Friday, September 26, 2008

Crisp Coconut Biscuits

These are good biscuits. Even ornamental turtles struggle to resist them! So it stands to reason that I can't be expected to either, right. Right? Is that a yes I hear. I'm sure it was. Oh good, I can go and have another one or three in good conscience then. Be right back!

Right, here I am showering crumbs everywhere.

There is always a batch of home baked biscuits in my parents house. They are an essential component of the afternoon ritual - sitting out on the verandah with a nice cup of tea watching the world go by.

When it came to this week's baking session, I got to choose. My Mum has dozens of recipe books devoted to biscuits. Even she is a bit bewildered by this plethora. She can't quite account for how they all got there. Especially given that she really only bakes the same old favourites over and over again.

Out of this mega-choice I pondered monte carlos, neenish, passionfruit creams. I was on the verge of nominating viennese shortbreads when I did an about turn and selected probably the simplest of biscuits - crisp coconut. The reason was quite simple, these biscuits are a part of my childhood. There always seemed to be some of these in our house when I was growing up. But they somehow fell out of favour many years ago. It's odd how that happens. I guess we are always moving on - even in our biscuit choices.

One of the things I like about them is the crisp sugar coating. They are by no means fancy, these biscuits. But it just makes them that extra bit special somehow.

They are simplicity to make. The best kind of biscuits. Maximum return for minimal effort.

Crisp Coconut Biscuits
(adapted from The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits)

125gm butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups SR flour
pinch salt
1 cup dessicated coconut
extra sugar

Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg, add sifted flour, salt and coconut. Roll into balls and press flat between your hands. Dip top side into the extra sugar.

Place on greased oven tray sugar side up. Bake in 220C oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cocoa Sesame Biscuits

This post is bought to you from warm, sunny Queensland where I am visiting my parents. It is so nice to be away from Canberra. There the weather is slowly creaking towards thinking about perhaps warming up a bit. Here it is actually warm. After so many months it is just heavenly to walk outside without bracing yourself for that initial blast of cold. Not to mention the feeling of actually being warm right to your bones. Such bliss!!!

A visit to my parents inevitably involves a slew of baking. This recipe caught my eye from among my Mum's moutain of cookbooks and recipes. I have never thought of trying sesame and chocolate together, so I was kind of intrigued by these biscuits.

As it turns out they are very nice. I won't lie and say they are my favourite biscuits ever. But they are actually quite good. There is one thing though, you can't really eat to many. Which is probably a good thing, right. Sesame seeds are quite rich and they are definitely a feature of these biscuits.

Cocoa Sesame Biscuits
(adapted from Biscuits and Slices Step by Step)

3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 caster sugar
100gm unsalted butter
2 tbspn golden syrup*
1 tbspn boiling water
1 tspn bicarbonate soda
185gm chocolate melts, melted

Sift flour and cocoa together. Stir in the oats, seeds and sugar.

Combine the butter and syrup in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter is melted.
Pour the boiling water into a small bowl and add the bicarbonate soda. Add to the butter syrup. Using a metal spoon fold the mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.

Place level tablespoons of the mix onto a lined baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes in a 160C oven. Leave to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Spread a teaspoon of melted chocolate onto each biscuit.
* This is an Australian recipe. 1 Australian tablespoon = 4 teaspoons. 1 US tablespoon = 3 teaspoons.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Challenge Book #25 - Zucchini Slice

Today's post is being brought to you from a very prestigious location - the National Library of Australia. This is one of my favourite places. It's a quiet and comfy place to just sit and read papers and journals from all over the world or just have a bit of a think. There are always interesting exhibits and I just love the thought of all that fascinating history tucked away in the archives - everything from Captain Cook's Endeavour Journal to junk mail (collected as Australian ephemera).

I'm not sure that the recipe quite lives up to this auspiciousness (if it's not a word it should be!). Zucchini slice is a very everday budget kind of dish. It was a very regular feature of my student and early working life when money was tight and cooking was less than a priority. But I still make it every now and then because it is just so damn tasty.

It's basically a crustless quiche/omelette kind of a dish. Light and fluffy egg studded with zucchini, bacon, onion and cheese. It's generally served with a green salad. Just delicious. It takes no time at all to make. Which makes it perfect for those annoying middle of the week dinners when you just do not want to bother. I don't know about you, but by the time it gets to about Wednesday night I am looking for the easiest of easy options.

I have long lost my old student recipe for this dish, so I now rely on my Mum's recipe which was printed in the Care for Kids Easy Meals Cookbook - a charity fundraiser for the local hospital dating from about fifteen years ago. Which is by the way, Challenge Book #25 in the KJ Wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge (sorry I don't have a photo for this one). This a pretty universal recipe here in Australia - demonstrated by the fact that there are three versions of it in this cookbook alone. Variations include adding red capsicum, grated carrot or french onion soup mix.

Zucchini Slice
(adapted from Care for Kids Easy Meals Cookbook)

5 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup diced bacon
1 grated onion
400gm grated zucchini

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a well buttered pie or quiche dish. Bake in a 180C oven for about 50 minutes or until it is cooked through (a skewer should come out clean and it should be all puffed and golden). Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 05, 2008

If I Could Kick Myself I Would

Dear friends in food,

Due to some techinical difficulties (otherwise known as dropping a heavy object from a great height onto a laptop screen) posting here will be intermittent for a while. I will also struggle to visit my other favourite blogs, which makes me very sad.

Hopefully, normal service will resume shortly (friendly local IT expert and bank balance willing).


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