Peanut and Chocolate Chip Biscuits

Peanut Biscuits with Chocolate Chips

This is another recipe I’ve adapted from the Cobden Pre-School Centre’s Recipe Book fundraiser from July 1968 (see earlier post for Lemon Biscuits for more from this book).

125 gm butter
1/2 C sugar (I used brown sugar but white sugar can also be used)
1/2 C crunchy peanut butter
1 and 1/2 Cups plain flour
1 egg
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn vanilla essence
1/2 C chocolate chips

Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar together then beat in the vanilla essence and the egg.

Fold in the flour and baking powder, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Roll the mixture into teaspoon sized balls, then press down with fork.

Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, then cool slightly on the tray before moving to a wire rack.

Makes about 40 biscuits.

The World’s Greatest Idea by John Farndon

What do you think John Farndon nominated as ‘The World’s Greatest Idea’ in his book of the same name?

My top five world’s greatest ideas, in no particular order are:

Written language,

Summer holidays,

Combining music and dancing,

Cooking food and

 Rollerskates (genius).

If you asked fifty people to name their top five ideas, I bet they would all nominate different things. My Nana J, who would be 103 years old if she were alive today, always said the washing machine was the most life changing invention for women during her life time. Nana often told us how her own mother, who had seven children and lived on a dairy farm, washed the family’s clothing and linen in swamp water. To throw washing into a machine would have been a dream come true.

In this book, Farndon names fifty ideas in order of importance, explaining each idea and the idea’s history. He then explains the effects each idea has had on humanity.

Many of the ideas are not light reading. For example, I had no idea that Calculus, idea #25, had to do with algebra and geometry or that it had a practical use, but according to Farnham, people who understand and use Calculus provide us with extremely important and valuable knowledge.  

Idea #21, Quantum Theory, makes my head spin, but according to Farndon, I’m not alone.  He says, “no one knows how it works.” Apparently, “items as big as bacteria have been teleported,” by scientists who understand more about Quantum Theory than anyone. What?!!? I thought teleporting was what happened to Mike Teavee in the Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My brain is telling me this chapter is a joke, but Farndon says teleporting was first done in a lab in Rome in 1997. 

Most of the ideas make for interesting reading. Others I could care less about. I’m glad they exist, but I wasn’t interested in the hows and whys of Sewerage, (idea #9) or the Aerofoil (idea #47). However,  I really enjoyed the chapters on Electricity Grids (idea #22) and Refrigeration (idea #28).

Some ideas you would expect to see here, such as Government (idea #26 ) and Universities (idea #30).

Other ideas that I thought should have made the list didn’t. For example, I don’t know why combining chocolate and peanut butter didn’t make it.  

I’m not convinced Hope (idea #11) and Romance (idea #33) belong in the book, as to me both ‘hope’ and ‘romance’ are emotions rather than ideas. Still, Farndon had the assistance of a panel of very clever people create the list and they all know a lot more than I do.

For the record, Fardon’s #1 idea is the internet.

Lamingtons – Happy Australia Day

map

This is Mum’s recipe. Her lamingtons are the best of all time.
Coming up to Australia Day, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about how to make a good lamington. One suggestion is to cook the cake and then freeze it in order to cut nicely shaped squares. Mum’s method is to use cake that is a little bit stale, so it cuts well.

250 gm butter
1 C white sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 and a half Cups self raising flour
3/4 C plain flour
pinch of salt
1/2 C milk

Cream the butter and sugar, then mix in all other ingredients.
Bake in a lamington tray for 50 minutes in a hot oven. Leave the cake in the tray for a few days before cutting into squares and icing.

Icing
2 C white sugar
1 Tblspn cocoa
1/2 C milk
1 C coconut

Boil the sugar, cocoa and milk over water to make chocolate icing. Dip the cake cubes into the chocolate icing to coat all over, then roll in coconut before sitting on a wire tray to set. Mum uses forks for the dipping and has everything set up in a production line.

If you have helpers, they will be very keen to scrape out the bowl afterwards.

Leonie’s Mum’s Rice Bubble Slice

Date Slice

Yum. It is very easy to eat too much Date Slice. However, for those concerned about portion control, just don’t make this recipe.

This is another recipe that my friend Leonie’s Mum used to make to put in her lunch box at school (see Leonie’s Mum’s Rice Bubble Slice for a similar recipe).

125 gm (4 oz) butter

3/4 C white sugar

1 C chopped dates

4 C Rice Bubbles

Place the butter, sugar and dates into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Mix in the Rice Bubbles, and press into a 7″ x 11″ slice tray. Cut into squares after about ten minutes (before refrigerating otherwise you will make hard work of cutting the slice).

 

Limoncello recipe

Limoncello

I needed Limoncello for a couple of recipes I was busting to try, but as a non drinker, the price blew me away. How can people afford to drink?
Anyway, I came across this recipe which works out to be a fraction of the cost of a bottle from my local liquor store, so thought I’d give it a try. It tastes just like the bought stuff and you can adjust the sweetness to your own taste by adding more sugar.

350 ml vodka (use a cheap brand)
4 lemon rinds
1/2 C white sugar
3/4 C water

Peel the lemons (try not to get any of the pith) and place the rinds in a metal or glass bowl. Pour the vodka over the top and cover with plastic cling wrap. Set aside for one week.

One week later:
Boil the water and add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar syrup has cooled, strain the vodka mix into a jug and stir in the sugar syrup. Mix well and pour into a bottle with a screw cap lid.

Banana Biscuits

Banana Biscuits

It has been so hot in Melbourne lately that bananas are ripening really quickly.
Nobody at my house eats mushy bananas, so they usually get made into banana bread or cake. Banana biscuits look really lumpy and bumpy, but never judge a book by its cover, they taste great.

3 mushy bananas
125gm butter
1 C brown sugar (you can use white sugar, but brown sugar gives these a more caramel-y taste)
1 and a half Cups self raising flour
1/2 C coconut
1/2 C rolled oats

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the mashed banana.

Fold in the flour using a metal spoon, then mix in the coconut and rolled oats.

Drop teaspoon sized balls of mixture onto the tray (I tried to swirl the mixture to flatten the biscuits a bit, but they remained lumpy looking).

Bake at 180.C for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Makes about 40 biscuits

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Probably everyone in the world who reads crime novels has already read ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ by Stieg Larsson, the second book in the Millenium trilogy.

Probably everyone who has read ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ also sat up reading much too late at night and were tired and cross the next day. Possibly they also burned tea and neglected their housework because they were unable to leave the book’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander, in mortal danger without knowing how things would turn out. Well, that was my experience, anyway.

When I read ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,’ the first book in the Millenium trilogy last year, I couldn’t put it down either. The original Swedish title of ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is ‘Men Who Hate Women.’ This is a good description of a major theme in Larsson’s books.

Usually I don’t read crime novels, because I don’t like being scared, or reading about blood and guts and gore. Despite this, I became so attached to Lisbeth and another character, Mikael Blomkvist that I wanted them to hurt the bad guys before they could be hurt.

Lisbeth is socially inept, has dubious morals which somehow seem completely acceptable while you are reading these books and she takes terrible revenges on people who hurt her, people she loves or people who she considers deserve to be hurt. She is also a genius who solves the riddle of Fermat’s Last Theorum (look it up on Wikipedia if you’re interested, I never managed to learn anything much in mathematics beyond my twelve times tables and have no hope of explaining this theorum at all. In fact I found the section where Lisbeth thinks about Pythagoras’ equation as terrifying as any of the violence in the book).

Lisbeth’s most appealing quality is that she never gives up. She keeps getting up when she is knocked down, when she is buried she digs her way out and she keeps working on the riddle of Fermat’s Last Theorum until she figures out the answer, although we (the reader) don’t find out what it is. (Probably just as well).

Larsson puts such detailed description into his books that you can look on IKEA’s website to see the furniture Lisbeth bought to furnish her apartment. If you’re interested, she bought Larlanda sofas, Poang armchairs, a Svansbo coffee table and a Rosfors kitchen table. I felt a bit like a cyber-stalker looking at the furniture she chose, until I remembered Lisbeth isn’t real.

I’m looking forward to reading the third book in Larsson’s trilogy, ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,’ but am also sad because Larsson only wrote these three books before his death.
My recommendation to you if you haven’t already read these books, is to start with the first book in the trilogy, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ as information you learn in the second novel will spoil the first story if you read them out of order.
You will probably recommend these books to other people too.

Chocolate Biscuits with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Reverse Chocolate Walnut Biscuits

The recipe for Chocolate Biscuits with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts resulted from an excess of white chocolate chips at my house (see the post for White Chocolate Chip and Ginger Biscuits for further details).

125 gm butter

1/2 C brown sugar

1/3 C caster sugar

1 egg

1 tspn vanilla extract

1 and a half Cups self raising flour

1/2 C cocoa

3/4 C white chocolate chips

1/2 C chopped walnuts

1 Tblspn milk

Cream the butter and sugars together and then beat in the vanilla extract and the egg.

Fold in the flour and cocoa using a metal spoon, then mix in the chocolate chips, walnuts and milk.

Roll the mixture into teaspoon sized balls, then bake at 160.C for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Makes about 40 biscuits

He who laughs l…

He who laughs last thinks slowest.

I saw this on a sign and laughed (and I’m not saying if I laughed right away or a little while after I read it).

Alex’s Pizza and Wok, Koroit, Victoria Australia

Someone we know has been raving for months about a restaurant in Koroit called Alex’s Pizza and Wok. (For those unfamiliar with Koroit, it is a little town in the middle of a farming community about 10 minutes drive west of Warrnambool, in western Victoria, Australia).

We were in the area, and decided to try the restaurant out for ourselves.

The entrance isn’t promising. You enter through the takeaway pizza shop and wonder if the person who has made the recommendation to you has played a joke on you. They haven’t. The staff behind the counter will direct you through the doorway to the left and tell you to keep walking through the rooms until you find Alex in the bar at the back of the building.

The rooms at the front of Alex’s Pizza and Wok are for those who prefer old fashioned and elegant wallpaper on their walls while they are dining. The rooms at the back are for the rest of us, who prefer wondering why road signs, old artifacts and unusual bits and pieces (for example, Tweety Bird, an orangutan, a tractor seat etc) are attached to various walls and ceilings. There is also an outside eating area.

The person who made the recommendation also told us that we were to visit the amenities while we were there. I’ll let you find out what the decor is for yourself when you visit, but I must have spent 20 minutes examining the walls in the bathroom area.

Our meals were good, and the staff were considerate and generous. There was a range of pizzas, pastas and Thai meals for mains. You probably need to book a table on a Friday or Saturday night, but on a weeknight I imagine you can just rock up. I don’t know how much a plane ticket to Australia will cost you, but make your way out to Koroit and one of these desserts at Alex’s Pizza and Wok at will cost around $8.50. You can’t see in these pictures, but the strawberries are carved into the shape of a rose.

Sticky Date pudding.

Sticky Date Pudding Alex's of Koroit 2014

Banana Fritter.

Banana Fritter Alex's of Koroit 2014

Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie Alex's of Koroit 2014

Berry Pavlova

Berry Pavlova Alex's of Koroit 2014