Well, I’m back to my retro theme this post and also back on the cooking front. This time my return to yesteryear in the kitchen was spurred on by the purchase of the Country Women’s Association Cook Book 2 (I’ll have to track down the first on at some stage too) to add to my ever growing collection of cook books. I had put a ban on myself some time ago about purchasing cook books (for two reasons, firstly economics and secondly the book shelf devoted solely to cook books is completely full), but I had a good reason this time, well I thought so anyway. I had been given a book voucher for Christmas to be used at one of the book chain stores that went into receivership in February and it was the last weekend to use the vouchers. Of course the store added the stipulation that you had to match the voucher dollar for dollar in order to use it – not something we could afford or justify, but a family member kindly rang me up on Friday and suggested she would spend the extra money and I could use my voucher. Anyway, long story short, I HAD to buy another cookbook and the CWA one immediately stood out – perhaps this retro theme has started taking over a bit?
I primarily bought the book for the cakes, slices, biscuits and baking sections and this is definitely where it’s value lies after having a thorough scan of all sections. I now have recipes for some classic baked goods and have an even longer list of things to try. Unfortunately finding the time and energy to stand in the kitchen at the moment is proving a little difficult and I’m sure this won’t improve for some months to come.
Having said that, yesterday in an attempt to keep my two year old daughter (I think I can say two year old, instead of nearly two year old as her birthday is in a week) amused inside as it was too wet to play outside, I decided to have a go at one of the simpler biscuit recipes, Jam Drops. I had also recently seen a post over at the $120 Dollar Food Challenge site about Jam Drops, which were apparently a staple in most Australian households and one of the best ways to start kids in the kitchen. Now, I had not actually ever made or even eaten these before but the sounded just the thing.
As it turned out the recipe was super easy with minimal ingredients and no tricky steps. What did prove a little more challenging was actually cooking with a toddler. She was great at pouring the ingredients into the mixing bowl, but not so good at allowing me to mix it thoroughly enough, leaving the first half of the biscuits overly wet and sticky and the second lot far too dry and floury. What I thought would be the most fun for her was rolling the biscuit mix into balls and then poking a hole in the centre to fill with jam. And she did love the rolling part, but being a little avant garde she didn’t feel the need to restrict herself to balls making for some interestingly shaped final products. In fact, just having a final product to show at the end of all of this was a feat in itself, apparently biscuit dough is her new staple food, and she spent a great part of the final stages pulling bits of dough off each biscuit and eating it – perhaps she has a future in quality control.
Despite these difficulties and a kitchen absolutely covered with flour and bits of dough it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. One that I hope is repeated many times in an effort to pass on my passion for cooking as well as reading. After all she looks nothing like me, so I need to leave my mark on her somehow.
What would have really finished these off with a retro flourish would have been to use home made raspberry jam, but alas that was not to be and I instead used a commercial jam, not even one from an Australian company – but that’s an issue for another post.