Sometimes I can be really cheesy

Like the time I told Dave this joke: Why did the banana go to the doctor? Because he wasn’t peeling very well!  Or like the time I made cheesy biscuits out of leftover cheese that was in the fridge going hard. That was on Tuesday.

I was doing the weekly “Fridge Turf Out”. It’s an exciting event. Sometimes I find treats I forgot I put in there. Sometimes I find a zucchini that has seen better days and has started slowly dissolving. Gross. This week I found a few crumbs of parmesan, a small block of tasty and a chunk of divine Margaret River Vintage Cheddar left over from a cheese plate. I hate wasting food and vintage cheddar is no exception so I decided to turn it all into biscuits. I remembered seeing a recipe for parmesan biscuits in this lovely Baker & Spice Book so I used it as a rough guide. The recipe called for making the dough, rolling it into a log and refrigerating it for at least 4 hours or overnight. As soon as I see the word ‘overnight’ in a recipe I instantly dismiss it. I like things that produce quick results. I like to use sticky tape rather than glue and I never lay-by. I know I probably cut myself off from a lot of great recipes but if I have the urge to bake, I want to do it then and there. None of this ‘overnight’ business. The point of the story is that I saw ‘overnight’ in the parmesan biscuit recipe and what came out of my mouth was something like “pfft”.

I mean, what do Baker & Spice know? (Quite a lot, actually)

So, I halved the ingredients in the recipe and left out 50gms of butter seeing as the cheddar already had a high fat content. Here is the recipe. Please be aware that I am no pastry chef and this was a bit of an experiment so this is an approximate recipe, not something from a professional kitchen.

I call them Left Over Cheese Biscuits and they go a little something like this:

Approx 150g finely grated cheese (I used a third each of parmesan, cheddar and tasty but I think you could experiment with different quantities and cheeses, just keep in mind that some are harder or softer than others and you may need to adjust the amount of butter)

170g plain flour, sifted
100g diced cold butter
Tsp of ground sea salt
Tsp freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp cold water
¼ cup mixed black and white sesame seeds

Pre-heat oven to 180°C

Put everything except the water and the sesame seeds in a food processor

Process until the mixture resembles crumbs then begin slowly adding the cold water until a ball of dough is formed. You may need less or more depending on the cheese you used so just add a little at a time and keep your eye on it

Consider rolling dough into a log and putting in the fridge overnight. Say “pfft” and enjoy feeling fleetingly rebellious

Line a baking tray with baking paper

Put ½ the sesame seeds on a small plate

Take a walnut sized bit of dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten between palms. Work quickly as the butter will begin to melt and the dough becomes too soft to work with

Gently press the biscuit into the seed mix so one side is covered and put on the baking tray, about 2cm apart. Top up the plate with the remaining seeds when necessary

 

Bake for 25 minutes. This might be enough depending on your oven and the cheese you used but I found my biscuits were browning nicely on the outside but still a bit soft on the inside so I turned the oven down to 100°C and let them dry out for another 10 minutes.

I must say, they aren’t the finest crumbed or the most delicate biscuit, more of a solid but crumbly texture but they are so delicious and moreish that we have eaten most of them already.

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Out & About… at the Malmsbury Village Fayre

Today we went to the Malmsbury Village Fayre with some friends. I’d read about it in the paper last week and knew we had to go. I really like visiting that part of Victoria and getting my hands on locally produced wines, preserves and olive oils. It was a lovely day sitting in the sun by the lake of the botanic gardens and eating food from the fayre. There were some ‘little old ladies’ with a cake stall. I love cake stalls. I love that these women have probably been making the same slice, biscuit or cake for decades, the exact same way. At least that’s what I like to think. And where else can you get 6 squares of walnut and date slice with chocolate icing for $3? I was also very organised and loaded up on Christmas presents, only to decide on the way home to keep them all. And I sealed the deal by using the lemon myrtle infused olive oil in tonight’s salad. Amazing! Here are some pictures of the fayre, the gardens and our spoils.

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On the getting of a new oven

There’s only one good thing about moving into a rental with a dodgy oven and that is when it breaks down. I know I sound crazy. Like one of  those crazy people you see down the street who talks to themselves (on a side note, I think half the people I see everyday are crazy, until I realise they’re taking on their mobile handsfree thingy). But back to the point, it’s a good thing because then you get a BRAND NEW OVEN!

Of course there is the inevitable frustration of waiting for the landlord to get a plumber to try and fix the existing oven only to realise someone “must have knocked the thermostat off while cleaning” (is that even possible?), then wait for him to try to find the same old model on ebay for parts and then to conclude that that tactic didn’t work and the oven is beyond repair. And there’s the bother of waiting for the new purchased one to arrive and to be installed and the further frustration (and possibly tears) when the new one breaks down 10 minutes into cooking a Chocolate Cursed Cake*. But it all seems worth it once the new oven is up and running and has a light that works and a door you can see through and all these nifty little buttons (I hereby take back all the bad things I said about the buttons last week. I admit I used words that one could take to mean the exact opposite of ‘nifty’).

So, as soon as I got the opportunity I baked Lemon and poppy seed cake and my tried n’ true (also known as ‘Nigella’s’) brownies. And judging by the poppy seed-to-teeth ratio of the mouths in the office on Monday, I’d say my first oventure was a success.

*This cake is a gorgeous flourless number that I have tried to cook twice. The first time was the way I discovered the old oven wasn’t working.
And my cake turned into a biscuit in about 5 minutes. The second time was the way I discovered the new oven wasn’t working and I had to take the half cooked cake to Mum’s, practically still wiping the aforementioned tears from my eyes. At that point Dave dubbed it The Cursed Cake and begged me not to make it again. But you might like to so here is the recipe – maybe you can break the curse!

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