Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have always loved cooking and especially baking. By the time I left university I already owned a few cook books – mostly Australian Womens Weekly books and some of those fundraiser type cook books which since then have become some of my most prized possessions. I have also always loved watching cooking shows on tv – although up until the last 8 or so years these have been few and far between. I probably didn’t realise how serious my addiction to cooking was until my husband (to be at that stage) and I bought our own place – a small one bedroom apartment above the bike shop we owned at the time (push bike, not motor bike!). The apartment was brand new and having my own kitchen, that no-one else would ever cook in, after six years of flatting, was bliss.
At that time the celebrity chef thing had not quite taken off, but in New Zealand we had Jo Seagar, the cook who unashamedly used copious amounts of cream and butter in her somewhat traditional New Zealand cooking and who coined the phrase that her cooking was “easy peasy”. I remember feverishly writing down the recipes as I watched the programme. She started publishing books as well with titles such as “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble darling”. I had three of Jo’s books and at the time I loved them as the recipes were indeed “easy peasy” and used simple ingredients to get great results.
The next few years celebrity chefs were the thing and I got lost in the world of Jamie, Nigella and others. But, I have recently gone back to looking at my Jo Seagar books. I actually have her two most recent books, based on recipes cooked in her cooking school and café which she has in Oxford in North Canterbury. I have been there once with my mother and grandmother. And Jo is back on Food TV – I watch her shows on Saturday afternoons. I still much prefer the style of Annabel Langbein, Ruth Pretty and other NZ food writers, but Jo Seagar, is still worthwhile having on your shelf. I made these triple chocolate oat cookies from one of her more recent books and it is a winner.
Triple Chocolate Oat Cookies (from Jo Seagar Cooks)
¾ c sugar
3 tbsp condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ c rolled oats
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ c each chopped white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate (I just used a mixture of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips)
• Cream butter and sugar, then beat in condensed milk and vanilla
• Stir in dry ingredients and then chocolate
• Roll into balls and flatten with a fork
• Bake at 180c for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden