S1, Ep 9: Annabelle applauds mediocrity and a poem, while Gillian talks about hygge and shares a proverb for life.
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It seems like I am not the only one who loves condensed milk. We've had quite a bit of correspondence from listeners about their favourite recipes and here I have included one from Lindsay Cameron Wilson, host of the brilliant The Food Podcast (on instagram @thefoodpodcast) for some classic New Zealand condensed milk choc chip cookies. The recipe comes from a book she wrote with Pippa Cuthbert called Cookies! Thank you Lindsay.
Lindsay's Condensed Milk Cookies
200g (1 cup) salted butter, softened
75g (1/2 cup) white sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) condensed milk (typically half the can - save the rest for stolen spoonfuls)
250g (2 1/4 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
300g (1 1/2 cups) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Pour in the condensed milk and beat to combine.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into butter mixture, add the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.
Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on baking sheets. Press down gently with a fork and bake for 10 minutes, or so, until lightly golden.
Anne's Orange and Pecan Thins
And another recipe in from my friend and neighbour across the river, Anne, who delivered these very moreish biscuits wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with string - the perfect little something for with my coffee. Thank you Anne, I shared them with absolutely nobody. It's a David Herbert recipe and the logs of biscuit mix will be the perfect thing to put in the freezer for my babysitting parents while I am away in Scotland with Gillian.
450g butter, softened at room temp
300g caster sugar
250g plain flour, sifted
250g self-raising flour, sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
175g pecans, chopped
zest of 1 orange
Mix all the ingredients in an electric mixer on low speed until combined.
Divide the mixture into two or three portions, and roll each into a log about 5cm in diameter. Wrap in baking paper, twisting the ends to seal and chill until just firm. Remove from fridge and roll the log along the bench top a couple of times to refine the log shape. Return to the fridge for at least 2 hours or until very firm.
Preheat oven 180C and line a baking sheet with paper. Unwrap the log and cut into thin slices (3-4mm). Place onto baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can keep the remaining logs in the freezer until you next feel like putting some biscuits in the oven. You'll just need to let the log thaw a little before slicing.
Stephen Dunn's poem The Inheritance
You shouldn’t be surprised that the place
you always sought, and now have been given,
carries with it a certain disappointment.
Here you are, finally inside, and not a friend
in sight. The only gaiety that exists
is the gaiety you’ve brought with you,
and how little you had to bring.
The bougainvillea outside your front window,
like the gardener himself, has the look
of something that wants constant praise.
And the exposed wooden beams,
once a main attraction, now feel pretentious,
fit for someone other than you.
But it’s yours now and you suspect
you’ll be known by the paintings you hang,
the books you shelve, and no doubt
your need to speak about the wallpaper
as if it weren’t your fault. Perhaps that’s why
wherever you go these days
vanity has followed you like a clownish dog.
You’re thinking that with a house like this
you should throw a big party and invite
a Nick Carraway and ask him to bring
your dream girl, and would he please also
referee the uncertainties of the night?
You’re thinking that some fictional
characters can be better friends
than real friends can ever be.
For weeks now your dreams have been
offering you their fractured truths.
You don’t know how to inhabit them yet,
and it might cost another fortune to find out.
Why not just try to settle in,
take your place, however undeserved,
among the fortunate? Why not trust
that almost everyone, even in
his own house, is a troubled guest?
Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn's website
An article written by Alain de Botton on romantic realism in The Guardian here
And a terrific, in-depth interview with Alain de Botton via the Lit Up podcast here
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert speaks about creativity on the On Being podcast here
Gillian's postcard from England
Annie, just dropping you a quick postcard so I can share these lovely stamps.