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New Blog! Come Join Me!

[Rampant exclamation mark usage alert!]

I’ve finally decided to make the leap over to my own domain, so I’d love it if you could come join me at wayfaringchocolate.com! Make sure to update your blogroll, reader, bookmark, feed, or whatever way you have of checking in… I’ll be posting a rather gorgeous-looking chocolate over there tomorrow, and surely you wouldn’t want to miss out?

Yep, this way folks… http://wayfaringchocolate.com/

Super fun times galore await!

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Advice That Certain People Who Write Essays Would Do Well To Note:

1. It doesn’t matter whether a sociological theorist is “pessimistic” or not, or which year s/he was born in. It does matter, though, that you understand that “rationalisation” relates to disenchantment and bureaucratisation, and not to people thinking logically about their life choices.

2. I’d prefer you wrote about Karl Marx and Max Weber, not Kyle Marx and Max Webber. You see, I’m not entirely sure what the latter two contributed to Sociology. Oh, and Emile Durkheim is a man, although it would be nice if one of the “Founding Fathers” was actually a “Founding Mother”. Sadly, we aren’t allowed to change the sex of people born centuries ago.

3. Want to know what helps you, in a grades-affected manner? Answering the essay question.

4. Want to know what helps me, in a sanity-affected manner? When you get my name right on the cover sheet. (Oh, and my sanity also benefits when you answer the essay question.)

5. Last but not least, cookies help inexorably with the essay-marking process. They might even help with the essay-writing process. I therefore suggest you bake and gobble these up at the earliest convenience.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

I don’t often bake cookies. For some reason, cookies are associated in my mind with boredom. Too sweet, too crunchy, and lacking in satisfaction. However, whilst flicking through one of my many rarely-used mini Women’s Weekly cookbooks, I found this gem of a recipe.

Sweet but not too sweet, baked a little under the required time so as to retain a soft and almost-doughy interior without losing the crispier exterior, heady in cinnamon and with the faint nutty flavour of oats and whole-wheat flour, these were exactly what I forget cookies can be.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

That is to say, addictive. Did I eat seven of these between baking them in the afternoon and going to sleep in Skank Bed at night? Possibly. Perhaps. Maybe. Okay, yes.

But they’ve got oats, and fruit, m’kay? So they’re good for me. Possibly. Perhaps. Maybe.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Adapted from The Women’s Weekly Biscuits and Slices mini cookbook.
Makes about 15.

The recipe below is for my cut-down-by-a-third-and-adapted version of the original, which purported to make 45 cookies. Whilst I know I could very easily eat 45 cookies over the course of a few days, I also know I’d get horrifically bored by the sameness of them all if I did. Ergo you should be able to double or triple this recipe easily, if you want more cookies in your life. Or if you want to share with other people, instead of sitting by yourself with cookies and ice cream watching old-school romantic movies all afternoon.

  • 1 American tb (15ml) flaxmeal, mixed with 45ml water (or one egg for a non-vegan version)
  • 90g (1/3rd cup + 1tb) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tb (40ml) canola (or vegetable) oil
  • 2 tsp honey/agave/golden syrup/liquid sweetener
  • 2/3 cup (60g) rolled oats
  • 50g dried apples, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (50g) wholemeal plain flour (or normal plain)
  • 1/4 cup (37g) self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (this was the only part I didn’t cut down, as I used the full tsp of the original recipe for a batter a third the size. Woot cinnamon love!)
  1. Beat brown sugar with combined flaxseed and water with an electric mixer until mixture plumps up a little and lightens a bit in colour (if using an egg, wait for the mix to get significantly lighter in colour).
  2. Stir in (manually, not with the electric mixer) the vanilla essence, oil, and liquid sweetener of your choosing, then the oats, apple, and sifted dry ingredients. Refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on lined baking trays. I expected mine to spread more than they did, so if you prefer thinner and crunchier cookies, you might want to press the balls down a little bit.
  4. Bake 9-10 minutes for cookies with a deliciously soft core, or a bit longer if you want them crunchier. Though in all honesty, I don’t know how crunchy these would get. Maybe they never would? All I know is that I love the way mine turned out.

Question Time: Do you have advice for someone that would be safer shared here than with the person him/herself? Vent, my pretties, vent.

This Precise Moment

BReakfast at Tiffany's and Ice Cream

Because sometimes you have to not only embrace but be the cliché.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve reviewed a chocolate from my favourite one-woman local chocolate company, The Curious Chocolatier. The bar below is actually rather special, for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s not one of the standard, ever-present chocolates of The Curious Chocolatier line-up, but a seasonal (and hard-to-find) offering produced late last year.

The second reason relates not to the chocolate itself, but to how I came to have it in my hot little hands.

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

Do you remember when my family and I went out to lunch for my Grandma’s 81st birthday? Well, the entryway to Flint in the Vines is a bit of a shop, selling gorgeous crockery and a few local food products. Including, yes, chocolates by The Curious Chocolatier. I bet you can imagine my delight when I spotted this limited edition bar on the shelf, but I bet you can’t imagine how I came to own it.

(No, I didn’t steal it.)

What I did was (over the course of the lunch’s several hours) sporadically slip into any conversation involving my brother the fact that he should probably buy the chocolate for me, because he’d promised to bring me chocolate days earlier and hadn’t followed through. For example:

E.TeacherLord: I’m trying to decide between the barramundi and the beef. I think I’ll try the barramundi.

Hannah: Do you know what I think? I think you should buy me that chocolate. That would be fun for you.

Or:

E.TeacherLord: And then one of my students [did something amusing] and it made being at work for 10 hours bearable.

Hannah: Wait, what did you say? I didn’t quite catch it. Something about buying me that chocolate?

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

The strange thing is I was really only doing this to amuse myself. (Boy, was I amusing myself.) So when I got up to visit the ladies and said to my brother that “now would be the perfect time to buy me that chocolate”, and he reached into his bag and pulled out the bar that he’d already snuck off to get for me, well…

I was ecstatic, grateful, and mindboggled that my ploy had worked. Apparently, I’m more persuasive than I thought, or else my brother loves me loads. Which I hope is true, because I think he’s awesome, and if he weren’t in another state, I would have shared this chocolate with him. Perhaps. Maybe.

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

Now that we’ve got the back story out of the way, how did this chocolate rate in the Wayfaring Chocolate universe? Well, it certainly didn’t threaten my adoration of The Curious Chocolatier’s Dark Chocolate with Apricot and Rosemary bar, but it was pleasantly sweet and vanished all too quickly.

The bar is beautifully glossy and the freeze-dried blueberries clearly evident in their rounded glory, as seen in the photo above. The aroma was sweet and slightly fruity, and the snap quite crisp.

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Blueberries

Flavourwise, the chocolate base tasted like what I’ve come to expect from The Curious Chocolatier’s 54% blend, which means it was honey-sweet with strong vanilla and marshmallow tones, tempered with a nice jolt of chocolate richness.

The berries themselves provided a subtle fruity tang, although weren’t as strong in flavour as the apricots of the aforementioned Rosemary bar. I enjoyed the interplay of the honey and cream chocolate with the natural berry flavour of the blueberries, and have since realised that I seem to be conquering my anti-fruit-and-chocolate demons. Hurrah for widening chocolate tastes!

As a result, I feel comfortable recommending this bar as a pleasant, unaggressive, and refreshingly sweet-without-being-cloying chocolate treat.

Question Time: What fruit do you wish you could find embedded in a chocolate bar?

Just a quick one today, folks! Life is suddenly quite busy. Many things to think about and do and remember and be a part of and enjoy. And then there are the essays.

So, here goes (oh, and I hope you appreciate the way I’m humiliating myself by showing you horrible things I’ve eaten in the past. To make myself feel better, please keep in mind that these photos are from my trip to America three years ago).

Things I’ve Done (And Eaten) In My Life That I’ve Felt Really Silly About Afterwards:

1. Climbing really high up a tree at my primary school, getting stuck, and needing a teacher to come and carefully guide me back down whilst I sobbed in panic. (Age: under 10)

Lay's Crab Spice Chips

Maybe it's because I didn't grow up with Crab Spice Seasoning in the cupboard (i.e. what the bollocks is Crab Spice Seasoning?), but these just tasted awful and bitter to me. Postprandial silliness rating: high.

2. Unwrapping a present on Christmas Day to discover a doll I’d desperately hoped for, becoming hysterical with happiness, and then accidentally thanking the wrong grandparent for it in a really over-the-top fashion. (Age: under 9)

French Toast Pop Tart

Another Pop Tart: "French Toast" flavour this time. Slightly better than the Hot Fudge Sundae, but still sickeningly fake and sweet-tasting. Postprandial silliness rating: High.

3. Getting a teensy bit drunky at a sleepover with two friends, accidentally knocking a bowl of almonds to the floor and deciding, in my drunky logic-befuddled state, that the only way to rectify the problem was to eat every single almond off the floor without touching any with my hands. (Age: 15) (Note: This was one of only two times in my life I’ve been legitimately drunky. Now do you see why I prefer to make one beer last for three hours?)

Reese's Crispy Crunchety and shoe

*giggle* In all honesty, this didn't taste awful. Postprandial silliness rating: Moderate, but only because I knew I'd just eaten a candy bar the size of my shoe in under five minutes.

4. Climbing really high up a tree in a friend’s backyard, getting stuck, and needing her mother to come and carefully guide me back down whilst I sobbed in panic. (Age: under 10) (Note: This friend’s mother banned me from ever climbing trees again when under her supervision.)

Stouffer's Stuffed Pepper

Ewww. Stouffer's Stuffed Pepper with Beef and Rice. What was I thinking? Stupid American dorm living. Postprandial silliness rating: Really high.

5. Falling prey to a “sale!” sign and buying a bag of marshmallows at the supermarket, despite the fact that I don’t like marshmallows (except toasted over a bonfire). Then realising that most of these marshmallows were apricot and banana flavoured, which means they were disgusting. (Age: one week ago.) (Note: I went through half a jar of peanut butter just to render the marshmallows edible. Which, in translation, means I ate about a spoonful of peanut butter in tandem with each marshmallow, simply so I couldn’t taste the latter. GENIUS.)

Hershey's S'mores bar

Oooh, tenuous marshmallow link for the win! Postprandial silliness rating: Moderate, because this tasted of nothing but sweet and I'm ashamed to admit I've never had a real s'more.

6. Climbing really high up one of the trees in my own front yard, getting stuck, and needing my dad to come and carefully guide me back down whilst I sobbed in panic. (Age: under 10)

Reese's Brownie

So disappointing. Postprandial silliness rating: High, because this could have been so tasty and was instead dry, insipid, non-peanut-buttery and overall lame.

Moral of this story? I ate a lot of non-awesome foodstuffs when in America in 2007-8. (And a lot of them seem to have been orange-ish in colour?!) 

Oh, and don’t let me anywhere near trees, unless you’re in the mood to play the hero.

Question Time: What have you done and eaten in your life that you’ve felt silly about afterwards?

When I was in Paris earlier in the year, I didn’t just eat macarons. I also ate a lot of cheese. And when I say I ate a lot of cheese, I don’t meant that I ate it every day, or had cheese courses at restaurants, or spent all my time in fromageries.

I mean that, every few days or so, I’d buy an entire round/block/geometrical-shape of one type of cheese and would eat the entire thing in one sitting. Because that’s how I roll. (“Roll” being the operative word.)

I’m pretty sure my bones were thanking me for all the calcium, even if my heart was simultaneously shaking its little heart-fist at me for the sodium assault.

Can’t win ‘em all, right?

(I shall test the cheese-reviewing waters today with just one cheese, and then you can let me know if you’re interested in hearing more on this rather savoury topic.)

Petit Valençay

Petit Valencay

I wonder if Egpytians or aliens built this pyramid of wonderment?

This little pyramid of goat’s cheese is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée-certified and made from raw goat’s milk. It was the first cheese I bought in Paris, and it swept away my prior beliefs about goat’s cheese. To me, goat’s cheese has always been pungent, assertive, and in-your-face “goaty”. This cheese, however, was the antithesis of being punched with a goat’s udder*; it was subtle, creamy, gooey at the edges yet firm (not chalky) inside, and in some ways reminded me more of a brie than a strong chevre.

Petit Valencay

See the gooeyness at the edges? Mmm-mmm.

I tasted butter, hazelnuts, cream and cream cheese, almonds, grass, and a deeply satisfying umaminess. The blue-grey rind had a slight flowery and hay-like flavour, which was unhindered by bitterness. This cheese was so rich, so creamy, and so mellow yet complex, that all of a sudden the packet was 110g lighter and I 110g heavier. And all I had left to savour was the pyramid base, marked deeply by the ridges of the packaging…

Petit Valencay

Cheese bottom!

Question Time: So, folks and friends, what say you? Are you at all interested in seeing some cheese-y-goodness (or badness) on this blog every now and again?

* What the?! I’m sorry.

Vegan Caraway Cake

Off the top of my head, I can think of one positive and one negative for getting up early after a bad night’s sleep and baking a cake to cheer oneself up.

Positive: Cake batter for breakfast. It’s funny how much batter can be “accidentally” left on the electric beaters, bowl, and two spoons used in the batter-making, isn’t it?

Negative: Finding cake batter in one’s hair hours later.

Vegan Caraway Cake

This wasn’t the cake I was originally lusting after. But when I ducked home to find the recipe for the originally-desired cake, I saw, directly to the left of that recipe, this fella. (What brilliant sentence construction! The essays I’m marking must be rubbing off on me…) My mum used to make this fella occasionally, but nowhere near as often as she made the originally-desired cake. I remember, though, that I used to feel more grown up eating this than the other (the originally-desired cake, that is. Have I lost you yet?), because of the below’s rather unique and non-children’s-party-friendly flavour.

So I forgot about the cake I had initially been craving, and made this one instead.

Oh, and I veganised it.

Oh, and I love it. And it still makes me feel grown-up.

Vegan Caraway Cake

This cake tastes like old-fashioned to me. It tastes like something one of the heroines in my beloved-childhood novels would have eaten whilst sitting in her garden dreaming about the future, or whilst serving afternoon tea to a dear grandmotherly-aged friend. This is the cake I imagine Elnora from A Girl of the Limberlost would have slid into the oven with her soft hair falling in front of her face and her butterflies adorning the wall behind her. This is the cake I imagine Anne Shirley would have shared with Theodora Dix as they listened to the echoes of their voices calling back to them from faraway hills.

It’s also the cake I can imagine I’ll  have polished off in two day’s time, but that can be our little secret.

Vegan Caraway Cake

Caraway Cake

Serves 8 -10, adapted from The Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook. For a non-vegan version, substitute Nuttelex with butter, two eggs for the flaxmeal, and normal milk for the soymilk. My mum used to make this wheat-free with her own mix of cornflour and rye flour, so I assume it would also work with gluten-free flours.

  • 2 tbs flaxmeal (ground flax)
  • 125g Nuttelex (I used the Olive Oil kind)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour (the original recipe said to sift this, but I didn’t bother. What can I say? I’m a rebel.)
  • 1/4 cup custard powder
  • 2 tbs caraway seeds.
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C, and grease and line a 14cm x 21cm loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flaxmeal with 90ml water and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add Nuttelex, sugar, milk, flour, and custard powder to flaxmeal and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in colour.
  4. Stir in caraway seeds.
  5. Spread mixture into prepared tin and bake for 50m-1hr. Stand in tin for five minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Question time: Are there any particular dishes you make that remind you of a storybook character? Saying oatmeal makes you think of Goldilocks or beans of Jack doesn’t count…

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