After a rotten week health-wise, it was really nice to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday with a few friends. The image above is one of Grandma Piper’s very many post-party notes, a sort of debrief she wrote to herself about what she made and what she might change next time. This particular page seems to be her neighbourhood holiday open house plan from early December 1971 for around 110 guests (guest list is on reverse). I expect she found these notes super useful, particularly since she seemed to keep every single one of them. Here’s what I made this year, documented for a similar purpose.
It’s impossible to watch GBBO without wanting something sweet… Cocoa powder brownies fill the void. Baking takes a bit of time (25 min), but the prep is very quick since there’s no fiddly chocolate melting. These lie in the fudge-y end of the brownie spectrum, very dark and dense. In fact, I’ve made this in a cake format before since it’s almost like flourless chocolate cake. Bake in a round tin and spoon fresh whipped cream and berries over the top. Finally, this takes substitutions pretty well. I’ve made these vegan and gluten free before (coconut oil not butter, blitzed and gelled chia seeds not eggs, GF flour). Comes out great, though they’re a bit gooier and have to cook a little longer.
Simple cocoa brownies
Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 cm (8″) square tin. In a pot large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients, melt 150 g (1 1/3 c) butter. In a small bowl, combine 250 g (1 1/4 c) sugar and 90 g (heaping 3/4 c) cocoa powder. Beat this in to the butter. Once the mix is sufficiently cool, beat in 2 eggs and a tiny splash of vanilla extract or orange flower water (optional). The mixture will come together firmly, it will be almost taffy-esque. Gently stir in 64 g (1/2 c) flour just until combined. Pour in to the lined square tin, spread it in to the corners, and bake 25 minutes. The top should be glossy when done, possibly with a few cracks. Let it cool in the tin on a rack until nearly set but still warm.
Here’s a recipe for fake-but-tasty horchata. For the real deal, look elsewhere. For something quick, single-serving:
In a medium jug or bowl, whisk together 250 ml rice or oat milk, a generous pinch of cinnamon, a drop of vanilla essence, and 1/2 tsp brown sugar (or to taste). Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. For a more pervasive cinnamon flavour, allow to rest for 1 hour and then whisk again. Serve over ice, with a little spoon to keep stirring.
Is there a a cocktail to be made from this, with dark rum or tequila?
Holy cow, see the Wikipedia article. Had no idea that horchata is such a widespread thing, and with so many different methods.
- Get John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood
- Find a copy of An Anthology of English Medieval and Renaissance Vocal Music ed. Noah Greenberg
- Write down last week’s Dockside Chicken recipe for further refining
- dat dat dat dat dat & pie w/ GC and HB
- Try making Semmelknödel ◯ Start with this recipe but consider steaming, refrigerating beforehand, adding nutmeg. Aim for Knödelwirtshaft perfection. Think we had dandylion, goats cheese + red pepper, cheese, and bacon? Thx FB!
And go all in w/ iced tea. Hot tip for cold tea: cold-brew tea + squirt of lemon juice + splash of peach and elderflower squash = top-notch summer beverage. I am a little over caffeinated right now.
I finally cracked it. The madness is in the method. To make good hummus using one 14.5oz/400g can of chickpeas:
Put 2 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp water in to a food processor. Blend until fully emulsified and very smooth. Add 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbsp water, a pinch of ground cumin, and big pinch of salt. Blend to a purée. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as necessary. Add water to fine-tune the consistency.
Drizzle with olive oil to serve. Garnish with paprika, za’tar, chopped coriander, toasted cumin seeds, extra chickpeas, etc.
No messing around with dried chickpeas or peeling (!) legumes. I can make this amount of hummus in the tiny food processor attachment that came with my stick blender. Related, the Super Kim can opener by Nogent is the only can opener that should exist.
Takeaways from a particularly good evening in the pub last night:
- Small cities are where it’s at, and Ghent is the bees knees
- Check out Code for Science & Society
- Read The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
- Read Broad Band by Claire L. Evans
- It’s just people all the way down; be excellent to each other
And a salad recipe from a great cab driver:
In a large bowl, combine some diced cucumber, diced celery, and halved cherry tomatoes. Add finely chopped wet garlic or green onions (scallions). Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste. Optional additions include olives, mint, boiled Jersey potatoes, rocket (arugula), or feta. Use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice.
I have a new favourite cocktail, the Brown Derby. Perfect timing for the UK’s first warm(ish) weekend of 2018. ☀️ It’s along the lines of a whisky sour, but with less sugar and a little more floral from the grapefruit. It’s also crazy simple, you can make honey syrup without heating anything if you use warm water.
To make a Brown Derby, combine 1.5oz bourbon, 1.5oz fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice, and 0.5oz honey syrup (1pt honey to 1pt water) in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garish with a grapefruit twist, or a thin slice of grapefruit against the side of the glass.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
- Felting needles for invisibly repairing holes in wool
- Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough recipe
- A sturdy, diner-style black mug I long-term borrowed from Bob’s at Colby College; the handle fits all four fingers