Cooking · Just life

Failing miserably

Now, I know that I said that I would have the start of a new design to show you by this week – well I was wrong. I have been a little side tracked and just don’t know where the time has gone, really, it feels that this week has only had three days, where the other two went I have no idea.

Firstly:  I had a birthday this week which, unusually for me, took up a whole day.  Oh, that sounds odd doesn’t it.  Birthdays do last for a whole day, obviously.  I should explain.  I am very ‘relaxed’ about birthdays. We celebrate them with presents and a cake, lots of smiles and hugs etc. and sometimes a special meal but we don’t go overboard.  I know people whose birthdays seem to last all week – something special going on for days – I can’t do that I don’t know why, something in my upbringing that has stuck fast I suspect. Plus, due to unusual circumstances here with other things taking priority, I haven’t actually celebrated one for the last two years. So this week I was treated to a day out and a lovely meal in a pub to round the day off (one that serves gluten free meals). Lovely.

Secondly: I have also become a little side tracked with chocolate chip biscuits/cookies.  I am trying to find my perfect one.  I like my biscuits to be crunchy, not chewy; flat and relatively thin not thick and mounded; like the size and shape of the ones that come in packets, but a whole lot better obviously. Oh, and pretty allergy friendly. I can’t buy gluten free biscuits because they always have other things in them that I’m intolerant to such as corn or maize flour and besides, I mostly made my own before anyway as they are so much better for you so I don’t see the need to change this.

When you have been cooking for many years, you naturally build up a ‘stock’ of favourite recipes.  The important go-to recipes that you like and cook over and over again. From time to time you try new things; some things you only cook once, some are added to your list of favourites and it goes on. I have a good selection of biscuits in my ‘stock’ but none of them now conform to all of my diet requirements, which are quite a lot I know. So, I’ve been on the hunt for new ones and at the moment it is chocolate chip biscuits.  I’ve already tried a few.  All taste good but so far all have at least one thing that stops them from becoming perfect (for me). Trouble is, so far this hunt has been a little hap-hazard in its’ execution.  So for posterity (and the fact that I can’t always remember what each recipe was like) I’m going to document them here. One recipe each week (how many biscuits can a girl eat each week? Don’t answer that, I know) and hopefully I will find my ultimate chocolate chip heaven.  Feel free to ‘chip’ in (oh dear!) if you have a suitable recipe that I could try. (1st Recipe below.)

Thirdly: (note to self) Knitting Gauge. It is an important thing.  Very important if you want something to come out the size you expect it to, even more important if you are trying to mix two very different types of stitches together in the same piece and you would like them to marry together without stretching or puckering.

This is what happened with my knitting. I checked gauge. Then I checked it again and again.  Then I forgot that my gauge differs between flat and circular knitting, not by a lot, but enough, and the whole thing went wrong.  So, I’ve had to start again.

My problem is this.  The picture of the stitch pattern I showed you last week is a yoke.

Yoke

And, unusually, this yoke is more like a big collar in that it doesn’t go all the way down over the shoulders like they usually do.  More on the difficulty of that later. My problem at the moment is that this slip stitch pattern has to marry with an area of stocking stitch that is knitted flat, then joined and knitted in the round. To make them marry the gauge needs to be right. And mine wasn’t.  Strangely, this pattern has the same gauge at the edge that my circular knitting has. Circular stocking stitch- knitting rounds of only knit stitches – quite often gives you a tighter gauge than when you knit stocking stitch flat and incorporate a row of purl stitches every other row.  Not always but mostly. This happens with other stitch patterns as well but here I’m focusing on stocking stitch.  So, although I had measured gauge on the patterned and circular sections, I had not done this for the flat section, forgetting that they can be a little different. Stupid mistake. Still, at least it’s only knitting and can be ripped and re-knitted.  If I couldn’t re-use the yarn for this each time I’ve ripped back, well, I hate to say how much I would have gone through by now. Once again, hopefully, I’ll have a completed item to show for next time!

Chocolate chip biscuits – recipe 1

Free From: Gluten, dairy and eggs

Not Free From: Nuts or sugar

This recipe is one of my own that I adapted.  It originally comes from a very old and out of print book entitled –Readers Digest Complete Guide to Cookery. A huge book covering everything from boning a chicken to making puff pastry; more of a technical book than cookery book although there are one or two recipes in each section using the techniques covered.

INGREDIENTS

150g Gluten free flour, (I used Jeanne’s mix)

1/2 tsp Salt

125g Butter replacement (I used Pure)

75g Caster sugar AND 75g brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg ( I used 1tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbls water)

1/2 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tsp hot water

125g Pecan nuts, chopped

175g Dairy free chocolate chips

 

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 374°C/190°F/Gas 5.  Line baking tray with parchment.

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, beat in egg replacer and

then vanilla and baking soda mix. Stir in the flour and finally the nuts and

chocolate chips. The mixture is quite stiff. Drop small teaspoon sized pieces

onto the baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden

brown.

There is a note in the original recipe that says not to underbake the biscuits as they should be crispy. The original looked like this:

Original recipe

Mine however, turned out like this:

My own version

Just a little different looking wouldn’t you say? But how did they do? Well,

On the plus side, these taste lovely.  The addition of nuts in with the chocolate gives them a nice flavour and an added texture.  They were quite solid and not too sweet. However on the down side they don’t really fulfil the flat/thin and crispy requirement.  They didn’t spread much in the cooking at all choosing to stay thick and lumpy.  Now I know that you can’t expect things to just work out if you are changing important ingredients in the recipe as I have.  And these didn’t hang around in the kitchen for very long, everyone ate them, dietary requirements or not so that does say something.  If I try the recipe again though I will need to work out how to make them spread out more.

Back to the drawing board for now. I’m going to try another recipe later today and I will let you know how I get on but for now I think I need to do some knitting.

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