mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Month: February, 2013

Banana bread

Tough enough to slice and toast, to survive a lunchbox, not enough fat to count as a cake and an excellent afternoon tea for growing kiddies. Banana bread, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it yet.

First, take two squishy bananas. Hang on a minute, where did they go? I do think that in this age where everything is glossed over and practised and polished and photoshopped it is time for a little honesty. There I was, all ready to make banana bread. But the squashy bananas that were at their bread making peak were gone. There was only one explanation. The cleaners had chucked them in the bin. I love never having to mop my own floors, but I do think that the rubbish sorting message is not getting through to the more recent arrivals to our shores, including those with the invidious job of cleaning my house. They have in the past chucked my compost, school notes, all the recycling, odd socks, coat hangers and a cheque in the red bin. This time they had gone too far. I marched out to the bin, dear reader, and retrieved those two bananas. Yes, I did. They were still in their skins after all, but I rinsed them anyway and you’d never know what a traumatic few days they’d had. Don’t tell my children.

So, take two bananas that have had a hard week and liberate them from their blackened skins into a mixing bowl. If you happen to have a KitchenAid, then get it beating at a reasonable speed and those bananas will be squashed into oblivion, leaving no unexpected chunks. Then you can toss in all the other ingredients. These are, in no particular order, two cups of flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of mixed spice, three quarters of a cup of brown sugar, a quarter of a cup of wheat germ, a quarter of a cup of milk that the kids are complaining is starting to smell a bit off (or buttermilk), 60 grams of softened butter and two eggs. Mix it up and scrape it into a baking paper lined loaf tin. Bake at one hundred and fifty degrees Celsius for about an hour and half.

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Fills those tummies and uses up the fruit that I’m pretty sure they don’t eat on purpose so I’ll make it into banana bread.

Spag Bol

It’s one of those afternoons in the car on Wednesdays, I have to pick up a kid at ten past four, at half past four and at five o’clock. Different kids, also different schools. This gets me home at about five thirty, so I need something quick for dinner. Pasta will fit the bill, even though I’m anticipating a “not pasta AGAIN! Didn’t we have it last week?” from the Muffet who is putting in some excellent moaning practise for when she is a teenager next year.

Everyone has a spaghetti bolognese recipe and I’m sure none of them would be recognisable in Bologna. My one has had some input from actual Italians, so I thought I’d share. The first thing is that the meat is a minor player, and it is pork and veal mince. The second is that if you’re going to put garlic in it, you put in a smashed clove, and you pull it out before serving. Some nonnas just cut a clove in half and rub the pot with it. The third is that you cook it for ages. This isn’t just a recipe you can prepare ahead of time. It’s one that you really should.

The one I’m making for tonight is a double serving so I can freeze half of it. I finely chopped two rashers of bacon, sometimes I chuck in some superannuated salami slices and pull them out before serving, I want a bit of a smoky flavour. Add in a chopped onion and about two hundred grams of pork and veal mince. I guess you can use beef if that’s all you can get but you may want to consider moving somewhere more multicultural. Cook it over a medium heat for a bit, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. If the meat sticks a bit, add a splash of olive oil.

Move the pot to your smallest burner. Add a smashed clove of garlic, a chopped stalk of celery and some bay leaves. I never know if they add more flavour, I like to think they do and it makes me feel all continental. One day I’ll have to get hold of some fresh ones. Add two tins of tomatoes. I’m using Italian ones, because that’s all they stock at our local IGA, and most locals buy them by the pallet. Stir it about, put the lid on and leave it over a low flame, stirring occasionally, and turn it off when it’s time to go and pick up the kids. At this point your house will smell extremely fragrant and passers by will be leaning over your front fence for a sniff.

About twenty minutes before I serve it I’m going to put it back on the heat and add in a whole lot of sliced mushrooms, because I like them. I may also put in a fresh chopped chilli. Just before serving it I’m going to stir through a large bunch of chopped continental parsley and then I’ll feel like we’re getting our greens. I’m going to serve it, not with spaghetti, but with fresh fettuccine from the local pasta guy and freshly grated Parmesan.

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I have got the kids to the stage where they’ll eat pasta with cooked broccoli and raw diced capsicum stirred through it. They’re all very anti tomato though, so this one will be an adults only dish. Yes, I know I should make them try it, but I know now which battles to pick, and it isn’t this one.

Wrapped with annoyance and frustration

Well, it lasted all of two months. It’s not like I flogged it, we only made a few milk shakes, some almond meal, some pistachio meal, a whole lot of slushies, breadcrumbs, two jugs of lime syrup, about a kilo of icing sugar, many Boost Juice knockoffs and about eighty fruit iceblocks with it. Then on the weekend, things always break on the weekend, I made a milkshake that I couldn’t help notice was oozing slowly but surely onto the bench top. My new blender was leaking.

I rang Sunbeam today and they helpfully suggested returning it to the shop with my receipt. That’s never going to work. For a start, who buys that kind of stuff from the shop in this day and age? I got it from Kitchenware Direct. I went on to their website in an attempt to remember my login and possibly get some receipt type information. I clicked the “forgot your password’ button. They sent me an email that contained a helpful link to a pixelated photo of a champagne bucket. Finally I called them, and they were very helpful and said they’d have it back and would send me one that didn’t leak all over the benchtop. They emailed me a packing slip to stick on it when I packed it up so I wouldn’t have to pay postage. They suggested that they’d quite like it mailed back in the original packing, but understood if I didn’t have it any more. I don’t have it any more because the Horror from Outer Space made a Minecraft hat out of it, then burnt it, and anyway who saves packaging?

An industrial strength blender is not an easy thing to pack up. Fortunately we still have a large amount of the box that the barbeque came in, so I spent a sweaty hour crumpling up P&F minutes for packing then wrestling the cardboard and about a kilometre of packing tape around my defective kitchenware.

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The end result seemed fairly secure and I didn’t hear any rattling when I shook it. It didn’t look terribly professional and I was pleased not to get the man at the post office who always purses his lips at my packaging. I’m fairly sure it contains many of the ants who have been making a pilgrimage across my kitchen bench for some weeks now and I hope they enjoy their trip to Western Australia.

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Of course the kids are very put out not to have a milkshake for afternoon tea and have started rationing the remaining fruit iceblocks. I had planned to do some peach and raspberry ones, but we’ll just have actually eat the peaches now, and that’s not nearly as much fun. I hardly ever used a blender before getting this one, but now I use it nearly every day. I’m pretty sure Thermomixes don’t start leaking after two months. But I don’t want one of those.

Better Choc Mint Slice

It’s been a long day, and I’m now officially only treasurer for one organisation again. I could blog about the Oscars, but I didn’t watch them and haven’t seen any of the movies nominated except The Hobbit. I think Twitter does a pretty good summary, and it really looks like metallic is having a moment, doesn’t it? I wish velvet would, also fluffy hair, but heigh ho.

What I wanted to tell you about was that I’ve had another crack at chocolate peppermint slice, and I really think I’m getting there. I’ve done more of a pastry base this time, with a kneaded peppermint fondant and a much harder chocolate topping. I’m also rather pleased to have come up with a recipe that uses one egg white and one egg yolk, I never get around to using leftover egg components.

The base is adapted from one in my perennial favourites, The Good Cookie. They suggest it as a good base for slices, and they’re right. You put in your mixing bowl one cup of flour, one third of a cup of caster sugar, one third of a cup of cocoa powder and 125 grams of cold butter and mix it until the whole lot resembles breadcrumbs. You then chuck in an egg yolk and two teaspoons of cold water and mix until the whole lot starts to come together in a dough like fashion. Press it into a baking paper lined slice tray and bake for about twenty five minutes. If you weren’t doing a chocolate base, you’d use one and a third cups of flour and no cocoa powder, and would probably add in half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and you could also bake until it starts to brown, but you’re not and you can’t, so don’t.

Meanwhile make the peppermint fondant. Beat the leftover egg white until soft peaks start to form, or you get bored, whichever comes first. Beat in two cups of icing sugar. Add in some peppermint essence. I used half a teaspoon, but next time I’ll go crazy and use a whole teaspoon. The fondant will taste minty enough on its own with half a teaspoon of essence, but I think you need more to go with the chocolate. You will have formed a soft dough, which you turn out onto your bench top and sprinkle it with more icing sugar. Knead it like bread dough, you’ll be dissolving the sugar crystals and making a smoother feeling mint layer. Press it onto the cooled base.

I would then leave it lying about somewhere for a few hours, or overnight. Somewhere the ants can’t get to it. The mint layer dries out, which is what I’m after, you may prefer it wetter. Then you spread it with 170 grams of dark chocolate melted together with thirty grams of butter. Harmonie, not Pepe Saya. It’s turned out to be a pretty good ratio, it gives a chocolate layer you can cut without shattering, but not too melty. I would usually melt the chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl over boiling water, but I got a bit daring and did it over a low flame in a little glass saucepan, stirring constantly. I got away with it too, and it was easier to scrape out of the saucepan. With the heatproof bowl I never feel I can get all the chocolate out, I have to wait for it to set and then scrape it out and eat it with a teaspoon and that sets a bad example for the children.

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Perhaps not quite the canonical recipe yet, but much closer.

Swimming

I’m not surprised the Australian swim team were taking drugs, swimming laps is very very tedious.

I have a lot of reasons not to swim for exercise. My hairdresser doesn’t approve, for a start. He can tell if I’ve swum in the previous week, he’s more a hair whisperer than hair dresser, and has given me a whole system for protecting my hair against the evils of swimming pools. I have trouble not thinking about all those bodies in the water, all the oozings and flamingos goddamn you auto correct, not flamingos, flakings. It’s all very erky. Also I have a gym membership, so it hurts a little to scoop six dollars fifty out of the bottom of my handbag for non gym exercise.

But I’m STILL not allowed to walk for exercise, and running is so far out of the question that my sport doctor just gives a hollow laugh when I mention it. I like my pump classes and cycle classes, but they’re on at nine thirty and this morning I was child free at seven forty five ante meridian with a well equipped indoor Olympic pool right around the corner. It was like fate.

Because it’s so very tedious I break it up into five lap chunks. A freestyle, a backstroke, a freestyle, a backstroke and then a reward lap of breaststroke. I don’t know how anyone does all freestyle, it’s bad enough my way. And because it takes a bit of psyching up on my part to not only get to the pool, but to get in as well, I like to spend a bit of time there. I do thirty laps. I spend a lot of that time pondering the peculiarities of lap swimmers.

I don’t get flippers at all. If you’re swimming for exercise, why do you need flippers? Why why why? Probably half the swimmers today were using them, and not for stroke correction or anything, just to go a bit faster. It’s like putting a motor on your bicycle, fine if you’re trying to get somewhere but useless for exercise purpose. I’ll never get up the courage to ask someone, so if you know, tell me.
Then there’s the age old conundrum of the slow, medium and fast lanes. This pool has suggested lap times for each lane. I don’t know about you, but my vision is just good enough to kind of work out vaguely what time it is from the clock on the wall, I have no way of knowing how fast I swim a lap. I think to be in the fast lane you need to be wearing a swimming cap, but apart from that it would seem that all bets are off. I go in the medium lane, if you’re interested.
Is there a name for that stroke where you lie on your back and kind of do a breaststroke kick with you feet?
Isn’t lap swimming in a bikini uncomfortable?
Is there really any point overtaking me if you’re going to hit the wall at the same time as me?
Do you really need to keep hydrated with your fancy water bottle every few laps?
Don’t get me started on aquarobics, fortunately I was done before that started this morning.

Anyway, I’m glad that I did it, even though now I can’t lift my arms above my rib cage and I smell like I’ve been bleached. I should do it more often. But not often enough to buy a pass.

Viennese Shortbread

The Horror has decided that I’ll be reproducing his favourite cafe treats. We’ve succeeded with the pistachio friands. The chocolate chip biscuits still need work, but are acceptable for the moment, especially as the cafe up the road from school has started stocking them again. How about Viennese shortbread then, hey? And what about baklava?

I have a phobia of filo pastry so no baklava for the foreseeable future, but Viennese shortbread seems doable. I’ve never understood why people like it, it’s two stodgy biscuits sandwiched together with some red flavoured plastic and dipped in dubious chocolate at one end. I think it’s because I keep a fairly close eye on the Horror’s chocolate intake, he can pretend he’s eating a biscuit, when he’s actually in it for the chocolate.

I found an excellent recipe which worked perfectly, a bit unusual for the net. It is this. Cream together 220 grams of butter with 55 grams of icing sugar. I highly recommend the Pepe Saya butter for this recipe. Go nuts with the creaming, you’ll probably need a machine for this. I will eventually review the KitchenAid, just hold your horses. Cream in half a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Mix in (gently does it) 55 grams of corn flour and 170 grams of flour. Let it rest while you go and mark up the attendance records for your choir. Now comes the tricky bit.

Have a think about Viennese shortbread. It has a distinctive shape that can only be produced with some kind of piping arrangement. Knowing this I popped out this morning and purchased a syringe style piping mechanism. It only had icing nozzles, rather than batter nozzles, but it looked as though it would do. I loaded it up with the very soft dough, it really was almost a batter. The wretched thing disintegrated almost immediately. Look.

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Utterly useless. But I had to find a replacement for the plunger, that batter needed piping and I had a coffee date coming up. I looked around the kitchen for something that might fit into the barrel. Tiny schnapps bottle, no, rolling pin, no, dogs ear wash, no thank goodness. Off to the beading table. Aha! Empty spool of artistic wire fit perfectly, you can see it behind the torn plunger in the photo. I had to push it down with my muscular thumbs, but it worked a treat. Because it was an icing nozzle I had to lay down a triple width to make a nice sized biscuit.

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Bake those at 160 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until pale golden in colour. While they were cooling I dashed off an opprobrious email to the distributors of my self destroying syringe. They emailed back almost straight away saying that such a thing had never happened before in the illustrious history of their company and I should return it straight away for a new one which would most certainly not collapse immediately on me. Hah.

Anyway, when the biscuits are cool, get out some jam. Not fancy stuff, you want a smooth thin layer. Also melt some chocolate in a heatproof bowl over boiling water. Jam pairs of biscuits together. The dip the end in melted chocolate. Very gently. These biscuits are fairly delicate, you may want to spoon the chocolate over them. Place them back on the baking tin and stick them in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

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They may look like the Viennese shortbread you get in cafes, but they are so so very much better.

School Camp

Everyone is excited about school camp. The Muffet, because she’s the one going and is the least sentimental of my children, she won’t miss us even slightly. The boys, because there’ll be no more arguments about what to watch on TV. Us parents because of the lack of fighting when any one of the three is removed from the group. But then there’s the Camp List…

It’s more a treasure hunt list than anything else. They’ll only be gone two nights. Yet here I have a closely typed A4 page of essentials to be packed if you don’t want your daughter to die of exposure. They’ll be staying in a cabin one night and a tent very close to the cabin the next, but that hasn’t stopped a whole group of parents with only one overprotected daughter being convinced that they’ll be eaten by bears. Or worse, get all muddy.

Muffet has a father who has actually been to war, so is very excited to be packing some of his Army kit. The sleeping bag, the camelback water pack, the sleeping mat, the giant waterproof bag are all khaki. Also one of those shawl arrangements that men in Afghanistan wear over their heads when caught in a sandstorm, you never can be too prepared. But what child of twelve whose feet are going up a size every six months has more than one pair of sneakers? I can’t buy the ones in Kmart for four dollars, they may well dissolve if they get wet. It’s Volleys from Target for the spare set of shoes in the pack. I wasn’t planning to get her new track suit pants until winter, so she’s also going to have to put up with ones from Target as well rather than the velour ones I was going to have to go on a quest to find. Thermal underwear, oh come on. Next. Torch, I’m sure we have one somewhere, I may have to pay the Horror two dollars to find one for me. Plastic plate, bowl and etcetera, we definitely have a picnic set somewhere that someone gave us for Christmas about ten years ago, or possibly as a wedding present. Two fleece jumpers, no way. I did go up to the Kathmandu outlet store to get her a zip up fleece jacket that is so bright that she may not need that torch, but I wasn’t buying two. She won’t wear jumpers, none of my kids like pulling them over their enormous heads. She’ll have to pack a track suit top or something.

I thought we had everything covered until she tells me this afternoon that she needs mid length shorts for wearing under a harness. I suggested she borrow a pair of the Horror’s, they’re a similar size. Her reaction indicated that she may have misheard me and that she thought I suggested she actually eat his shorts. We may have to do some work there this afternoon, there’s no way I’m going back out to the shops. Undies, sunscreen, insect repellent, framed photograph of her brothers, all checked. We’re nearly ready for camp.

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In defence of Housewifery

Society has started to raise its eyebrows at me and go “So. When are you going back to work?” And after a great deal of thought, hours on seek.com and LinkedIn and many coffees with the girls, I’m just not. Have you seen the kinds of jobs offered to people like me? People who would like to work part time, with a bit of flexibility around swimming carnival time, who have been out of the workforce for fifteen years? I’ll tell you so you don’t have to find out for yourself. Admin, reception, maybe sales. Back when I had a real job I was an IT manager. I have a PhD in statistical mechanics. In my most recent volunteer position I’ve become an expert on the not for profit sector, including the various legal entities they can take on, GST obligations, super obligations, reporting obligations, their relationship with various government departments and different acts of parliament that govern their behaviour. Ah, but I wasn’t getting paid for that, was I. So it doesn’t really count. I can get a job opening the mail and doing the filing. Or making phone calls to sales prospects, the thought of which actually brings me out in a blotchy rash. The message is that if you want a real job, girly, you’ll need to do real hours and show real commitment. Well, up yours, workforce. I don’t need you.

Of course it’s easy for me to say that, because I happen to have a workaholic husband with a brain the size of a planet, so we’re fairly tidily off financially. I’d be going back to work so I could have conversations with adults and have performance assessments and be useful to people I haven’t actually grown in my own body. It turns out that the easiest way to achieve those things is to get into volunteer work. Nudge up against anyone in a committee and they’ll grab you with both hands and before you know it you’ll be booking the Town Hall for a Verdi extravaganza, hiring a sixty piece orchestra and organising public liability insurance. Just speaking from my own experience there. Seriously, I have found that being on school and community committees has been extremely nourishing to my soul, exercised the atrophying brain and made me a lot of friends in many walks of life. So that’s taken care of.

The actual housework stuff isn’t so bad either. We got a cleaner very early on in our marriage, it saved us many a futile argument and I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have OCD. So all I do is shop for food almost every day, wash clothes, go on quests for obscure musical instrument parts, prepare food and sew capes. The kids never take processed food to school except for bread, and I’m working on that. I also have the time to drive the kids to and from school when their timetables don’t clash and I highly recommend it. You have them captive for twenty minutes and there’s a lot you can learn in that time. I believe I’m the only mother of my acquaintance that has an almost fourteen year old son that still gives me a full and frank report of what he’s been up to at school every day. I can also go to school assemblies when an offspring is singing a song about a cloud or receiving a piece of paper for not biting anyone on the leg this week and sports carnivals, even though that isn’t my favourite thing in the world. Then when the kids are home I’ve done all my household administration and am free to shout at them for jumping on the lounge and answer difficult maths questions.

There’s nothing in the housewife book to say it is a female role. Or that it’s a role that must be present in each family. It works for us and I don’t think it makes me less of a modern woman. I just wish I didn’t blush when people ask me, inevitably, what I do and I answer straight up that I’m a housewife. I must work on that.

Hot Cross Buns

I’ve waited until February to make them. Yes, it is very distressing to see them in the shops before Australia Day. I like having a bit of usually pointless seasonal rhythm to my baking. Fruit cake at Christmas. Hot cross buns in Ent. Curse you iPad autocorrect. Lent. An Ent wouldn’t eat a hot cross bun. Actually, that’s it really, everything else I make year round.

This is one of those just bung all the ingredients together recipes. I’m pretty sure it’s a Donna Hay one, and I haven’t even played with it at all, it’s good as is.

I sometimes think I should start a YouTube channel for a real cooking show. There’s a gaping niche there. Today it would go like this. Search for metal bowl, not the one with the rubber bottom because we want to put it in the oven. Realise it’s in the fridge and it’s full of chicken stock. Rummage in the pantry for the Glad mini zip locks I decant half cups of chicken stock into to put in the freezer. Discover three empty boxes. Toss these in recycling. Realise recycling is full and take out same. Etcetera. That’s how real people cook, nobody ever has everything all lined up in glass bowls before they start.

Anyway, once you’ve washed your metal bowl until it doesn’t smell of chicken stock any more, place in it the following ingredients. Twenty grams of fresh yeast and a cup and a half of milk. Get in there with your fingers and squish the yeast until it has dissolved into the milk. Go wash your hands. Now add the rest. Four and a quarter cups of flour (sounds a little fussy, I grant you, you could definitely use four cups, then add the rest when you’re kneading), two teaspoons of mixed spice, two teaspoons of cinnamon, an egg, a cup of sultanas, half a cup of currants and fifty grams of melted butter. Mash all that together until you have a sticky heterogeneous lump, then dump it onto a flour covered workbench. Dust it with a good handful of flour and start kneading. The recipe suggests to keep going for eight minutes, but not even I’m anal enough to time myself and besides, I did a pump class this morning. You knead it until the dough feels smooth in between the fruit, but still a little sticky. It will have sucked up a bit of flour by then.

Wash the mixing bowl and tip a little oil into it. Wipe it around and place the dough back into it, you can now leave it to its thoughts if you have all day, or if it’s hot, but I don’t and it isn’t, so it’s going in the oven with just the light on. Wait until it has doubled in bulk, then get out that roasting pan that I seem to make everything, or a jelly roll tin if you have such a thing and line it with baking paper. Divide the dough in half, then in half again. Take one quarter and stretch it out so it’s like a very fat sausage. Divide that in three and shape each bit so it’s round and place it in the tin. Repeat until you have twelve buns. Cover it with a cloth, and back under the light. After about an hour they should have risen to be all squashed together.

Take a mini zip lock bag and place in it one third of a cup of flour and a quarter of a cup of water. Mix it around until it has combined, then seal the bag. Snip off a tiny corner, about half a centimetre. Squeeze lines of flour paste across the buns to form crosses. Or any pattern you like really. They spread out, so don’t get too fancy.

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Bake them for about forty minutes at one hundred and eighty degrees. As soon as they come out of the oven brush them liberally with sugar syrup. You make sugar syrup by putting a quarter of a cup of sugar in a tiny saucepan with about an eighth of a cup of water and heating until the sugar dissolves. You don’t really have to do this, but it does make them very shiny.

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Yes I know my crosses suck. Let this be a lesson to you, children, don’t let your mind wander when making the flour paste. Also, if you drop some on your toes you’ll notice a bit later when you’re picking the kids up from school that it looks as if your pedicure has gone mouldy.

Standard Chocolate Chip Biscuits

When I was a new mum I leaned towards the “chocolate? I may as well feed my children broken glass dipped in arsenic” school of thought. Don’t deny it, you’ve been there. And gradually, year by year I’ve been worn down by shopkeepers giving the kids a bit of chocolate, school teachers handing it out, relatives sneaking it to them, the kids finding my secret stash, Easter. Now I’m looking for any way I can to hold them between coming home from school and dinner. I’m not at the point where I’d buy them a chocolate bar, but I’m on that slippery slope.

I was looking for the classic chocolate chip cookie. Actually, I was being nagged by the Horror to find the recipe for those big ones with the twenty cent sized choc chips that you get in nicer cafes. Specifically the cafe near his school which we sometimes frequent in the morning after dropping the Moose off at some ungodly hour. Well, that cafe doesn’t stock them any more, I don’t know why but I’m guessing that too many of them were breaking in half. Fortunately the Horror has grudgingly agreed to have a croissant instead, so I can still enjoy their delicious coffee, but he wanted that cookie again. This recipe is just listed as chocolate chip cookies in my Pillsbury book of family recipes, but it’s very close indeed to the classic Toll House cookie recipe.

Cream together 170 grams of butter with a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of white sugar. Mix in an egg and a teaspoon and a half of vanilla essence. Mix in 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Mix in half a cup of dark chocolate chips. Flatten apricot sized chunks of dough onto a baking paper lined tray. Press into each biscuit a large dark chocolate chip. I thought it would be too fiddly to use the big ones all the way through, you don’t get an even mix.

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I use the Belcolade chocolate drops for the big ones, the Callebaut for the small ones. Bake for ten to twelve minutes at 180 degrees, or until golden on top.

Of course they’re not exactly the same as the ones at the cafe, they’re slightly softer. The Horror, in the interest of science, had to have two to make sure they weren’t the same.

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I should stop caring what he thinks. But it’s hard to resist a tough audience