Cook this: 6 ingredient jam thumbprint cookies

Having grown up in a very Italian family, I love roasted chestnuts in winter. Nonno used to make them for us when we were kids, and I loved sitting at their dinner table, digging my little fingers in the split in the shell, peeling the charred layed off those golden little nuggets, and eating them until dad said I couldn’t have any more because I’d be sick. So, when I found St Dalfour at the Good Food and Wine Show a few weeks ago selling chestnut jam, I got more than a little bit excited. I only bought one jar, and have been kicking myself ever since!


I’ve been using a spoonful of it to mix through my porridge, along with a handful of blueberries and a sprinkle of cacao nibs, but I wanted to make something sweet to eat with a cup of tea as it gets colder. I also wanted something quick and easy, that I could make whenever I wanted them without having to get changed out of my PJs to go buy ingredients for. Same base recipe as the lemon cookies I posted a few weeks ago, but the secret ingredient is absolutely the jam – find a way to get your hands on some!!

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 100g caster sugar
– 1 egg yolk
– 200g plain flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– St Dalfour chestnut jam!

 

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 170° and line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, followed by the egg yolk until completely smooth and combined.

3. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined.

4. Roll the dough into balls (about tablespoon size works well) and space them out on the oven tray.

5. As the recipe might imply, press your thumb into the centre of each cookie to make space for the jam, and drop a little jam in each thumbprint.

6. Bake for 15min, or until golden brown.

Cook this: Cornbread pudding

I found this recipe while on The Culinesstress’ site last week, and the gorgeous photo caught my eye pretty quickly. I read on to find a pretty simple recipe, and thought I’d give it a go, too – it seemed a really great winter-warmer type dish.

I haven’t really messed around with this recipe as much as I usually would – I actually had most of the ingredients in my pantry already other than fresh corn, which only cost $1 per ear at the market. The great thing about this recipe, other than it’s simplicity and the fact that it’s actually not terribly unhealthy, is the fact that it’s already gluten free, can be made lactose free, and as well as being low FODMAP friendly (by using only the green tops of the spring onions). So here’s how we do…

 

Ingredients (serves 2)
– butter, to grease tin with, and to serve (optional)
– 1¾ cups corn kernels, fresh if possible
– 4 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions
– 2 eggs
– ½ cup milk
– ½ cup loosely packed grated parmesan cheese
– salt (optional)
– 4 tablespoons cornmeal (polenta)

 

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C  and grease two small baking dishes or larger ramekins with butter – I know the proper ‘Murican way to do cornbread is in a case iron skillet, but sadly I didn’t have any of those lying around…

2. Mix together ¾ cup of corn kernels and the spring onion, and set aside.

3. Throw the remaining 1 cup of corn along with the eggs, milk, cheese (if you’re like me, reserve a little of the cheese to sprinkle over the top at the end before baking!) and cornmeal into a food processor or blender, and blend until it a smooth batter just comes together – be careful not to over mix! You can add a little salt here too, if you want – the parmesan may make it salty enough for you anyway, or if you’re like me, you may want a little more, because salty food is delicious.

4. Pour the blended batter into the pie tins and mix in the corn/spring onion mix, diving evenly between the two tins. If you saved some cheese from step 1, now would be the time to sprinkle it on top, before it goes into the oven.

5. Bake corn pudding at for 30 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top. Optionally, serve with a dollop of butter and sprinkle of salt on top.

It’s soft, surprisingly light and full of flavour, real winter comfort food 🙂 If you’re also enjoying the Melbourne cold at the moment, think about this for a quick, warming dinner this week!

Eat here: Southern Hospitality, New York City

Southern Hospitality
645 9th Ave, New York
http://www.southernhospitalitybbq.com

Finally, winter is really here in Melbourne! I’m one of those minority idiots who actually loves the cold, as I demonstrated carrying on like a Michelin-man look-alike in America over the Christmas holidays just passed. I was also lucky enough to eat a lot of great food in really great places over there, and as such, the cold weather reminds me of a lot of them, particularly this BBQ place that came into play very unexpectedly and randomly…
This was one of those great accidental finds that you end up recommending to the next person you meet who says they’re going to New York. This happy accident came about after arriving at the doorstep of another recommended BBQ place only to find out, from the ever so nonchalant repair man, after standing outside in the snow for 10 minutes, that a gas tank had exploded and they were closed for business for the next few days. Great.
Having just walked a few kilometers towards the briskety light at the end of the snowy tunnel, we were both pretty hangry (hungry + angry). It wasn’t looking good. On a whim, I pulled out my phone and opened the Yelp app, hoping to walk past somewhere with free WiFi so we could find the next closest BBQ place. New York miracle: no WiFi, but Yelp had somehow still loaded my last search for BBQ places! And there was one a mere 600m away!We hauled frosty ass to Southern Hospitality in record time, defrosting happily with menus in hand. The unspoken agreement had been reached (one of the perks of a 10 year relationship), and lunch was ordered:- Brisket
– Pulled pork platter
– Slaw
– Mac & cheese

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Even now, months later, I remember this meal ever so fondly. The BBQ sauce through the pork was fantastic, tangy and smoky and all the things you want from a BBQ pulled pork situation in the freezing New York winter cold. The brisket was some of the best I’ve had anywhere (husband agrees) – lovely crispy, burnt edges with perfectly rendered fat. And the slaw and mac & cheese are the perfect sides – particularly the mac & cheese, all melty, golden deliciousness.

As far as accidental dining experiences go, we couldn’t have been much happier with Southern Hospitality, and would absolutely return again if when we re-visit New York. And if you find yourself at your first restaurant of choice to be turned away because of a gas tank explosion, just thank the universe for the not to subtle hint, and head to Southern Hospitality instead!

 

Southern Hospitality Hell's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Photo Journal: Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, Chicago

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Cloud Gate. The Bean. That weird silver thing. Whatever you want to call it, it’s become a Chicago icon since it’s unveiling and dedication on May 15th, 2006, nine years ago today. The man who can take credit for this beauty is an Indian-born British artist by the name of Anish Kapoor. It’s a 66ft long, 33ft wide, 110 ton stainless steel arch of sorts, inspired by liquid mercury, and providing the most beautiful reflections of a stunning city. It’s a favourite for both tourists and locals, and especially photographers; I got to Millenium Park at 6am on Christmas morning last year, 2014, to get these shots, and I couldn’t be happier; it was more than worth the early start to be able to sit there for a while and watch the reflections as the sun came out.

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Coney Island, New York City

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Coney Island was one of those places that was never on my “must see” lists, until I saw a few photos of it in winter not long before we left for our winter trip. There’s something about an abandoned amusement park with an empty ferris wheel in the middle of winter that I find so beautiful – I’m no photographer, but I have always loved carrying a camera around to capture the moments that strike me, so once I saw those pictures, I knew I had to get there while we were in New York.

Coney Island is a residential area in Brooklyn, by the water, and filled with fun things designed to attract families – amusement park rides and an aquarium, a beautiful beach area and good food. But I couldn’t help feeling, as I walked through the neighbourhood on a cold January day, that the area was struggling. I know Coney Island’s heydays are in the past now, but I really got the sense that the area had been neglected and was forgotten about. Maybe that was just because it was winter and there weren’t many people around, but that was just the vibe I got. Pity, because it’s actually a really beautiful area and a lovely way to spend the morning 🙂

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