Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - Take 2

I love OMRCs, the taste, the texture and the warm, inviting smell they leave in the kitchen while they're baking. My very first blog post was a recipe for Slightly Healthier Oatmeal Raisin Cookies because I needed my OMRC fix and am unable to eat the regular kind. But I made a batch for friends the other day and tweaked my recipe a little with apparently good results so I decided I'd post up this recipe too! After all, you can NEVER have too many oatmeal raisin cookie recipes :P

Also, on a sad note, my weighing scales has met an untimely end so I'm using U.S. measurements because I had a mug handy :P

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 12-15 cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 1/2 cups jumbo oats (old fashioned oats)
  • 3/4 cup of raisins
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 175 C
Put the raisins in a bowl, add water to cover and add 1 tsp of the vanilla extract.
Allow to plump for 10-15 mins
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar.
Add eggs and the other tsp of vanilla and beat until creamy

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined
Stir in the oats
Drain the raisins and stir into the mixture.
Add the milk if the mix is on the dry side

Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, or until the edges of the cookie are golden brown
The centers should remain soft but not too doughy.

Also, my camera's been very dodgy lately so all photo credits for this post go to Dana from The Homesteading Housewife


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mum's Pavlova

We've moved into our new house and we finally have internet which means I can finally post up my pavlova recipe :) It was one of my housemates birthdays last week and his favourite dessert is Pavlova with cream and strawberries so that is what I set about making. 

I used my Mum's pavlova recipe which is the best Pavlova I've ever eaten. It's chewy and pillowy at the same time and tastes absolutely amazing! Slightly abnormally there's custard powder and white vinegar in the recipe which helps give it this consistency. The recipe has no measurements whatsoever so I'm gonna do my best to approximate.

Mum's Pavlova
(Serves 12-16)

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 mugs of caster sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp custard powder
  • 2 tsps white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 160 C
Beat egg whites and 1 and 3/4 of the sugar with an electric whisk until they form the stiffest peaks you've ever seen
Fold in the rest of the sugar, custard powder and white vinegar
Pour out onto a rectangular baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
Bake for 35-45 mins, until slightly golden at the edges

Enjoy :) x

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Italian Cooking and a Timballo Recipe

I love Italian food; the simplicity, the flavours and the sense of passion and tradition. Italy and its food also happen to be a big part of my heritage which might explain my love of it also. With that in mind my Mum and I escaped to Italy last weekend for 4 days to learn how to cook traditional Tuscan food. We stayed in a lovely hotel in the little town of Figline Valdarno; a wonderfully typical sleepy Italian town with one main square, a train station and not much else. IT did however, have one of the best Gelatorias I've ever been to and I highly reccommend it for one very specific reason; frozen yoghurt. Unfortunately I find myself unable to eat ice-cream anymore so I was a bit worried there would be nothing there for me... Luckily the Italians have taken pity on the likes of us and I found a small selection of frozen yoghurt flavours including Morello Cherry! I've never been happier to be ice-cream intolerant :P The taste and the texture were fantastic; the cherries weren't overly sweet and the yoghurt was perfectly in balance with them; giving a light and refreshing cherry taste. If anyone is planning on taking a trip to the Florence area this wonderful shop is 30 mins on a train to Figline Valdarno and just on the main square :)

Aside from our morning excursions to Florence and Arezzo (2 other wonderful cities I suggest visiting), we spent 2 afternoons in the kitchen with Paola, the mama, and Daniella, the translator. We learned to cook many delicious things including Chicken Ripieno, Cacciatore, Cantuccini, gniocchi and fresh egg pasta and Ragu. We also learned a very traditional Tuscan starter known as Timballo; similar to a fritatta with a creaminess given by the addition of beschamel sauce. This recipe is very Italian in its preparation which means no measurements but I'll do my best to roughly approximate what they should be :P Obviously if you have a tried and tested Beschamel sauce recipe fell free to replace mine with it :)

Makes 1 9" pie
  • 5 medium red onions
  • 4 eggs
  • nutmeg
  • 100 mls of milk + 50mls extra
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • white wine
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of stock (beef, veg or chicken)
  • 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 190 C
Chop onions roughly in to medium pieces
Fry gently in some extra virgin olive oil (you can use other oils if you want, I'm just being traditional)
Add oregano and cook until onions begin to go clear
Add 2 tbsps of stock and a glug of wine (no measurements for that, it's really just to your own liking)
Cook for a further 7 mins, until your beschamel is completely finished, adding more wine and stock if the pan dries out too much
For the beschamel sauce, add the cornflour to the 50mls of milk and mix to remove any lumps
Bring 100mls of milk to a near boil in a pot and add the cornflour mixture
Stir quickly to prevent lumps and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

Beat your eggs in a medium bowl and add your onions and beschamel and grated parmesan
Mix and turn out into a 9" tin greased or lined with baking paper.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins; until golden and quite firm to the touch

You can use many different types of vegetables in this recipe; I'm planning courgettes and grilled peppers next.  Use whatever you fancy and happy Timballo making :D