Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chocolate chip cookies with brown butter and pecans

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I used to pooh-pooh brown butter. Can you imagine? That was until I smelled it and had it drizzled over ricotta and butternut squash ravioli. Now, I’m of the opinion that everything is enhanced, made better, improved a million-fold by it’s mere presence.

The sun has been out in Seattle this week. The sun! This is a big deal. It feels like it’s all everyone is talking about. ‘Have you seen the sun?’, ‘ Are you going to get out and see the sun today.’, hope they sun’s still out when I get home’ . You get the gist.

So this week, in honour of the sun coming out, Cal and I decided to have lunch and snacks outside.

These are Mister C’s favourite cookies! The pecans are all for me though, he’ll pick them out and hand them to me with a “no like it!” and continuing foraging for chocolate. Fabulous for afternoon tea and even more fabulous if you eat them in the sun.

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Ingredients

Inspired by this recipe from the little red house

  • 170g butter (the amount remaining after I browned 1/2 lb butter)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Brown Butter – Based on the Bouchon Bakery cookbook method. 

I bought the Bouchon bakery cookbook while in Napa recently and have fallen in love with their way of browning butter. It’s simple and involves a little more work but I think the results are totally worth it. If you can’t be bothered straining, it shouldn’t make too much difference.

Ingredients/ Materials

  • 2 sticks/ 225 g unsalted butter
  • small heavy bottomed saucepan
  • cheesecloth to strain
  • whisk

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Place your butter in the saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Once the butter has completely melted, begin to whisk to prevent the solids from catching at the bottom. Continue whisky for about 5 minutes as the butter changes colour and the smells becomes nutty and almost caramel-like. The butter will bubble and continue to cook. Once the butter is golden brown (just pour a drop onto a white saucer to check) pour through the cheesecloth to strain. Place in a lidded container if not using immediately.

For the cookies 

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Cream the (solid) brown butter and the sugars until mixed well. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Mix well for a few minutes until batter it light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. With a spatula fold in the chocolate and pecans.
Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet. I used a 2 tbsp. ice cream scoop.*
Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes. They should be lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.

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* I also only baked half. I scooped spoonfuls onto a  paper lined oven trays and popped it into the freezer. I then pulled them out the next day and placed in ziploc bag for cookies that can be baked anytime! Just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time if you’re cooking from frozen.

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Happy Australia Day

Hi lovely readers,

In honour…yes honour of Australia day (January 26th) I’ve put together a list of our favourite ‘Australian Recipes” for the event. This is the kind of food that makes my AUSSIE heart flutter with pride. It also makes the homesickness kick in big time. Especially as I really wish I was sitting on beach in Australia or staring at the Cricket on TV, instead of battling the long, dark Pacific Northwest winter.

ANZAC Biscuits

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Coconut, oats, golden syrup and butter. Need I say more? These treats are names after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. History says that the original ANZAC biscuits were made by wives at home to send to their men on the front as the ingredients contained did not spoil easily.  This means that once made, these babies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Browned butter just adds a little extra depth to this already amazing biscuit.

Melting Moment Biscuits

Sausage Rolls

A friend recently asked my what traditional ‘Aussie’ food was and my immediate reply was meat pies and sausage rolls. I don’t know that they’re uniquely Australian, the English eat pies after all.  But to me, pies and sausage rolls  speak of Australia. Hot pies in metal cases streaming out of the canteen, eating a sausage rolls at a party with flaky pastry covering your face and of course it isn’t the same without oodles of tomato sauce (distinct from high-fructose corn syrup laden tomato ketchup).

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Mango Macadamia Tart

A tribute to one of the most beautiful places in Australia. If you’re ever lucky enough to be on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia, make sure you stop in a little town called Lennox Head. It’s a beach-side hamlet, about half an hour from the tourist mecca that is Byron Bay. I’ve spent some amazing holidays in Lennox, sunning, eating, whale watching, eating, swimming and did I mention eating?

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Friands

A permanent fixture in almost every coffee shop you will see in Australia. Along with the flat whites.

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Passionfruit Melting Moments

Another Aussie cafe fixture. It’s quick, requires such few ingredients and goes perfectly with tea. If you’re not lucky enough to have fresh summer passionfruit, even tinned pulp will work. Just taste as you go as the tinned variety already has added sugar. This recipe also works well with a gluten free flour blend, I tend to prefer a blend that’s more rice/potato flour  based.

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And a few from our friends…

Lamingtons – Sponge cake, dipped in chocolate covered in coconut!

Pavlova –  If you’ve never had a Pavlova, you’ve never lived!

 

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Blueberry and Pistachio Friands

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My husband, the football fan, tells me he’s been accused of jumping on the 12th man (Seattle Seahawks fan base)  bandwagon. Unfortunately, I can understand why people might think this. I can attest to the fact that since the Superbowl win last year the amount of 12th man gear  in our house has literally expanded 20 fold.  All three of us now sport gear regularly and our 2 year old will see the Seahawks emblem and shout “Go Hawks” unprompted. In fact he bonded with a little girl at the children’s museum last week as she was sporting a matching jersey and they shouted “hawks” at each other.  However, I don’t think we can be blamed for the “misfortune” of moving to a city 2 years before they won the Superbowl. Nor can we be blamed for getting caught up in the fever. Not when every second person in Seattle is decked out in blue and green. When “12” is emblazoned across the windows of office buildings all across town and even the T-mobile campus, normally illuminated at night to be  the company’s signature purple, is now glowing blue and green. We’re more lemmings if you will. As such, it has become Mr Firehouse’s priority, and in turn ours, to be home by game time every week. For my part, it’s important to have great sustenance and we cheer the blue and green and why not have blue and green sustenance for good measure.

In most Australian cafes, friands are something as ubiquitous as good chocolate chip cookies are in the US. Amazing, buttery cakes full of almonds and topped with delicious nuts and fruits. They’re small, usually on the pricier side and usually delicious. Raspberry friands are my favourite. However today, in honour of the Seahawks playing this weekend, I wanted to put a little blue and neon green into the mix. Something a little different and perhaps slightly more sophisticated then the themed donuts and cupcakes about the place.

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Ingredients

Based on the Financiers recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

  • 180g. Granulated sugar
  • 60g All purpose/ plain flour
  • 90g. Almond meal
  • 150g. Egg whites
  • 150g. Brown butter still hot *
  • Blueberries and chopped pistachios to decorate

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 425F/200 C and butter 12 friand moulds or 2 twelve home mini muffin tins. In a medium sized bowl sift in the granulated sugar, flour and almond meal. Mix well, making sure to break up any clumps or large pieces.

Make a well in centre and add in the egg whites. Gradually mix the egg whites into the flour mixture, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Add the warm butter in two batches, mixing well after each addition. The warm butter will emulsify the mixture and there will a lovely thick mixture.

Divide the mixture between the moulds, I placed about 2.5 tbsp. in each friand mould and about 1.5 tbsp. in each muffin tin. Place the blueberries and pistachios on top. Raspberries, almonds, blackberries will also work well.  Place the tins/trays in the oven and REDUCE the temperature to 350F/180C. Bake for 20 mins or until the tops are golden brown.

Cool slightly and un-mould before placing in an airtight container. These should keep for a couple of days at room temperature.

 

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Brown Butter – Based on the Bouchon Bakery cookbook method. 

I bought the bouchon bakery cookbook while in Napa recently and have fallen in love with their way of browning butter. It’s simple and involves a little more work but I think the results are totally worth it. If you can’t be bothered straining, it shouldn’t make too much difference.

Ingredients/ Materials

  • 2 sticks/ 225 g unsalted butter
  • small heavy bottomed saucepan
  • cheesecloth to strain
  • whisk

 

 

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Place your butter in the saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Once the butter has completely melted, begin to whisk to prevent the solids from catching at the bottom. Continue whisky for about 5 minutes as the butter changes colour and the smells becomes nutty and almost caramel-like. The butter will bubble and continue to cook. Once the butter is golden brown (just pour a drop onto a white saucer to check) pour through the cheesecloth to strain. Place in a lidded container if not using immediately.

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Sri Lankan Omelette

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I’ve just returned from a frantic 10 day getaway to Sri Lanka. Of the ten days I spent there, I spent 3 mornings at the Hilton Colombo. I followed my long-honoured holiday tradition at headed straight for the omelette station at the breakfast buffet. There, my sister and I found a jolly young chef who announced that we could have a Sri Lankan omelette or a more Western-style number with ham and cheese.  I opted for the Sri Lankan omelette, my sister went for Sri Lankan with cheese. For those of you unaware of the amazing phenomenon that is a Sri Lankan omelette, it’s the usual egg mixture but with onion, hot green chilli, tomato and sometimes mushroom cooked into the mixture rather than inserted as a filling.

” Sit down madam.” he said ” I’ll bring it to your table.” and despite a busy breakfast room full of people, five minutes later my sister and I each had out ordered omelette. And boy was it good!

The next two mornings, we again stopped by the omelette stand and were once again greeted by our jolly omelette chef who not only remembered our order but delivered it to our table without incident.

I’ve been thinking about that omelette ever since and today I finally decided there’s really no reason not to make it at home.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped red onions
  • 2 tbsp. chopped, deseeded, tomato
  • 2 tbsp. chopped mushrooms
  • 1 small green chilli chopped (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add the oil and butter.  When the butter is melted and bubbling add the onions, tomato, mushrooms and chilli. Lightly fry these ingredients until they are softened.

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Season the eggs with salt and pepper and add to the frypan with the onions, tomato, mushrooms and chillis. Tilt the frypan to distribute the eggs evenly.

After egg mixture begins to set around edges, about 25 to 30 seconds, use a heat-proof spatula to carefully push cooked egg from side of skillet toward centre. This allows the uncooked egg to reach the bottom of the  frypan. Repeat 8 to 10 times around skillet, tilting as necessary.
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 Cook until the omelette is almost set but still moist and creamy on top.
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Now use the spatula once again to flip half the omelette over. Slide the cooked, folded omelette onto a plate and serve with crusty bread and butter and bacon if you’re feeling dangerous!
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