curious woodland deer. She's kind of the wise, yet wickedly fun one of the group. Kate has just dyed her hair blonde, which means she is now even more popular and sophisticated - she also has a crazy household with a cat AND a dog, and a real, live, husband! Confusingly, Kate is also wise yet wickedly fun. This week because of Easter and having days off I've been able to see them relatively heaps and it has been very good for the soul, as the saying goes. For example, on Monday night we sat on the floor of my bedroom (it's a great meeting space, I'm so lucky to have my own one!) and ate Pop-Tarts and drank Boulevardiers. That's a cocktail which is like a negroni but uses bourbon instead of gin, and it's one of my favourites. We clinked our glasses together in what we call "a toast", and in that moment we felt like real Big City women.

darn it! I said ruefully. I only described their hair, not their outfits. 

Chapter 3

"We're finally getting to the plot!" I thought ruefully, tucking a lock of unruly red hair behind my tragically unpierced ears. So, I'm kind of the "food blogger" around here. I'm also kind of an ideas person. I have Big Ideas and then Occasionally Make Them Happen Around Three Weeks Later If I'm Awake Enough, I know, it's a little exhausting trying to keep up with me! When my Ideas and food blogging combine - bam! Honeycomb Sauce. Okay, okay, I had honeycomb ice cream at a local restaurant and immediately decided that honeycomb was the new salted caramel, and wanted to make some version of it for myself to have again and again in the comfort of my own bed and/or more normal area in the house to eat. But after some time I learned a little bit about myself and a lot about the true meaning of friendship: it's not a competition. Salted Caramel may be heavily overexposed, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. Honeycomb is just a flavour I hadn't thought about in forever!

I know what you're thinking - just honey and sugar? Way too sweet. Booooring. About as fun as a pop quiz or getting Salisbury Steak for lunch, neither of which I've ever actually experienced.

In fact, the delicate floral sweetness of the honey and the richness of the butter come together to make something pretty magical, and very individual. It doesn't taste overly of honey, it's more reminiscent of (that means "reminiscent of", it's a word I learned recently) actual honeycomb, the kind of stuff that you find inside Crunchy Bars or other similar candies hidden around your room. This sauce isn't perfect - I admit! - half of it remained saucy and the other half solidified as soon as it hit the cold ice cream, but this was all so fun and delicious that I decided to share it with you anyway.



honeycomb sauce: a delicious prototype 

A recipe by myself. I'm thinking of adding a tablespoon or so of cream to it next time to see if that keeps it more liquid but I do love it just like this. 

100g butter
half a cup of sugar
one tablespoon brown sugar
one heaped tablespoon honey

Heat everything together in a saucepan, stirring gently as it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat once it starts bubbling and continue stirring for a bit. Allow it to cool somewhat (it'll be like actual lava initially) before pouring it all over your ice cream. 



Chapter 4

I decided to end the day with ice cream and honeycomb sauce - after all, I'm a grown up and kind of a bad girl who makes her own rules. The remaining sauce had turned rock solid in the fridge, so I had to carefully sit the bottle inside a cup of boiling water to soften it, but during this time, I learned five more lessons about friendship. Unfortunately I'm still wearing the same outfit that I was at the start of this story, but to pad things out a bit, I'll tell you about what I wore yesterday: a vintage white minidress with pink and orange diamond patterns across it and a high neck with a collar. I wore it with my yellow socks with pizzas on them and chunky black ankle boots - pretty wild, huh? I'm a pretty wild dresser!

feel free to judge how well the illustration matches the description

Prologue:

Ice cream twice in 24 hours - that day was a summer I'll never forget.
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title from: One Beat by Sleater-Kinney. Howl-y goodness. Oh yeah, and while I'm all "what would Kristy Thomas, President of the Babysitters Club, have to say about Sleater-Kinney?" I'm also dropping the conceit for the remainder of the blog post, okay?  
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music lately: 

I've finally given Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton a proper listen and I am predictably entranced and addicted. That man is a beautiful genius and I will ramble at extreme length if given the chance to talk about him. Also look, please just watch him and other members of the cast perform My Shot for the damn president at The White House and I dare you to not get shivers.

Listening to one modern musical about historic political American times got me thinking about another one: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which in the opposite direction of the incredible success of Hamilton, ran for a mere hundred and twenty something performances on Broadway before closing. I saw a production of it in New Orleans a few years back but haven't listened to it since; its pop punk sound is like...perfect? I don't know what the best entry point would be, maybe Rockstar if you want something fast or Saddest Song if you want something amazing.

Kid Cudi with MGMT, Pursuit of Happiness. Whatever track this samples is intoxicating and then the rest of the song has the temerity to be excellent as well. This song is moderately ancient but sounds so fresh.
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next time: the novelty is over, kids, and I have some brussels sprouts to emphasise this (they're fried with pistachios and truffle butter though, so) 

18 March 2016

is she trouble like i'm trouble make it a double


In the last couple of weeks I've been tired to the very insides of my insides. Like, my blood is tired, my veins are tired, my ribs are definitely phoning it in. My brain? Not dissimilar to a small, three day old bowl of cold rice noodles. In this middle of all this lethargy though, something really exciting happened: I managed to meet THREE of my idols, all within one week.



I also made this really good pasta today for my lunch. Actual IRL pasta is easily one of my favourite foods, but did you know, you can make extremely damn good fake pasta out of zucchini, which takes about three seconds and which also goes along with my general aim of eating a ton of vegetables in my daily life.

Back to the idols though: I met the incredible writer and The Toast co-founder Mallory Ortberg, whose Childrens Stories Made Horrific series is spine-clenchingly chilling and whose Western Art History series is joyfully hilarious and thoughtful and whose hair is shiny and beautiful and fulsome. I was super delighted to see her at two separate Writers Week events where she was interviewed, but I actually ended up running into her on the waterfront a couple of days before. I'd just had oysters and wine and blurted out about having consumed both, which felt weird, and then I also told her that I wrote Crush Cakes for The Toast and she hugged me, which was awesome. When I met her again after her talk on Friday, I was able to apologise for the, let's face it, inevitable awkwardness ("there's something so personal about oysters") and get a photo and thank her for being excellent and it was all just very, very cool.

me n mallory!!

Come Saturday morning, I was due to march in Wellington Pride with the group I volunteer for, Ballet is for Everyone. I was running late, I was looking for people in tutus carrying a banner, but like, this is Pride. Everyone is in tutus and carrying banners. Just when I was all "I might just run home because I feel social anxiety and I'll never find my group and I'm not done complaining about how tired I am" I clapped eyes on, OF ALL PEOPLE, Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen. These names may not mean an awful lot to you, but they were the co-writers and two of the four co-stars of one of my very, very, very favourite Broadway musicals, [title of show]. As in, New York City, which is about as far away from New Zealand as you can get before you start coming back around again. It was almost an outrage, like, how dare you be here in Wellington, New Zealand, in front of me, when your musical means so much to me and the lyrics of which have comforted me in times both dark and less dark, and you've been on The Literal Broadway and New Zealand is so isolated and I nearly didn't get out of bed and you're right in front of me and this is so strange.

part of it all

But they were also really nice and it was somehow low-key and charming yet ridiculous and surreal, which is exactly how it should be when you meet your idols, right?

Back to the zucchini pappardelle though: so as well as raw zucchini there's also oily, salty slices of crisply fried zucchini. Because the pasta ribbons are so wafer thin and fresh and clean they can really handle a lot of oil and salt being loaded up on them, and it all balances out beautifully. The raw pappardelle is coolly refreshing and a tiny bit creamy yet peppery, and the fried rounds are all luscious and soft and golden and crisp. Parmesan and a blanket of parsley add to the salty-peppery vibe, keeping it all very simple yet really, really gorgeous.



double zucchini pappardelle with parsley and parmesan

a recipe by myself. It looks long and complicated but it's not, promise. I just like to over-explain.

two large zucchinis
extra virgin olive oil
salt
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
some parmesan

Heat a decent quantity of olive oil in a large, wide pan, like a couple of millimetres deep. 
Finely slice one of the zucchini into rounds, and once the oil is good and hot, place the slices of zucchini in the pan in a single layer. You won't be able to fit the whole lot in at once, but this only requires a little patience and is totally worth it. Let the slices of zucchini fry in the sizzling oil till they're browned and a little curling at the edges, turning them over carefully partway through with a spoon or something. Remove the slices to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, and continue frying the rest of the zucchini slices.

Meanwhile, use a sturdy vegetable peeler to make the pappardelle out of the remaining zucchini. It's very simple - just rub the peeler back and forth along the length of the zucchini and it will rapidly turn into ribbons. Arrange them on a plate and then turn the zucchini over and repeat on the other side. Then just do your best with what's left - this is going to give you some shorter or skinnier ribbons of zucchini but like, it's all going in your mouth anyway.

Then, just arrange the fried zucchini on top of the raw zucchini, sprinkle with the parsley, and shave over as much parmesan as you like. Finally, spoon over some of the remaining oil from the saucepan and grind over some salt and pepper.

This serves one, generously.

look at all that vegetable
look at it

I honestly can't emphasise how fast I ate this. It's delicious. 

Having almost caught up on my sleep I've finally found an agreeable middle ground somewhere between the ferocious healthiness of an uncooked vegetable and the deadening effect of overtiredness, and as Easter is coming up I will have a few precious days off to practice some aggressive serenity. But even when you're the tiredest ever, sometimes it's worth getting yourself out of bed because you never know who you might run into. Oh sure, it'll probably be an ex that you run into while you're wearing an outfit you hate and you're stuck in a coughing fit, but it might be a Broadway star or an incredibly inspiring writer.  

PS: you should definitely check out Ballet is for Everyone, the people behind it and their kaupapa is wonderful and I'm really proud to be volunteering with them. Also, teaching ballet to children is kinda delightful. They are such tiny dinguses.  

PS PS: ya girl got sponsors: if you're in Wellington this Sunday I thoroughly recommend you get jammy and pickle-y with the Nairn Street Preservation Society.

PS PS PS: actually nah, that's all. 
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title from: Green Day's jaunty song She's A Rebel, from the so-dated-it's-timeless and always wonderful American Idiot album.  
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music lately: 

Icehouse, Electric Blue. This is the kind of 80s song that gets diluted over time through constant easy listening station rotation but you know when you hear a song really loud when you're in the middle of a coffee shop and it's almost like you've heard it for the first time and you feel like you're in a movie? I don't know, this had a cool chorus is all. 

Rihanna, Love On The Brain. I frankly refuse to get over this song.  
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next time: all this talk of "pasta" has me craving actual pasta. Lol. 

15 March 2016

for the want of the price of tea and a slice


Things I've said at work lately: 

- here, have this salted chocolate cashew butter slice that I made. It's dairy free and gluten free!

- uhh I have to go to the bathroom because my satin jumpsuit is actually on backwards and I've only just noticed

- hey, I know we're kind of busy but I have a rather singular situation, the centre bit of my bra is hanging on by a fragile, tautly pulled thread and if I shake one more cocktail it will very likely break and bust open, and since I'm wearing a cropped top there is very little room for error here. Is it okay if I run home and change my bra? I can be back really soon- oh, you were just coming to tell me I could sign out? So there was actually no need for me to tell you any of this? 


As well as wearing clothing quite uselessly, I also like to occasionally bring in treats to work to boost both morale and blood sugar. In this case I'd been toying with an idea, batting it about like a cat with a small felt mouse on a string, about some kind of nut butter slice covered in chocolate. What I made was fine, with a soft, fudgy texture in the base followed by the snappish crunch of cold dark chocolate, but it wasn't quite there. As soon as I sprinkled some salt on top the flavours sprang to life and it all made sense and tasted properly delicious as opposed to giving the illusion of tasting delicious. So don't leave that bit out, even if it seems either excessively sodium-ish or small enough to forget about.

This is so easy to make - truly, the hardest bit is getting the various nut butters and coconut oil out of their jars without flinging them everywhere. Indeed: if you end up getting slightly more than half a cup of each ingredient it's completely fine. I know I probably did.

salted chocolate cashew butter slice

a recipe by myself

half a cup cashew butter 
half a cup peanut butter
half a cup coconut oil, melted
half a cup LSA mix, or ground almonds
quarter of a cup icing sugar
one tablespoon honey or maple syrup
150g dark chocolate
sea salt

Mix the nut butters and oil together till smooth, then tip in the sugar, honey, and LSA and stir again. Pour it into a brownie tin lined with baking paper, and freeze till firm. Gently melt the dark chocolate and remaining coconut oil together, and pour over the base. Freeze again. Once you're pretty confident that it's completely solid, sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and slice up however you like. 


(Regarding that bra situation: I juuuust made it home before I heard this muffled popping noise indicating the valiant thread had finally snapped. I was sad to see it go, I called it my "power bra" because I got it in New York and it basically positioned you in such a way so you could break a glass ceiling with your own buoyant cleavage. I was like...I've defeated my power bra. Am I too powerful? Do I have to eat the bra now, like that scene with the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones?)


As well as giving you an energy boost and being full of shiny-making ingredients, this has a gorgeously buttery, mellow flavour with a pleasingly dense bite to it. Texture is everything here but you can totally play with flavour too - you're welcome to use entirely cashew butter in the mix, but I decided to cut it with the much cheaper peanut butter so as to not make this ridiculously extravagant. You could, however, use almond butter or all peanut butter or add cinnamon to the base or whatever you like, really. If avoiding dairy isn't a daily task for you, then you could definitely use white or milk chocolate on this instead - and I do adore both - but the bitter plainness of the dark chocolate against the creamy, nutty base is genuinely pleasing.


We ended up being extremely busy on the night that I brought in my container of this in to work, so I left it in the freezer and when I opened up the bar the next day it was entirely gone: I am taking this as positive feedback. I myself couldn't stop eating the stuff that I'd left in the freezer at my apartment, so for what it's worth my own personal feedback is highly positive. 

All I've really been doing is working lately and I'm so tired that all I can talk about is how tired I am like it's my one personality trait (as opposed to in high summer, when my one personality trait is that I'm sweatily overheated.) But I managed to make this delicious stuff, and I somehow overthrew my own Power Bra, so I guess I'm doing alright. 
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title from: Us and Them by Pink Floyd - I used to be incredibly obsessed with them, then dropped off a bit, and now am back to gently sincere fondness.
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music lately: 

Billy Bragg and Wilco, Walt Whitman's Niece. I used to listen to this song all the time, it has this rollicking, shambling quality that I love and the call-and-answer bit is charming. 

Roots Manuva, Witness the Fitness. This song is on the work playlist and no matter how exhausted I am it brings me back up every single time. It is a TUNE. 
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next time: I've been mucking around with this roasted broccoli turmeric coconut thing recipe which may appear here. 

5 March 2016

i don't think you're ready for this jelly


Much as I have respect for juice that is usually followed by the word "cleanse" and involves several pulverised green vegetables bringing joy to your liver, my preferred kind of juice is the sort that comes in rainbow colours, is preferably imported from somewhere exotic like America, and is found in the fridge in the dark back corner of the dairy down the road. Golden Pash is my absolute favourite, a passionfruit-tinged fizzy beverage in a purple can with hangover-healing properties in every carbonated bubble. I believe it's manufactured in New Zealand but there's something about its rather desperate insistence that it contains a whole 5% fruit juice that is kind of charming. Like, mate, my shampoo probably has five percent fruit juice in it. My shoes are probably five percent fruit juice (I'm a bartender, so this is actually possible, as opposed to hyperbole for hyperbole's sake alone.) I'm ride-or-die for Golden Pash...but I am also easily swayed by pretty packaging and the promise of exciting flavours.

example: the results of a very casual trip to the dairy 

Anyway, after a recipe misfire where I thought I was making gummy-type candy out of Peach Snapple but instead ended up simply making delicious jelly, I thought: jelly! Fun! And so set about to make jelly on purpose out of the next juicy beverage which took my fancy. And that happened to be Arizona Iced Tea, pomegranate flavour.

one of two ingredients

Some might ask, why make your own jelly? But like, why do anything, really? In its favour, this is cute and really easy and perfect if you need to take a dessert to some kind of potluck situation or provide something for your friends - either go childs-birthday-party-esque and make a big bowl of it to be scooped up and served with ice cream, or pour it into dinky glasses and ramekins for individual servings. Oh, and it's completely delicious - the surprisingly delicate flavour of the pomegranate, all fresh and gently astringent, tastes wonderful when suspended in gelatine. It's refreshing, it's barely sweet but just sweet enough, it's gloriously wobbly when you smack it with the back of your spoon for no good reason other than to bring about your own good cheer; and if you hold it up to the light it glows gloriously red and pink like some kind of magical crystal, the sort of thing that Captain Planet would have as a household knick-knack, like a sunset's reflection caught in water.



And there's only two ingredients! One is simple: some kind of juice; you obviously do not need to use Arizona iced tea or even pomegranate flavoured iced tea or EVEN iced tea, I mean if you want to be truly unkind to yourself you could literally use plain water, this would not be a good time at all, but the gelatine won't know the difference. However as I've outlined above, pomegranate flavour makes for a delightful jelly. The other ingredient is gelatine: mysterious, unfortunately-non-vegetarian, gelatine.

I used leaf gelatine which is pretty easy to get hold of in supermarkets and very easy to use - just let the sheets of gelatine soak in water, give them a squeeze, and then stir them into hot liquid and that's literally it. However, if all you can find is powdered gelatine, I mean, that will be a perfectly fine substitute, and google should be able to help you with converting quantities.

pomegranate iced tea jelly

a recipe by myself

one 500ml bottle of arizona pomegranate flavour iced green tea; or whatever you like
4 sheets of gold-level leaf gelatine (I use Equagold) 

Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water till they soften, then pick them up and give them a squeeze - this bit is delightful, not gonna lie - and tip out the water. Put the softened gelatine leaves back in the bowl and pour over about a third of a cup of recently boiled water from the kettle - just enough to cover the gelatine leaves - and stir till they've dissolved, which should only take a few seconds. You don't need the entire bottle of tea, so you might as well have a sip or two first before pouring it slowly into the gelatine/hot water, stirring as you go. From here, simply pour it into cute serving bowls or one larger dish and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. 

pomegranate jelly or a still from the sinister film Picnic at Hanging Rock?


Bonus: apparently gelatine helps put a shine on your coat and make your nails strong, so I look forward to being intimidatingly sleek and glossy any day now.

Speaking of monitoring one's glossiness levels: somehow it's March already, which means I'm turning thirty actual years old next month: I fluctuate between being terrified at this and all like "what if I am suddenly no longer interesting to anyone and everything I do is the actions of an elderly crone who no-one wants to care for" and being all like "Beyonce arguably did the most important and amazing work of her life post-thirty and she is only becoming more powerful with the passing of each day also you are not the first person to turn thirty so this is really kind of patronising and it's probably the patriarchy's fault that you have a weird sense of fear about leaving your twenties and how that relates to your value as a woman, nay, as a person, and to the merit of your work." If there's anyone out there who turned thirty and didn't immediately turn into a small pile of ash, feeble and unwanted, then holla at ya girl!
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title via: Bootylicious by Destiny's Child (speaking of Beyonce). I don't think you're ready for how obvious this song choice is for this recipe. 
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music lately: 

The Pharcyde, Drop. Made even better by its hypnotic backwards-forwards music video.

EMF, Unbelievable. I don't really go in for youtube comments (full stop) where people are all nostalgic for the 90s when they were never even there, but there are a few songs where I'm like damn it why wasn't I out clubbing in England somewhere in 1993. This is one such song.
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Next time: I haven't had time to cook anything in a while so mate, I don't even know. 

24 February 2016

i got my batches and cookies


As a kid I actually really wanted to be a fashion designer, and would fill up scrapbooks with drawings of clothes that I wished would exist. For example, one outfit that I invented when I was about 9, that I would totally wear now, is a hooded white velvet minidress with a long zip up the front and hot pink feathers around the edge of the hood. Honestly, like, someone please make me that immediately for a casual daytime look. Somehow fashion design morphed into recipe design, but I still love clothes so, so, so much, and approach them much the same way in which I do food - with my mind on texture and bringing together slightly strange elements with more recognisable and familiar things. Not much makes me happier than fossicking through op shops and vintage shops, allowing time to dissolve like a sachet of colourfree raspberry flavoured Raro juice in a jug of water as I try on garment after garment and imagine how I can incorporate them into my daily costumes.

However! I can talk myself out of buying clothes, no matter how much I need them, like, my shoes will be held together with superglue and have the holes in the soles buffered with beer coasters and I will still be all "uhhhh I probably shouldn't spend money on these new, excellent value, durable, good-looking replacement shoes, I will just hobble around in these travesties for another year." When it comes to food though, I go into a damn trance. Just two days ago I went in to the supermarket to get cocoa and buckwheat flour and walked out of the supermarket with a jar of raw organic probiotic sauerkraut (which is, thankfully, SO delicious.) I absentmindedly meandered into Commonsense Organics the other day and came out with seven whole turmeric roots.

they pair well with a rose wine from the local dairy and one's bed 

I'm kind of not really going anywhere with this - it's just that the reason I was going to buy cocoa and buckwheat flour was because I was going to make the cookies that you see here, and it got me thinking about myself because that's all I think about, apparently.



These cookies though! I was recently given a copy of Simply Nigella, the new cookbook by my idol Nigella Lawson. I want to make pretty much everything in it but this recipe caught my eye with the inarguable motivating factor of, if I make them then I will have cookies. It also seemed like a nice thing to be able to tell my newish roommate that there are cookies on the bench and they can help themselves to as many as they want - I just like being that person!

The buckwheat flour in these cookies makes them gluten-free, which might be pleasing news to some of you, and also gives it a rather fascinating smoky tone echoed in the rich cocoa and almost throat-burningly dark chocolate. They're all cakey and melting and punctuated with chunks of chocolate. They look like lumps of coal and are altogether highly compelling wee things; you could make them with regular flour which would make them taste more normal but I like the oddly addictive husky flavour the buckwheat gives. I am lacking in measuring scales and so had to estimate the quantities in cup measures; thus I have written out here the recipe I made since this is the one that worked for me. I accidentally got white sugar instead of the brown sugar requested in her recipe, because my reading comprehension is useless - I'm very sure they'd be even nicer with it though.



smoky triple chocolate buckwheat cookies

from Simply Nigella, altered slightly to accommodate for things like cup measures and the fact that a block of chocolate here is 250g and I couldn't be bothered buying an extra 20g chocolate to make up her specified quantities. 

125g melted dark chocolate
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or the same amount of buttons/chips etc)
60g soft butter
half a cup sugar
two fridge-cold eggs
one cup buckwheat flour
quarter of a cup of cocoa
half a teaspoon baking soda
a good pinch of sea salt

set your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with paper (or in my case, realise you have no baking paper so just hope for the best.) 

Beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon or whatever, until it's quite light and fluffy. Briskly beat in the melted chocolate - make sure you let it sit for a minute or two so it's not boiling hot before you tip it in - and then beat in the eggs quickly. It will look far too liquid at this point but stir in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and finally the remaining chocolate bits and it will suddenly turn into a thick cookie dough. 

Take heaped spoonfuls of the dough and drop them onto the baking tray - Nigella suggests leaving 6cm space between them but they don't spread that much - and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and leave them to sit on the tray for five minutes before carefully transferring them to a plate or rack, then repeat with the remaining dough, which you should put in the fridge while you're waiting for each batch to cook. 


These are so good! I've had one in my mouth pretty much the entire time that I've been typing this (that is, I've eaten several in quick succession, it wasn't just one cookie) and couldn't be happier about it. For once I got as many cookies out of the batch as the recipe promised, as the raw dough is honestly not thaaaaat nice - however the grainy density of the buckwheat becomes entirely delicious once it's all cooked. They're even better the next day, somehow even more melting and more chocolatey. 

All I've done lately is work so I have little to report but coincidentally I'm feeling moderately financially chill for the first time in living memory (I have the memory of a goldfish though, but also goldfish are incredibly intelligent and their three-second memory is a total myth so...ha! Okay, I got a bit lost here.) I don't know how I'm doing so okay as my rent is more expensive than it has ever been but I'm trying really hard at budgeting and freelance hustling and so on; I've always identified heavily with grubby uselessness-monger Nick Miller from the TV show New Girl, but as the latest season unfolds it's nice to see we are growing together. 

"they said avocado is extra and I said shh, I know it's extra. but I want it."  Nick is I and I are Nick.
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title from: the siiiiick Lizzo song Batches and Cookies featuring Sophia Eris. Such queens. 
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music lately:

DZ Deathrays, Blood on My Leather. I spontaneously went to see these guys at Bodega a couple of years ago and they were sooooo good. I love their bratty sound.

Rihanna feat Drake, Work. She released a double video for this and they're both so dreamy and gorgeous. This song just gets better with every listen: praise Rih.

Stereo Total, I Love You, Ono it starts off disguised as an irritating song but suddenly the more you listen the more it gets stupidly endearing.
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next time: maybe something more from Simply Nigella, this book is a stunnerrrrrr.