When I first published this cookie recipe, we were packing up our life in Wellington and getting ready to go on our first adventure – a couple of months travelling through parts of Canada, America, Cuba and Mexico, before landing in London. That was about 6.5 years ago. Wow. So much has happened since then… we settled into London life, we took a break and went off travelling again, and now we’re back in the big smoke, albeit under very different circumstances.
Lots of things might have changed over the past few years, but my sweet tooth has remained constant. As does my love for this cookie recipe. It’s dead easy and still delicious so I thought it was about time I gave this post a spruce up and introduced people to it again… after all, most of us are still staying home and baking more than ever before!
So… last year you did that spring clean in your kitchen and finally ditched the pasta machine that’s been gathering dust in the back of the cupboard. Probably patted yourself on the back then for decluttering… but this year, it’s a different story. You now realise that it’s the missing piece on your road to winning lockdown bingo. The insta-famous banana bread and choc-chip cookies have been made, the sourdough starter is alive, and you’ve participated in more Zoom quizzes than you ever thought possible… but how to tick off ‘make you own pasta’ without that sodding machine?! You will no doubt have a rolling bin or empty wine bottle which will absolutely do the job but requires a bit of hard graft and extra time… so that’s definitely an option, but I’ve got an even better one for you.
Forget about the thinly rolled sheets to be cut into fettuccine or folded in ravioli or tortellini. Stick with something altogether less faff but equally satisfying. Friends, I am going to suggest you make cavatelli. This small rustic shell-like pasta shape is made from semolina flour which is another bonus if you find yourself rationing wheat flour. I managed to easily source it in the international foods section of my Sainsbury’s or you can order it online, doesn’t appear to be in short supply. And the final reason why I think cavatelli (or are they actually called gnochetti… no amount of googling has given me a definitive answer) is worth your time, is that it actually doesn’t take that much time – from flour to finish in around an hour!
Does anyone else have kitchen cupboards that are too high for them to see into or too deep for them to reach? Surely, it is not just me. Even when I’m precariously tip-toeing on a chair, I struggle to see what’s made its way to the back of that top shelf… and as I discovered recently, there is a lot back there. I am completely to blame; I am a compulsive hoarder of pantry staples and I have the joy of acquiring a fascinating range of foodstuffs through this blog. The adventurous cook in me gets a jolt of excitement every time I pull something new and obscure out of a goody bag but then the practical cook in me stores that for another day as I get on with cooking something else… and so my shelves become a jumbled mess and a certain someone continuously teases me about how we could open our own corner store.
I’d like to tell you that I have turned over a new leaf but the truth is, my pantry will always be full and full of random things. What has forced my hand now is our big move, and so the great clear out has begun. In amongst the jumble, I came across an unopened packet of desiccated coconut; I have no idea why I bought it but after being inspired by a snap on Instagram stories, I decided I would make a cake. If you’ve been following a certain someone cooks, you would have noticed that he has taken up the position as our resident baker… so as my baking skills are a bit rusty, I wanted something nice and easy and this coconut and lime loaf cake fit the bill completely. It also conjured up all sorts of tropical vibes which I thought was exactly what we needed to inject some sunshine into the current cold winter days!
I have taken my current Korean food obsession to a new level. No longer content with satisfying my cravings whilst eating out, I somehow managed to convince myself to recreate some Korean dishes at home. Bearing in mind I’ve only just discovered this cuisine in the last few years and can barely pronounce some of the ingredients, let alone actually know what they are, this was definitely a step outside the comfort zone. The results? Mixed. And a little bit stinky…
Last week I found out a very shocking statistic; one which rendered me quite speechless and a little sad to be honest. As I think is blatantly obvious from the content of my ramblings here, on social media, and in real life… I really like food and it’s something I care a lot about. I care about what I eat, how it’s made, where it comes from, and I also care about making sure I waste as little of it as possible.
At the launch of Love Food Hate Waste’s latest campaign, Meaty Issues, I was told that a lot of us in the UK are throwing away a lot of food. A heck of a lot… like 300 million burgers worth of beef alone. Oh those poor, poor burgers. Just looking at beef alone, we throw away 34,000 tonnes a year – are you shocked? I suspected the number to be high but not in a million years would I have contemplated it being that high; I shudder to think about the total amount of food we waste.
After almost a week in Havana, its once leisurely pace was starting to feel hectic… even the most die-hard of travellers get a little weary, time to take things down a notch. We were headed south to Trinidad, but decided to take a quick pit stop in Santa Clara– if for nothing other than to break up the tedious bus ride. This sleepy town is famous for being the site of Che’s final battle and resting place, with the gigantic Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara to prove it, and a museum for those really keen.
But that’s probably not what we’ll remember it for… More likely, it will be that unbeknownst to us, we had arrived during the ‘great toilet paper shortage of 2014’– we did think it was odd that our casa only had serviettes, and then one day every mercado in town was had lines out the door, with everyone emerging with a 4-pack. The news was clearly out- the shipment was in!
Many scoffed at our chances, many laughed in our faces, many simply just did not take us seriously, but we did it. We managed to go two whole weeks without eating out! Really. First world problems, I know, but we all have our vices.