Planning

IMG_1242Some pictures from the past week which have mainly involved prepping for our 7 week holiday. Keep up on instagram as we travel across the USA (LA, San Fran, Chicago, Boston, New York and DC) and UK (undecided/everywhere), you can follow me at Rachie_TLC.

In more important news, my case is only 12kg, which leaves 11kg free!

My packing action plan is maybe full on, but 7 weeks away from my wardrobe is upsetting to say the least. I used a list app, and packed minimal shoes (4 – for me this is minimal).
My clothing list was this: 20130121-104825.jpg
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If you have any tips or tricks for us let me know in the comments.
It’s been emotional!

Carrot and Chilli Cupcakes

IMG_0899  Me and chilli have only just become friends.
Maybe friends is a stretch, acquaintances. I have an awfully low tolerance to chilli, and my boyfriends dad puts it on EVERYTHING. So I’m attempting to increase my chilli tolerance by adding it to lots of things; my favourite is super easy pasta in a lemon and chilli oil with rocket and this obviously.

IMG_0905Carrot cakes were one of the first cakes I ever learnt to make, I remember my mum making them when I was a child, my reaction to carrot in cake was only superseded by cream cheese in an icing. My first mouthful changed everything, it was love at first bite, carrot cake has so many perfect layers to it, the crunch of nuts, the spice and the moist cake from the juicy carrots. These cupcakes are super moist but with the wholemeal they are awesome as a standalone cupcake, it’s not as wet as your usual carrot cake.

Plus wholemeal equals healthy yeah?IMG_0879IMG_0887

Also, and I feel like this is the most important part of my blog post; please read this article on Cracked (not funny). The shooting in America is insane; like, I cannot wrap my head around it, I cannot wrap my head around America, or pro gun people, it hurts that such stupidity exists, nobody needs an assault rifle to protect themselves unless they are going into combat (whole other kettle of fish). This article sums up my feelings on this and this post by Pancakes and French Fries is also excellent further reading.

Carrot and Chilli Cupcakes – adapted from BraveTart
Carrot Cake

230 grams unsalted butter
195 grams sugar
100 grams brown sugar
½ tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground if you’ve got it
1 teaspoon ginger
½ chilli minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves ground
3 eggs
227 grams whole wheat flour, sifted
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
450 grams carrots, peeled, trimmed, and shredded
Giant handful of pecan pieces or shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
Vanilla Buttercream with 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger combined.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180° and line 2 cupcake pans.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, it will start to bubble and spit, endure this. Once the butter has stopped spitting and bubbling, it’s ready. Add the minced chilli to the hot mixture.

3. Combine the sugars, baking powder and soda, salt, spices and eggs. Whip on a medium speed until full combined, light brown and fluffy.

4. Keeping the mixer running on a low-speed drizzle in the browned butter with chilli mixture, get all the browned bits in there. That’s deliciousness! Add the flour in parts; otherwise the flour will go evveerrrywhere.

5. Shut off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the nuts and shredded carrots.

6. Use an ice cream scoop to equally distribute the batter between the patty pans, bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until fully risen and springs back when touched.

Summer Sports

Do you have your summer sport yet? Beach volleyball, swimming, bowls, ultimate Frisbee?
This year I’m going with tennis, there is some awesome and free tennis courts in North Adelaide; including the super awesome wooden one above. Continue reading

Kumquat and Chocolate Cookie

When I was in primary school we had to bring in a strange fruit and do a class presentation on it, I chose a kumquat. Kumquats are about the size of an olive and completely edible; with the inside being quite sour in flavour and the peel being sweet. They are in season beginning of spring, which is now! These were gifted from a neighbour and aren’t as oval as a normal kumquat.I cannot for the life of me figure out how I researched for my presentation, did Wikipedia exist in 1999? Maybe I looked in the dictionary? How on earth did people function without the internet? How did people complete degrees without the internet?
This is hurting my head, I want to cry. I love you internet.

Sorry, that got a bit heavy. This cookie is pretty heavy, it’s pretty major. It’s delicious. Usually you would pair orange with dark chocolate, to balance out the sweetness. However kumquats already bring the bitterness so this time we are going to pair it with milk chocolate.

Kumquat and Chocolate Cookies –

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup  brown sugar
5 Kumquats, zest and juice (keep half of the juice)
2 tablespoons Nutella
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
100g Milk Chocolate chopped into pieces

Method
In a small bowl, mix flour, soda and salt using a whisk and set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the zest and nutella, then slowly add the remaining juice. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.

Roll dough onto baking paper into a log shape and freeze. Leave to freeze for at least 2 hours. Once dough is frozen slice and bake the dough at 180C for 10 minutes.
Bake until still soft, and slightly browned. Remove and scatter chocolate pieces onto the
still warm cookies.

Getting to know you

You know those days (months) where you are just scared of the future?

That’s totally not me. I cannot wait for it. I am super-duper bad at taking things as they go, I’m impatient to the max. Thus I created a Facebook for Little Cookbook a few days ago, I’d love to get to know the people who read my blog and if you live close I’d be happy to chat about baking you a cake; to be honest I’ll probably just bring you one regardless.

In my mind this seems all very rushed and slow at the same time. But I’m not sure what I want to do when I finish university in THREE? months so this might help.

I also got an amazing surprise in my inbox a few nights ago from Faraaz and Aneesa, they lovingly awarded me with the Liebster award; which is an award for blogs with under 200 followers. As part of that award they set a few questions that I have to answer, which I’ll do right now.

  1. Favourite book to film adaptation?
    Alice in Wonderland was my favourite book as a child (which you can read about here) and the Disney adaptation was my favourite film, I know that it isn’t wholly true to the book but the extent to which I loved them both seemed to trump that.
  2. What was your first job?
    My first job was in Scotland at a place called the Sandancer; I’m fairly sure it was illegal, I cooked the fast food, served ice cream and drinks, manned the counter and took the money on my own. At 14. Scotland get on to your child labour laws.
  3. Who is your favourite author?
    Audrey Niffenegger or Iain Banks.
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world and money was no object, where would you go? Why?
    North Korea. I want to experience a place that is wholly unlike the way I live. I’m totes aware of how strange a place that is to want to go. But there you are!
  5. What’s the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
    Hair. Always. No question about it.
  6. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
    Mastering buttercream.
  7. If you had to live in a decade other than the current one, which would you choose?
    The 20s, the era of opulence and great loss.
  8. Eating in a theater nefarious behaviour or perfectly acceptable?
    I do it, it’s totally cool. I’m more of a Malteaser lover than popcorn
  9. Sailboat or cruise ship?
    Sailboat, there’s something romantic about a sailboat.
  10. If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself in high school?
    Try harder, do some study and don’t skip class.
  11. What movie do you flat-out refuse to watch, no matter how good people say it is?
    Any film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ books, same for Twilight.

I’m going to pass this award on to I only eat dessert; which is a food blog based in Adelaide. I love the food shots and it’s all local. Go Adelaide!
I’ll only give you three questions, three is good:

1. Where is the best chocolate in Adelaide?
2. Carob; yay or nay?
3. What is your favourite non-food related Adelaide activity?

Perfume

Have you ever smelt a book?
And I don’t mean walking into your local book store and cunningly sniffing the books; don’t judge, I’ve seen it happen.

It sounds like a peculiar question but in Süskind’s first novel; the classic ‘Perfume’, that’s exactly what you will do.
The book made me feel slightly uneasy, in the same way as a portrait staring straight at you sends shivers down your back. There is something quite disconcerting about having mundane everyday smells picked apart and described to you; the human for instance is comprised of, amongst other things: Cat faeces, cheese and vinegar… just delightful, thanks Pat (I can call you Pat yeah?). It is in descriptions such as that, that you understand the hatred and at the same time longing Grenouille has for normality.
But really, why would not having a scent throw you off-course in life so badly? Well I think the book describes it perfectly here:
“Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

This book has two core levels that you could follow, there is the foremost level of a deranged man who lacks any emotion for anything other than scent, who wants only what is in his interest and cares very little for life. And then there is the underlying journey of self-discovery that Grenouille is on throughout the book, from unknown misfit child to his somewhat humbling end. If you so choose the first you may be pleasantly let down by everything but the wonderful language. However I chose the latter, because everybody deserves a chance.
Despite the feeling of unease and hate that are laced through the text, this book does not fail to live up to it reputation as a classic. It is beautifully written, and you finish with a feeling of understanding; understanding Grenouille in a way that many have not, as a person. Despite this book being a story of murder, the one memory I will carry away with me, is not of those scenes but of the scents, from the putrid 18th century France to the sweet girls, the scents that Grenouille covets above all else.

You can buy this book at most bookshops:
Come see me at QBD and I will hook you up
Mary Martin Bookshop
Imprints (on hindley)
This post is also very helpful from the guys at Already Home from the City Council

Giant Lamington

It is totally amazing the effect the weather can have on your mood, blue skies equals birds singing in the sun and beers on the beach with tanned beautiful people (the first of these days is okay; and then bikini … Continue reading

Smartie Pant Pops

When I was little I lived all over the UK, from Inverness to outer London. I never lived near my grandparents though, so whenever we went to visit them it was a week in kid heaven: dinner at restaurants, sips of wine and lovely baked goods! My favourite childhood treat however had to be by far the most ordinary thing, cookies on a stick. Like a cookie lollipop. The cookie pop reminds me of holidays with my granny, walking to the park (all the way down the longest road ever), warm toast and sitting in her big leather chair.

Last week I received an email from uni about free market they are holding. For some reason my mind immediately went to cookies and cookie pops. What student wouldn’t love a cookie pop?
My ideas for flavours are:
– Smartie Pant Pops (this post – smarties obviously!)
– Salted Pistachio with burnt white chocolate drizzle-pops (Needs a name!)
– Maple glazed bacon and coffee – Morning Pig Pops
– Lavender and honey pops (also needs a name)

Leave your ideas for names below, the best names win a mixed box of 8! (only Australia sorry, the cookies would not last an international post)

These cookies are just a basic brown sugar cookie recipe with as much Smarties as you see fit, I’ve got a 180 g packet in the dough, then I add three extra Smarties midway through backings for a good pop of colour.

Ingredients
345g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g butter
170g  sugar
200g brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
180g Smarties plus more for topping

Recipe

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Set the butter aside to soften at least half an hour before starting.
In a large bowl, mix flour, soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.
Add the softened butter and both sugars to a mixer and cream until light and fluffy. To this mixture add the eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add flour in two additions, scraping down the sides in between. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Stir the Smarties into the mixture and set onto parchment paper to shape into a log.

Cover the cookie log entirely and wrap in glad wrap.  Put this delicious log into the freezer and leave for at least an hour.
Slice and roll into balls, I made my cookies about 20g each however I think 30g would be better. Bake for about 10 minutes. You want them to be just browned on the edges; they will continue to bake after you remove them from the heat.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Glow in the Dark Driveway and other such cuteness.

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This has to be my first totally unplanned post, however I totally don’t have time to finish up my post on the dark chocolate brownies I made last week, which by the way went down a treat. I really feel like I needed to pay more attention to this, as it seems like the rest of my life is getting a teeenie tiny bit uncontrollable.

So I thought I’d share with you some pretty rad stuff from life and the internet.

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I just saw this on A Cup of Jo, which is a super sweet blog with just the most inspiring posts and amazing how to’s. 

Who wouldn’t want to come home to this!

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I spent my weekend browsing the Adelaide Central Markets and picking up some amazing brie and grapes all so I could spend Saturday night in making invites and painting my nails all glittery; I think somewhere in there was an intention to study. But let’s be serious, who studies on a Saturday night. Sacrilegious? I hear you.

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Because not all blogs are written by mothers, and not all lunches are done with children. You can check out more of these cards at the new Irving baby store behind the Austral.

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This picture just makes me laugh so much, this is a G&B (gin and banana), I have a sneaking suspicion that it will most definitely take off at bars nationwide. So watch out.

Disclaimer – I wouldn’t actually advise on the consumption of G&B’s especially consumption in the plural. May taste nicer with more tonic.