This year I aim to achieve a better balance of work and not work. And I have very good intentions of recording all the wonderful, exciting, interesting non-work related things I do, right here.
In January I found the time and inclination to do some cooking. Like for most people, the emphasis was meant to be on healthy food (yawn) but without ever (ever) compromising on taste - you can see straight away, however, that I failed in this regard (the healthy bit, not the taste bit).
Here are some of the things I've been making:
Pecan and maple syrup friands
I love making friands, probably because they remind me of my mum. This recipe is a little different from my usual recipe and I found it here on Taste.com.au. I have to confess that I made them as a gift and so didn't get to try them, although the batter was yummy.
Melted butter, to grease
105g (3/4 cup) pecan halves
6 egg whites, lightly whisked
185g unsalted butter, melted
230g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
2 tbs maple syrup
10 pecan halves, extra
1 tbs maple syrup, extra, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush ten 125ml (1/2 cup) capacity, oval friand pans with melted butter to lightly grease.
Place pecans in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add the egg whites, unsalted butter, icing sugar mixture, flour and maple syrup. Stir until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
Pea and artichoke puree
An easy peasy snack based on a Donna Hay recipe. Just blitz blanched frozen peas, chargrilled artichokes, a crushed clove of garlic, a little grated lemon rind, olive oil, salt and pepper. Slather it on some toasted sourdough, and top with extra artichokes.
"Healthy" fruit & nut mix
I don't recommend making these "granola clusters" - I made them (although in loose form rather than in "clusters") so that I could have a little handful each day as a healthy snack. A complete disaster, for these are divine and I can't guarantee you won't eat them in large handfuls over a few days, rather than mini bite size snacks over many weeks. I used my own mix of nuts and dried fruit. If your will power is better than mine, check out Donna Hay's recipe here.