Don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but this is a damn fine recipe! Honestly, I’m having to restrain myself from scarfing down the whole batch right now, they’re that good! I wish you could all come round and have some to see what I’m talking about. Guess you’ll just have to settle for giving it a go yourself. Take my advice, do. You won’t regret it.
165g (6oz) plain flour
85g (3oz) ground almonds
165g (6oz) margarine
85g (3oz) unrefined cane sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
Mix the margarine and flour together in a large bowl by hand, until the mixture becomes like the consistency of breadcrumbs (kind of).
Add the sugar and combine softly until just mixed. Don’t over-work the dough.
Roll into a sheet about 5mm thick, then using an upturned tumbler cut out as many cookies as you can (approx. 15), repeating the rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up. NB: I did two roll-outs then made one big uber-cookie with what was left over.
With a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray (greasing the tray lightly will probably work fine is you don’t have any parchment paper available) bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the outermost cookies start to go a little brown.
Remove from heat and leave to cool, sprinkling the tops of the cookies with sugar straight out the oven. Allow to cool completely before demolishing.
Don’t mind admitting, I’m pretty damn pleased with this little creation of mine. These are some damn fine biscuits, soon to be one of six recipes I’ll be turning into a pack of recipe postcards that I’ll be making available to buy.
I have plans for four different sets – cakes & cookies, pastries, winter warmers and summer snacks – some of which I have most of the recipes for, one of which I have almost no recipes for (yet), but all of which will be hand packaged, numbered, and well worth your hard earned cash. Stay tuned for further developments.
Ok, so where is everything at the moment?
First off, I’ve decided not to do the food blog idea (for the moment). I mean I’m hardly keeping this one up to date, so if I started another one that’d just be two blogs I’m not doing. But I am still cooking and I am still posting recipes, so it’s not like I’ve moved away from the cooking idea completely. I’m just putting it on hold until I can give it my full attention.
What I have been doing though, which is a bit unexpected, is meditating every day for over a week now. Ok, so ‘every day’ is a bit of an exaggeration (as is ‘meditating’ probably ), but I have managed to sit for eight out of the last nine days, which is still a win as far as I’m concerned. If I can keep this up I’ll be enlightened by the end of the year, lol.
The day I missed was all down to work. I’ve been meditating in the morning you see, after doing my yoga (I am still doing the yoga every day since I started, which is a good few months now!), but that day I had to get up at 5:30 to go to work, so there wasn’t time, and I just plain forgot to do it in the evening when I got home. Of course this only goes to underline the fact that I need a new job. Plus I’ve been reading Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, which quite simply states that if you believe your job is interfering with your spiritual development then you probably need a change in career. So that’s my main priority for the moment, finding something else to do for cash. I know what I’d like to do, which is write, but I’m also looking at other possibilities too.
That being said the writing is going well. I’m on the second round of rewrites on the script I finished before Christmas. Once that’s done I’ll give it to a friend to proof read, then I can go back to the book I started working on recently. I’ve also got a few other script ideas I’m playing with, so hopefully come the summer I’ll be ready to start chasing down agents and production deals. And no holding back this time. I’m not going to get bogged down with the ‘reality’ of what’s possible. I’m aiming for Hollywood, and ain’t nobody gonna stop me!
It was, quite simply, doubly delicious, and all for the same amount of effort! I had to cook it for 40-45 mins rather than the original 30, but as for everything else just do twice the amounts and you’ll end up with what you see above. Good stuff.
Ok, confession time, I totally nicked this from the coffee shop on the high road. They sell it as a cold salad in a tub, but it tastes just as good warm with Shepherd’s Pie (as pictured).
1 courgette, sliced
1 head of broccoli, decapitated
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds
On a medium heat fry the courgette and garlic in a large frying pan until the courgette has softened. Be very careful not to burn garlic. Stir often and turn heat down if necessary. Take your time with this. There’s no rush.
Steam the broccoli and sugar snap peas. Do the broccoli for 4 minutes, then toss in the peas and cook for a further 4 mins. Alternatively you could boil these veggies if you don’t have a steamer, but you’ll lose some of the nutritional value.
Toss the drained, just cooked, veggies into the frying pan and mix with courgette (to coat with galricky oil).
Put in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Toss lightly then either serve or allow to cool for a tasty snack.
It’s taken me a little while to get these right. It was difficult to find the right consistency for the dough. But I think I’ve got it working now.
125g vegan margarine (at room temperature)
125g unrefined cane sugar
egg replacer to equal 1 egg
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g porridge oats
50g desiccated coconut
Preheat oven to 190C. In a large bowl cream the margarine and sugar until well combined.
Sift the flour into a separate bowl. Add the egg replacer, bicarbonate of soda, salt, oats and coconut.
Add dry ingredients to creamed marg and sugar and mix together to form a lightly sticky dough. I did it by hand as it’s easier and a lot more fun.
Line two shallow baking trays with greaseproof paper. Form the dough into golf ball sized lumps and spread out evenly on tray. Use the lightly floured base of a glass to press cookies half way flat. NB: They will spread when baking so give them plenty of room.
Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on oven reliability. Just look now and then to see if the edges have gone brown. I recommend swapping the trays over after 8 minutes, assuming they won’t both go on the top shelf, so that they all cook evenly.
Remove from oven and let them cool a little on tray before transferring them to a cooling rack (as they will still be quite pliable straight out of the oven). Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea.
This is a tasty little winter warmer (I know, it’s the middle of summer!) that’s great served up with some greens. Also damn good for you, what with all the veggies and lentils. An all round treat.
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
50g peas (approx 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup puy lentils (green speckled lentils)
1 tsp cumin seeds
a splash of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
300ml of vegetable stock
1/3 of a red chilli, finely chopped
5-7 potatoes, peeled and diced (enough for about an inch of mash)
a knob of margarine
salt to taste
Fry onion and cumin in a medium sized sauce pan on a medium heat until onions become translucent (a few minutes). Add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic and chilli, and cook on a low heat until vegetables start to sweat.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in lots of salty water until soft (approx 15-20 minutes).
Add lentils to vegetables and stir to coat with juices. Add vegetable stock and bring to boil. Simmer on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until lentils are cooked but still firm. Let it rest for a moment while you finish off the mash.
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Drain the potatoes and mash thoroughly with a knob of margarine until smooth(ish). You can also add olive oil, salt, or soy milk (to taste).
Put the lentils in a casserole dish and cover with mashed potato. Ruffle top of mash so that it’ll brown nicely. Put in oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serve hot, and enjoy.
As I said, this is especially nice with some green veg, maybe spinach and garlic, green beans or brussel sprouts. Or you can just have it on it’s own, as the mash balances the lentils quite nicely.
You can also make it with a bottle of beer instead of the vegetable stock. If you do just add it at the appropriate time, then simmer for 5 minutes until it has reduced a bit. Add a stock cube and more water if needed, then cook as before.
Ok, I’m a bit late with my report this week. No excuse really. I’m just having a bit of trouble keeping track of time at the moment. Maybe it’s the summer days, maybe it’s the lack of markers (I’ve been spectacularly un-busy these past few weeks), but life had just been slipping me by. I’ll go to reply to an e-mail I just got, and realise I’d received it a week ago. Or I’ll be talking about next week, and realise I mean tomorrow. It’s both confusing and calming at the same time, for just as I’m “out of time” so I must conversely be “in the moment” and that’s not a bad place to be.
Truth be told I didn’t do much last week. More life maintenance – dentist, osteopath, barber – stuff like that. I did manage to do a recipe, the very fresh tasting Cabbage and Carrot Summer Salad, which is nice: And I managed to sort my recipes page out properly (link at top) so that you can actually find things instead of being confronted with a long list of recipes that even I couldn’t make head nor tail of. Now if you want to try something from a specific continent, or time of day, there it is, easy as pie. Mmm… Pie..!
I intend to do more stuff this week coming. I don’t think one recipe is quite enough for a week’s work, do you? I think a recipe a week plus something new is more the order of the day. And maybe something else too. I’m thinking about bringing film reviews into the picture. I’ve been doing the odd review on and off on my LoveFilm profile page and I think they’re ok, so I may incorporate more filmy stuff into the blog. I mean it’s what I’m into, what I know about, and you should always play to your strengths eh? Might also spur me on to do some more writing, you never know.
With that in mind I’ve been thinking about a list of Movie’s You Have To See! No point doing a top ten because you can’t put one above the other. For one thing I wouldn’t know what criteria to use. How do you compare genres? Budgets? Experimental against mainstream? It’s a fools errand. So I’m just going to make my recommendations and the rest is up to you.
With that in mind, if you haven’t seen Out Of Sight go get it right now! To me it’s the finest collaboration between Steven Soderberg and George Clooney. An amazingly stylish and ultra hip adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel, it deserved it’s oscar nominations just as Jennifer Lopez deserved the kudos she got for her superb performance.
There’s no way in which this movie doesn’t work. The writing, the editing, the colouring (Soderberg used different style for each city in the movie – bright colours for Miami, washed out blues for Detroit), every tune on the soundtrack is a gem, every character full and engaging, it has stood up to multiple watches and I expect to watch it many times more.
Also, it has in it one of the sexiest scenes ever committed to film. Clooney and Lopez are so cool, yet so vulnerable, and so into each other, it really gets to you. The writing is simple and direct, the lighting and camera work concise and unobtrusive, and it was for the editing of this scene that pretty much got the editor her Oscar nomination (I believe). But never mind all that, it’s just so damn sexy! If you need any more convincing to give Out Of Sight a go check out the scene below, but if you think you might give the movie a go try to hold off. Within the proper context, once you know the characters and know what they’re talking about, it works oh so much better!
Ok, so there you are. My first recommendation. Feel free to agree/disagree with the me as much as you like. And if you’ve anything you’d like to recommend yourself I’m all ears.
This is a surprisingly sweet and tasty little concoction, inspired by the recipe for Piyadassi Purnahana from the excellent book Buddhist Peace Recipes. If you haven’t got it check it out. Not all the recipes are vegan, but the ones that are are fantastic, and the rest you can adapt fairly easily.
1 yellow/orange bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp walnuts (or cashews)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp chopped ginger
a pinch of cayenne
1 tsp unrefined cane sugar
2 tsp of honey
juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 a lemon)
8-10 button mushrooms
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup quinoa
1 tbsp sultanas
some olive oil
First, marinate the button mushrooms (chopping any that are too large in half) in the balsamic vinegar for 15-20 minutes, whilst pre-heating the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Place the pepper and onion in a large bowl. Mix the cumin, paprika, ginger, cayenne and sugar in a bowl with a dash of olive oil, then pour over the pepper and onion and mix thoroughly.
Heat some oil in a frying pan on a medium/high heat. Fry the pepper and onion mix for 10 minutes stirring until both have softened (the onion more so than the pepper)
Add the chopped cashews, honey and lime juice, and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whilst frying, once the oven is up to temp, put the mushrooms in a casserole dish into which you’ve put a little olive oil to stop them sticking, and bake for 15 minutes.
Finally stick the quinoa and sultanas in a pan, cover generously with water, and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes until quinoa is done, drain, then set aside to cool.
Combine all the ingredients and either enjoy straight away or let cool completely to be had the next day.