Recipe: Chocolate chip cookies

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I’ve rediscovered my love of cookies recently.

There are literally gazillions of cookie recipes out there (yes, literally), because as Alice from the Cup and Saucer wisely pointed out, everyone has a different idea of what makes the ‘perfect’ cookie.  For me, it should be chewy and gooey, with good quality chocolate that’s melted a bit while baking.  When you find a recipe that’s just right for you, it is a magical moment, and for me, this is that magical recipe.

I’ve made at least four batches of these over the last couple of weeks, and each batch has turned out gooey, chewy, and delightful, just the way I like them.

choc-chip-cookies

Yes, they taste as good as they look.  Yes, I am bragging.

Here’s what you’ll need:

115g butter
50g caster sugar
110g soft brown sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 beaten egg
170g chocolate chips
155g plain flour
a pinch of baking powder

And here’s how to do it:

Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4.
Line a tray with greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten egg and vanilla, and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips, mix well to make sure they’re well distributed.
Mix the baking powder with the flour.
Add gradually and mix well to form a soft dough.
The dough will be sticky, but resist the temptation to add more flour, or the cookies will come out crispy rather than chewy.
Roll the dough into balls.  Place them onto the sheet, spaced out a little so they have room to spread as they bake.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let them cool down a bit on the tray before you move them to a wire rack (or before you eat them while they’re still warm…)
Enjoy with a large cup of tea.


Book review: The Fault In Our Stars

Hello chaps and chapesses!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars

I expected to like this book.  A tragic romance would usually be right up my street, but there was something not quite right about this one.

The book is about Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who meet at a teenage cancer support group.  We know that Hazel has terminal cancer, so I was all set for a grand, emotional, heart-wrenchingly sad love story.  But somehow, it just didn’t deliver.

I felt like the romance between Hazel and Augustus was rushed.  It felt like, all of a sudden they were in love.  Hazel famously says that she fell in love the way you fall asleep – gradually, then all at once, but for me there was no ‘gradually’, it was just ‘all at once’.  This made it hard for me to believe in the romance – I just didn’t buy it.  The book isn’t particularly long, so maybe there’s some bigger point here about life being short, and needing to squeeze everything in while we’ve got the chance, but somehow I doubt it.

I found Hazel and Augustus quite trying as well.  I’m not saying that main characters should always be likeable (far from it), but if the reader is supposed to be invested in the Great Love Story, and to cry buckets at the sad parts, then you need to make them care about the characters.  John Green just didn’t quite manage that for me. I found Hazel and Augustus superior, pretentious and smug, and to be honest, I really didn’t care about either of them.  Maybe this is one of those very rare occasions where the film is better than the book – if the actors can play Hazel and Augustus sympathetically, and in a way that makes me care, then there might be a chance to salvage the story.

All in all, I was disappointed with this book.  I was hoping for great things, and was left feeling pretty flat.

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars?  Have you seen the film? What did you think?


52 lists: What I can see right now

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I’m writing this on my sofa on a peaceful Saturday morning, before I give Graeme a lift to Chester for a day out with his buddies at the races.  Here’s what’s in my line of vision:

1.  Not one, not two, but eight heart shapes in the living room.  What is it they say about home being where the heart is?

2. The new neighbours’ little girl running up their driveway with the cute, determined, arm-heavy run of a toddler.

3. A yoga mat and at least four pairs of trainers in the hallway.

4. Photos of our grandparents on the hearth.

5. My copywriting course materials in a box on the pouffe.  I’m planning to crack on with that this afternoon.

6.  A lotta, lotta cushions, and a lotta, lotta candles.

The 52 Lists project was the really rather wonderful idea of Emma.

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Recent bakes

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I’m far from alone when I say I’m excited I am to have the Great British Bake Off back on my telly.  There’s something oddly comforting and lovely about watching strangers baking in a tent.

I’m predominantly a baker of cake (a caker, if you will) – I’m not as fussed about savoury stuff.  I have quite a sweet tooth, so am quite happy in my cakey comfort zone.  Who knows though, maybe this series of bake off will inspire me to experiment with bread or pies.

Until recently, I hadn’t baked for aaagess, but over the last few weeks I’ve been getting my bake on quite a bit.  I thought it would be fun to show you what I’ve come up with recently:

cherry-bakewell-cupcakes

Not one, not two, but THIRTY cherry bakewell cupcakes for Graeme and his workmates.


Custard creams. My favourite biscuits, ever, and wonderfully easy to make.

choc-chip-cookies

Chocolate chip cookies.  I finally found a delicious recipe, and they turned out just right – chewy and gooey and yummy.

jam-swiss-roll
A bake-off inspired Swiss roll.  It split a bit during the rolling process, but was generally pretty good for a first attempt.

choc-swiss-roll

Another swiss roll. A chocolate one this time, which ended up having a better spiral.

I’ve got my sights set on Battenburg cake next, I think – how hard can it be?

Do you like to bake?  Are you a fan of the Great British Bake Off?

52 lists: What I wish I’d known when I was a teenager

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I love the theme of this list.  It’s like going back in time and imparting wisdom to my younger self.

teenage-me

That is me as a teenager.^^  I hadn’t quite figured out my ‘look’ yet.

Here’s what I would tell adolescent me – not that I would have paid much attention!

1.  Mum and Dad aren’t right about everything.  They’re just ordinary, average people, muddling through like everyone else.

2.  You’ll miss your grandparents when they’re gone.  Make the effort to spend quality time with them, and get your grandmothers to teach you some of their recipes.

3.  Have the confidence to be yourself, and to do what YOU want to do.  Don’t pay attention to what other people think you should be doing – understand that you will never please all of the people all of the time, and focus on doing what makes you happy.

4.  The world is your oyster – take advantage and explore it!

5.  Don’t be afraid to speak your mind honestly.  Forget about trying to say what you think other people want to hear – it’s a waste of time.

6.  Pot Noodles are not a food group.

7.  Neither is chocolate.

The 52 Lists project was the really rather wonderful idea of Ema.

52-lists

52 lists: Things I’ve done this week

Hello chaps and chapesses!

The theme of this list reminds me of Jesse from the Fast Show.  If you’re not familiar with Jesse, here he is:

Isn’t he a delight?

So, this week, I ‘av been mostly:

1.  Kicking and punching and sweating in my first ever Bodycombat class.  I’m still sore three days later.

2.  Baking a batch of cherry bakewell cookies that lasted less than 24 hours.

3.  Cooking a bolognese in a horrible rush, that actually turned out to taste pretty good.

4.  Watching the Great British Bake Off.

5.  Feeling inspired by said Bake Off to try and bake a swiss roll.

6.  Reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, and enjoying it more than I thought I would (or should).

7.  Doubting my choice of haircut.  Again.

8.  Having a thoroughly lovely catch up with an old friend.

9.  Making myself go to spin class even though I felt dog-tired. It was definitely worth it.

10.  Writing a lot of these lists to try and catch up with where I should be.

The 52 Lists project was the really rather wonderful idea of Ema.

52-lists

52 Lists: Things I want to be remembered for

Hello chaps and chapesses!

It’s a funny concept isn’t it – what do you want to be remembered for?  It gets you thinking about death and mortality, and what contribution you’re making to the world while you’re in it.  Hmm, deep.

046

Here’s what I’d like people to remember about me when I’m gone:

1.  Baking the best cakes / cookies / sweet treats in town.

2.  Having a sunny disposition.

3. Being a good friend.

4.  Being generous.

5. Being kind.

6. Always being humble.

7. Making a mean cup of tea.

The 52 Lists project was the really rather wonderful idea of Ema.

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