Category — Sweet Little Something

Our Anzac baby 2

April 25, 2017

 

The sun has set on another Anzac Day, the day New Zealanders and Australians commemorate those who served in wars. It is a public holiday and always rather special – even aside from the important acknowledgment of our forces and our country’s current peace – it is the beginning of autumn, often a bright, bluebird kind of a day, close to Easter and the last public holiday for some time. The meaning and beauty of the day lends itself to family catch-ups, walks, feeling grateful and baking. But five years ago someone made this day significantly more special for us.

 

 

B2 was born before dawn, in time to see the sun rise, in a manner that is just like her: on time and textbook perfect. B2 is a stickler for rules. She’s also the only one of my births that went to some kind of plan and didn’t require assistance, as B2 hardly ever requires assistance. I still remember my sleepless, post-birth elation, staring at this perfect being – smooth, flawless skin and rosebud lips, bundled up like a glowworm. B2 was the baby of the family for some time but we should have known she wasn’t destined to stay that way with her resolute independence, huge roar and ceaseless curiosity. She was born in the year of the dragon and has lived up to that creature too – both fierce and shiny, full of fire and magic; something you can’t help but stare at. I cannot wait to see the life she leads. For now she’s off to school and not half-excited about it. She’s been begging for homework for months, literally climbing the walls (well, the columns in the hallways, shimmies up them with her feet like a monkey) when we drop big sister off to her classroom and is busting to join the ranks of the big girls in the playground at lunchtime. I really hope she thrives there. I hope they are prepared for handling her particular brand of firework.

 

 

In honour of our joyful, full-of-life, always singing / giggling / roaring Anzac baby and because they happen to be the best version of an Anzac biscuit I have ever eaten, I am sharing this recipe for Anzac squares. These biscuits are caramel and oat, crunch and chew, in exactly the right balance. The trick, in my opinion, is the addition of walnuts, which don’t often feature in an Anzac biscuit but, quite frankly SHOULD. I’m sure you’ll agree after you taste them. They give the biscuit an edge. A complex, resin-y, tannin-y, all-round-pleasing kind of an edge.  Drizzling your squares with chocolate is entirely optional and I won’t judge you for doing so. Share these with your babies and the ones that are no longer babies, those that are lurching off on their own new adventures.

 

 

Anzac Squares

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup coconut

2 cups rolled oats

120g walnuts, chopped

pinch of salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

230g butter

4 tsp golden syrup

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla paste / essence

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / 350 fahrenheit and line a shallow baking tin (approx 30cm x 45cm)

Combine flour, coconut, rolled oats, salt and walnuts in a large bowl. Add the sugars and mix well.

Put the butter, golden syrup, sifted baking soda in a saucepan and melt gently together over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to froth. Pour into dry ingredients and add vanilla paste / essence.

Stir until well combined and then press mixture evenly into your shallow baking tin.

Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the tin. Bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes until it is golden brown.

Cut into squares while it is still hot. Cool till warm before transferring to a container and storing airtight. Will last up to a month, if they are not all devoured within 24 hours. Can be drizzled with melted chocolate, if you are that way inclined.

Makes 40+ squares

 

With love,

Hannah

In: Food, From Hannah, Includes a recipe!, Seasonal, Sweet Little Something

Haiku for 2016 0

December 20, 2016

Oh, 2016. You were….something.

 

 

We have been putting our heads together (not literally, we live in different hemispheres) for the last few weeks wondering how we should end this eventful year, how we could possibly sum it up. For us, now neck-deep in our mid to late thirties, the days feel very full. Bustling, joy-peppered and chaotic at times. The personal tightly interwoven with the political, domestic with global, beautiful with difficult. Our lives all-of-a-sudden deeply rooted in communities – families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and the web of fine friends spread around the globe. Between the two of us we have mortgages, multiple kids, marriages and meals to get onto the table. We have work and worries. Love and obligation. A thousand things we want to be doing, a thousand less desirable chores to match. Barely a minute to send each other an email yet an instagram / pinterest addiction we really should ditch. It’s both meta and minutiae, you know? Both of us up at our respective 4ams wondering if we are parenting properly. Wondering when “parenting” became such a loaded verb. Wondering about our latest manuscripts, the books we should be reading and if we are any good at writing at all. Wondering about climate change and the dire state of world politics. Feeling about as competent to look after a marriage, a manuscript, a family, a career and the state of the planet as a anxious pre-teen with a major acne problem. And yet looking in the mirror and seeing a grown-up. We’re in charge now? Seriously?!

 

So, we decided that the only way to sum it all up, this baffling, surprising year, was to give ourselves very few words to do so. Those of you who have followed us for some time will remember that we used to play a similar game every week called Sweet Little Something. Each of us would post a photo and write an accompanying haiku to go with it. So that is what we are doing with 2016 : selecting a couple of photographs from the year and writing haiku to tell its story…some part of its story.

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In: From Hannah, From Ria, Kids and Parenting, Seasonal, Sweet Little Something

Poached fruit – naughty and nice 2

September 21, 2016

 

Who else finds it almost impossible to choose just one dish for brunch? Or, more specifically, who else finds it impossible to choose either a sweet dish or a savoury dish? (I’m looking at you Ria Voros) What you need is a brunching partner that will allow you to have your choice of both savoury and sweet dishes and then halve them, with the skill and deliberation of a neurosurgeon, to provide you with the perfect, two course, mixed meal. Or you could stay at home and make your own. Which is exactly what I did last weekend.

 

As a belated birthday catch up I invited a few friends over for brunch and resolved to make the two courses I’d order if given the chance. First course – barbecued corn fritters with bacon, avocado, roasted tomatoes and creme fraiche (plus an incredible sweet + tart homemade plum sauce my friend brought with her. Love you, KatiePo). Second course – whiskey, caramel and prune brioche pudding, cooked in a cast iron skillet and served with custard and poached fruit.

 

Poaching fruit is a little fiddly but ultimately super-easy and almost foolproof. If I can do it you absolutely can. To get my poach on I had to work with the good lookin’ winter fruits available, which led me down a path of finding and tweaking recipes for poached pears and tamarillos. Just to reinforce the food in pairs / dichotomies theme – one turned out spiced and rich and crimson, the other sweet, fragrant and blonde. The Snow White and Rose Red of poached fruit. I regularly seem unable to settle on one flavour – check out these two chocolate recipes – poached fruit is clearly no exception.

 

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Boozed Tamarillos with Brown Sugar and Spices 

(Ingredients in bold)

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In: Food, From Hannah, Includes a recipe!, Seasonal, Sweet Little Something

Bounty Bar Cake 2

September 7, 2016

This cake was a mistake. I don’t suppose that’s a good way to introduce a recipe, but let’s just call it a fortunate mistake. Like when you trip over a fifty dollar note on the sidewalk. You know how that happens.

 

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Truth was this cake came about because my adorable babe woke me at four in the morning. After a feed, her not me, she promptly went back to sleep, her not me. What to do when wide awake at four in the morning? Sensible answers might include – a) try harder to go back to sleep or b) read a book. I decided, instead, to go for option x) or y) – make a cake with insufficient ingredients.

 

The lack of butter in the house (I could hardly believe it, we are so pro-butter around here) forced me to replace it in my go-to recipe with coconut oil. After a few other adaptations, I wound up with a cake that tasted of chocolate and coconut and reminded of this particular candy bar. Bounty bars are one of my favourites; there’s something luxurious about chocolate and coconut that never fails to satisfy. I also love coconut rough and macaroon biscuits. The sweetness! The texture! The suggestion of a tropical holiday! The coconut flavour in this cake is quite subtle and could be easily dialled up a notch or two with the addition of toasted coconut flakes / chips scattered on top of the frosting. Or you could do the opposite and dial it back by replacing the oil in the icing or cake mixture with butter. I’ll leave those decisions in your capable hands.

 

Bounty Bar Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour

3/4 cup of cold water with 1/2 tsp of baking soda dissolved within

140 grams of melted coconut oil (so it is liquid)

3 Tbsp cocoa

1 1/2 Tbsp hot water

1/4 tsp vanilla paste / extract

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius
  • Mix all ingredients together and beat for two minutes
  • Pour mixture into a 25cm cake tin
  • Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, checking after 45 minutes and removing the cake once a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Allow to cool completely before removing from tin and frosting

 

Chocolate Coconut frosting

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp of cocoa

pinch salt

milk to loosen mixture (approx 4 Tbsp)

Method:

  • Cream the coconut oil with vigorous beating
  • Add half the icing sugar and beat again
  • Add vanilla and cocoa and beat again
  • Add last half of icing sugar and beat again
  • Drizzle in milk, very slowly, until the frosting achieves the right consistency

* I topped the icing with milk chocolate I grated with a microplane / zester.

 

Do you have good recipes that came about due to an accident? Or insufficient ingredients? Or sheer laziness?

Does chocolate + coconut fill your soul with happiness?

Love,

Hannah x

 

P.S. If you try this recipe please send your feedback. Always looking to make both improvements and fortunate accidents.

In: Food, From Hannah, Includes a recipe!, Sweet Little Something

A tale of two chocolates. 5

June 29, 2016

I don’t know about you but this week has me feeling despondent. Is it “the age of foolishness…the winter of despair”? At every turn there seems to be a massacre, a miscarriage of justice, an environmental disaster, political miscreancy, the death of a musical icon, mass fear and hysteria. As the Brits would say – it’s doing my head in. On Instagram this week I vowed to vote for sunshine in the presence of so much rain, pain and gloom, but I’ve found it difficult. What is a girl to do? The only thing she can. Turn to chocolate.

 

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of chocolate bark. I’m a huge fan of anything chocolate and ridiculously easy to make. The time from head (idea) to reality and back to head (through mouth) again is crucial. If it takes too long I lose interest and appetite. In the wake of all this depressing global news the therapy needs to be swift and I’ve created two versions of chocolate bark that are truly quick to make and delicious to devour. The biggest dilemma you have to overcome is : which one to make first?

 

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Bark one is made using dark chocolate and flavoured with cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, chunks of crystallized ginger and freckled with cacao nibs. Dark, rich, spicy, crunchy. The spices are warming, the ginger sweet and jube-y, the cacao nibs give that delectable hint of espresso. As therapy this chocolate lets your cry, allows your bitterness, wraps you in a soft blanket and kisses the troubles away. It’s music by The Cure, it’s literature, it’s a cabin in the woods.

 

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Bark two is made using white chocolate and flavoured with vanilla, passion-fruit powder, pieces of tropical fruit and topped with curls of roasted coconut. Sweet, creamy, exotic, luscious. The chewy fruits and coconut remind me of warm holidays and holiday cocktails, the sour passion-fruit powder and vanilla spice add complexity. As therapy this chocolate orders you to brush your hair, grabs you by the hand and takes you out dancing till morning. It’s your favourite 80’s movie, it’s the craic, it’s a drunken skinny dip in an ocean full phosphorescence.

 

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In: Food, From Hannah, Includes a recipe!, Sweet Little Something