Yes I know you must be wondering where I have been. Well as it turns out I have been trudging through the last of my assessments for my masters degree (fingers crossed). Does this mean I haven’t cooked for the last month. Certainly not, it just means that I have been cooking to eat quickly and haven’t had time to think, plan and photograph my meals and baked goodies. In fact most of my recent food has revolved around large helpings of chocolate eaten at a computer while trying to construct sensible, analytical and compelling arguments about topics that seemed at the time of choosing them incredibly interesting, but now feel tedious.
So at last I have no new classes to attend, no more essays to write and I can cook, read and engage in other purely recreational activities without guilt…at least in the beginning. Already I can feel the apprehension building about looking down the barrel of a new year with no firm goals in mind. The Christmas festivities will guide me through the early months post purpose but then what? Yes mindfulness and living in the present are absolutely skills that elude me, except when baking.
The following recipe came off a magnet given to me by Mutti after one of her and dad’s road trips. The cookies are delicious, chewy, crispy and most importantly big and chunky. I made these the day I handed in my last essay, they are easy to make and remind you how good the simple things can be.
What are your goals? Are you good at living in the present?
Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies
Courtesy of Long Track Pantry Jugiong
- 150 gms of butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined
4. Put all the remaining dry ingredients in to the butter mixture and fold to combine.
5. Using a spoon and your hands form the mixture into balls and place on a lined oven tray. Flatten slightly. They will spread.
6. Cook for 10 mins or until just golden.
Recently I have been going through a little stage of hating people. My faith in them has been seriously undermined by a combination of being exposed to the worst qualities in people in both my work and my social life. It doesn’t happen that often, but a few incidents of poor behaviour in a row and a wealth of stewing on and analysing disappointments can really put me in a mood. So here goes the rant….
People just seem to be prepared to have no self awareness. Let’s be honest no one wants to admit that they can behave badly, but recently I have become increasingly frustrated at people who run away from their mistakes or minimise their involvement. I sometimes feel that this complete unwillingness to be brutally honest with ourselves means that people can engage in some hurtful and often self harming behaviour. We learn nothing and gain nothing when we ignore our failings. We all make mistakes and bad choices, we respond in humanly flawed ways to challenges and humiliations, I think it is how we deal with them that is the measure of who we are and who we will become…. Deep breath….
When I get into my hating people funk I like to spend time with children. I can’t have any expectation that a small child will have any self awareness and empathy, I can’t feel betrayed when they hug me and tell me 5 mins later they don’t like me and I know that all I have to do to win a smile is present them with a cookie. If only everything was so simple. I have to admit these cookies were crunchier than I would have liked but they were still tasty, maybe a little less cooking time would have rendered them more chewy. I also used M&M’s instead of Smarties. Chocolate freckles would be good too.
I brought the cookies along with me for my play date and they did elicit a smile and that smile plus some cuddles went some way to rebuilding my trust in people, plus they look like such happy cookies, how can a world filled with cookies be bad? In the meantime I have to keep practicing acceptance and repeating the mantra the dude abides…the dude abides
Very slightly adapted
Happiness in a biscuit
Do you ever have difficulty accepting things as they are?
I come from a very small family. My extended family lives almost exclusively overseas or on the other side of the continent. This means that our family Christmas traditions aren’t very old. The good thing about this is that our traditions are still young enough for them to evolve, without feeling like a betrayal of the old established ways and Christmas day is generally relaxed. Additional benefits to small family Christmases are:
- Not having to forgo drink because you have to drive to another relatives house;
- Not having to visit people you don’t want to see;
- Only a few well thought out presents to buy;
- Spending the day in shorts, t-shirt and no shoes;
- Being able to break out the good sparkling red without fear of the obnoxious drunken in-laws drinking it all.
While I am the first to sing the benefits of a Christmas without extended family, I do love tradition and larger families seem to have more traditions because of the intergenerational nature of the family unit. Grandparents are keepers of old recipes and family comes together for the making of pudding and the decorating of trees. Considering I am a person who hates feeling like I may be missing out on the good parts of anything….I am happy to avoid the leering drunken uncle and the revolting wild children running through your house… I feel it essential that our little family has its own traditions and I will not hear of them being in any way departed from. In fact I can become borderline hysterical at the thought of one of our traditional dishes not being served. After all I generally only get these dishes once a year! 😦 Christmas is simply not Christmas without Dad putting on Handel’s Messiah in the morning while we drink Black Velvets followed by a late lunch including Mutti’s potato salad, Cold turkey and Cranberry pie and Tipsy pudding, an aptly named dessert if ever there was one.
These biscuits entered my repertoire about 10 years ago. I now make them every Christmas. No amount of begging and pleading for them at any other time of year will break my resolve in maintaining these as a Christmas only treat. It is the Christmas only nature of these biscuits that render them, in my opinion a Christmas tradition. This biscuit recipe was adopted from a cook book put out by my high school. Parents and ex students contributed to the book and there are many great family recipes contained within its covers. The biscuits claim to be Irish Christmas biscuits. I certainly don’t have anything like them in my Irish family and I can’t see anything distinctly Irish about them, but I am happy to claim them as food that is representative of one half of my ethnic background. They are delightfully crunchy thanks to a combination of corn flakes and nuts, and the cinnamon lends a real Christmas flavour. They have become an anticipated baked treat for the festive season.
Coming to a gift box near you.....
Do you have any recipe that only gets made at Christmas? Do you have big or small family Christmases?
Irish Christmas Biscuits
From a recipe by Anne Withnell
- 180 gms butter
- 60 gms caster sugar
- 240 gms plain flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 30 gms of cornflake crumbs
- 60 gms of mixed nuts
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- icing sugar to coat
1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
2. Add flour, cinnamon cornflake crumbs, nuts and vanilla and mix together with a wooden spoon.
3. Divide into small balls, about a teaspoon of dough for each ball and place on a baking tray. Press slightly to flatten.
4. Bake in oven on 180 degrees for 25 mins or until starting to turn golden.
5. Cool and dust in icing sugar.