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Sunday
Nov182012

Episode 29: Anni's Chilli Choc Cookies

Hey, Lucas, lately you've been really bad at this whole "regular updates" thing. Yeah, yeah, I know but hey! New one!

Notes:

The making of these cookies and posting of this recipe comes from my friend Anni & Joel (or @annisugar and @gingerexplosion on Twitter). They are cool folk & are full of lovely knowledge and recommendations of things, but as Anni is intolerant to gluten & lactose, and Joel is a vegetarian, they are the very devil to cook for. In looking for something to bring to a pot luck brunch that everyone could enjoy, I stumbled across My Darling Lemon Thyme, which is a great blog full of gluten & dairy-free recipes, and these cookies. I'm working up to trying their medjool date chocolate slice one day. The resulting cookies were given the Anni seal of approval (she has declared that she would skip a meal & eat nothing but these, which is high praise).

Music Notes:

As with the last few times I got a guest to assist with the inspiration, I had Anni choose the music:

"Deceptacon" - Le Tigre, from "Le Tigre", 1999
"Wishbone" - Architecture In Helsinki, from "
In Case We Die", 2005
"California English" - Vampire Weekend, from "
Contra", 2010
"Why Can't I Be You?" - The Cure, from "
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me", 1987 

The real surprise for me was how well The Cure's track fit into the rest of the thoroughly modern songs. Well, there you go. My young teenage self who wrote the Cure off as one-hit wonders & bleeding-heart-love-song-writers has been proven wrong, as he so often has been. Don't worry. Adult Lucas knows better.

Recipe:

Anni's Chilli Choc Cookies
makes 8-10 good-sized biscuits 

ingredients:

  • 55g ground almonds
  • 60g rice flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 55g cocoa
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 50g raw sugar
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chilli
  • 65g slivered almonds
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp rice or soy milk, or skim milk if you don't mind the dairy

 

  1. Sift the rice and corn flours, the cocoa, the ground almonds, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the chilli into a bowl. 
  2. Add the salt, then the almonds, and stir to combine.
  3. Using whatever you feel like, bash the chocolate into little pieces then add it to mix.
  4. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, vanilla extract & soy milk.
  5. Add the eggy-oily mixture to the floury-chocolatey mixture, get a wooden spoon (not a whisk) and mix it all together. You're going to get a damp mixture, like in the video.
  6. Using about two tablespoon of the mix, make a little pattie with your hands, like a felafel. Make sure it's flattish and smooth the outside with your fingers so it stays together. Make 8-10 of these patties & transfer them to a tray lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool, seize, and consume!

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jul242012

Episode 25: White Chocolate Show-offs

Back again for another week, just squeaking in under a deadline:

 

(In the US? Can't see the video? View or download here.)

Notes:

Is it considered bad form to make the cookies of one of the people putting on the blogging challenge you're entering? Nah. Anyhow, I made these cookies of my own volition, not filming them, a few weeks back and they turned out great. In the afterglow of successful cookie-baking, I tweeted out a few photos, by way of a humble brag. I got many appreciative comments, including one from Ms Ros, the more than occasionally baker, stating that I could enter these into Alphabakes, due to "White Chocolate" fulfilling the W quota. Suddenly the race was on to finish this batch & make more so I could show the making of them. Such was my rush that I brought some to work with me, and I discovered that "Brown Butter Espresso White Chocolate Cookies" doesn't roll off the tongue, because people keep stopping you to ask about bits of the title. And then you end up showing off, hence the new name, and the Dolph-Ziggler-looking cartoon on the record. Me and my big mouth, right (though said big mouth comes in handy for eating cookies)? Also, between this and me bringing in some remix bread, several folk at my workplace have dubbed me "a feeder". Hmph.

On the recipe itself, the size of the cookies is key. Too small, and the butter inside will convert them into little rocks after a week in the tin. Too big, and the insides won't cook through properly. Make a few different sizes and trust your judgment. When in doubt, make 3 different sizes, and bake one of each for a sample. Done right, the butter will be chewy goodness inside each biscuit.

As mentioned before, this is my July entry for Alphabakes, as hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker & Caroline of Caroline Makes.

 

Music Notes:

Shonen Knife - "Top of the World", from "If I Were A Carpenter", 1994

The 5.6.7.8's - "Hanky Panky", from "Japanese Groupsound!", 2003

So my musical choices did not start this way. On a whim, while buying a New Pornographers album, I spotted a 6" single in the Sale! bin. It was by a group called the Go-Devils (not to be confused with the American psychobilly group of same name) out of Osaka, Japan. The A-Side was "I'm In Pittburgh And It's Raining", originally a jangling garage rock hit for The Outcasts in 1966 (who, ironically, have been hailed in hind site as proto-punk psychedelia forerunners). I looked at the back and saw three Japanese girls named Momo, Ritsuko & Mao Mao doing their very best tough-girl faces. My attention was got. I bought the single and had a listen. Ass-kicking rock and roll, with the wonderfully distinctive accent singing over top. Sadly, the Go-Devils haven't been active online at all (none of their stuff is available for download, so this 1996 release is my only link. And as I don't have a USB turntable to rip the vinyl, you guys get two of my other favourite Japanese rock and roll girl groups. Shonen Knife, and the 5.6.7.8's.

Shonen Knife, of course, are 30-year (!) veterans of Japanese rock and opened for Nirvana of all people, even bringing Kurt and the gang back to Japan for a tour. And on their 30th anniversary as a group, they (what else?) released an album of Ramones covers, which is winging it's way to me now.

The 5.6.7.8's have been around nearly as long, but really jumped to everyone's notice from their spot in Kill Bill in 2003. They were in the House of Blue Leaves izakaya playing while Uma Thurman  is scoping out the Crazy 88. They also played continuously through the One Big Take: The steadicam follows The Bride in the building, through into the bathroom, then turns and follows a book up the stairs into the dining room, they order, then follows Sofie back down the stairs, past the band, and into the bathroom. Full band playing, dozens of extras, one take. Seems that Mr Tarantino heard the band's music playing in a clothing store a few hours before he left Tokyo, and had to offer the clerk double the retail value of the CD to walk away with it. But he got it.

Recipe:

White Chocolate Show-Offs

adapted from the more than occasional baker & healthy delicious

makes 9-12 big cookies

ingredients:

114g unsalted butter

1 tbsp ground coffee

250 plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

pinch of salt

150 dark brown sugar

85g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

180g white chocolate chips.

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 185.
  • Get the butter into a little pot on medium heat & heat it, stirring now & again to stop it burning. When it turns all golden-like, take it off the heat, dump in the coffee & give it a stir.
  • Put the flour in a big bowl. Add the bicarb of soda and salt & mix it up.
  • Get a littler bowl, and pour in your ButterCoffee SuperFluid. Add the brown sugar, then the caster sugar, then the vanilla extract. Mix to combine, but don't use a whisk. The mix is so sticky it'll just become a bat & it'll be a mess to clean out.
  • Once combined, crack in the egg and beat until smooth.
  • Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix it together carefully. It's going to be dryer than you expect. Don't be afraid to mix with your hands, as you don't want any flour stuck to the bottom.
  • Pour in the chocolate chips and stir again.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof, and grab a handful of dough, Use your hands to smooth it into a little globe (see above note on size) & onto the paper it goes.
  • Bake for 14 minutes or so until the middles are firm but not darkened.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack before you seize and consume!

 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Episode 18 - Butter Cream Bikkets of Ginger & White Pepper

An episode edited in a flurry after coming back from 2 weeks of mellow beach holidays! Let's get cracking:

Notes:

As the best recipes are, this one requires little effort, but the result ends up looking like you've slaved all damn day. And it's another Muppy's recipe! That makes three I've pinched from there. Go check it out and send my love & good vibes. The white pepper really brings out the spicy side of the ginger, and the bikkits themselves are quite shortbready, so not super-sweet. Which means you can eat more of them. Which is nice.

This episode was edited while wrapped up in scarf & high-collared sweater as I'm feeling poorly and cold all the time the last few days, and as such am swaddled up like Vash from Trigun, an Al Bhed from Final Fantasy X2 or a Sandbender from Avatar. 

And after I'd finished but before I'd posted, I spotted a tweet from WeirdThings, saying they had an open sponsor spot. With reckless disregard for my lunch break, I logged in and grabbed it just in time. I didn't bother writing copy like last time, just saying who I was and telling them to go nuts. Instead of wacky shenanigans about hunting down TV chefs, I instead got a heartfelt and straightforward explanation of my show and how it's cool and stuff by all three members of the show and promptly blushed and hid my face, because I don't take compliments well. Thanks guys, you win at the universe. Say hi to Spiro & The Fudge for me. Go check out their latest podcast. It's about Asteroid mining.

And, of course, this post is part of the AlphaBakes Challenge, which for April was and was hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker.


Music Notes:

The Raveonettes - "Ode To L.A.", "My Boyfriend's Back", "Here Comes Mary", from "Pretty In Black", 2005

I first came across the Raveonettes in a roundabout way. When I worked at Borders Bondi in the music section, pre-smartphone, I would while away hours looking through the music database reading reviews (until my manager caught me and yelled at me). I spotted a soundtrack of a quirky video game which had bands like the Dandy Warhols, Ben Kweller, The Flaming Lips and Cake doing covers of 50s tunes. Though I was intrigued, I saw it was unavaiable in Australia, so I went to Kazaa (yes, we had Kazaa back then), and painstakingly pirated the whole thing, an exercise which took 2 months thanks to the rarity of the songs and our dial-up connection.

The Raveonette's cool and synthy cover of My Boyfriend's Back was on there.

Later, after doing my own research (and with more money & bandwidth to my name), I sought out their earlier albums and found them awash with noisepop, reverb and goodness, but kept returning to the Pretty In Black album. I think it's the fact that the tunes sound like they're covers or songs you already know without being covers or songs you know.

Examples: "Ode To L.A.", with its "Be My Baby" drums intro (the same drums that inpired a million indie bands, according to Phonogram), and it's Beach-Boys-meets-the-Crystals sound, it fits its subject matter perfectly, and the guest vocals by a very Marianne-Faithfull-sounding Ronnie Spector are the icing on the cake. "Here Comes Mary", with its melody that makes you want to sing a bit of "All I Have To Do Is Dream" (dreeeam dreeeam dreeeeeeeam) and invokes the Chordettes, with (and I quote @_joeltron on this one) "chilly reverb. The sweet pop wrapped up in that grim tone feels ominous, the way kids' songs do when you slow them down."* 

Also, once I had decided that I wanted "Ode to L.A." to start the episode, and linked the landing of the mixing bowl with the first chorus, the rest of the video magically synced up. It was clearly meant to be.

*Thanks to @_Joeltron, the master of describing reverb, for helping me out in articulating this.

Recipe:

Butter-Cream Bikkets of Ginger & White Pepper

makes 2 batches or about 30 bikkets.

Ingredients:

for biscuits:
200g butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp nutmeg
200g plain flour
50g cornflour

for butter-cream:
50g butter
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1 tsp lemon juice

 

  • In a bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Remember to get your butter to room-temperature first or it will be a comedy or errors. 
  • When fluffy, add ground ginger and nutmeg and beat again.
  • Add both flours (sift 'em if you like), and beat again (beat it!)
  • Form into a large ball using clean hands (get messy), then form little golf-ball-sized spheres.
  • Put the sphere onto a baking-papered tray, and give them a gentle squish with two fingers.
  • Cram into a preheated over at 180 for 10 minutes.
  • When baked, lift the paper out of the tray & let the cookies firm up for 10-15 minutes (if you try and ice them hot, they'll slide about and be whimsical)

    for the butter-cream:
  • Get another bowl, and combine the 50g of butter & icing sugar with the white pepper and ground ginger.
  • Bifurcate a lemon, and get 1 tsp of juice. I don't care how.
  • Mix in the lemon juice & stir until it's smooth.
  • Once the bikkets are firmed up, smear on some icing & jam together. Let them sit on a plate so the cream can harden up (Lean them against one another so they don't slide apart)
  • Once cooled, seize and consume!
    (or you can consume them still warm, like a naughty thing. Also there will be extra icing and it is perfectly okay to eat it on toast)

 

Friday
Dec232011

Episode 7: Minchin Ninjabread, Spitzbub'n & Vanille Kipferln

Merry annual end of year happy celebration time! This episode, I have a very special guest: my wife, Tanja, (@TanjerineOrange on Twitter) has volunteered two of her grandmother's Christmas biscuit recipes and her time (she even gets her own font in the video).
Edit, again: restored, with original tunes! No love for the tablet or mobile, though. Sorry. :(
Notes
The Gingerbread recipe is from Muppy's (post here), and was originally a Nigella Lawson "Guinness Gingerbread", but as I don't really like Guinness all that much, I substituted a bottle of Coopers Best Extra Stout. So instead of Irish Ginger, I made Australian Ginger. Also I wanted to used my ninjabread cookie cutters. So what does one think of when one thinks of an Australian Ginger Ninja? Why Tim Minchin, of course:
Both these were taken via iPhone in bad lighting, so forgive me. While Mr. Minchin is in the comedy section of the music shop, he has the power to make me bawl like a small child with a skinned knee (see "Rock N Roll Nerd", "Not Perfect" and "White Wine In The Sun" for tear-causing).
The gingerbread itself is more like a cake than the thin, hard, storebought stuff and goes great with some warm custard and a cup of coffee.
Music Notes
Prejudice - Tim Minchin, from "Ready For This", 2009
The twist that arrives two minutes and thirty seconds into this song is nothing short of brilliant, but it's the funky piano breakdown and Tim's usual witty wordplay that keeps me coming back. Incidently, I had never seen someone mocked or bullied for having freckles or red hair until I came to Australia. Huh.
Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy - Jack Conte, orig. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, from "The Nutcracker Suite"
Jack Conte (about whose other project Pomplamoose I have already raved about in a previous episode) does it again, combining the pretty with the jarring, the quiet with the loud, and comes up with something very special. See the VideoSong here. 
Incidently again, the tritone, or augmented fourth, is a restless, dissonant chord that was explicitly prohibited in religious music, classified as "dangerous" and "Diabolus in Musica" (the Devil In Music, duh). Tritone also forms the backbone of 12-bar-blues, also called "The Devil's Music". But you know what song has more tritones than any other work ever ever ever?
You guessed it. The Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy. I always, in my mind, imagined it as exhibiting the tentative, hovering, stop-start flight of a pixie.
Robert Rankin & Bill Bailey have both spoken and written at length about the tritone and are smarter than me. Go read them. Or go to Wikipedia.
Also, there was a great bit from Tiny Toon Adventures which used it. 
Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses, from "A Christmas Album", 1981
An infectuous New-Wave group from Ohio, the Waitresses penned the ultimate indie Christmas song. So few songs of the season focus on the single people who are baffled and overwhelmed by all the fooferah around the silly season. I love the off-beat & rushed trumpet stings and the happy ending, because I'm a sook.
Oi To The World - No Doubt (orig. The Vandals), from "Everything In Time", 1997
Gwen and the gang cover their buddy's tale of Christmas among the punks and skinheads in London. Good times.
Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis - Tom Waits, from "Blue Valentine", 1978
Chosen solely for the title and the very cool piano intro.
Recipe Notes
Scanner's still busted, so no hand-written ingredient lists, sadly.
Minchin NinjaBread
Ingredients:
  • 150g butter (plus more for greasing)
  • 300g golden syrup
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 250mL Coopers Best Extra Stout, or dark beer of your choice
  • 2 tsp bicarbinate of soda
  • 300g flour
  • 300mL sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • aluminum foil

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Put a pan on the lowest heat. Turf in butter, syrup, brown sugar, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and beer and stir until it's all melted.
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in bicarb of soda and flour until there are no lumps. You'll need to be patient.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and sour cream (crack the eggs first, you silly thing you)
  5. Desegregate your mixtures by pouring the egg-cream mix into the ginger-mix and whisking it all together.
  6. Line a 30x20x5cm tray with foil and grease it up like a Scotsman.
  7. Pour your batter into the tray, be careful not to overflow the foil.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool completely before cutting into little ninja shapes. Seize and consume, if you dare!

 

Spitzbuben

Ingredients:

 

  • 500g Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g sugar
  • 2tsp brandy or rum
  • 300g butter
  • strawberry jam
  • icing sugar

 

Spread flour onto a surface, making a little volcano.

Pour the sugar into the top of the volcano and form a secondary volcano.

Crack eggs into the centre, and add the rum or brandy.

Cut your butter into little finger-sized clumps and add to the pile.

Knead the whole mess together into a ball of dough from the rim to the centre (dust with flour if it gets too slick), then cover it and put it in the fridge for an hour.

Once chilled, roll out the dough to about 3-5mm thick and cut out your shapes. Use a timble to put a hole in the centre of every 2nd shape.

Bake for 8 minutes at 180 degreen on ungreased baking paper.

Once baked, spread jam on the biscuits and cram a holey piece on top. Dust with icing sugar.

Vanille Kipferln

Ingredients:

 

  • 600g sieved white flour
  • 200g sieved icing sugar
  • 60g vanilla sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g almond meal
  • 100g hazelnut meal
  • 400g butter

 

In a bowl, combine your vanilla sugar, almond meal, hazelnut meal, icing sugar and salt.

Using a dread apparatus, sift your flour into the mix.

Cut the butter into little patties and add to the bowl along with the eggs. Break up the yolks with a spoon

Knead the whole mess into a dough. At this point, it's best to tip everything onto a clean surface to make sure the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the bowl. Dust with icing sure if the ball gets too slick.

Cut the ball of dough into quarters. Dust your surface with more icing sugar then shape one of the quarters into a sausage-shape about 30cms long. Feel free to laugh at its rudeness.

Slice the sausage into 5mm slices, then shape each slice into a little moon-shaped sausage, thinner at the ends.

Place the moons onto a baking-papered-tray and pop into the over at 160 degreen for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them. As soon as you see one start to turn golden, take the whole lot out. If they all go golden, you've overcooked them.

While the moons are still warm, dust with more icing sugar.

Seize and consume!

 

Merry happy, everyone!

 

Saturday
Oct292011

Episode 3: Dirty Granny Pudding & PandaDoodles

Our first guest recipe! @Pandabelle was talking about making snickerdoodles, and was nice enough to send me a recipe for snickerdoodlin' "like a boss". I also included a recipe which should be familiar to anyone who's turned up at my house for a movie night/drink making experiment or been to a work bake sale I was involved in. Let's watch, shall we?

Notes:

As is mentioned in the video, that snickerdoodle recipe makes HEAPS, so feel free to experiment. Considering how quick they are to make, what's to lose? I made play-doh -style tobes and created Snake-rdoodles. It was a thing.

Music:

Based on the binary nature of this episode, I broke from my covers theme and did two distinct kinds of music, imagining that there was an old lady and an indie kid on a long car ride, fighting over the radio, but coming to an agreement by the end.

The Puppini Sisters - "Walk Like An Egyptian", "Crazy In Love" (from "The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo", 2007) and "Heart of Glass" (from "Betcha Bottom Dollar", 2006)

The Puppini Sisters are a 1940s close-harmony singing group who cover songs from all times. Their live show contains up to 30 costume changes, and one of the Sisters used to work for Vera Wang. So they've got pedigree, plus are awesome.

Pomplamoose - "Mister Sandman", "Single Ladies" (from "Tribute to Famous People", 2009)

Pomplamoose got my attention shortly after Michael Jackson died when their VideoSong version of Beat It was doing the rounds of Digg.com & Youtube. Their VideoSong idea intrigued me, the idea that every sound you heard was real, and they had cut the video to show it. Both Jack Conte (multi-instrumentalist) and Nataly Dawn (vocals, bass) are musicians i their own right, but put together, they're astonishing.

Guest playlist by @Pandabelle:

A.C. Newman - "The Town Halo" (from "The Slow Wonder", 2004)

Architecture In Helsinki - "Heart It Races" (from "Places Like This", 2007)

Well, I say guest playlist, but what really happened is thus: I got the idea to do an Indieish couple of songs to counterpoint the old-timey Puppini Sisters and Pomplamoose. I thought, "Hang on, Pandabelle likes indie tunes. I'll just stalk her on her various social networks." So I came away with many bands I was unaware of and a few I had on the harddrive. I chose them, started rendering, then she gave feedback with other songs. OH NOES! But it's cool. She has approved the choices. I had A.C. Newman because I love the New Pornographers, of which he is a member, and I had the Architecture In Helsinki tune off a CD I got from buying The Word Magazine. 

Recipe:

So in the video, I make the desserts simultaneously, but for ease of repition, I'll split the recipe here. It was actually really easy to do them both at once. You just need a lot of bowls.

 

 

Dirty Granny Pudding:

 

  • Preheat oven to 180.
  • Peel, slice, and core your apples in any method you see fit. I like the V-Slicer, because it's fast and it makes it really thin. Does that make me a sociopath?
  • Put your apple slices in a bowl and dust liberally with vanillin sugar and cinnamon. Pour over a generous splash of spiced rum, amaretto, schnapps or other fragrant booze. Cover the bowl with Gladwrap and set aside.
  • In one bowl (let us call it The Dry Bowl), combine:
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar
    • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • In a second bowl (let us call this the Not-As-Dry-As-The-Dry-Bowl-Bowl), beat together 1 cup sour cream & 2 eggs until smooth.
  • Pour the contents of the Dry Bowl into the Not-As-Dry-As-The-Dry-Bowl-Bowl and mix.
  • Grease a dish that can withstand the heat of your oven.
  • Pour in half the batter, than scatter over half your drunken Granny slices. 
  • Add the rest of the batter, top with the rest of the Granny slices, some slivered almonds, and more cinnamon and vanillin sugar.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. When done, test the middle with a skewer. If it comes out clean, you're homefree. Cut up, serve with custard, seize and consume!

Pandadoodles:

 

 

  • Preheat over to 180.
  • Beat together 1 cup room-temperature butter, 2 eggs and 1.5 cups of sugar in a bowl.
  • Add 2 3/4 cups flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda and mix again (carefully. This sumbish comes back atcha)
  • Chill dough and ungreased cookie sheet/tray in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Do a little dance while you wait. Tra-la-la.
  • Mix together 3 tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon on a plate or shallow bowl. Or on the counter. Whatever.
  • Scoop out bits of dough and make into planetoids 2cm across. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar, then place them on the cookie sheet. Make sure there's space, they'll spread out.
  • Bake for 11 minutes (or until cinnamon on edges goes dark)
  • Once done, remove from tray, seize, and consume!