I want to start posting on this blog more. I know I’ve said that a few times now and then completely failed to do so. Life keeps getting in the way. So I’ve decided that I will start with smaller posts called ‘rapid recipes’. Normally I try and post a full introduction and photo walk through of how to make the recipe. But I often forget to take photos while I’m cooking, and walk throughs significantly increase the amount of time it takes to write a blog. So i’m going to start just posting a quick intro plus the ingredients and instructions and a photo or two whenever I make something I want to share.
Okay, so I’ve finally got my s#*t together to start posting again. For my first post-hiatus recipe I’ve decided to share this Flourless Almond Butter-Cacao Nib Cookie recipe. Normally when I adapt American recipes I use the word biscuit instead of cookie but these delicious morsels are definitely more cookie than biscuit.
I know, and I’m sorry.
I’m not just apologising to the few of you who read this blog regularly, but to myself. I’ve been away from blogging for more than a month now. The combination of a seriously substandard internet connection (seriously Tonga, get your act together), and the mind-numbing work of copy-editing my novel have made me unenthusiastic about posting regularly. Hell, I haven’t even been cooking anything new recently. Instead, I’ve been returning to old favourites, most of which I’ve already posted about on here. But no longer. While my parents were away I had to get lifts to the gym (I don’t have a license), and I compensated for this favour by providing baked goods. I found some great healthy recipes, and rediscovered some old faves that I haven’t posted about on here. So expect some posts on those soon-ish. I’m not going to dedicate myself to a rigid posting schedule at this point. While I generally love structure, creatively I find it stifling, as it sucks all the joy out of creating new things when you have to constantly churn them out. So, I will try to post at least one thing a week. Whether it’s a complete recipe, or a link to someone else’s recipe spiced up with some photos and thoughts on the recipe, I want to post things that I’m happy with, rather than posting just because it’s a Wednesday.
I won’t make any promises (to you, or to myself), except that I’m going to try to do better.
I love cheesecake. Honestly, who doesn’t? These cottage cheese and blueberry bars hit all the same notes as cheesecake just lighter. It’s beautifully creamy, slightly sweet, with a little tartness to offset everything. While these bars aren’t exactly ‘healthy’, they’re not unhealthy either. So if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, and are looking for ways to satisfy it without going overboard, this is the desert for you.
My family loves a good curry, and one of our favourites is Rogan Josh. Usually we just use a jar of good quality, pre-made paste, but the brand we prefer is not available in Tonga. Luckily, Jamie Oliver has a recipe for homemade Rogan Josh Curry paste on his website, and the curry recipe we normally use is from one of his cookbooks so it couldn’t be more perfect.
The other week we went to Kool Fresh to buy some meat. Unfortunately they sell all of their meat frozen, and generally in huge lumps. Frozen would not be a problem if it wasn’t sold in solid 1-2 kilo blocks. Because it takes forever to defrost (and you end up with three meals worth of raw meat) I’ve moved away from my staple meat of chicken towards quick defrosting meats like fish and mince. These Thai Fish Cakes were the result of me fishing (pun intended) half a kilo of mahi mahi out of the deep freezer while searching for chicken that wasn’t frozen solid to a dozen other pieces of chicken. Although I’ve been meaning to try out more baked fish recipes, I had neither the patience or desire for something complicated. Hence Fish Cakes.
I love cake. Just needed to put that out there. And with the proliferation of excellent microwave mug cake recipes on the internet, it takes most of my self-control to prevent myself from living on various mug cakes. They’re so easy, and yummy, and it only takes minutes to satisfy your cake-y cravings. Seriously. I have a whole collection dedicated to them on my Yummly account. One of my favourite mug cake recipes is this one from Samantha at Five Heart Home. Fluffy, sugary, cinnamon-y, deliciousness. In an attempt to find an excuse to eat them more regularly I’ve been fiddling with the recipe a bit to make it healthier/more nutritious.
Since the success of my date loaf I have been on the lookout for other yummy date recipes. The other day I was in the mood to bake, but the internet was down so rather than trying one of my many bookmarked recipes, I riffled through our collection of cookbooks, feeling uninspired, until I found this recipe for caramel date fingers in our Edmonds Cookbook.
The other day I decided I wanted a ploughman’s platter for dinner. For once we actually had enough deli meat, cheese, and assorted extras in the house for it to work. The only kink in my plan was the lack of nice crusty bread in Tongan bakeries. You can order it and Cowley’s bakery would make it for you, but it was a Saturday and I didn’t want to wait until Monday (almost everywhere is closed on Sundays here). So I decided to make some nice bread myself. I don’t have a bread maker, or even a decent stand mixer so my options were a bit limited until I found Ceara’s excellent no knead whole wheat artisan bread.
Recently Dad took a trip back to Australia for work. As anyone who lives in Tonga, or countries like it, knows, you will always leave the country with a shopping list filled with obscure tidbits that you can’t find in country(exercise pants, concealer, drink bottles, wrist braces, solid shampoo etc). You will spend most of your free time shopping, and even if it isn’t on the list you will probably come back with cheese. Well not only did Dad come back with everything on the list plus some delicious feta, brie, and Camembert, he came back with cashews and pistachios. Unfortunately when Mum opened one of the bags of cashews they were slightly stale and not very crunchy. Instead of letting them go to waste I decided to make cashew butter (I also used some in my most recent batch of muesli). Continue reading