Halloween Weenies (Frankfurts)

Time for a Halloween story. And let’s make it in third person…

There was a time, long, long, ago, when our author, Triple J, was a primary school teacher.

She worked in a festering, corroded school on the edge of a bewitched forest. The forest was filled with ninja scarecrows, child-eating snails, razor toothed bunny-rabbits, poison dart canaries and other friendly creatures.

The children at the school were all rotten. They screamed, kicked and spat at not only each other, but also the teachers. In fact, not even razor tooth bunnies escaped their wrath.

It was third term, and Halloween was approaching. The teachers were not looking forward to this day. The students would run wild and be uncontrollable in their hideous costumes.

But one teacher (that teacher being Triple J) had had enough of the students’ monstrous behaviour and she was going to do something about it. So she went home Halloween Eve and carved herself a magical jack-o-lantern.

The next day at school, Triple J placed the jack-o-lantern at the front of the classroom.

“No-one is to touch this jack-o-lantern,” she told the class.

Triple J actually knew, that if she told the class not to touch the magical pumpkin, then surely everybody would! Reverse psychology works wonders on children.

After addressing the class, Triple J turned her back to write on the blackboard. As soon as she did this, little Johnny, the most cunning of all students, got up out of his seat and stealthily crept towards the jack-o-lantern. Triple J heard the creaks of the floorboards as he progressed forward and smiled to herself, for she knew what was about to happen.

Little Johnny reached the jack-o-lantern and snickered with delight. Who was this teacher kidding? Did she really think she could stop him from touching the jack-o-lantern? What a down right fool, he thought.

When he reached the jack-o-lantern, he stretched out his arm, with extended fingers, and stuck them right in the jack-o-lantern’s mouth.

CCCCCRRRRUUUUUNNNNNCCCCCHHHH!!!!!!!

The mouth of the jack-o-lantern snapped shut and bit poor little Johnny’s fingers right off. Such tough luck for Johnny, the evil little child, he was now fingerless for the rest of his life! Johnny stood motionless, mouth agape, as he watched his fingers fall to the floor, where they wriggled around like slugs for a while.

Then something even more magical happened. A wave of golden light swept over the offensive school. It changed from a mouldy, dark hovel to a sparkling mansion, pristine and bright. The bewitched forest became a land of rainbows and bubblegum and the children transformed into considerate and polite little beings. That is…all except for little Johnny.

Nobody knows what happened to this little rat-bag. He was never to be seen again. The school however, kept Johnny’s fingers encased in a glass dome at the reception area. Every day, when the students entered the school, they would see Johnny’s fingers and be reminded of what could happen to them, if ever they chose to be naughty and petulant.

THE END

NOTE: there is only one truthful fact in this story and that is that Triple J was once a teacher. All other settings, events and characters, if you haven’t guessed, have been slightly falsified! But in the name of Halloween, embellishment was totally necessary.

How to Make Frankfurt Halloween Fingers

This idea was taken from this website

Ingredients

Cocktail frankfurts

Whilte onion

Tomato sauce

Directions

1.) Cut a small section off the top of the frankfurt, this is where the nail will eventually go.

2.) Cut three grooves half way down the frankfurt, this will be the knuckle

3.) Cut the onion into thick slices, then cut the slices into slightly triangular pieces. Put the onion and frankfurts into boiling water for a few minutes. As they boil the fingers will bend slightly. They should look like the image below…awesome!

Oh and don’t turn your back on them or your cat will eat them. My cat has magic powers, that’s why his eyes are so green…true story.

4.) Put some tomato sauce on the tip of the frankfurt, where you initially cut off a chunk. Then put on a piece of onion…that’s your nail. Drizzle on some more tomato sauce around the bottom of the frankfurt if you like, make them look real bloody and spooky.

WHIRLIGIGS

I’m back…

It’s been 3 months since my last post. No excuses, just uninspired. But that’s all changed for two exciting reasons.

1.) My favourite boys from Baked have a new book out (Baked Elements - buy it here) and…

2.) My fave food blogger (Katie Quinn from What Katie Ate) has released her first ever cook book.

If you don’t know this already, I’m telling you now, one day I’ll have my own book. Not a cook book, but a story book about food, with recipes included. I won’t tell you too much, because I don’t want you steal my ideas!!! But the bottom line is…I’m re-inspired by these amazing, talented foodies. It’s time to pull my finger out and be PRODUCTIVE!!!

And I’m kicking it all off with a poem.

May I present…WHIRLIGIG

(By the way…a Whirligig is a cookie…it’s the character in all the photos you’ll gaze upon below)

WHIRLIGIG

Whirligig, Whirligig where have you been?

Have you been to London to visit the Queen?

Have you been to Aspen to ski down a slope?

Or the Vatican City to hi-five the pope?

Whirligig, Whirligig what have you done?

Have you been to Madrid to find a bull to outrun?

Did you go crazy in Vegas and destroy your liver?

Or fish for salmon in a wild Canadian river?

Whirligig, Whirligig what’s that you heard?

The hoot of New Zealand’s kakapo, a very rare bird?

Perhaps a yodeler, yodeling from atop a Swiss hill?

Or your screams when you bungeed, just for a thrill?

Whirligig, Whirligig who have you seen?

Did you travel back in time, smoke a ciggie with James Dean?

Did you spy Dolly Parton, Mick Jagger, Tom Cruise?

Or see Lindsy Lohan then get wasted on booze?

Whirligig, Whirligig you’ve been around this great world,

Causing trouble, making mistakes, all havoc has unfurled.

Whirligig, Whirligig you’re bonkers, but I don’t judge.

You inspire me and make me proud cause you give life a good nudge.

WHIRLIGIG RECIPE

By who else but the boys at Baked.

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE WHIRLIGIGS

INGREDIENTS

For the Peanut Butter Dough

2 1/4 cups plain flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

170 g (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cool but not cold (oh and the better the quality the butter, the better the cookie…deadly serious when I say this)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I actually omitted this, not sure if it makes a difference)

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Filling


340g (12 ounces) good quality dark or milk chocolate…your choice…I used half milk and half dark

1/2 teaspoon of light corn syrup (if you have it…I didn’t as we don’t really use it in Australia, so I just left it out)

METHOD

1.) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2.) In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, oil and peanut butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. beating until incorporated.

3.) Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add half of the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated: do not over mix!! Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

4.) Transfer the dough to a cool, lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap the dough in parchment paper, then in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 3 hours. The dough can be made a day ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

5.) Flour a rolling-pin. Line a work surface with a piece of parchment paper about 14 inches long, dust the parchment with a sprinkling of flour, divide the disk of dough in half, and roll out one half directly on the parchment into a rectangle about 24cm (9 1/2 inches) long by 19cm (7 1/2 inches) wide and about 1cm (1.2 inch) thick.  If the dough is too thick, it will be extremely difficult to roll up. Transfer the dough, keeping it on the parchment, to the refrigerator to firm up. Repeat the rolling process for the second half of the disk and refrigerate.

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE FILLING

While the dough is chilling, melt the chocolate on a double boiler or in the microwave. Whisk until smooth, then set aside to cool for a few minutes.

ASSEMBLE THE ROLL

Remove 1 sheet of dough from the fridge. Drizzle half the chocolate over the surface of the dough and spread with a spatula almost to the edge. Make sure the chocolate coverage is good and hearty, but leave a 1cm (1/2 inch) strip with no chocolate on one of the long sides of the rectangle and double up the chocolate on the opposite long side – this will be the centre of the cookie. Using the parchment paper to help you, slowly roll the dough into a log, starting from the long side of the rectangle that has double chocolate. (The paper should not be inside the log but used as a tool to help create the log.) Once the dough is rolled, keep it wrapped in the paper, then wrap tightly inelastic and refrigerate. Repeat this process with the second sheet of dough.

Chill the logs for a least 3 hours or up to 24 hours, until the logs feel very solid; if they do not feel solid, they probably need to be refrigerated for a few hours.

If you don’t want to use both rolls, put one in the freezer and save for a later date.

MAKE THE COOKIES

Preheat the oven to 180 degree C (350 degrees F). Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Unwrap the logs and place on a cutting surface. Dip a nice in very hot water and cut the log into individual cookies, about 1cm (1/2 inch) thick. Place on prepared baking sheets. If they get a tiny bit disfigured in the cutting process, you can use your fingers to reshape the cookies slightly; if the chocolate breaks or spills out, you can gently push is back in place.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Do not over bake these cookies – remove them from the oven the second they start to brown.

Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 mins. Then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.

Whirligigs can be stored at room temp, tightly covered, for 3-4 days.

Haloumi and Smoked Chicken Salad

Have you all heard of a cheese called Haloumi?

It’s a salty Cypriot cheese generally made from goat’s and sheep’s milk. It has a really high melting temperature which means you can grill it and it still holds it’s shape. So clever! According to Wikipedia, Haloumi has been around since the Medieval Byzantine era…whenever that was. But Haloumi wasn’t always called Haloumi. In fact, it only adopted this name about 10 years ago. Let me tell you how this Cypriot cheese became known as Haloumi. It’s a story that involves a very dear friend of Triple J’s…

Triple J has a friend named Hal. Hal is a pig. Hal is a flying pig. Say hello Hal.

Hal the flying pig

“Hello!”

Triple J has known Hal for many, many, many years. He just kind of appeared one day when she was about 8 or 9. Triple J remembers it so clearly…

She was playing cricket with her Dad in the court she grew up in. Her Dad hit the ball over by a neighbour’s letterbox. When Triple J went to pick it up, she noticed Hal just hanging out on top of the letter box.

“Hello flying pig,” she said.

“Hello little girl,” the flying pig answered back.

And that was that. The flying pig told Triple J that his name was Hal, and Triple J told the flying pig that she had three names – Jennifer, Jenny or Jen.

Now most children would be surprised to find a flying pig on a neighbour’s letterbox…but not Triple J. She had always believed in flying pigs. You see her nickname was Pigasus. It was a nickname her daggy, but beloved Dad had given her when she a very young child. Her nickname was Pigasus for two reasons:

  1. She had been quite a rotund child…to put it nicely…and loved to eat finger buns and cupcakes. Hence the pig section of her nickname.
  2. She was mesmorised by the mythical flying horse Pegasus. Hensce the “asus” part of her nickname.

Now let’s do some basic algebra here – Pig + Asus = Pigaus

Pigaus equals a flying pig. Because she had been called this for so long, Triple J just thought that flying pigs were the norm. In fact she’d been waiting her whole life to find one.

Anyhow, Triple J and Hal became best of friends. They had many wonderful adventures together. Maybe I will share some of those with you one day in another blog post.

Hal was a funny little pig. He loved, loved, loved life…even more then Triple J had loved finger buns and cupcakes. Many things in life surprised Hal, and when they did he was known to say, “Oh me, oh my!” He said “Oh me, oh my”, for many different reasons.

For example…

When he saw an intergalactic robot exploding with sour straps…

Robot exploding with sour straps

…Hal said, “Oh me, oh my,” because he thought robots exploding with sour straps were  pretty awesome.

When he saw a small child dressed in a duck suit sitting by a pond…

Child in duck suit sitting next to water.

Hal said, “Oh me, oh my,” because he thought it so unfortunate that anyone would ever make their child wear such a disturbing costume.

When he saw a mother and daughter stuck in an 80’s time warp…

Mother and daughter in 80's attire

Hal said, “Oh me, oh my,” because he  thought they both clearly needed a hair straightener.

“Oh me, oh my,” was Hal’s catch phrase.

One day, a few years back now, Triple J and Hal were sitting down to a late lunch. They’d been so busy all day training stray cats how to use hula-hoops (cat’s are very slow at learning new things, they don’t have the right attitude for it). Triple J and Hal were exhausted and extremely hungry. They decided to try something new, something they’d never tasted before. The waiter suggested they try a fresh salad topped with a delicious grilled cheese, “The cheese even squeaks when you eat it,” he’d told them. Triple J and Hal liked squeaking food, so they took the waiter up on his suggestion.

Flying pig eating a salad

“Oh me, oh my”

And let me tell you, it was the most wonderful suggestion anyone had ever made. Hal was so delighted with this scrumptious squeaking cheese, that he started yelling out, “Oh me, oh my,” at the top of his voice. All the dining patrons turned to look at Triple J and her flying pig friend.

“What is all the commotion?” they asked the waiter.

The waiter explained to them that there was a flying pig called Hal yelling out, “Oh me, oh my,” because he was so in love with his Cypriot cheese.

The customers thought that if a flying pig loved this cheese so much, then surely they would too. And so they asked the waiter…

“Can we try some of this Hal-oh-me-oh-my cheese too?”

The whole restaurant started calling the cheese Halohmeohmy cheese. Which over the years got shortened to Halohme. And then a posh French chef accidentally spelt it wrong on the menu one day, and now it’s called Haloumi.

And that is how a squeaky Cypriot cheese became known as Haloumi.

Now before I go, let me share with you the very same recipe for the salad that Hal and Triple J ate on that very historic day.

Recipe – Haloumi and smoked chicken breast salad

Haloumi and smoked chicken salad

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes – I used heirlooms to get a variety of colours

Stale bread – any sort, but sourdough or ciabatta work best in my opinion

1 red or yellow pepper cut into four flat pieces

Couple handfuls of rocket

100 g sliced smoked chicken breast – I buy it from Aldi but you can also get it from Woolworths or delis

About 100g haloumi cut into 1cm slices – rinse the slices under cold water otherwise the cheese is way too salty

1-2 tablespoons of pesto – I used chilli pesto but you can use whichever pesto you prefer best

Seeds of half a pomegranite (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Put cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut bread into 1cm chunks and toss with lots of olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on a separate baking tray.
  3. Bake tomatoes in oven for 25mins or until they are soft and looking delicious. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, put your bread into the oven as well. The bread needs to be looking golden and crunchy. If you don’t think it’s golden enough, leave bread in the oven for longer.
  4. Put peppers under the grill and grill until their skins turn black. Remove from grill and wrap the peppers in cling wrap for about 5 mins (they’ll sweat in this little sauna making it easy to peel off their skins) then unwrap and peel off skins.
  5. Pan fry halloumi until golden on each side. About 3 mins each side should be plenty.
  6. Toss together the rocket, sliced chicken, tomatoes, peppers and croutons with at least one tablespoon of pesto. Use more if you wish…I did.
  7. Put on a plate and top with grilled haloumi. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

The Best Scones in the Entire Galaxy

This blog is about a planet very familiar to you all…it’s the planet Earth.

Let me tell you some sciency facts about this planet of ours we call home.

If you traveled to outer space in a rocket, this is actually what the earth really looks like.

The earth’s width measures 12,755km across

Earth is one of nine planets (I refuse to believe Pluto is not a planet) and is third closest to the sun.

30% of Earth’s surface is covered by land and 70% by water

The Earth has one moon and it is named Luna

The Earth is, in fact, not really round. It is called an oblate spheroid meaning it’s slightly flattened on the top and bottom poles.

There are 10 million species of life on earth!

There are approximately 7.025 billion people inhabiting this planet.

So kids, interesting facts right?

Well let me tell you one more. Did you know that the earth is 4.54 billion years old? Whoa, that’s older then your Nana!

In all of those 4.54 billion years, some amazing things have happened….

Civilisations have been and gone.

Empires have ruled and been overthrown.

Living species and creatures have thrived and then completely disappeared.

Amazing discoveries have been made…

 The laws of motion

The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson Partical

Penicillion

Darwin’s theory of natural selection

This list could go on forever…

Higgs Boson

Amazing inventions have been created…

The Airplane

Velcro

X-ray machines

The telephone

And my favourite…the KitchenAid

KitchenAid

Yep, no doubt about it, this planet of ours is insane!!!!!!! (oh and that’s in a good way)

But, after all these years, we…the 7.025 billion of us…are still trying to master one very simple activity.  It doesn’t require sending people into space. It doesn’t involve loads of expensive tools and machinery. It certainly doesn’t need hours of preparation and research to create.

What could this simple activity be?

Well, it’s the activity of making the perfect scone!

I have heard a million stories of horror and disaster when it comes to making these little beasts.

            They don’t rise

            They’re hard as rocks

            They taste like rocks

            Etc

Well let me shed some light on this problem. And by light, I mean a solution. I have made the discovery of all discoveries. Can you imagine how Howard Carter felt when he discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb? Well multiply this by 1,461 and you will know exactally how I felt when I deiscovered a recipe that made the perfect scone. A scone that’s delicate, flakey and insanely buttery. It’s so delicious, that you can even eat them without any jam or cream…and I know this to be true, because that’s what my housemate told me. These scones rise so high, that they even begin to topple over in the oven when you bake them…no word of a lie. Look for yourselves.

Scones that rise so high, they topple over in the most delicious way.

I found this recipe in the SBS food magazine called FEAST. It’s in Issue 10 and a man called Matthew Evans created it…what a legend!

Here’s the most important tip when making these scones, and I’m going to write this in capital letters because it is so, so, so, so important. It’s the secret to the crisp flakiness that makes these scones so bedazzling.

DO NOT FINELY RUB THE BUTTER INTO THE FLOUR. WE NEED CHUNKY

BITS. CHUNKY BITS ARE GOOD.

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Buckeyes

Do you remember our dear friend, the lone banana (from a previous post), who rode in on his trustworthy jersey cow to save the residents of Bananville from their own retched misery? Hmmm, I can see some of you shaking your heads, which means you haven’t read the story, or you just darn forgot. So go refresh your memories here if you can’t remember.

Anyways, there’s news in the world of our dear banana friend. He’s still roaming the planet, saving one distraught critter at a time. And he still ambles along life’s pathways on his loyal companion– the jersey cow.

However, our lone banana friend was involved in a horrific accident and it has jeopardised his critter saving duties. Let me tell you how this dreadful accident occurred.

It was a bright winter morning in Bananaville. Being the middle of winter, the weather had been most disagreeable; rain, thunder, wind and storms. But upon this particular morning, the weather Gods had decided to shine down a piece of appreciation on the world. They drew back their gray clouds like curtains, and let the sun cast down its magical rays. All the bananas of Bananville turned their faces skywards and drank in the warmth and vibrancy of the golden sun’s rays.

“Today is a good day to take leisurely stroll on a jersey cow,” declared our lone friend.

And so that is what he did.

Out in the meadow, with autumn leaves still littering the ground, our lone friend felt at peace with the world. While in his reverie, our banana friend observed the activities of the meadow. He looked over yonder and saw a squirrel playing Frisbee with a wombat. To the left of yonder he saw a magpie beside the pond, playing backgammon with a duck. And to the right of yonder, he observed a badger reciting poetry to many other meadow-like creatures. Yup, the sun had resuscitated all of Bananaville’s inhabitants and the village was sparkling with verve and vigor.

However, all that was about to change…

There had been a light breeze blowing that day. It was cold and crisp, like most winter breezes are. At precisely 2.17pm, this breeze started to turn into a gusty wind. And it was when the wind changed, that tragedy occurred.

The wind blew into our lone friend’s face and picked up his hat and threw it into the distance. And in this instance, our banana friend lifted his eyes skywards to trace the pathway of his air-bound hat. That’s when he saw it. At first he just noticed a long, skinny orange foot hanging from a branch of the nearest tree.

This observation got him excited too, for there was a beautiful, rare and exotic bird species known in this part of the world, that had long, skinny orange feet. These birds were known as the Rare Skinny Orange Foot Bird. There were only about 8.75 of these bird’s left in the whole entire world and our lone banana friend thought maybe, just maybe, on this glorious winter’s day, that he was going to be lucky enough to spot one.

But no, unfortunately it was not the Rare Skinny Orange Foot Bird. It was something most least expected. While it was still rare, it was anything but beautiful and exotic. It was one of the wild animals from 6 villages to the North.

Recently, on the odd occasion, they had been infiltrating Banaville. These animals were harmless, but they were maniacal and senseless. They liked to bang on things (bins, windows, doors, tables, etc.) and make useless, annoying racket. The animals also liked warm cosey nooks, so when you least expected it, you would find them in the most peculiar places. For example, they had been known to wait in empty prams while mothers played with their children in the park. Then when the mum returned to put her child back, she would get the most gruesome fright when she saw a wild animal staring back at her.  And at night, after you’d just brushed your teeth and put on your PJ’s, you’d find one curled up in your bed, cuddling your teddy bear and reading your Roald Dahl book.

So when our lone banana friend looked up, expecting to observe the beautiful and exotic Rare Skinny Orange Food Bird, he was shocked indeed to see one of these wild animals glaring back at him with wide, bulbous eyes. And so was his jersey cow. The cow bucked in fright, and it was in this instance, that the real tragedy occurred. The cow’s buck threw off the banana’s balance, and he slid ever so slightly to the left. This slide was the beginning of a tremendous, cascading fall that saw our banana friend plummet down, with very little grace, to the meadow floor. Upon our banana friend’s landing, his eye came face to face with a rather pointy rock. In fact it pierced him right through the retina…owww!

Unfortunately, our banana friend is now our one-eyed banana friend. Yep, it’s very sad, but his eye could not be mended. The plural of eye, i.e. eyes, no longer applies to him.

There is some good that comes from this story though. While our banana friend was resting up in hospital, his mother bought him in a special treat. She had created her very own recipe to help ease the banana’s misery and pain. The treat she made was full of all the good things in life…peanut butter, cookie crumbs, cream cheese and chocolate…yum, bloody yum, yum! His mother even named her recipe after the eye-losing incident…buckeyes! Take a look at these round, truffly balls of goodness!

So while this was a dreadful, harrowing incident, there were two good things that came from it:

1.)  The world was introduced to one of the most delicious treats on the planet…buckeyes.

2.)  Apparently the lady bananas go nuts for banana-men that have lost eyes in tragic, jersey-cow riding accidents xo

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Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Souptopia

 

Two questions and two facts for you for you…

QUESTION 1

What is a hiatus?

Well according to the following website,  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hiatus, a hiatus is…

“…a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.”

FACT 1

Recently Jen, Jenny Jennifer went on a hiatus of her own.

QUESTION 2

What do you do on a hiatus?

Do you explore inter-galactic realms,

Build a time-machine,

Play the accordian with a tap dancing shark,

Host a dinner party for deranged Hobyahs (Jen/Jenny/Jennifer’s Dad so would have chosen this option) or

Take your pet dinosaur for a walk across a rainbow?

FACT 2

Jen/Jenny/Jennifer thought these were all great ideas for a hiatus. And as much as she loved hanging out with accordion playing sharks (who doesn’t really?), she decided that it was time to leave the comfort of her old childhood kingdom and go exploring new realms…not inter-galactic ones, but inter-inner suburbian ones. So Jen/Jenny/Jennifer cleared out her wardrobes, packed up her baking equipment, jumped into her magical Mazda and moved her whole life to a new location.

So, it is because of this hiatus, that Jen/JennyJennifer (hmmm, I think it’s time to shorten our character’s name to JJJ) had not been posting on her blog. It’s been over three weeks since she wrote a story or even baked a cake!  Shame, shame JJJ.

But never fear. The hiatus is over. JJJ has a new neighbourhood, a new house and best of all…a new oven!

And in celebration of her new life, JJJ created a new recipe. Come with her on her journey to souptopia.

It all started one very cold and wet Melbourne morning. The date was the 9th of June. It was 6.30 am. The location was the Queen Victoria Market.

With an extra, extra, extra hot coffee in hand, JJJ roamed the fruit and veg aisles looking for inspiration.

There was so much to choose from!!

In the end, JJJ arrived home with the following ingredients…some for her soup and some for other cooking adventures.

Bread, apples, sweet potato, lamb shanks, rib eye fillet, spicy pumpkin dip, relish, haloumi, a massive chunk of Melbourne churned butter, peppers, chilies, apples, bell peppers stuffed with feta.

So are you ready to dive into some souptopia?? Because ready or not, here comes the plunge…the recipe for…

RECIPE

SWEET POTATO, CAULIFLOWER AND ROASTED RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUPTOPIA

1 Large Sweet Potato

1/2 head of cauliflower

1 large red pepper

4 tomatoes

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1-3 long red chillis (depending on your tastes…I used three…is hot, is good!)

Olive oil

Up to 500ml of vegetable stock.

DIRECTIONS

1.) Heat oven to approx 200 degrees celcius.

2.) Peel sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Toss it in some olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay on a baking tray.

3.) Cut your tomatoes in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Put on oven tray with the whole red pepper. Sprinkle a little olive oil on your red pepper too.

4.) Place both baking trays in the oven (both the sweet potato tray and the tomato/pepper tray). Bake potato for approx 20-30 mins, or until tender. Remove the sweet potato and continue to cook the tomato and peppers until the tomatoes are soft and the capsicum skin is starting to peel away from the flesh. About another 20 mins. See picture below.

5.) While your vegies are roasting, put a pot of water on to boil, chuck in your chopped up cauliflower and let it cook away for about 15 mins. Make sure it is soft, no crispy vegetables wanted here. Drain the cauliflower, but reserve 1 cup of the liquid,  you want to use the water it’s been boiling in because it has all the nutrients in it….nutrients are good aye. Put your cauliflower, reserved cooking liquid and also the cooked sweet potato into your pot.

6.) Dice up your garlic, onion and chilies. Sauté them over a low heat until the onion is soft and clear. Add this to your potato and cauliflower pot.

7.) De-skin your red pepper and take out the stem and all the seeds. Put the red pepper and tomato in the sweet potato pot. Blitz it all up with a stick blender until it is smooth. Pour in some vegetable stock…how much you use is up to you. If you like thick soup add a little…if you like thin soup add a lot! Heat it up until it is piping hot!

8.) Get some super yummy, fresh bread and slabs of creamy butter. Put on your favourite tracky dacks (because soup is a daggy winter food). Invite your favourite person around (love ya Mum). Devour on the spot.

SNICKERDOODLES

I have some important questions for you.

What is a snickerdoodle??? What images come to mind when think of a snickerdoodle??

Leave your thoughts below and we can compare ideas!

(If you’re American, you probably already know what I’m talking about, but for us Aussies, the answer is not so obvious)

Let’s brainstorm some obvious translations:

It’s a snickers bar crossed with a doodle?

It’s someone snickering at a doodle?

Ummmm…that’s all I’ve got! I originally thought it could be a Snickers Bar crossed with a poodle, but the ‘oodle’ part starts with a ‘d’ and not a ‘p’, so that can’t be right.

Let me tell you, it’s none of the above.

Have you got any more ideas? It’s a pretty misleading name right? Why on earth would anyone ever call anything a Snickerdoodle?

Let me give you some clues as to what a Snickerdoodle might be:

*Snickerdoodles are delicious.

*Once you have one snickerdoodle, you’ll want more and more and more…

*Snickerdoodles and round

*Snickerdoodles are sweet, buttery and cinamonny (I know cinamonny’s not a real word

according to the Oxford dictionary, but in my world it’s a very good adjective).

Have you got it yet?

No…let me tell you then.

SNICKERDOODLES ARE COOKIES!!!

Yeah…they are…I promise you!

Why they’d give a cookie such a misleading name, I have no idea? But I don’t care, because they’re super easy to make and totally delectable.

Make a batch today my friends.

RECIPE FOR SNICKERDOODLES

(a recipe from the Queen of Baking…Martha Stewart…here is the link)

This recipe uses vegetable shortening…which means CRISCO! We can’t get Crisco in Australia, except if you go to the USA food store in Moorabbin, Melbourne. I go to this store quite regularly, so I have a huge supply of Crisco. Or you can order it on-line from their website. If you don’t have crisco, do not use copha…I repeat do not use copha, it just doesn’t work. Substitute with the same quantity of good quality butter instead. The texture of the cookies isn’t quite the same, but they’re still delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small (1 1/4-ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.