Chunky Almond Cookies

I love these cookies, they’re really tasty, simple to make and better still, you can customise them! You can use a different type of nut – I would say pistachios or hazelnuts also work well in this recipe. You can also choose to add some grated orange (or even lemon!) rind and you can choose whichever spices you like – but be careful how much you put in! I think the salt is really important in this recipe as it enhances the flavour of the spices and the nuts, so make sure you don’t leave that out! As an added bonus, these cookies are (unintentionally) gluten free – so if a friend or relative has a problem with gluten then you can safely bake them a batch of these!

  • 190g almonds
  • 100g almond meal
  • 120g raw sugar
  • 50g egg whites (from around 1 to 2 eggs)
  • pinch of salt
  • spices for flavour – I can recommend 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon or ground star anise (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated orange rind (optional)
  1. Lightly toast the almonds for around 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 160c. Chop the first 110 grams of almonds finely (you can use a food processor for this) and the other 80 grams of almonds more coarsely.
  2. In a bowl place the finely chopped 110 grams of almonds, almond meal, sugar, salt, spices and optional orange rind
  3. Add the egg whites. Mix well until you form a paste.
  4. Scoop the cookie batter and form into little balls, (at this point, if you find the batter too sticky add a little bit more almond meal to the paste) then roll them in the remaining 80 grams of coarsely chopped almonds.
  5. Place then on a baking sheet, around 2 cm apart and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 170c (fan forced).
  6. This recipe makes approximately 16 cookies.
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Fingerbuns

When I was in primary school my mum would send me off to school with a ‘lunch order’ – a paper bag with the items my mum or I had chosen for my lunch that day at school. The order total would be written on the front of the paper bag and that amount of money (usually in coins) would be placed inside the bag and folded over. When I arrived at school in the morning, I gave my teacher the lunch order, and then at little lunch and/or big lunch the order would arrive inside the paper bag.

One of my favourite items to have for little lunch was the fingerbun – a delicious, light, sultana filled, brioche-like bread in the shape of a finger, topped with a lightly strawberry flavoured icing and rolled in dessicated coconut. I’ve been thinking about these fingerbuns for a little while now and decided that today was the day to attempt to reproduce one of my favourite childhood treats.

Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels

I was inspired to have a go at making bagels after my first trip to Brooklyn Boy Bagels where I tried their cinnamon and raisin bagel which was amazing smeared with salted Pepe Saya butter – my favourite butter. Now, I’ve never been to New York or anywhere in the U.S. and had ‘real’ bagels, but if the ones at Brooklyn Boy are anything like them, then I’m smitten.

Making bagels is a fairly long process, but not as complicated as I’d initially thought, in fact, the hardest part is waiting overnight, unlike when I make croissants which is technically a lot more challenging.

This morning I when I woke up, the first thing I did was head to the kitchen, turn the oven on and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Then I started boiling and baking the bagels and they are delicious. I am so happy with how they turned out, my expectations were exceeded and I’ll be making these babies again for sure.

ANZAC Biscuits

I always love baking ANZAC biscuits – they’re such a quick and easy biscuit to make, I almost always have all the ingredients I need in my fridge and cupboards, and they taste amazing.

I spent a long time searching for my perfect ANZAC biscuit recipe, lots of trial and error – some recipes produced a thick dry biscuit, others were overly sweet. Unfortunately I can’t reveal my source (although I am open to bribes!) so you’ll just have to trust me when I say these are some of the best ANZAC biscuits around 🙂

 

 

 

Lemon Butter

I decided to make this recipe because I know my mum loves lemon butter and I’d like to give her som I’ve made myself rather than one I’ve bought from the store, and because my husband also has a thing for lemon tarts and anything else that’s lemony. I could take it or leave it, but maybe if I make my own it  will be super delicious and convert me?!

First off, I grated the peel (using my microplane) and juiced 6 lemons, added all of that to a saucepan, then added 400g of caster sugar to it. I heated it until the sugar was melted, then added 150g of good quality (I used Lurpak) butter and waited until that melted. I then transferred the lemon butter mix to another bowl which I sat on top of a saucepan of water, and gently heated the lemon butter. I then beat 5 eggs, placed a sieve on top of the bowl, poured the beaten eggs into it and quickly mixed the eggs into the lemon butter. I then gently heated this mixture (being careful not to let it boil as this would split the mixture) for around 30 minutes until it started to coat the back of my wooden spoon.

I then filled my jars with the lemon butter and it’s now cooling!

Orange Marmalade

I’ve always loved marmalade, one of my favourite memories was being a kid in my auntie’s kitchen in Ireland, eating her homemade marmalade on homemade brown bread with a cup of tea, so delicious! Today I’ve finally had a go at making my own marmalade after receiving a delivery of 28 Mason jars yesterday.

Firstly, the recipe I used asked for Seville oranges, but I don’t think these are in season here yet, so I went to my local grocery store to see what they had in stock. They had the standard Navel oranges imported from the U.S. and 3kg bags of Australian Valencia oranges, as well as lots of Imperial mandarins. I decided to mix things up a little, and ended up using 1.5 navels, 4 valencias and 1 mandarin, as well as 1 lemon.

I filled my pot with 2.25 litres of water, added all the juice from the fruit to it, saved all the pith, pits and skin and popped the pith and pits into some muslin cloth. I made sure to remove all excess pith from the orange skins, then julienned it. I then tied up the muslin cloth and put both it and the julienned peel into the pot.

I let this simmer for a little over 2 hours, until the peel was nice and soft. Then I removed the muslin cloth bag, squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could, then added around 700g of caster sugar. The recipe I used said to use 1.8kg of sugar, but this seemed like way too much, so I started off with just the 700g. When I tasted it, it was already sweet enough, maybe even too sweet, so I added the juice of half a large lemon which seemed to balance it out ok. I let the sugar dissolve and come to a rapid boil for around 20 mins, then began testing to see if it had reached its setting point. I ended up waiting another 30 mins until removing it from the heat because I didn’t think it was set enough.

I then let the marmalade rest for 20 minutes, before pouring it into sterilised jars, sealing them and labelling. The photos below document the main steps I took in the whole process.

I just had a piece of toast with my marmalade on it, and it may sound like I’m bragging or biased, but I think it is one of the nicest marmalades I have ever had, success!

Piglets

This is one of the first recipes I learnt when I was a little girl of around 10. The recipe came from my mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly Cook Book – a gift she was given either as a wedding present or as a gift from her workmates before she left to give birth to me. I remember I used to sit for long periods of time, just reading the recipes and staring longingly at the delicious photos of sweets and cakes, then try and wrap my head around the complex looking method for making a cheesecake crust and lining a tin with it. This is the front cover:

womens_weekly_cookbook

This recipe could be found in the ‘batters’ chapter of the book. My mum used to make these for us kids, and she would affectionately refer to them as ‘piglets’ (when they were actually pikelets). Unfortunately, this meant that I called them piglets for quite a long time, not even realising their proper name was pikelets.

I quickly learnt this recipe off by heart because I’ve made them so many times. In fact, when I was in high school I remember whipping them up a few times as a spur of the moment thing at friends’ places. Every time I make them I’m immediately transported back to my childhood. We always added sultanas to ours, the textural ‘pop’ you get as your teeth sink into the plumped up sultanas in the cooked batter was what we loved most. We ate them as they were, piping hot, or with some butter.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of Self Raising flour
0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg
3/4 to 1 cup of soured milk (depending on how runny you want the batter) – I now use buttermilk whenever I have it, but we always used to use normal milk with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to sour it
1 dessertspoon of butter, melted
0.5 cup sultanas (optional – you can add none, less, or more, depending on what you like)

1. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
2. Add the sugar and combine with flour
3. Make a well in the centre and add the egg
4. Beat the egg into the flour whilst slowly adding the soured milk or buttermilk
5. Stir in the melted butter
6. Add the sultanas ( you could add anything else you like here too – e.g. dates, lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nuts, chocolate – anything you like!)
7. The batter is now ready for use, heat a frypan or crepe pan with some unflavoured oil (e.g. canola) or use clarified butter (ghee)
8. Place tablespoon-sized portions of butter onto the hot pan
9. When you see bubbles forming on the pikelets, flip them over
10. Once browned on both sides, pop them onto a plate
11. I like to serve them with butter and maple syrup, but you could have them on their own or with jam and cream, honey and ricotta – use your imagination!

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