More Brownie Action, Ugly Cookies

September 09, 2005

I had another go at Nikki Shell's excellent Brownie recipe, with some modifications this time. I even took photos I think, and may post them this weekend. Basically, I added more chocolate and cut back on the sugar a bit, and a teensy bit more flour. I was really happy with the result and will try them again soon.

I also tried a wafer thin yet very rich cookie from delicious magazine, which I also photographed.. This was a big hit and I'll definitely make it again.

So, will post those things shortly!

Posted by lee_taylor at 05:12 PM | Comments (4193)

brownies made, vic market visited

August 26, 2005

I went to vic markets bright and early before work this morning and bought

fruit: passionfruit, kiwi fruit, mandarins
veg: cucumber, asparagus
nuts/legumes: 250 mixed nuts, 250g spicy hotel mix, plus some minestrone bean mix
chicken: 4 low fat chicken and veg rissoles, 2 "Italian roll ups" - chicken thighs stuffed with ham and cheese in a napolitan sauce, 300g of organic italian meatballs (these looks so awesome), 500g chicken tenderloins
deli: 200g sliced jarslberg, three dips (spinach and pinenut, tomato and fetta, capsicum and eggplant), a few dolmades and some stuffed minature sweet chillis that look awesome

I have to rejig my meal plans for this week a bit since I walked away with some things that weren't on the list but that were too yummy to pass up!

I also got a few things from the party supplies store including a 50 pack of little plastic containers for putting salad dressing or little bits of sauce in, which I've been hoping to find for ages. Plus a couple of plastic noodle boxes that would be perfect for packaging bikkies or other little gifts, and some curling ribbon.

I carted the whole lot plus my work handbag which included a big batch of brownies I baked last night for Mash's birthday, all the way back down to work which is about 25 minutes. It was heavy and I came back sweaty! and rewarded myself with a nice excessive breakfast of coffee with two sugars and toasted ham, cheese, and tomato sandwhich with butter. YUM! And I have an orange and pineapple juice from the markets for later.

The brownies are from the recipe I mentioned here. I put in about 150g of walnuts and about 100g of choc chips instead of all nuts. They are too rich and sweet for me, but I will see how others like them! (Mental note, adding extra chocolate without reducing the sugar was my mental folly!) If I make it again I will try cutting the sugar down to 400g, and maybe a little more flour. Perhaps 180g instead of 140 (although I didn't trust my measurement yesterday, using an analogue scale that looks different depending what angle you are standing at. I must get a digital scale one day. It would be good to get one for my birthday actually). Also I cooked them for about 65 minutes to get a knife to come out clean where the recipe indicated 40 minutes! So I might need to cook them at a higher temp next time, my oven is probably a little weak. They came out extremely fudgy and extremely sweet, probably a lot of people's wet dream of brownie so I am looking forward to seeing the reactions. I dusted them with icing sugar which I love the look of but rarely do.

Update: these were absolutely adored at work, I think next time I will still cut down the sugar but leave everything else the same. In other news I found a digial kitchen scale for $45 on the weekend and snapped it up.

Anyhoo, going to the market before work is a great idea and I will definitely do it again on weeks that I can delay starting work till 9am. It was great being there without a big crowd as well! They had some nice looking flowers too that I would have picked up if I didn't have so much to carry already :)

Posted by lee_taylor at 10:43 AM | Comments (3516)

Makin' PIzza

August 07, 2005

Using the fabulous instructions from Billy Reisinger : The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Making Your Own Pizza : A Guide for the Pizza Amateur, M and I had a go at making our own this weekend, with pleasing results.

Makin' The Dough

I was a bit nervous about getting the water temp right, but it seemed to work out ok. It needs to be hot enough to give the yeast the warmth it needs to grow but not too hot or you'll kill the yeast.

The sugar and the yeast in the bowl.

Adding the water.

After the yeast and water has been left for about 10 minutes.

After the salt and oil has been added, working in the flour one cup at a time.

Kneading the mix, and beating it for good measure. Adding flour as I go.

I added a bit over half a cup of extra flour all up.

My dough ball.

My dough ball, flattened out (I didn't realise I was supposed to keep it as a ball, but no matter), rubbed with olive oil and covered in glad wrap.

The dough has risen after being left in the sun for an hour. hurrah.

The dough is broken down into portions and refigerated.

Garlic & Herb Pizzas

Since living in Melbourne we often have garlic pizza instead of garlic bread. Our most local (down the street) pizzaria and restaurant make pizza we're not too fond of.. except for their garlic and herb which we often have on the side of our main dishes there. It is flavoursome and has a lovely texture from the course salt flakes, so I've tried to approximate something similar here.

Here I've diced a really large garlic clove (about three normal ones would replicate), added about 1/2 a teaspoon of dried oregano, and some course salt flakes, and left to infuse for a few hours.

The oil mix, spread accross a small piece of dough I'd rolled out. So hard to make it circular!

After ten minutes at 210 degrees C.

This was really delicious. It could have been cooked for another two minutes I'd say - I was worried about burning the garlic but it just browned nicely. The only problem was the course salt was way too salty, so I'll give that a miss next time and just put a wee bit of regular salt on.

So yum, it was, that we made another, with the leftover oil and garlic mix! I forgot to press on the dough with my fingers before topping this one, and it puffed up. But still very yum!

Hawaiian Salsa Pizza

For our main pizza we wanted to replicate something I ate last weekend, a hawaiian pizza with tomato salsa as the base, topped with ham, pineapple, and mozarella. We used old el paso tomato salsa with a medium heat, on reflection mild is probably more suited to this..

Action shot : M throws ham onto the pizza.

Ready to go into the oven..

After about 12 minutes at 210c we took it out. It was still a little soft in the middle.. not sure whether we need to raise the heat, or the cooking time, or roll it out thinner.. I rolled it out as thin as I could, but it was tough! But the taste... delicious! We made another one later with less salsa, more cheese (cheese below and on top of other ingredients) and added olives.

We will definitely be doing this again! And I still have enough dough leftover for two small pizzas, so I am going to pop the dough in the freezer for another time.

Posted by lee_taylor at 12:14 PM | Comments (2362)

Choc Chunk Cookies

July 21, 2005

I just made these cookies again. I may rewrite the recipe for posting at some point, that one I copied from a word doc from the person who emailed it to me and there have been a) some translation problems and b) the comical reference to a kitten is a bit confusing and c) I use it as a base recipe with lots of variations so would be good to include them. The recipe makes between 80 - 100 cookies depending on size, I've just cooked 24 and packed up the rest in several batches for the freezer.

Usually the chocolate I use is a 375g bag of nestle choc bits. Today I used some cooking chocolate discs in white, regular and dark chocolate I had in the cupboard so they are triple choc chunk cookies.

Sometimes I make the whole dough up, break into parcels, and put different stuff in each, like some choc ones, some coconut and apricot and white choc ones etc, yum.

I am coming to the end of my two days off that I was going to use for some serious planning and organizing but have done none of either so far. Have been mostly sitting around, knitting, and watching not very good tv! I watched super size me again yesterday though which is very good and went out to buy Fast Food Nation, but there was non in stock so I bought Morgan Spurlocks book instead. I wonder if he has a blog? I have rethunk my less blog reading strategy.. I think what I should do is cut down my craft blogs to a manageable number (which I have, more or less) and then include some other blogs.. Maybe a programming one or two, a trading one or two, and some others.

Anyhoo, I'm going to go take a photo.. Here you are.. My wendy dennis yarn rolled into a ball (looks much better huh?? I got some strange looks from the photo of the hank, admittedly from non knitters), the packages of dough, and the baked cookies.


Posted by lee_taylor at 03:44 PM | Comments (634)

Packet Jam Drops

May 29, 2005

Saturday arvo cooking project. Quick and easy from a packet and Michael helped me by putting the jam in.


Betty crocker mixes are usually really great but I'd just rate these "good". I'd probably want to try a jam drops recipe from scratch before making these again. (Does not stop me gutsing them down)

Posted by lee_taylor at 12:53 PM | Comments (2142)

New stuff, relish to make, and soup

On Friday I went to supply and demand in the city and for around $15 bought a huge maxwell williams white salad bowl, a small 250ml glass carafe, and six relish/storage jars. What a bargain. Here are the jars, they have got me thinking it's time to have another crack at relish or chutney, esp now I have my great new large stockpot (which I didn't blog about but should have - it was $35 from a junk store in footscray and is the best stock pot ever). In fact they are so cute, handy, lovely, and retro looking, with the six pack only abotu $2.60 I think I'll go back and pick up a few more. Especially as home made chutney and relish makes such a great gift (once I get the recipe right). On that note if anyone has any never fail excellent recipes please send them my way!


Here is the bowl, housing about 8 serves of last winter's big hit, my part italian part mexican spicy low fat skinless sausage, veg, and a bit of everything soup stew. I will put the recipe up this week, it's one of those that are subject to many modifications and is quite different each time I make it, but the basic threads holding it together guarantee that it is always fabulous (which makes for a truly easy, successful dish). It isn't quick though - you can't have everything.


I'ts also generally not that pretty, though when you serve it with some parmesan or mozarrella on top, that helps, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley would top it off nicely in that regard also. Luckily the smell is insanely seductive so anybody you're serving it too is going to be in an extremely positive frame of mind before they see it.

And it's cheap. I make it and freeze it so Michael and I can take it into work for lunches.

After making the soup I felt keen for some bikkies!

Posted by lee_taylor at 12:40 PM | Comments (2725)

It's been a while.

April 20, 2005

So I'm not so good at this whole blogging thing! But today I am going to totally blog! I've just taken a bunch of photos and stuff and I am going to put them up.

Things to show off
- my new overlocker
- clapotis number two started
- new jean greenhowe knitted toy books
- new bendi shade card and leftover clapotis yarn
- finished french market bag, and pictures in progress
- Local lincraft closing down, stock totally gutted but was able to pick up a couple of bargains at 75% off today

and since I was taking photos, some cooking I'd just done! and some tops I'd just bought! All to be found in the extended entry so click-ez-vouz!

French Market Bag

french market bag from knitty. Modified the pattern significantly using 8mm instead of 4.5 or something like that specified in pattern. Shrunk the pattern down 4/5 in terms of stitches, but with much bigger needles it's come out much bigger of course. I used two strands of cosy wool held together, colours from stash (leftover from the cancelled kyoto!). It probably used eight ish balls all up.

All was going incredibly well and it had only taken less than a week when I got to the handles I wasn't paying attention, miscounted significantly (so I think I counted correctly then subtracted 20!) and everything went horribly wrong. So I ended up just casting off everything I could where I could (I won't explain the detail but it left me with millions of ends to weave in later).
I ended up just sewing a simple handle of my own design and making a knitting basket.

As my first felting experiment using yarn from stash, I'm happy enough. Considering Bendy rustic in one colour (probably red) and a considerably different shape for the next one, and I'll be doing it very soon me thinks. On the felting note, it was as simple as it sounds. Put in lingerie bag. Put in washing machine with a towel. Wash, and check every 10 minutes! I ended up having it in about 30 minutes. Next time, I'll err on the side of shrinking too much as it does stretch a bit when you are stuffing to the shape you want.

Stuffing it was probably the hardest bit - would be much easier if you had something the right shape to just let it dry on. I didn't, so I put clothing in lots of plastic bags and used them all to stuff it. It took two days ish to dry, longer than I expected..

anyway here's some photos.. starting, pre felting, and finished!




New overlocker!

I uhmed and ahhed after this for a long time and then finally bought it. $399 reduced from $599 in the janome sale. Haven't used it much yet though I have wanted to but been very busy. I am sure there will be lots to come v soon. Threading it was an extremely arduous task.

Clapotis # 2 started on Sunday

Not much to say yet. The yarn arrived from brooks farm last week (actually i think it was the week before). The colourway is beautiful, mostly browns and pinks (does not look at all like this picture) and it is very soft. I was not planning on getting started immediately, but with FMB off the needles so quickly and me yet to decide on yarn for the next, it's started! I am wearing clapotis # 1 practically every day at the moment and love it more every day.



This afternoon I cooked, and since I had the camera out.. I made Nikki's Zuchini slice (rechristened bacon quiche) .. I made 4/5 of the standard recipe as I only had 4 eggs, and it all fitted perfectly in my blue flan dish I bought during a xmas visit to Perth a few years ago, when I wanted to make a lime tart.

That was for our tea with a nice big greek salad, and I also made a big lasagne for tomorrow nights dinner. And, some anzac cookies. I looked on the web and found heaps of very similar recipes, will add a link to the one I used a bit later. I just made one batch as a test - will probably make a double or triple batch this weekend [anzac day!] to send in to my and michael's work. After we munched on a few and I gladwrapped some for Elizabeth our cleaner who is in today, M took the rest to work.



Jean Greenhowe Knitted Toy Books

I ordered these from the shearing shed in Canberra. I really wanted them! Will have more to say about them once I get onto a pattern or two.



Lincraft haul at 75% off

So they are closing down my local lincraft. They finally put some stuff on sale but that was after getting rid of all the yarn and fabric (must have found a buyer to take the whole lot) they had hardly anything left. But, today I did find the following for less than $15 all up! dpns in 5 and 6.5mm, a sewing book I had coveted but wasn't willing to pay $40 for, and some google eyes to use for my knitted toys in the future.


More Shopping

I also bought some generic wash and wear tops from suzanne gray and two new belts from army surplus. Yay!


New shade card from Bendi, leftover yarn from clapotis # 1

Was very exciting to receive this new shade card from bendigo wollen mills. I love bendi, that's where my alpaca was for clapotis # 1. This is how much yarn I had left over from two balls - quite a lot. I think I will make a matching hat. Just a plain one - not the clapotis hat over at that blog I can't think of right now..


Posted by lee_taylor at 06:16 PM | Comments (4940)

Kyoto Progress Report # 2

February 20, 2005

As mentioned am making this in khaki green, pale pink and cream (stripes) from lincraft cosy wool. It is my first project from a pattern!

Finished Front Left & Right, Upper Back. All pieces have been blocked and top shoulder seams done this arvo. I haven't woven in any ends yet though and it occurs I probably should have done these prior to blocking.

In the back section I have three sets of ends where I've changed balls mid row instead of at the ends. I am not too good at changing balls yet and for some reason feel more comfortable doing it mid row. That accouns for one of them - the other two were were faults in the cosy wool crept up on me and tore apart just as I was about to wrap it around my needle.

Just started a sleeve, going to make these cropped 3/4 type sleeves in keeping with the cropped theme. I had started two rows of the sash in a very slow attempt at the double seed stitch, I am getting rid of this and will work the sash by picking up stitches once the sleeves are done and sewn in. I will probably need to make the sash considerably longer than specified after seeing how short everything else has come in so will have to pick up another ball or two of the pink cosy wool I'll be using. After the sash comes collar and finish, but I figure the absolute best case for the two sleeves is two weeks and best case for the sash is probably another two weeks, so all that's a while away.

This was my first time seaming and trying to follow instructions for a neat backstitch. I achieved the backstitch if not a neat or even one, so that's better than nothing!

Posted by lee_taylor at 04:08 PM | Comments (233)