“Old Reliable” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

Jump to Notes
Jump to Recipe

Over the years, I have trialed dozens of recipes for Choc Chip Cookies with varying success.  Most of them are too sweet, many are finicky and unreliable recipes, others too chunky or just the wrong proportion of cookie to “bits”. This is the one I come back to. It produces cookies with a nice crunchy texture that will survive a dunk in fresh milk. The subtle vanilla-peanut flavours are perfect with cocoa or fresh coffee too. What’s not to love?

Of course we all know the true joy of cookies lies in their childhood associations. The smell of them baking, filling the house with delicious smells and anticipation. The guilty pleasure of eating the dough or burning tongue and fingers because we were unable to resist them fresh from the oven. They featured on the menus of tea parties, picnics with friends and solitary midnight snacks. Most of all they eased the pain of skinned knees and broken hearts. I have vivid memories of a sympathetic Dad sharing cookies, cuddles and the odd hanky on these occasions. That makes them the ultimate comfort food for me. On the anniversary of his death, I am feeling the need for a little comfort, so I shall put some Bach on the stereo and whip up a batch to share with the Junior Sorority.

Luscious Peach and Raspberry Conserve

Luscious Peach and Raspberry Conserve

Luscious Peach and Raspberry Conserve

Jump to Notes
Jump to recipe

True confessions time.  Peaches and Raspberries are fruits low in pectin, so even the addition of lemon makes it difficult to achieve a set much firmer than a thick, chunky sauce .. which is just fine by me. I reach for a jar anytime I am making Berry Nutty Tart or Apple Berry Flan. I fill muffins with it. I beat it into thick cream to fill sponges or cup-cakes. I put it into smoothies and stir it into yoghurt. However by far the most common fate is poured over ice-cream. Try it, you’ll see I am right.

Berry Nutty Tart

It's as good for you as it looks and tastes

It’s as good for you as it looks and tastes

Jump to Notes
Jump to Recipe

Fifteen years ago I came home to find Beloved curled in a fetal position in our shower, moaning in pain. It was not the first time I had seen him thus during the previous year, not even the twentieth time, but this was the worst and I was scared. When I managed to help him to a sitting position I went from scared to horrified at the realisation that his Doctors had got it terribly, terribly wrong. An incipient stomach ulcer doesn’t turn the whites of your eyes a pale, dirty yellow. I grabbed his dressing gown with one hand and his ear with the other. I am not talking figuratively here .. I mean I literally grabbed his ear and “helped” him to the car against his protests that he wasn’t that bad. A few traffic-law-violating minutes later I marched him .. by the ear .. up to the the Triage Nurse in the local ER. She took one look at his eyes and hit the Big Red Button. Hours later he was in surgery to remove the necrotic remains of his Gall Bladder and a sizable chunk of his liver. Don’t be too hard on the man. This was late Friday afternoon and he was due to start his shiny new job on Monday morning. I was very pregnant with Angel at the time, so I had just had to resign my job. Money was tight and the new, well paid job was something we desperately needed. However, had he not sought help when he did, he’d have been dead by Monday. It was a very sobering thought.

Herb and Olive Salt Baked Trout

Succulent and perfect Trout

Succulent and perfect Trout

Jump to Notes
Jump to Recipe

I love our local Farmer’s Market. The emphasis is on fresh and local produce, so each Market is slightly different from the one before, as fruits and vegetables come and go in their appointed seasons. It’s a culinary adventure, a treasure hunt every week. One of the stalls I usually make a bee-line for is a Mariculture Farm, specialising in Ocean Trout. Their Smoked Trout is utterly divine, a staple on grazing plates and savoury platters. Their fresh fish often graces our table at Clan Gatherings, replacing the Sunday Roast. Indeed I can almost guarantee that Eldest Daughter will miraculously appear at our door a few seconds after I pull this dish from the oven!

Moroccan Lamb “Tagine”

Moroccan Lamb "Tagine" cooked in a Crockpot

Moroccan Lamb “Tagine” cooked in a Crockpot

Jump to Notes
Jump to Recipe

One of our favourite low-fuss recipes for a cold Winter night is adapted from a Northern African dish cooked in a conical earthenware pot called a tagine.  I don’t have a tagine, or the charcoal fire it sits in, but that hasn’t stopped me pressing my crockpot into service to produce a satisfying facsimile. Close your eyes and let the rich aroma carry you off to the kasbah 🙂