Archive for September, 2007

the long weekend

The Sukkot holiday gave us a lovely long weekend, with half of Wednesday and all of Thursday rolling into Friday and Saturday for three and a half days of relative relaxation.

On Wednesday afternoon we collected a cot (crib) from my husband’s cousin’s friend. They also gave us a tub for bathing a baby, and a stand to hold the tub, and a baby carrier.

Then we went to our friends, S and T, for dinner in their sukkah, where we had really good chicken soup, roast chicken, potatoes, and other vegetables. T had also prepared a pineapple crumble and chocolate cake. I made the mistake of eating challah at the beginning of the meal – how else was I going to get some of that hummus, and that eggplant spread? – so I had a bit of heartburn once we went to bed that evening.

On Thursday morning we started putting the cot together, which was very exciting and satisfying … until we discovered that an essential part was missing, which prevented one of the sides from going in. Later on Thursday we received a lunch invitation from hubby’s family, so I made some Lemon Squares (recipe to follow) to take along. At lunch we had gefilte fish and horseradish, rice, kasha, salad, raw asparagus – all good things.

On Friday morning we went to the shop where the cot originally came from and found – for a bargain 20 shekels! – the part that was missing. On the way home we stopped at a cafe for lunch, where I had an omelette breakfast that came with a little plate of rolls. I ate one of the rolls because it looked (and was) so delicious, and because I figured maybe it would digest nicely by the evening, and maybe for something so delicious it was worth it … but of course, it wasn’t worth the eventual heartburn – a full TWELVE hours later.

At home after lunch, we finished putting together the cot, and then rearranged the room, which included hauling the piano around, repositioning the bed, and realising how little space we actually have. That evening, we went out for dinner before going to a play, ‘Mikveh’. We hadn’t booked a place, but had a little wander down Dizengoff and saw a place called Paella. I got a chicken and chorizo (beef) paella; hubby got chicken escalope.

On Saturday morning I got up early and made Ginger Crunch and (recipe to follow) Anzac biscuits. I added sunflower seeds and a few chopped up dried apricots, after reading Julie Le Clerc’s version of the recipe. We went out for brunch, and when we came home, an old friend came over to visit and helped us eat the biscuits.

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September 30, 2007 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

ginger crunch recipe

This is a favourite of mine from the Edmonds cookbook. I use a powdered ginger that is full of ginger bits and I use about half again the amount of ginger that the recipe requires.

GINGER CRUNCH

  • gingercrunch.jpg4 ozs butter
  • 4 ozs sugar
  • 7 ozs flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter and sugar, add sifted dry ingredients. Knead well and press into a greased shallow tin.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees F. Put into a saucepan 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons icing sugar, 2 teaspoons golden syrup, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Heat until melted, then pour over cake while hot, and cut into squares before it gets cold.

September 30, 2007 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

lemon squares recipe

For dessert on Rosh HaShana we had lemon squares and since then I’ve been wanting to try to make them. This recipe doesn’t make a large amount, so you have a good excuse not to give any to anyone else …

Lemon Squares

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 115 grams butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • powdered sugar
  1. Heat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Mix flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press in greased, papered square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, building up 1/2-inch edges.
  3. Bake crust 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Beat granulated sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
  5. Bake 15 to 25 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool; dust with powdered sugar. Cut into about 1 1/2-inch squares.

simmer down notes:

  • As always, I can’t resist making a comment … I felt like this cooked too quickly – I’ve probably mentioned before that I suspect that my oven is a bit too hot. Anyway, the top went very dark in a way that seemed wrong to me. In the end the centre was a bit soft but VERY delicious, and next time I think I won’t worry about the colour; maybe I’ll just set the tray a bit lower in the oven.
  • I felt that I didn’t have enough pastry to build up the edges but I guess I just didn’t want to make it too thin – in some places there was more edge than others and it turned out well.

September 30, 2007 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

end of day dip recipes

Yesterday I managed to exhaust myself bit by bit by the general layout that I decided for my day.

Having not yet adjusted to daylight savings time, I woke ridiculously early and was at work by 7am. In my lunch hour I shlepped to the supermarket and vegetable shop – they’re in different locations, which doesn’t help. After getting home, I went out again to get almonds and to pick up my altered jeans, and to go for my monthly pregnancy check-up at the nurses. The check-up only took about 10 minutes but I had to wait in between for an additional 40 minutes.

By the time I got home from the check-up it was dark and I felt like I’d been on the go for 12 hours – which was almost true. My only hope for redeeming the day, of course, was to sink into food preparation mode. I’d been thinking since the day before about two Julie Le Clerc dips, and I had everything I needed at hand. Tonight we’re having the childbirth class at our place – as we did last week – and I wanted to make something nice for snacks. Last week I made a tuna and white cheese dip, put out pretzels, olives, and picked cucumbers, and the left-over roast almond and chocolate chip cookies. The other couple brought grapes.

I don’t know why I felt so inspired to make something special (I consider these dips to be very special). In general I’d feel more inclined to put the effort in for the book club girls, of whom I’m far more fond. I guess I’m trying to impress the doula, or something, so she likes me and wants to support me and to ensure that the best is done for me in the hospital. I don’t know.

These dips are quite labour-intensive, and it really was a lot of work for a couple of little dips, but I guess someone more willing to spend the money could do it in an easier way. I blanched the almonds myself although I could have bought already-blanced, and I pitted the olives myself, instead of buying pitted olives. Those tasks alone took about half an hour.

Anyway, after that lengthy and irrelevant introduction, here are the dips!

red pepper and chilli dip

  • 3 red peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tblsp wine vinegar
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, or any preferred nut
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly rub pepper halves with oil and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until skins blister. Remove from oven and cover pan or place pepper into a plastic bag to sweat. This makes the skins easier to remove. Peel off skins and discard.
  2. Place pepper flesh, oil, chilli, vinegar and salt into the bowl of a food processor, process to combine. Add almonds and process until smooth – this can take a little time. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  3. Store in the refrigerator. Lasts about one week.

Makes about 2 cups.

green olive cream

  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tblsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place olives, garlic and parsley into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop.
  2. Add lemon juice, oil and sour cream and process to a smooth cream. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 2 cups.

September 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

failed challah, successful bread pudding recipe

Last week I used a recipe different from my usual one to bake challot. Someone at work gave me the recipe and insisted that he’d had great success with it. For me, it didn’t rise so well, and wasn’t a very pretty result at all. I made three circular challot from the recipe. We checked one to make sure that it was edible, which meant that it then sat at home.

Since I only have to look at bread these days to get heartburn, I didn’t eat much of it – although it was delicious, and filled with cranberries and golden raisins. After a couple of days I realised we wouldn’t be finishing the bread in a hurry, and decided to transform the failed challah into bread pudding.

First, I buttered a small Corningware dish. Then I sliced the challah and buttered each piece. I layered the slices into the dish and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on each layer. Next, I beat two eggs and about three cups of milk, and poured it all over the bread. It could have done with more milk but it seemed like such a huge amount that I refrained. I left it all to sit and get nice and moist for 10 minutes, then baked it for about half an hour at 175 degrees C.

We ate the bread pudding with ice cream and it was very delicious. Soaking and baking the bread again didn’t alter its affect, particularly: I still ended up with a bit of heartburn – but it was worth it, and it went away eventually.

September 17, 2007 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

home-made iced tea

The bunch of mint in the bottom of the fridge would have turned black and gone to waste if I didn’t do something with it fast last week, so I looked up a few iced tea recipes and prepared a batch. We don’t have useful pitchers or jugs, but I managed to organise myself well enough despite that.

To make the iced tea, I boiled a full kettle (about six cups of water), washed the mint well and selected only the perfect sprigs. I put half of the mint sprigs in a big metal bowl with three Earl Grey teabags and about 1/4 cup of sugar, and poured the water over. After 10 minutes I removed the teabags and mint. I left the tea to cool, then refrigerated it for a few hours. Then I squeezed a lemon and added the juice to the tea. I pushed the remainder of the mint sprigs into a washed bottle (a jug would have been prettier) and poured the tea into the bottle.

September 16, 2007 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

recipe for roast almond and chocolate chip biscuits

 

This recipe appeared in the New Zealand Herald online and it looked irresistible. It’s by Amanda Laird. I made these biscuits on Friday and so far I think that I’ve eaten most of them, unassisted. Part of this recipe’s greatness lies in its simplicity and the ingredients, which are all likely to be in my cupboard at any one time.

Ingredients 

  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbs condensed milk
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups plain baking flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter, sugar, condensed milk and vanilla until pale.
  • Mix the almonds and chocolate into the creamed mixture.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together then mix all together. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a greased or baking paper-lined tray. Flatten with a fork dipped lightly in flour if desired.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

simmer down notes:

  • Due to lack of supply, I used regular sugar instead of caster.
  • I used Callebaut chocolate because I had some and because it’s so good.
  • To roast almonds, spread on foil in a toaster oven and bake at about 160C for 10 minutes, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. When they smell roasted and look a bit darker, they’re done. I didn’t peel the almond before roasting.
  • Although the recipe says that it makes about 20 bisuits. I guess I always roll mine pretty small, as I managed to get over 50. I’m never quite sure what quantity is intended when a recipe says to roll teaspoonfuls. I packed the dough into a measuring teaspoon and then rolled that, which gave quite a small biscuit, and then made the rest about the same size. They might have been a bit more impressive and interesting if they were larger.

September 10, 2007 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

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