Mac-ducation

Hey, were you guys aware that it is Christmas today?

Like for reals; I hope you are all spending it happy and well fed with people you love/ at least enjoy the company of.

All I have to do today is make salads; score!

I hope you haven’t all had stressful weeks leading up to this day (I’ve seen mothers break down in tears because we don’t have complete sets of books left…) I pretty much had everything done and planned weeks ago so I’ve had the stress levels of a shell with shoes on (mainly because I bought a total of 5 presents!). This lack of stress has given me time to enjoy awesome things like:

Tabitha the cat

and making grand english dinners with my bestie; okay yorkshire puddings and gravy with mash!

However the most exciting thing was finally trying out the Mac factory, it has seriously been at least six months since I had a late night discussion/ craving sesh with my friend.

They were so worth the wait, so soft and chewy on the inside with the perfect crust and feet on the outside. Me and Nick shared a raspberry, strawberry and vanilla (with the 100’s &1000’s on top) and green apple.

I have another batch of semi failed macarons as well; I’m positive it’s my fear of mixing and slapping the air out of them now.

Merry Christmas xx

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Macaron – attempt #1

Can you wink? Because I totally can’t, I look like a mentally ill turtle. It’s just another thing on the long list of things I can’t do; like roll my R’s, forward roll underwater and run a marathon.

I made these macarons; granted they’ve got nothing compared to mac factory or lindt. But they are better than some attempts i’ve seen.

They were cherry flavoured, because cherries are yum.

So that basically makes me Australia’s next top Masterchef as far as I’m concerned. Score!

There are lots of things that can go wrong with macarons, and basically it’s about having the ingredients as dry as possibly before starting, and all at the same temperature.

My macarons didn’t come out right, so I will persevere until they are perfect! No point posting a recipe that didn’t work; I have a feeling there was too much almond/sugar mix and it was too lumpy; more sifting!

Salted Chocolate Cookies

I have a confession, that will probably make you doubt whether I even bake any of this stuff. It’s something my friends constantly question me on.

The thing is: I don’t like sweet things all that much (aside from jelly and ice cream, both of which I could eat until the cows come home). But that is exactly why these cookies are amazing!

They aren’t too sweet, which means you can pair them with super sweet things, or just eat them on their own and enjoy the lack of sweetness. They are adult cookies, like the Champagne of the biscuit world.

Also these are the first recipe that I’ve blogged about from Joy the Baker, which is a blog you should check it, it’s pretty awesome. She lives in California which seems to have a perpetual summer filled with strawberries, cocktails and barbecues. Although I thought the same about Australia. How wrong I was.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scraped vanilla beans from 1/8 vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • coarse sea salt
  1. Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla bean or extract. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Add cocoa powder and chopped chocolate to remaining dough; mix on low-speed until well combined. Turn out chocolate dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-inch log, about 1-inch wide and 1/2-inch tall.  Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Cut log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If dough becomes too soft to slice cleanly, return to freezer until firm.  Sprinkle course sea salt onto the chocolate cookies.  Press in lightly with fingertips.
  4. Bake until firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

 

Butter time

So my dad has this fancy camera, one of those SLR ones; and I have been dying to play with it forever. This was my week/I borrowed it whilst he was at work, he will never know (except for the fact I’m posting this on the internet and probably will know now).

I took some of the worst photos ever, they are like hilariously bad. But I also got some good ones (I think) and I got my food styling on, which is actually really hard.

Anyway, so I made butter because it was on my list; and because sometimes going to the shops and buying butter is just boring. Sometimes you just wanna hang out in front of a mixer for 10 minutes. That is fine, totally cool. Plus if you have a stand mixer you can paint your nails at the same time, it’s like perfect yeah?

So you just get cream, however much you want. You don’t even need to measure it, you just stick it in a mixer and mix it on high for 9/10 minutes. These pictures explain it pretty well.

Have fun butter fingers!

Chicken and Grits

I have this crazy weird obsession with New Orleans (also Louis Armstrong); which most likely stems from my obsession with everything French (and my strange taste in music).

This crazy obsession led to about 3 months of craving grits, which coincidentally I had never actually consumed before. I caved finally and decided to make this dish; which is super simple, for a few friends. We had it with the broccolini on toast, it was a very garlicy night.

Despite or perhaps because of the garlic; it was delicious and now I have grits cravings again.

In other news, I’m buying Miette’s cookbook soon, the one I was talking about in my first ever post. It is going to be my last cookbook purchase for a year, because I have a plan. All in good time.

Smokey Chicken

Olive oil

Chicken, I used 2 large breasts and cut into medium strips for three of us

2 cloves of Garlic

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

Butter, a good knife scraping worth; like more than necessary to butter your toast (I used margarine though)

1 lemon

Flat leaf parsley finely chopped

Place chicken in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over, get in there with your hands and grease it up! Chop the garlic finely and place into the bowl then add the paprika and squeeze the lemon over, toss this around with your hands making sure it’s all covered and drizzle more olive oil on it’s it’s looking a bit dry. Cover lightly and refrigerate for at least an hour, aim for 3 hours.

Heat a frying pan up over a medium/high heat (you want the meat to sizzle). After the chicken has been added drop the butter in the hot pan, cook until chicken is done. Add excess oils from the pan to the finished dish and top with parsley.

Grits

250g of medium ground polenta

50g of butter

100g of freshly grated cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

Bring a litre of water to boil in a large pan. Pour in polenta (or check packet instructions for water ratio), then you have to stand over that pan and stir, you can’t go away and check facebook, or pat your dog, or watch Neighbours, or whatever else you do whilst cooking dinner, you have to stand there and stir.

It’s worth it, promise.

When the grits are rad (< this was a typo but I don’t even want to change it now) add the butter and cheese and stir, again. Have a taste and keep seasoning etc, until it tastes awesome. You can take it off the heat and leave the lid on whilst you do the rest.

DIY Advent Calendar

So I totally don’t have an advent calendar this year, but my mum did buy me 24 Lindt chocolates, which makes it almost okay (when will they make a nail polish advent calendar?). Also 24 is the perfect number of days between when I was given the Lindt, and my next day off. I’m kidding of course but Christmas is coming and this at least prepares me/lets me know what day it is.

To jazz up my little reindeer, snowmen and santas I added numbers; glittery numbers, because nothing says Christmas like glitter. And more importantly nothing else says “Wake up Rachel, you need to go to work. Here have this chocolate to eat because this has suddenly become a socially acceptable morning activity now it’s December” like glittery, numbered reindeer chocolate.

It’s actually really easy, next year I’m going to make little boxes I think! Unless those nail polish calendars are available, in which case it’ll be a month of me posting about different shades of polish.

Happy 2nd day of chocolate!