Oaty, Nutty, Fruity Cookies

Oaty, Fruity, Nutty Cookies

Sunday turned out to be slightly more productive than Saturday.

For a start we went to the gym and had a very long workout. Freya started experimenting with a rug she is going to knit for the sitting room on the boat. She’s going to knit lots of offcuts of suit fabric on giant needles into a hefty rug of three colours. Early signs are that it is going to be awesome!

While she experimented I went back into the kitchen to bake.

I don’t do sweet things very often (I’m sweet enough as it is – haha) but these cookies caught my eye whilst flicking through the pages I never really look at in any cookery books – the ones at the back with the puddings in !

They are from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light and Easy cookbook. Like everything in his book they are ridiculously easy to make – so I knocked up a batch.

All you do is beat some crunchy peanut butter with some runny honey, then add an egg, some bicarbonate of soda, raisins and porridge oats until you have a gooey gloop.

Blob the gloop (dessertspoon sized) in the oven on some baking parchment and bake for about 10 minutes. When they are done cool them on a wire rack. Couldn’t be easier could it! Again – one bowl – one spatula/spoon. No washing up – dead easy.

They are lovely and chewy. Nice and soft. And so peanutty. I don’t usually like peanuts but these were amazing. I think the raisins just sweetened them up enough for me to change my point of view.

It does say in the book that these are best eaten within 2 to 3 days. We made 10. They lasted 2 – 3 hours. I think I’ll make some more today!

Popcorn with Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Runny Honey

Popcorn

I’ve never really understood why people buy bags of popped popcorn. Granted its not that expensive but the bag is rarely big enough. Especially if you’re me. And if you make your own you can flavour it as you like!

While watching the Chinese epic Red Cliff (5 hours!) Freya said she wanted dessert. Well we didn’t have anything. Freya will tell you that I don’t make puddings. Much to her disappointment. I did promise to make more sweet things in 2015 but it’s just not something that tickles my fancy. Savoury all the way for me!

Then I remembered we had a massive bag of popcorn kernels. So what better than some salted, runny honey popcorn. It takes minutes and can’t really go wrong.

Grab a big pan (if you’re making lots). I used my All Clad Tagine – which is very big! Then heat some oil and 100g of popcorn kernels on a high heat until they start to pop. Then reduced the heat and let the popping continue until it stopped.

If you’re impatient like me the popping won’t have stopped and you’ll have popcorn flying everywhere! No doubt I’ll find a few popped kernels next time I do the boat cleaning (‘housework’ to most of you).

Fish them out of the pan into a bowl – sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and then drizzle with honey and stir with a couple of wooden spoons. Don’t overdo it or it’ll be too sticky to eat and will go soft.

Suffice to say I made a second batch. Well – it was a long film !

Oven Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto

Oven Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto - Plate

Saturday was a day of plans. We had a long list of things to do – as always – and didn’t really get many of them done. Aside from catching up on sleep and not surfacing till well after 11am we didn’t really get going until after some particularly awesome bacon and fried egg bagels. Not the most healthy of foods but you have to treat yourself once in a while.

After spending most of the afternoon tidying up the kitchen I set to making this awesome dish. I don’t really think you can mess this up. It takes time – but it isn’t attended time. You just have lots of baking to do – and waiting in the meantime.

We spent the afternoon and evening watching Red Cliff. It’s a two part – 5 hours in all – Chinese epic by John Woo. If you haven’t seen it you should. If you end up watching the cut 90 minute version then sad times for you – you missed out on 5 hours of amazing cinema.

This recipe is – you guessed it – also from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light and Easy book. It certainly is easy.

Simply quarter and roast some shallots with some thyme in an ovenproof casserole until they are soft – almost caramelising. Add chestnut mushrooms, garlic and balsamic vinegar and roast some more. Finally add stock and risotto rice and roast until the stock has absorbed into the rice. It took about an hour for me.

I have to say half way through I didn’t think it was going to work – but in the remaining 15 minutes all the stock got absorbed into the rice and it was a gorgeous gloopy consistency just like a proper risotto.

Oven Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto - Pan

You’ll note there is not cheese or dairy in this at all. It’s very healthy indeed. There’s only a tablespoon of oil in the whole thing!  And it tastes just as good as any risotto you’ll eat.

There’s a serving suggestion of drizzling chilli oil over it – but we didn’t bother with that. I didn’t have any – didn’t want to make it – and decided that Freya might not enjoy the chilli addition.

As easy dishes go, this really is. Barely any washing up. Essentially a one pot dish. One knife quartered the onions and chopped up the mushrooms into large chunks – but that’s it. A very tidy dish. I’ll certainly be making it again.