Sunday, 6 January 2008

The Scientist does dinner

The Scientist is a good cook, but he doesn't often get the chance because I'm such a control freak in the kitchen I like to plan our dinners for the week and he likes to see what happens when it happens. Yesterday, however, I suggested that he cook in the evening while I went to the gym, and he willingly accepted. He decided on a tapas theme, and the array of delicious smells which were wafting around the kitchen when I got home attested to his success.

Here is the resulting smorgasbord of tapas delights (this is his plate - hence the herring!). Science apparently prefers orange food.

We have, from the top, some home-devised lime-tomato-Italian-herb salsa; some tomato ciabatta from the lovely local deli; the aforementioned herring, provenance ditto; Spanish tortilla; roasted sweet potato chips with smoked paprika (these were DELICIOUS); and dry-fried halloumi. I added some banana chutney mixed with yogurt to mine on the grounds that everything is improved by the addition of banana chutney and I can't believe that I've existed my whole life until two weeks ago without it.

My contribution to the meal was dessert, which was giant oatmeal and raisin cookies (The Scientist's cookie of choice). I have an excellent recipe taken from the very first foodie blog I ever started reading - A Spoonful of Sugar, but I was keen to try something from a book I bought recently, Small-Batch Baking, by Debby Maugans Nakos. I love the idea of making just one or two muffins instead of a whole load if there's no one else to eat them, and this recipe was for just two big cookies.

It was very easy, and the only down-side is that it uses only part of an egg. This wasn't a problem for us though, as the rest went into the tortilla. I used granulated sugar as I had run out of caster, which gave them a not-unappealing graininess, and was also quite heavy-handed with the cinnamon as I love it. The cookies certainly had a lovely undertone of cinnamoniness, which is a word I just made up and am quite pleased with (try saying it out loud). The Scientist declared the finished result to be just as good as the other recipe (and ate half of mine as well to prove he meant it).

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Debby and her Small-Batch Baking. I should add that I did try one of her other recipes, for Old Fashioned Yellow Cake with Double Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, for The Scientist's best friend's birthday after Christmas. You're supposed to bake the small cakes in clean empty cans, but Best Friend's wife is pregnant and I didn't want to take any risks with not having cleaned the cans well enough, so I used big muffin moulds instead. The cakes were really nice, as was the icing, though I think that a whole normal sized cake would have been eaten up happily as well. I was trying to do my bit for post-Christmas austerity, but apparently it wasn't necessary! I have at least temporarily abandoned my resolve not to post recipes as I reflected that it was one of the things I love about reading food blogs. Just buy the book too.

Big Blast Oatmeal Cookies (endorsed by The Scientist)
Makes 2 large cookies

3 tbsps plain flour
3 tbsps rolled oats
3 tbsps sugar
1/8 tsp bicarb of soda
pinch ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used light butter)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp well-beaten egg
3 tbsp raisins

Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the flour, oats, sugar, bicarb, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Add the butter and vanilla and blend with the fork until moist crumbs form. Add the beaten egg and blend it in with the fork, or with your fingers, until a stiff dough forms. Use your hands to mix in the raisins.

Divide the dough in half and place the halves 4 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. They will spread during baking. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 mins

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the parchment to a wire rack to cook for 15 minutes. Then gently peel the cookies off the parchment, place them on the rack and let them cool completely. Ours didn't make it that long!

On other matters, I got my first email from Kiwi Sis this week, which was very exciting! There will be a letter in the post to your new house tomorrow. And I also made my first foray into HTML code just now, to do the strike-through in the first sentence. I'm very proud of myself (thank you Scientist).


paul said...

I'm starving now!

Lysy said...

Come round for dinner! We can challenge The Scientist to do green (or perhaps purple...or blue - now that would be a challenge)