Thursday, March 12, 2009
I am really in the swing of cookie decorating at the moment. It was a friend’s birthday on Monday and I made these dress, hat, handbag and shoe sets for her. Instead of my usual shortbread recipe I used the recipe for Paula’s shortbread from Ladies, A Plate. It is still an icing sugar shortbread (I usually use an icing sugar shortbread for decorating cookies, but one with a castor sugar base for just plain shortbread), but I actually like it better than my usual recipe. It doesn’t have as much cornflour in it and I wonder if that is the difference?
I also made these quite simple round ones as a thank you gift. I really like the tear drop effect and I was also pleased with the brightness of the colours which I managed to achieve by mixing different food colourings together. Actually, just a word on food colourings, I always use the gel colours as they give a much more intense outcome. You don’t need very much – I always add mine with a toothpick. They are about $5 for a small bottle, but they last for ages. The other trick to good consistency icing is to use Chelsea icing sugar (for those readers who live in NZ). Other brands of icing sugar are more grainy and the result (especially for royal icing) is not as good.
One thing people have told me they would like to read more about is the everyday meals that I cook, so I will try and incorporate those into my posts a few times a week. Most of my after work meals take about 40 minutes to an hour to prepare and cook. They are usually easy and not using extravagant cuts of meat. One of my favourite meats is mince – whether it be lamb mince, pork mince or beef mince. I don’t like “mince stew” kind of meals and I have never liked mince pies, but I do like all the other things you can do with mince.
Last night I made pork mince meatballs, adding chopped garlic, coriander and fish sauce for an Asian inspired meal. I also added an egg and some breadcrumbs to bind. I never pan fry meatballs but fan grill them for about 12 minutes in the oven. If you don’t have fan grill 12 minutes at 200c will do the same trick. We had the meatballs with sweet chilli sauce, spinach stir fried with garlic and red peppers and rice which I flavoured with more chopped coriander and some lime juice. A simple meal which took only 40 minutes to prepare and cook, but very tasty.