Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Baking biscuits~ Peanut and chocolate chip

I made some biscuits aka cookies the other night. It turned into an episode of the Great British Bake Off with the sampling, the analysing, the dissecting both in terms of the actual product and the discussion, but it was good fun, albeing fattening fun. Fatteningly fine fun. Naturally, I indulged in too many, along with huge amounts of the uncooked mixture, oh the joy.
The only thing, of course, is that you can’t really go and re-do the biscuits if they're a disaster after you’ve spent all the time, all the mess-making (oh, the mess-making), and the money to buy all the ingredients. Especially at ten o'clock at night when you're taking them to work the next day for a Bake Sale.
However, praise be, they were fine. Absolutely fine.
The recipe, replicated below, is for them: Peanut cookies. The only thing I did differently was add chocolate chips to them, as one does when one can. Also, I had normal peanuts that I roasted in the oven for a bit and rubbed most of the skins off after, not blanched ones.
I do think the chocolate was a nice addition and they were quite yummy and peanutty. I made about 16 of them so they were a respectably good size.

125 g
1 cup
1 tsp
1¾ cups
1 tsp
1½ cups

.    Heat an oven to 160C.
     Place the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.
    Sift in the flour and baking powder and combine. Lastly, mix through the peanuts (and the chocolate chips, I used about a half cup of these divine morsels.)
  Place tablespoons of mixture on a greased baking tray. Press gently with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove and cool on a rack.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cats and writers

I found this Irish poem, The scholar and his cat, in a book on Celtic wisdom, author unknown.
There seem to be different versions and I won't reproduce the whole poem, but some of the verses I do rather like. Notice the picture of one of my cats, Billie, is as far off catching mice as you can get...

I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
'Tis like a task, we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words, I sit all night.

So in peace our tasks we ply
Pangur Ban, my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss
I have mine and he has his

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Nevil Shute and Pied Piper

My love affair with Jack Reacher has come to a bit of a halt. I am discovering that binge reading 
Reacher doesn't work for me. Slowly does it, is the way to go, with Mr Child's creation,  so he's on hold for a bit.

However, in the meantime... I was chatting to a man the other day who was researching a paper on the late British/Aussie author, Nevil Shute, and I recall reading Shute's "On the Beach" some years ago. So I searched the library catalogue. The book "Pied Piper" took my fancy so I got it out and 24 hours later, on the bus, in my lunch breaks, on the bus again, and at home when I should have been doing actual writing of a romance novel, I have devoured and finished this wonderful story. 

It is set soon after the beginning of the Second World War, and is the story of an Englishman, John Howard, who is in France when the German army is advancing.  His pilot son has died and, grieving, Howard heads over to do some holiday fishing, not aware that life there is about to become very dangerous, very soon. He ends up with a bunch of children (that he picks up along the way), as he tries to get them to safety. Hence the Pied Piper title.

They are of different nationalities, these young boys and girls, and he cares for them, determined to somehow get them out of harm's way, even as his plans seemingly fall apart right in front of him as the Germans advance closer and closer.
It is filled with detail, like what they eat (the kids all drink coffee and there's lots of bread and wine, of course, and smoking), and details of this perilous journey as they navigate occupied France to try to make it north and head across the Channel to England.

You know, there is even a kitten called Jo-Jo, at one point. Jo-Jo! Such an adorable name for a kitten.

It builds to a gripping climax with an unexpected (I thought) ending. It’s the kind of book that makes you wonder how you'd have coped if you were in Mr Howard's position, back in the war, as our ancestors did. I also rather liked the odd bits of French. Isn't it amazing how you can remember so much French from school girl days? I impress myself at times.

Thus I do believe I'm on the cusp of a Nevil Shute binge.
Oh, there is just so much to read in this world, and so little time.
So little time!!

Two Free Books

I have a couple of books that are going for free on Amazon over the next few days, until the end of March, I think. The link is HERE . ...