Seasonal Surprise Ingredient Swap… Guest Post!

As I write tonight's post, I'm sitting on the floor in the kitchen whilst little joint of pork is roasting in the oven. Not for tonight's tea, that's been eaten and washed up and was risotto made by Mr E - yum! But it will probably feature in all our weekend meals in some way or another... I'd hazard a guess at a) in a stir fry, b) in pasta sauce c) in some sort of savoury crumble thing. We shall see!

Anyway, this post is not about roast pork! And since I know Mr E is likely to read this later, I'm sitting on the kitchen floor out of choice - not because you're working in the living room - that just provided me with the required excuse to sit on the kitchen floor. If I did it under other circumstances I'd look a bit like a crazy.

I have spent many happy evenings, sitting on kitchen floors (and other floors too) - particularly during uni days, when no-one ever had enough chairs to go around! I remember a particularly happy evening drinking almost an entire bottle of pink wine (not calling it rose as I'm pretty sure it was so cheap and awful it doesn't deserve that moniker!) sitting on the floor in a friends' kitchen whilst the chairs were reserved for those who were eating. It was Mexican therefore heavy on the coriander, so I was mainly eating crisps instead, and it was deemed that I didn't need a chair, so was relegated to joining in the conversation from the floor! As far as student life goes, I'm sure that constitutes a balanced meal - big bowl of crisps in one hand bottle of wine in the other!

And right now, since we hoovered recently, the kitchen floor is fairly crumb / squashed raisin free, which makes it all the nicer.

After that massive digression, I should press on. In fact I should probably delete it all, but it seems a shame, since I've now wasted 10 minutes writing it!

Tonight's proper post comes from a special guest who is none other than my Mum. She gamely decided (was coerced?!) to participate in the Seasonal Surprise Ingredient swap, but she doesn't have a blog. After reading what she sent me, I think she should!

Over to her...

This was not my finest hour on the culinary front!

Fiona from Let them eat cake! had sent me some wintry crystallised ginger and some autumnal pecan nuts. Though the original recipe, "Ultimate Ginger Cookies" from "The  Food Network" didn't have pecans, I felt sure they were an excellent addition.

Tastefully selected wintry background... old Christmas card
The recipe was measured in cups....  I often avoid American recipes because "cups" come in such a variety of sizes and I prefer measurements more accurately defined. Baking is quite a precise art after all, requiring "a pinch of salt" or "1/4 teastp.of nutmeg", so I decided to take no chances and convert;  a "cup" converted into 375mls....but that was a liquid measure!

Further online searching led me to believe that the dry equivalent was 375 grams, which meant that 2 1/4 cups came in around 800+ grams!  That  seemed like a lot of flour to me, but who was I to argue with the superior knowledge of a computer. Onwards!
Rather sad looking raw biscuits on dull baking parchment
35 mins  was the total time given,but I'd already spent 10 mins limbering up with the maths. Would a lifetime of victoria sponges, pancakes and flapjack allow me to catch up?

Action thoughts whilst baking, in no particular order, included:-

-There's an awful lot of mixture here.
-Oops, no molasses, I'll use honey.
-ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg...pretty spicy.
-Great egg, collected from the farm 2 hrs ago.

Then later in the process:-

-This looks like crumble, what shall I add more of, egg, honey or oil?
-Egg proved to be the wrong choice as I found out later.
-Good fun rolling the mixture in granulated sugar.
-Biscuits within the hour, 24 big cookies.

Not a great improvement after baking
But they weren't biscuit-like at all, rather like hard sponge cake. Very spicy and tasty but they felt wrong.
A further thought was a good one...I'll sandwich them together with butter icing!
Great improvement, though they were quite enormous.
Wow! transformation... with butter icing on a shiny blue plate
I may try them again when I've got a "cup" measure, but I'm sure they'll be quite different.

Or I may just stick with my "Ultimate Ginger Sandwich Cakes".

I cooked a pizza just after the biscuits came out, reassurance that I had a modicum of culinary skill after all.

Pizza for tea, made after the biscuits came out of the oven
Thank you Makey-Cakey Mum! Not bad for your first blog post ;o)