Author: Pip

What to Do With the Urge to Cook

I cook an evening meal for my family every night and eighty per cent of the time I enjoy the process more than I enjoy the meal. I’m a good cook, (she says with eyes modestly downcast), but as with most cooks, I tend to lose interest in the product of my labour by the time it’s placed on the table. I think this is related to saturation of the senses during the cooking process and, more prosaically, nibbling as you cook. This lack of interest in the finished dish is no bad thing as I, like most middle-aged people, have to keep a weather eye on unwanted weight gain. Yes, terribly dreary, but this is how it is. And given this state of affairs – enjoying cooking but not the weight gain associated with eating all that I make – what can I do? I cannot force-feed my family or harass passers-by to come inside and eat cakes and jellies. So I decided to harness my cooking urges and, through a simple online arrangement …

There’s Nothing to Eat

The lament of lack of food by the First World teen can be deciphered as ‘there is nothing easy, convenient, tasty yet carb free, in this fridge’.  Well, now there is, or there can be, if you put together a batch of these corn and zucchini wholemeal muffins. Teach the young ‘un to make them and then stand back while they forget how to do it and return to their former cries of hunger. Then point them at a banana. Zucchini and Corn Muffins   INGREDIENTS 1 cup self-raising flour 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour 1 medium zucchini, grated 1/2 cup corn kernels 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated 1 cup milk 1/4 cup olive oil 2 eggs METHOD Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large bowl place the flour, zucchini, sweetcorn, basil, parmesan and cheddar cheese and mix to combine making a well in the center. In a small jug place the milk, oil and eggs and …

‘The’ Sicilian Apple Cake

I’ve been blogging for 7 years, primarily about books and writing, but I always loved to slip in the occasional food post. I nicked this post on the Sicilian Apple Cake from my other website because it deserves to be here in this dedicated food environment. I have to say that in all the traffic to my writer website over the years, nothing … absolutely nothing, has generated as much traffic as this recipe. I’ve no idea why, except maybe the world knows a good cake recipe when it sees one The cake, full of apple and raisins, also has the distinctive Mediterranean combination of citrus, vanilla and cinnamon and is so good it should be cooked every day and offered up to the apple spirits. I first ate it in Lucia’s Cafe at Adelaide’s Central Markets, discovered what it was called and scuttled home to research the recipe. I found it on the local South Australian ABC website and reproduce it here for your cooking and eating pleasure. 120 gms butter, melted 50 gms …

The Right Crunch

I made a batch of biscotti, the Italian twice baked biscuit, once that was so hard one could gnaw and suck them, like a baby with a rusk, for an awfully long time before getting anything like a satisfying crunchy mouthful. The unyielding nature of these biscotti was my fault. Too long in the oven, I’m afraid. And I’ve also made butter biscuits so soft and crumbly that I needed a spoon to get them into my mouth. Yep, not long enough in the oven. And then, like Goldilocks with her third bowl of porridge, I found Dan Lepard’s Blueberry Choc Chip Cookies. As I placed balls of the mixture on the baking trays I was plagued with doubt and suspected the cooked biscuit would have a sludgy interior encased in a thin skin of crunch. Now interior sludge is not a bad thing, particularly in a chocolate pudding, but I wanted a crunchy biscuit all the way through and, by golly, I got it. This is a great recipe and one can fiddle with …

Almond Biscuits

These almond biscuits are easy to make and even easier to eat. I think this is a Greek recipe but it was given to me by an Italian relative. You have to have access to lots and lots of almond meal, which is not cheap. But not far from where I live are the Willunga almond orchards and while pottering in the district recently I just happened upon bags of almond meal at an outrageously good price. Immediately I thought of these biscuits. And then I made them. And then gave them away. But I’ll make them again one day. You need three cups of almond meal, which is actually 300 grams, which doesn’t sound like much but it is. Mix a cup of castor sugar in to the almond meal and add a few drops of almond essence. Lightly beat three eggwhites and mix into the almond/sugar mixture until you have a firm dough. Roll out into small sausage shapes, no bigger than your thumb, roll in flaked almonds and bake for 15 minutes …

A Storied Plum Cake

A good orchardist knows the plum varieties in their orchard, but somewhere between the orchardist and the shop the name of the plum simply becomes ‘Plums $6.99’. I love any sort of plum and I love their names too but because I rely on the shop for identification I can never be sure I know what I’m talking about. What is a Mariposa at the shop up the hill is often a Satsuma at the shop down the hill. The plums I used for this cake have a red, sweet flesh and could have been Mariposa, Elephant Heart, Dorrigo Blood or something else, but they were definitely blood plums. I’m sure you could use sweet yellow fleshed plums too but a splash of bloody red on a cake is always a good look. I found the recipe to this cake on the Smitten Kitchen blog where you can read about the cake’s pedigree.  Smitten Kitchen recommends Italian Prune Plums which are also known as Empress Plums but I’ve never seen them here, unless they are cunningly …