Peanut Butter Cookies


First month in Australia accomplished; seen a kangaroo, screamed at a stick I thought was a snake, learnt what ‘bogan’ means and burnt the skin off my back because apparently throwing myself off a rock into the sea for about 12 hours solid means sun cream comes off, fucking useless. I have been baking and cooking for the beautiful family I’m staying with and am in talks with a restaurant to cook and host my own supperclubs!! 

Will be spending the next month travelling first to Brisbane, staying for 2 weeks on a Hare Krishna organic farm and yoga retreat where I plan on becoming bendy and zen (zendy) only to finish up with my cousin in Sydney for double Biggadike road trip adventures.

But for now, biscuit joy:

I limit myself to only making these once a month and preferably in the company of others; all are eaten within the half hour, company or no company. This recipe has taken inspiration from the beauteous biscuits baked at Luminary Bakery, my version is a hybrid of their recipe and my own and is easily altered to be Gf and Df if desired…

Preheat oven to 160

Ingredients:

200g crunchy peanut butter

100g brown sugar

1 egg

1tbsp plain flour

100g chocolate 

(I like to use half white and half dark) 
1. Beat the PB with the sugar until smooth

2. Beat in the egg, followed by folding in the flour and the chocolate.

3. Take your lined baking trays and scoop out teaspoon sized bundles onto the tray. 

4. Using your hands, roll them into soft spheres and space them in rows 6cm apart. Go through and squash them slightly with the back of the teaspoon. 

5. Sprinkle over sea salt flakes and pop into the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. They should be golden but still a little gooey when they come out. 
Your head will be convincing you otherwise but, surprisingly, they will be hot when they first come out. Leave for a good five minutes before shoving them all into your face.
Tummy Tips

-Vegan Version: 

Replace the egg with 20g of butter, and a good sprinkle of chia seeds. Only use 180g PB and it’s best to chill the spheres for at least 20mins before baking to firm them up. 
– GF version 

Simply omit the tbsp flour, they’ll be softer and greaser (yum). 

Revelations on my Own Ignorance 

This first week in Melbourne has seen me deathly tired, supernaturally pumped yet regrettably without the undead’s necessary apathy to spiders. Insects so far have been minimal but there are fruit bats abound and I swam into a be-barnacled glove in the sea which I believe to have been Poseidon’s own.

I have ice cream, coffee and watermelon 10 times daily; I spend hours staring at new flora and have started a collection of seed pods. Amongst all of this I have my first Australian commission for an article and begin my first cheffing stint at the glorious Kinfolk on Monday- she’s a social enterprise cafe who uses local, organic produce and shall be my hostess for a while. This mostly means me being back in a kitchen (OH GLORY BE!) and many photos of the delicious from Monday through forever. All this wonder, however, has defined fully the very obvious failings of my British Brain. Here are a select few of my biggest failings so far:

1. I am very ignorant about artsy culture outside of Europe, probably even outside of London. From David Gulpilil to Rosslynd Piggott, I have no idea. Look up Piggott’s painting, ‘Tattoo’ – it’s how I’ve felt when I’ve told people I love them for the first time: gruesome, bare and theatrical.

2. Birds stand still and open their beaks because they are hot, not because they’re trying to speak to me.

3. Olive oil is an ice-cream flavour. It is delicious, unless you don’t like olive oil in which case you’re already a fool.

4. London’s hipsters are but Hairy Babies.

(Read: Fitzroy is terrifying and beautiful and the locals here have their own coffee bean-based barter system because money doesn’t grow on organic, worker’s Union farmed trees. Or even little bushes).

5. I must refrain from having more than one coffee a day. Makes me mental. And poor. And like I’m going to vomit up a physical form of Limerick.

My sister, however, wrote me a letter which she stole into my rucksack as I left. It is such a beaut of a letter that the envelope is already wearing soft from my re-readings. On the occasions I’ve felt a little alone or unsure, I’ve spoken- as loud as I dare- the mantra she’s gifted me: FEAR ME FOR I AM STRONG. I come from a veritable dynasty of strong-ass women. We can crack walnuts between our cheeks. And by walnuts, I mean chauvinists. But everyone’s predisposed to feeling a little delicate now and again.

Follow Your Stomach

My January to do list is now scarily near completion. February’s to do list is much less packed: ‘Don’t miss flight, remember to have time of your life’. If I manage to successfully board the plane, I will be travelling 48 hours to Melbourne where I intend to stay for a year and eat my way to becoming a proper chef with pastry skills and sauce expertise and many many recipes covering the blog, my notebooks and maybe even tattooed onto my skin. 

Two years in London have seen my days transform from bum-skin skintness and water porridge to food-filled restaurant reviews and recipe testings with some of the kindest, most talented people I have ever met. In the hope of continuing my lucky streak, and of the perpetual satisfaction of my stomach, I am embarking on the best of adventures- namely a world wide kitchen touring one. I’ll be working all over from Social Enterprise cafes to Organic Farms to massive yachts and writing up all the delicious I can find. 

Australia for a year, New Zealand, Japan and then South East Asia. From there I will be heading back to tiny Lincolnshirean Harrington and the family farm by any route which seems most sensible at the time and staying with anyone divvy enough to let me in their near proximity with a wooden spoon and a spatula. 

When I’m back in England if anyone comments on the 8 stone I’ve amassed whilst away, be aware your invite to the restaurant I will open when I’m an adult will be irrevocably rescinded. 

Seville

My friend who lives in Seville says that she’s never seen as much rain in the city as fell in the 5 days I was there recently. My trusty DMs broke right across the sole and so I had to wear multiple plastic bags over my socks to prevent gangrene. Being wet, mostly lost and with unprecedentedly noisy shoes did not, however, decrease the glory of this be-tiled Andalusian town of food, many churches and sometime terrifyingly heavy rain.

Once my friend managed to convince me not to eat the oranges (these are the special Seville oranges, very bitter unless boiled down with sugar into delicious marmalade) she told me the fable of the Orange Trees. It goes a posh man in Seville, a nobleman or something similar, had a girlfriend who wanted to move to Granada where it snows. He didn’t want her to move to Granada and so asked her to wait until the Spring. In the meantime he went on a planting spree and planted Orange Trees LITERALLY EVERYWHERE so that by the time Spring came he took her outside and shook an Orange Tree’s blossom on her and pretended it was snow. Apparently she moved to Granada alone. Someone else told me she stayed, I think this person might have been in denial.

Seville is a city of limited resources and incredibly bloody history meaning that with every new civilisation (first Islam, then Judaism, then Christianity) the buildings of the previous settlement were kept and re-appropriated. The main tower of the cathedral is still very ostensibly a minaret. It also is 17 storeys tall and has a grand total of no steps, it is instead ramped so that the bell ringer can reach the top on a donkey as opposed to his own feet. Another good place for exploration is Triana: the gypsy village relegated to the other side of the river where their colours, dancing and general cackling couldn’t disturb any of the conservatively Catholic locals. They set up their settlement with such joyous vibrancy, however, that in the end Seville decided they’d quite like to be friends but were satisfyingly refused by these lovely gypsies.

And now for the food! Although familiar with Gazpacho, I had no idea about Salmorejo and even less idea about how to pronounce it. It’s Seville’s special recipe Gazpacho, still cold but much creamier because bread is blended into the soup! It is so delicious, you’ll find it served with egg and jammon atop and the best place I found to have it was in a little cafe called Génova where the waiters preternaturally aware of when you’ll need your next top up of beer. If instead you’re in the food mood for a whole fried goats cheese well then, my friend, you need to head over to La Bodega Santa Cruz on the Cathedral Square. It’s technically tapas to be shared but the other tiny forks on the cheese plate went into my companions’ hands if they tried to get anywhere near it. You can get whole deep fried anchovies (boquerones) at this Bodega and the thrill of seeing your tab written out on the bar.

A less lovely thing about Seville was The Spanish Inquisition who were so insidiously present that they trained people to smell the breath of the converted Jews to see whether they could smell pig fat. Knowing that traditional Spanish cooking calls for lots of lard and that Jewish people would prefer not to use said lard, these Secret Sniffers would pally up to people at church and attempt to catch a whiff of vegetable oil in order to denounce them. Nicer Pork stories can be found in Aracena, the small town in the region of Huelva where, as a Spanish friend told me, ‘all the pigs grow’. As well as boasting the tastiest pigs in Spain, there are also the Gruta de las Maravillas, caves with icy 10m deep lakes and ‘the chickpea walk’ where the stalagmites are so teensy that it really does look like a can’s been emptied all over the floor.

The one place you must see is the Alcazar. I arrived on my final morning and wished I’d turned up on my first morning with a tent and set up camp there forever, even despite the biblical rains. It is palatial and beautiful with gardens, history and an astonishingly riveting tile museum. It’s the combination of all the separate culture’s palaces all built into each other and it probably best enjoyed wandered around with a cool cerveza and dry feet.

 

 

What to do on a date when you forget what words are and how you use your limbs.

The remedy to this is simple: you remember that your date is more scared of you than you are of them. Especially now that you seem to have become a limbless, incapable mute. FYI: you are a capable human being who has successfully held at least one conversation before, have faith.

Dates are some of the weirdest situations you will find yourself in. You want to show only the good bits but without just coming across as the chief of bombast and self-obsession. The number of times I have spilt food down myself, fallen over and one time straight-out just landed in the sea are times I can now look back on fondly, because in truth, they are not that far from how I behave normally. The fact is that it’s just the circumstances that make you judge your own actions more than you normally would. So, take this golden nugget of advice from me: stop being so self-conscious. If they don’t like you for who you are, that’s that then, NEXT! Here are some of my own embarrassing date stories and their concomitant solutions to help you think of ways to deal with the all-body awkwardness.
I once managed to drop a whole pickled egg out of my mouth onto the floor on a date. I still don’t know how or why this happened. What I did about this is that I laughed at it and then walked away as if to pretend that the egg was completely disassociated from me and whatever the hell had just happened. I believe this tactic worked.
Picture this, second date: you’re arriving on a train. He’s standing on the platform with flowers. You rush over and whilst taking the flower, simultaneously kick over his coffee and then slip in it. Blame him. My work here is done.
Once, a guy I was on a date with asked me if my parents had had a ‘nice divorce’. I am still fairly certain that I had never mentioned the fact that my parents are divorced AND it was a first date AND I took issue with the word ‘nice’ (Why not lovely?!). Rather than immediately assuming that I was the very obvious product of a ‘broken home’, I assumed that this was projection and that he really wanted to answer that question himself. And holy turd did he…
There are always the dates where you seem to spend most of the time waiting for the guy to make a move. Why are you waiting, if you want to kiss them then just go for it. This, inevitably, leads to head-butting the shy man who fundamentally disapproves of the fact that you’ve just dropped a pickled egg out of the self-same mouth. Offer them some of your hipflask afterwards as recompense. Basically what I’m saying is stop giving a shit. And stop trying to impress. The whole point is that you have fun too, it’s not a performance and it certainly isn’t a sales pitch. Anyways, silliness and fun is memorable in a way that spending 3 hours on your eye makeup isn’t. Go out there and have some fun. 

Pancakes

The simplest and most satisfying of meals. And a good one to make in the morning before you’re even awake, especially because everyone knows that calories eaten whilst unconscious don’t count. (If they ever do).

This will become your pancake failsafe.
It is essentially an american pancake recipe but use it to make BIG pancakes out of. They are soft and light and the right amount of sweet and you can eat 10 in one sitting, so win.

Ingredients:

self-raising – 1 and a half cups
sugar – 1/4 of a cup
bicarb – a bit
milk – 1 cup
egg – 1 egg

Bung it all in a bowl and whisk.

 

 

Womanifestos

9.1 million women didn’t vote in the elections in 2010.

I haven’t managed to find the ‘safe place’ where I’ve put my polling card yet, but when I do I shall be out and voting for one of the shouty people. My wonderful companion, Caitlin, has done these splendid cartoons for to you amuse and for to you abuse of one of these parties. I would like to vote for her, but apparently that’s not allowed.

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I Live.

Sorry for the quiet. I know it is very unusual for me.
I have been busy writing a play and it turns out writing plays involves a lot of writing.
This just happened whilst I doing this play-writing thing:

Mimi: Oh! No! I’ve lost the biscuit scene!

Caitlin: Whoops, it’ll turn up though- dunna worry.

*Mimi finds the scene*

Mimi: AHAHAHAHHAHAHA

Caitlin: What?

Mimi: Found it. Wanna hear it?

Caitlin: Sure please, I would love to hear all about your wonderful play that you aren’t trying to promote at all.

Mimi: ‘Eva places a packet of biscuits on the table, smiles knowingly and leaves.
Marcie is left alone in the kitchen. 

Marcie: Hello Biscuits.’

That is the whole scene.

Caitlin: That’s basically just your life.

COME SEE MY PLAY. FREE BISCUITS FOR ME.

Why the BBC Need to Employ Me to Write for them: a Review of Poldark.

Drama set in 1780s Cornwall. Well, that’s unusual. I hope this is a costume drama about men on horses eating ice cream. That’d be great. Oh, it’s a wood. Oh, the main character is a sarcastic little shoebag, but Oh GOLLY. It’s FACEMAN. Man that had his gorgeous manface on something else I remember watching and being bored by, but his FACE.

Shot at 0.58seconds is amazing because the soldiers are manly BUT THEN LONG SHOT and they all look like tiny little pixies among tiny little trees and this is great shooting because it shows that they can also play cards. But then gunshot and apparently the aim of the game is to get blood on your opponent’s cards. Wow they’re manly and now no longer tiny.

The bit where he walks into the dining room is stunning. He’s like Banquo’s ghost, but he’s made out of wood and as the scene gets longer you start to wish that Macbeth will appear and kill him quicker.  And then next scene: this poor man’s now lost his rich woman and THEN next scene when he calls his family in the ruins of his old home and there’s only a goat there. HIS FAMILY ARE NOW A GOAT? Oh no wait! AND A RAT. Oh, AND A CHICKEN. Poultrydark. Why did that chicken put half its body’s worth of feathers on his hat. Oh my sock, how is all this ridiculous happening and I am still so bored.

There are a lot of silent shots with DolfacePark looking at scenery. This means that this man has emotions. Look how he looks at that abandoned piece of farm machinery. He must be troubled. I bet it’s a woman. Bloody women. Their only excuse is that they’ve got those stupid frilly dresses on that push their boobs up so high that the boob and the brain must have swapped places.

Oh, BoobWoman is called Elizabeth. He’s said it a lot now. I’m impressed he’s remembered her name when there’s so much boob. I definitely would have said ‘boob’ accidentally instead of Elizabeth by now if I was stood next to her. Elizaboob.

Oh it’s time for him to go visit the farm labourers. The way that he finds them is by following the smell of their poor from atop his horse (unfortunately not eating an ice cream). You know these people are poor because they have strategically smeared shit on their faces and cannot afford to get their hair blowdried like their master, Permdark.

My friend Nicole said her brother’s named after Ross Poldark from the original  TV series in 1975. He is called Ross. This is hilarious. But also, BBC, another remake? Why not pay me to write something original. I’d like that. And in this instance, I use ‘original’ synonymously with ‘at least vaguely enjoyable’.

Oh, his woman-servant hiding in a field. Oh, his man-servant hiding there too! Oh goodness, this bit’s more dramatic than that astonishing bit where he pretended to be asleep but he actually wasn’t. I’ve got to 19.07 and I can’t stand it anymore.

It’s like someone describing having lost one shoe. But they’re tapping out the story with the toes of the now shoeless foot. And you can’t understand morse code. And it’s less interesting than that.
Even the possibility of this faceman having a body that he washes in a stream (because Byronic) next week is not enough to tempt me to watch it.