Updates on the Spoons

As well as knitting a little, and not updating my blog, I have been cooking bits and pieces.  It’s difficult to blog them though, because 9 times out of 10 I finish dinners and deserts when it’s already dark, and the photos don’t turn out very well!

 

But, I have been baking…

 

Sweet things – these are Lemon Bars from A Second Helping (more from Ladies, a Plate).  The recipes is actually online, as a preview for the book, available here!  I hiiiiiiighly recommend these – they have just the right amount of sweet to sour, and crunchy to gooey, and the chocolate on top is lovely.  I actually used a little less icing sugar than the recipe suggested, mainly because I didn’t have enough…

 

I love lemons, and have also made one successful batch of Macaroons/Macarons – my first ever!   These are flavoured with a little lemon rind, and are stuffed with lemon curd and mascarpone cream laced with lemon juice.  As you can see, this photo was taken in the dark!  They didn’t last until the morning light… Even my dad, who doesn’t usually eat sweet things, had one.

Look how perfect they are!  Now, I have one confession… Though my first batch turned out perfectly, the second batch that I attempted were a complete flop.  As in, they flopped and spread out and cracked and just didn’t look very nice at all.  But, they still taste OK (although a bit chewy), and I am eating one right this moment with my tea.  I have a friend coming for dinner on Friday night who does not eat gluten, so will attempt another round of Macaroons/Macarons.  They don’t have any flour at all in them, the texture comes from ground almonds (and I have found some quite cheap almond meal at Countdown – only $4 for 150 g, which would make about 3 batches of Macaroons/Macarons).  Oh, and the recipe I used is from the book entitled, unsurprisingly, Macaroons.  It’s a bit of a confusing book actually, it looks gorgeous but includes instructions for making certain stages of the Macaroon the same consistency of shaving cream, or ribbons…  I think the ribboning texture is standard, but I would venture that the target market for this book doesn’t use much shaving cream…

Well, that’s my update on my lemony baking!  Hopefully I’ll get back into regular updating, and I’ll let you know how my next lot of Macaroons/Macarons go…

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Tastes and Toes

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing website.  I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Food Porn”, but this site is definitely full of it.  It’s called TasteSpotting and collects photos and descriptions of food sent in by people (and edited by humans), which you can then click on to get the recipe via a blog or something.  It’s so delicious.  I haven’t been able to stop looking at it for the last two days, but luckily this turned out to be productive, because last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch – can’t wait!) came out of it!  This is my first ever risotto (I won’t count being the designated stirrer of my friend’s lovely mushroom risotto).  It’s not a hard recipe, but not one you’d want to cook in summertime, as it involves a lot of standing at the stove and stirring.

 

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Leeks from Kitchen Grrrls.

It’s also the first time I’ve cooked leeks.  I think they are nice because they give bulk and nutrition, and feel like onions, but don’t have a super distinct flavour, so they let the lemon flavour of the risotto come through.

 

Here is the finished product:

I have to say, risotto doesn’t photograph very well…  But it tastes delicious!  I can’t wait for my lunch!

Now for the toes part:

If you’re a sock knitter, you may know what that is.  That is a sock being knitted from the toe up.  I’m pretty darn excited about this, as my boyfriend the Pilot will attest to – I keep interrupting whatever he is doing to point and say “It’s a toe!  It’s a toe!”.  I’m pretty sure he understands how exciting it is… Hmm..

 

Anyway, after numerous failed attempts at various ways of casting on, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which is indeed magic.  I tried two other ways, the Short Row Cast-On and the “Easy” Toe (not so easy for me), and the Magic Cast-On was definitely the easiest way to do it for me.

 

I decided to knit these socks toe up because Alice told me that the wool knits quite tightly, and also I want to use all of it!  I love the idea of toe up socks because of that – when I was knitting my last pair I just kept stressing out that I would run out of wool just before my toes or something!  So this method, because it starts right at the end of the toe means that I can keep increasing until the sock seems big enough around for me.

 

Right, back to work.

 

Chocolate Cake

Dear Emily, I know I’ve been naughty and not updating my blog.  Here is a chocolate cake to ease your pain:

I made it yesterday.  I wouldn’t usually make a chocolate cake, but that’s the flavour that was requested 🙂  This one though is soooooo yummy – it’s got so much cocoa in it, and lots of sugar (brown and white) too!  I used the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  I just didn’t have any buttermilk, so I used soymilk with the juice of half a lemon in it, and two small eggs instead of one large one (haha).