Thursday, December 18, 2008

Busy kitchen fun

When things are going crazy all around, one can always retreat to the safety of the kitchen for comfort cooking and food. Failing that, at least a good few hours distraction, what with the recipe reading, mess making and other jolly activities.

Following groceries and phone debacles, I felt the urge for wicked and rich chocolate cookies. A quick recipe hunt finds me triple choc cookies, but I'm one choc short. I subbed in cranberries - for some reason cranberries are associated with Chrissy (must be the sauce for the turkey), and they add a sourness that might be good to offset some of the sweet, sweet chocolate.

After conquering the kitchen and removing any previous inhabitants, it's cookie time. And the immense battle to not steal too many pieces of the dark chocolate that goes into the actual cookie, or the white chocolate bits I'm adding as chunks. Mmm... dark chocolate.

1. Sifted flours and cocoa powder 2. Mixed in bowl with brown sugar
3. Chocolate in pan 4. Plus butter

At this point previous inhabitants return and fight for land (space on the kitchen table), and being the generous soul I am (they'll share the cleaning), I allow dim sim production to commence nearby (pics below). But on with the cookies!

Wet ingredients (melted chocolate and butter) meet the
dry ingredients (flours, cocoa and sugar)

Two eggs; two lightly beaten eggs

Wet meets dry

From here the colour and consistency of the mixture become less... photogenic, let's say. (I joked that this would be what Rudolph's poop might look like if he really got stuck into... white chocolate and cranberries). But rich chocolate smells continue to waft and I resist the urge to eat raw cookie dough - raw egg and flour can't be that bad for you, can it?

Addition of bits: white chocolate and cranberries

The mixture; in ball form; in flattened form

The smell of cookies baking is one I'll always associate with school days, before any worries of diet or health really came into mind. And I'll always have a soft, fudgy spot in my heart for chocolate brownies.

Cooling on tray, then rack

These cookies are bound for my tummy, friends and family I see in the next couple of days, and last but not least, an ice cream pudding dessert for Christmas day. Decadence and goodwill indeed.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the kitchen...

Pork mince and cabbage mixture

Wrapped in egg pastry

Ready for steaming...

... and eating.

But wait, there's more! Inspired from a lunch meal the other day (sort of remembered the blog three-quarters of the way through my meal) and my love for dumplings in general, we thought we'd try our hand at pan fried dumplings, making the pastry from scratch.

Flour, water, a crick in the neck from bending over the rolling pin and flour all over my shorts eventually produced randomly sized, paper thin pastry pieces to wrap the pork mixture. A oiled frypan later, and we have rather moreish dumplings ranging from bite sized to three-bites sized.

Yes, these are circles of pastry

Pan fried and randomly sized

But we've got too much dough left over! Never fear, thin, crunchy shallot pancakes to the rescue. Somewhere in between a pappadum, roti, crepe and pancake, these turn out to be one of the yummiest random creations from our kitchen. And no surprise, I've well and truly stuffed myself with food today.

Balls of dough become thin pancakes

Made with shallots from the garden

Cooking in an oiled fry pan

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