lemon cranberry scones

I decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year.

It makes me a little sad, because I really really really enjoyed the whole process last year of discovering a whole book within me and trying, teeth gritted, white-knuckled, to extricate it and put it on paper. It’s still in unfinished, unedited, partially untyped form. Continue reading

chocoate chocolate cupcakes

I’m writing a novel.

I have always loved to write. I started this blog to write, and I made it a food blog because I love food. I love to make it and I love to share it. And National Novel Writing Month has given me that same opportunity in a completely different way.


Continue reading

spicy hermit cookies

This is called procrastination, people. When you have at least one and a half thousand words to go until you hit the target for the day (25,005 words on the 15th – it’s hump day and it hurts) but you’ve hit writer’s block (hard. ouch) you write about… well… spicy hermit cookies.

It’s National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day. Don’t ask me where, I was just procrastinating, I mean getting lost in the beauty of, I mean, reading Sweetapolita’s blog when she linked me to this site where they have a directory listing of National Dessert Days. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s predominantly US based but they do have National Peach Melba Day (January 13) so there’s hope for us Aussies.

So what, exactly, is a spicy hermit cookie? Well, I searched the interwebs, the fountain of all knowledge, and found this particular recipe on the Joy of Baking. Apparently, they’re called hermit cookies because they keep well, so they’re good to squirrel away, like a hermit, for later.

And they’re spicy.

I didn’t have all the proper ingredients, so I improvised. But they are just as good as real ones, I promise. (She says, having never tried an actual spicy hermit cookie.) Improvisation is encouraged in baking.

Try them! They’re good, I promise. And they’re good for procrastination, too. They are really easy to make and it’s fairly simple to swap some of the ingredients around if you don’t have them on hand.

Spicy Hermit Cookies

Adapted from the Joy of Baking (not to be confused with Joy the Baker.)

Ok, so I didn’t have allspice, so I swapped in ginger and nutmeg. I didn’t have raisins, so I swapped in sultanas. I skipped the dates and used slivered almonds instead of pecans. They’re still good. And a perfect cookie jar cookie.

115g butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bi carb soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup raisins

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, bi carb soda, salt and spices. Fold into butter mixture in two batches. Fold in fruit and nuts.

Drop tablespoons of mixture onto the baking trays and bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let completely cool, then eat with cold milk or store in amazing cookie jar for future munchies.

avocado orange salad

Just a quick post because I’m supposed to be writing a novel.

This post is about SALAD! Salad is good for you. Spring and summer are all about the salad, kind of like winter is all about the soup.

[It’s good to be writing something that has nothing to do with my novel. I’ll be getting back to it soon, though.]

I love this salad so much I’ve had it three times since I discovered it on Joy the Baker’s beautiful site. ┬áThere’s so much you can do with it!

I don’t have a photo of the first time because I took it from my sister’s camera and I forgot to get it from her. But it had sesame seeds scattered over and buttermilk in the dressing. We kind of had to scoff it down though because we went to see a movie together, after we’d been to Camberwell Market and bought pretty shoes. And daisies.

The second time, I had it for dinner. As did I the third time. (watching episodes of Firefly for the first time. Where were you my entire life, please?)

The dressing makes a lot but that’s an excellent excuse to make it again. And again. And again.

The first time we went pretty traditional, just swapping the romaine for baby spinach (I heard you kinda like it) and switching up the dressing a tad, adding some of the thousands of sesame seeds she had in her cupboard. The second time, I had greens from the garden and an orange and half an avocado and it was really good.

The third time, the ONLY photos I have because I just discovered I lost my photos from the second time, I had baby avocados and blood oranges and flaked almonds and rocket from the farmer’s market.

I love farmer’s markets. This one, I was kinda tired because I’d had a girl’s night the night before. [girl’s nights are fun. Also, bourbon gives you courage. It’s a good thing.]

So make salad. If you need a pep talk, try Tea and Cookies. Joy has some good salads too.

Or you can just make this one a few times, or a few times more or a few times more after that.

Avocado and Orange Salad

Adapted from Joy the Baker

As you probably could tell from the descriptions I gave you of my other salads, you can do a lot with this one. I still want to try it with romaine lettuce, maybe with some different citrus. Grapefruit, lime, tangerine, mandarin. Chuck some cashews on top? You’re a genius. I love you. Put an egg yolk in your dressing? (Just as long as you aren’t pregnant! If you are, congratulations, but don’t eat raw eggs. Yet.) I’m going to give you Joy’s recipe, my method, and implore you to use your own imagination.

Have fun, salad eaters!

For the salad:

1 large head of romaine lettuce

1 navel orange, segmented

2 ripe avocados, sliced

a handful of fresh, chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

For the dressing:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

2 teaspoons honey

1 egg yolk (or 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

To segment the orange: Slice off the top and bottom of the skin so that the flesh shows. Use a knife to slice the skin off the sides, moving from the top down. Slice in between the natural segments at an angle, and you will find a segment pop out.

Roughly chop and rinse the lettuce, and shake dry. Scatter the segmented orange, sliced avocado and any other bits and pieces you want to over the top. Drizzle with dressing, and scoff down voraciously.

To make the dressing: Place all ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper in a jar. Place the lid on and shake well. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Twist the lid tight and shake well. Drizzle over your salad. The dressing will last a few days in the fridge, probably up to a week.