So, I am just going to pretend like it hasn't been 4 months since the last time I blogged. And I'd appreciate it if you just all went along with it - thank you :)
Instead, I'm just going to tell you some of what I've been up to since the last time you ... err ... heard from me ... on this page at least.
1) I stopped my market stall at Archway Market. Come to think of it, I can't remember if I mentioned on here that I started a market stall but I did. And then I stopped it because it wasn't busy enough to warrant all the effort I was putting in. I'm on the look-out for a new London market - and in the meantime, I'll err, blog. Or not.
2) I went to Vienna for the first time ever. It was very pretty, and very hot! Austrian food though ... how do I put this delicately? It's not great.
I also didn't see or have any amazing desserts but lucky for Vienna, they had AMAZING ice cream! Like, really truly amazing! Like except for a select few Ben & Jerry's flavours (sold only in the US obvs), some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten anywhere. Yup Italians, I hate to say it but Viennese ice cream is better than Italian Gelato! I had one every single night!
3) I also went to Greece and Xilocastro which I've written about on here before so I'll leave that as a one line entry.
4) This past weekend, I ran the Bupa Birmingham half marathon which I've run for the last three years and I beat my half marathon personal best by almost 6 minutes! And my time was almost 18 minutes faster than last years time!
I keep going on about it but I've been trying to beat that damn 2:21 for four years! And finally I did it! And on a hard, hilly course too! Like fine wine, and everything else that gets better with age, I'm totally getting fitter with age - whoop!
5) Oooh speaking of fitness, I've probably sampled pretty much every gourmet (and not so gourmet) burger London has to offer in recent months. Meat Liquor (go for the Dead Hippy Burger), Patty & Bun (give it a miss), Burger & Lobster (though I've never had the burger), Shake Shack (see Patty & Bun comment), Five Guys (THE BEST burger in London in my learned opinion), Burger and Shake (meh) ... you name it, if it's a burger between a burger bun (brioche buns are my favourite), I've eaten it! I think that might be the secret to my getting fitter? Hmmm ... I'mma work on that theory and get back to you.
Anyway, I made these cookies MONTHS ago. And yes, I'm suitably ashamed that it's taken me this long to blog them.
I think macadamia nut and white chocolate, like in this cheesecake), is always a winning combo - and cookies are nice and easy to make (says the girl who once thought she lacked the cookie baking gene) so give these rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies a try!
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp course salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
227g unsalted butter, cold and cut into large chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
300g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to blend.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cold butter and the sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and just combined, 1 - 2 minutes.
- Blend in the eggs one at a time just until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about 30 - 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mar 4 / 350F. Line baking sheets with grease proof paper.
- Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough balls in fingertips of both hands, Pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. (I know this shaping stuff may seem like shenanigans but I promise, it gives the cookies a nice appearance after they are baked.)
- Bake the cookies, rotating halfway through, until light golden and just set, about 14 - 16 minutes total. Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.