My Citroën DS: homeward bound, and a New Blog!

Meet Daphne, a 1974 Citroën D Special that I drove home from Adelaide on the weekend. Rather than tell you all about it here, may I suggest that you pop over to my new blog dedicated to car worship at goddessonahwy.wordpress.com?

Photographed enroute at Yumali, a scarcely-one-horse town on the highway south of Tailem Bend.

Fujifilm X30; mild edits applied in Snapseed app.

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I’d Rather Read a Book Than Cook: baking the easy way out*

Whatever I do, I generally find the easy way to do it. It’s a matter of personal economy – even when I have plenty of time, I still prefer the easiest method. This is never truer than when I’m in the kitchen, and I have a favourite saying that I’d rather read a book than cook. Reading about cooking is just asking for trouble, and often a delicious-sounding recipe seems much too tiresome to even begin.

So here’s a tip from me: if you’re lazy but you really want to bake, boil it. What I mean is, if I’m baking a cake, slice, biscuits, whatever, regardless of the instructions given I always use the saucepan method to melt the butter/oil together with sugars, spices and any dried fruit then let it cool a minute before adding an egg if required, then stir in the dry mix – usually plain flour, sometimes with ground nuts, and any raising agent. Not only is it fuss free (no rubbing-in! no mixers!), there’s only one saucepan to clean. Awesome, right?

Today I wanted to make my favourite Dutch cookies, Speculaas; but who can be bothered with rubbing in butter, then chilling the dough, before wrangling it into windmill shapes? Not me. So I found a recipe I liked the sound of, and adapted it to the saucepan method, and it worked really well.

Here’s how I did it:

Lazy Baker’s Speculaas, drop-cookie style

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt together:
    115 grams butter
    (I use salted, otherwise I add salt later anyway)
    3/4 cup raw sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/8 tsp ground white pepper
    1/8 tsp ground cardamom
    1/8 tsp ground coriander
    Note: you can use whatever combination of spices pleases you; frankly, I don’t measure any of them anyway.
  2. Once the sugar and butter mix has turned to syrup, remove saucepan from heat and cool slightly.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup ground almonds.
    (I also used up some left-over slivered almonds.)
  4. Beat in 1 egg.
  5. Stir in 1 1/2 (1.5) cups plain flour (I use Spelt)
    combined with 1/2 tsp baking soda.
  6. Allow mixture to cool; or not, if you’re in a hurry like I was.
  7. Drop teaspoons of batter onto a lined biscuit slide – they will spread quite a bit.
  8. Bake in a moderate-hot oven (180C-200C) until browned and puffed slightly.
  9. Remove to a cooling rack and try to not eat more than three before they’ve cooled.

I bake in a slow-combustion oven beneath my wood fire, and the temperature varies quite a bit – it just means the baking takes more or less time.

*While I did set out to write a photography blog, there’s nothing that says it can’t sometimes be a cooking / lifestyle / reviews blog sometimes too!