Archive for March, 2010

Growing vegies

Vegie nirvana.

Having just moved into a house with a disused vegie plot in the backyard, I’ve become all inspired to start my growing my own vegies and herbs.

I’d like to say that the sumptuous basket of goodies above was the immediate fruit and veg of my minimal labour but that would be a big fat fib.  This glorious harvest belongs to Old Spice, who has been growing vegies for years, and who is currently undertaking the role of Mentor/Consultant/Inspiron to me and adventurebiscuit as we wrestle with things such as what to plant and when will it be ready to eat?

We are seeking guidance from some great gardening books that Ye Olde Spice sent on to us and while we haven’t yet come up with anything definitive, we’re enjoying the possibility of growing everything, including the highly-sought-after borage and every cook’s friend, the mustard seed!

Carrots and parsnips growing in the sun.

Old Spice also has some great tips for growing root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots.  Parsnips are hard to grow, apparently, so Old Spice reckons you grow them in broccoli boxes, like the ones above, which you get from the greengrocer.  Mmm, home-grown roasted parsnips.  Can’t wait!  I’m gunner scoff the lot.

Will keep you posted as things grow and develop.


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Choc chip cookies

In the 1970s and 1980s, Nabisco made a choc chip cookie that I thought was the Ants Pants, the Bees Knees, Scoffs for Toffs.  The voiceover on the television ad crowed in a cod-American accent — ‘Chips Ahoy with more chocolate chips from Nabisco’.

It was a consistently crunchy biscuit that was the right width (not too thin, not too thick) and contained the perfect amount of choc chip bits along with minimal nuts.  I thought these biscuits disappeared in the mid- to late- 90s but according to kraft.com.au, these biscuits are still being sold.  Perhaps it was my youth that vanished, along with my eyesight.

Anyway … recent cravings of mine for choc chip biscuits have seen me heading to the kitchen to make my own rather than scouring the supermarket aisles for a product that I’m clearly blind to.

My first attempt was a couple of months ago, based on a recipe from the Woman’s Weekly book, Sweet Old-Fashioned Favourites.  I don’t have a picture of my attempt but they didn’t cut the mustard, measure up, meet their key performance indicators.  They were too hard, too thick and they didn’t have enough choc chips.

My next, most recent and more successful attempt was based on a Nestle recipe that I cut out of a weekly magazine.  I didn’t hold that much hope for it because my experience of cooking from a magazine or tin labels comes via my grandmother and the 1970s where essential ingredients were chicken noodle soup or milk arrowroot biscuits.  Neither were particularly palatable, either in the mix or out of it (although I wouldn’t say no to a plate of beef mince chow mein right now, which contained the chicken noodle soup).

But this Nestle recipe had a lot going for it – namely, a whole tin of condensed milk and 250g of choc bits.  I wasn’t too worried if my biscuits didn’t work.  The mixture would have to be edible in some way.  I’d eat it raw if I had too.  (And this is in fact what happened only because it tasted so damn good.  I am now rather pudgy.)

To cut to the chase, here they are: golden, crunchy on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle, with chocolate buds bursting throughout.

Afternoon perfection!

And here’s the recipe itself.  I can recommend it for the ease in which the mixture comes together and its flexibility in being able to cope with substitute ingredients such as margarine made from canola oil (less greasy than butter) and normal choc chips instead of white ones.

I made 45 bics in total which were scoffed by mainly one person in a week.

Bon biscuit!

Choc Chip Cookies by Nestle

150g butter (or margarine made of canola oil)
1/3 cup caster sugar
395g can nestle sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of SR flour
125g Nestle Dark Choc Bits
125g Nestle White Choc Bits (or Nestle Normal Choc Bits)

Preheat oven to 180C.  Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.  Beat butter and sugar until creamy.  Beat in Nestle Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Stir in flour, then Nestle Dark and White Choc Bits, mix well.  Roll heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls.  Place on prepared oven trays and press gently with a fork.  Bake 15 minutes until golden.

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