Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recipe: Toasted Museli Cookies

I have a large amount of toasted muesli at the moment, which I don't like much for breakfast, so I have been trying to make biscuits out of it.

Not many people seem to suffer this problem - because all the recipes for Oat Cookies that I have been able to find involve uncooked rolled oats. *sigh*.

Also they all seem to use equal quantities of oats/sugar/flour, which I generally find too sweet for me.

This version seems to have been the most successful so far - it tastes a bit like a cake would try to taste like, if it was pretending to be healthy.

Toasted Museli Cookies with Chocolate and Almonds (makes 16)
1 cup* self-raising flour
40-50g softened butter (I forgot to weigh it)
1 1/4 cup toasted museli
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon stewed rhubarb
1 tablespoon ish of honey
splash of vanilla essence
slivered almonds and white choc bits to garnish
Oven heated to 180 deg C

Crumb the flour and butter together
Add museli, egg, milk, rhubarb, vanilla, honey, some almonds, then check consistency.
Mine was a bit too runny at first, which is why I added another 1/4 cup museli. You want it to clump together, but not too dry or wet.

Spoon into flat 'rounds' on a baking tray, tucking in the surprise goodies - more almonds and the white chocolate bits. That way I know each biscuit has some of the good stuff.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly golden. You want them still chewy.

Delicious straight out of the oven, not too bad the next day.

Note: I a have a "cup" measuring cup which appears to smaller than the 250mL standard metric. However, equal quantities of flour/museli or equivalent to 200g-ish should do it.

Note 2: i have measured the cup. It is equivalent to a half cup.

Note 3 (Alternate rendition)
1 cup toasted museli
1 tbps bran
3/4 cup pinenute/dried cranberries/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds
1 cup flour
2 tbsp oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 egg
1/8 cup white sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
splash orange oil

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review: SIFF 100 Mile Dinner at Mamre House, Orchard Hills

I was super excited when I saw that there would be a Sydney International Food Festival Event “out west”, featuring the food of a local African community garden. Night before I move house? Not a problem.

Mamre House is a historic homestead built in the 1820s, and was the home of the colonial chaplain, magistrate and pastoralist, the Reverend Samuel Marsden. It is currently owned by the NSW government, and leased to the Sisters of Mercy. What I didn’t realise, when booking, was that the night was also to be a fundraising night.

Unfortunately, the African Performers cancelled at the last minute, so there was no African music. I also note that the “African food” ended up being Western style salad greens, grown by local African refugees.

The menu included:

* Platter of antipasto - including a delicous thick aged balsamic vinegar from Simply Original
* Roast Duck/Wagyu Beef
* Orange Almond Cake, or Chocolate Tart
* Wine from Jubilee Wines, Beer from Blue Tongue

The entrée platters were assembled by students from Western Sydney Tafe, two highlights were the sticky oozy balsamic vinegar and the marinated cheese from Muswellbrook.

There was a bit of artistic licence in obtaining the food from 100mile (160km) radius. Chocolate for the chocolate tart was “bought” locally. In reality, you can’t get chocolate (or flour) within 160km of Sydney if you were strictly applying the 100 mile ethos. Same again for the beer – Blue Tongue brewery is based in Newcastle, and it is 178km from Sydney.

Outside, a bunch of astronomers had set up their telescopes, so you could take a peek at the stars if you could ignore the light pollution of the fairy lights.

Overall, a fun event, and considering the obstacles encountered in getting the event organised, still well worth supporting.

I'm sure I took pictures, but I can't find them at present.
Note: As you can see, I found some pictures.
I had a chat the next day to a guy from Blue Mountains Honey at the markets who had also been at the event, and also to a colleague: turns out that this event was always going to be a charity fundraiser, and then someone on their organising committee suggested adding it the list of events on the SIFF calender to get some more publicity. And then the problems with the alcohol: turns out the more "local" breweries weren't interested in assisting an event like this.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Local Chinese Food, USA-style

Whilst holidaying along the USA west coast recently, I ate quite a lot in local Chinese restaurants. Mainly because it was the only way to get a decent serve of vegetables when eating out.
I tried a popular one in Berkeley (Shen Hua), one just outside of Vegas, and one in 29-Springs based upon the number of cars in the parking lot.

The cuisine appeared to be mock-Szechuan style, as opposed to the Cantonese style so prevalent in Australia. I know that Szechuan cooking is supposed to be very spicy, very liberal with the chillies, yet when you order Kampung Chicken, there was no chilli. I had this dish in Sydney, and you couldn't move for the number of chillies

Each place offered "Mu-Shu", what it is I'm not entirely sure. At Shen Hua - this involved stir fried cabbage, meat and egg, which you would the wrap up in a pancake with hoi-sin sauce, Peking-duck-style.

The most surprising dish, and my favourite was the spring dragon soup. I had this a few months ago, so I might have the name wrong. The large portion was enormous, and enough to share between five people. The soup had a nice balance of flavours and was very more-ish.

The other Chinese restaurants were your run-of-the- mill suburban style restaurants offering "American" meals like steak, eggs and chips. The portion sizes were huge (this is America, after all), and no-one restaurant had gai-lan (Chinese broccoli) as an option.