Category Archives: Cookies and Bars

Brutti ma Buoni — ‘ugly but good’ cookies (or, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose)

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Four ingredients and ten minutes later, you’ve got cookies!

One thing that has become apparent in lockdown, especially now that the Twins are doing their schoolwork at home, is that everyone needs a computer nowadays. It’s surprising how much I use mine when I think I’m actually doing something else, like cooking, or gardening, or even just reading; I need to look things up, or write things down, constantly, obviously. After forcing our children to basically live the life of Luddites (no phones until you’re 12 years old, no electronic games until you buy them yourselves, very little TV, and definitely no computers when you don’t need them for school, which up until now they didn’t), we are now seeing the following: Continue reading

Easiest Cookies Ever (Peanut Butter or Tahini)

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Gluten-free, dairy-free, a doddle to make, and still delicious!

This past weekend, Anna and I ran a pop-up café at the Crux Craft Fair, which is a brilliantly run annual fair promoting great quality handmade crafts. Do I have any pictures of it to show you? No. We were so busy cooking that it wasn’t until 4:00 on Sunday (an hour before the entire shebang ended) that Anna and I were able to get out of the kitchen to see everything on display.

This is the fourth year we have run the café at the fair, so we knew this would be pretty much how it went. What we didn’t know was that, despite Continue reading

14 August 2015

Garden Minestrone with Basil Cashew Pesto (V)
Old Fashioned Potato Salad (GF)
Cabbage, Fennel & Mint Salad (GF, V)
Caramelised Onion Bread (V)
Triple Chocolate Cookies

(Dishes that have a link to a recipe will be underlined. The others will – hopefully – have recipes coming soon!)

Triple Chocolate Cookies (Or, A bit of luck!)

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Three weeks into the kids’ summer holidays, and I’ve been bandying the word “staycation” about quite a bit. I’m hoping that the kids can grasp the difference between what they are doing every day this summer and what they would normally do on, say, any old weekend, but to be honest, it’s all pretty much the same. The Author and I have got even less of a staycation, having to work most of the month of August, but we have managed to carve out little bits of time to do holiday-ish things as a family.

Still, it’s been a mixed bag all around. Sun, wind, cold, visiting cousins, leaving cousins, boredom, sleepovers in a tent in the rain, movies, beach, bickering, river, moor, lice. What next? Continue reading

Berry Crumble Bars (Preserving the best of summer)

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I have an old photo of me and my sister taken at the Jersey shore. We are two small children in the surf, holding onto something that looks like a tow rope at a ski slope, and the waves are swirling around our calves. We are lightly browned with shockingly blonde hair, and we are both squinting into the sun with huge smiles of delight.

I don’t remember the particular day that photo was taken, but I do recall other particulars of those summers. I remember my mom driving the three of us to the beach, with my sister and me sweating in the sweltering and sticky back seat of the Karmann Ghia, even with the windows rolled all the way down. I remember also how delicious a picnic tasted at the shore; peanut butter and jelly – despite the inevitable addition of sand – was so sweet and satisfying, potato chips seemed to be made deliciously saltier by the sea air, and fruit always seemed juicer when eaten on the beach blanket within the sound of the crashing waves. I remember reading on the beach, and then when I got too hot, bouncing around in the waves for hours, so that when I finally lay in my bed later that night, my body still seemed to sway with the power of the surf.

I like to believe that entire summers were made up of these moments, but I know that there were also days of idle boredom while Continue reading

Hansel & Gretel Cookies (or Another Use for Breadcrumbs)

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The Author has noted that I am on a cucina povera kick. Possibly he is noticing more about how I am cooking because he is in the middle of writing a novel about Greece in WWII, which includes details of the famine,  but to be honest, I don’t think I’m ever not on a cucina povera kick. I love the simplicity of ingredients and the cleverness necessary to make a good dish out of them. It’s kind of like piecing together a puzzle, but with the difference that you can eat the results.

Aside from that, I have what you might call a mental rolodex of recipes (not all of them thrifty!) that I would like to create or recreate. This is built on dishes I have eaten and loved, recipes I’ve seen and thought looked enticing, or even ingredients that I like and want to use in new ways. Like a real rolodex, the one in my head turns around and around and around, and sometimes, in the never-ending cycle of all these possible recipes, I get distracted from the original intent and get excited by other things – like these cookies.  Continue reading

Orange Pistachio Biscotti

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To paraphrase Shakespeare, some cookies are made great, and some cookies have greatness thrust upon them. I think that biscotti are the latter.

With very few ingredients (what, no butter?), biscotti seem like cookies born of deprivation. A biscotto* is a cookie that is hard, dry, and looks very much like toast. Truly, there is not much to recommend it. But have it with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of red wine, or vin santo (my favourite), and you have achieved cookie perfection.  Continue reading

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars (soon to be off the allergen list?)

Granola Bar closeup

Lately it seems that dietary guidelines are switching back to advice that our grandparents would recognise: make food with ingredients you understand, and then eat it. And when you’re full, stop eating.

Of course this makes me extremely happy. I’ve lived through enough restrictive dietary trends to know that they don’t make me anything but miserable.  Continue reading

Blondies (the new health food?)

goodness on a plate

According to some sources, like me, these count as part of a balanced diet.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my mother read an article that stated almonds had all sorts of health benefits. (My mom was very keen on healthy food, and later went on to cook up all sorts of things for us from Adelle Davis‘ “Let’s Eat Right To Keep Fit” and “Let’s Cook it Right”. Which meant that we had to have wheat germ on everything, powdered milk became a commonplace ingredient [why? WHY?], and we for some godforsaken reason had to have Brewer’s Yeast in our orange juice. The Author reports that his own mother went through a similar healthy food tyranny and says that every day before school he was fed a spoonful of malt extract with cod liver oil. Now that I think of it, I got off easy.) But back to the golden years…  Continue reading

Fig & Almond Spirals

done!

The Author is urging me to put on my boots and go out with him. But I’m sitting here by the fire, with the warmth of my laptop to keep me cosy, and by contrast, it’s not exactly inviting outside. Minus 10 Celcius, to be exact.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, our cold weather is pretty inconsequential. We barely have a frost, the water in the wheelbarrow has only a skim of ice on top, and the palm tree is alive and well. Really, when some of you are braving temperatures of -20F, it’s quite churlish of me to complain.  Continue reading