Saturday, 25 September 2010

buttons & a recipe for a lovely saturday afternoon

Recipe {1} :: How to make a lovely Saturday afternoon ::
It's raining. The kids are playing with our next door neighbour boys (at their house, not mine......). I'm sitting here, with my second coffee for the day - will think about lunch when the kids come home complaining of hunger! We'll go to (their) grandma's this afternoon.* 

I'm listening to my own music (not the kid music which is on constant repeat around here. At least they've got good taste in kid music, so I don't mind having it on, but it's always good to have something a bit more grown-up).

I've been writing the big list for everything I need to do and get done before the big market (more on that later). It's more than a bit scary writing it down, and counting how few studio days I have between now and then, and we'll be away in Cairns for a week during that time as well. Family - if you are reading this - I'll be calling on some major baby-sitting and help with labeling and packing and such stuff market stuff - that you've all become accustomed to anyway.

It also feels good to be writing lists. And making real plans. For me, and for Red Seed and for my new directions. I am super excited about my new fashion range. I do like a good list to work off, and I haven't had a big event to work towards (business / creative / me wise) all year. So this is good.

Recipe {2} :: How to make buttons ::
For my little contribution to the lovely and fun ABCD gift bag giveaway, I decided to make some cookies (biscuits**). While putting it all together, I was reminded how much I like doing that aspect of event organising. (like party bags and things like that). Making the labels and tags and thinking through how it will all look. It's fun to do. A good combination of my creative and organised / planner sides. The production line of the final putting together didn't go quite as planned, due to a few reasons. 1) I left it late in the day to start baking, and then packaging up - so was rushed. That's simply the way I work, I know it now. Inspiration always stricks at the 11th hr! 2) All three kids (Ash was here too) were really excited to help me. They did the biscuits shape making, and the putting it all into bags and attaching the labels. We went through a few variations before settling on the easiest + quickest of holding it all together with a paper clip. I did want a hole punch + twine, but was too hard for the kids to do neatly enough for my likes (some things I can't let totally go of). Don't worry - the kids washed their hands about 20 times with warm water and soap while doing the making...

I got the inspiration for making button shaped cookies from Cupcakes, Cheesecakes Cookies. I'm not going to show you their shortbread buttons as ours didn't quite look as beautifully button-ish, like theirs. To our defence, we were 3 young kids + a rushed mama and we made about 140 or so, whereas they were a professional kitchen and they only made about 20 in total. Just saying.
I was pretty happy with the way they did turn out anyway. And I was really impressed by the way Ari stayed so dedicated to the job of putting the holes in all those round dough pieces. Mish + Ash did a fair bit of raw-dough eating, and silly shape making, but Ari stuck to it until they were all completed.

We made two flavours. I'm only going to give you the recipe for one, as it was my favourite. Of course, I didn't actually follow the recipe in the book. Oh no, I couldn't do anyway as simple as that - could I! We sort of started following a basic cookie recipe, but strayed so much that I think it's fair to say it's our own recipe. Here it is ::

Cardamom & Pear Button Cookies ::
1/3 cup oil (use melted butter if you like, or an oil with no distinct taste)
1/4 cup sugar (whatever sort you choose, brown probably best - I used raw, as we had no brown)
2 eggs
25 - 30 cardamom pods - crush and grind the seeds really well (remove the pod hard skins). We use a stone mortar and pestle. (which is invaluable in my kitchen).
1/4 cup pear concentrate syrup
1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour (S.R or use plain with a pinch or two of bicarb)

In your mixer (machine or by hand) beat really well the oil, sugar + eggs. They'll make a nice thick oozy mixture. Add the cardamom and pear concentrate. Then the sifted flour, and mix nice and gently (by hand). It should be a stiff mixture - if not add more flour until you can knead it easily. Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut until you've used all the mixture. (You'll need to rework and reroll it as you go, use some extra flour if it gets too sticky). Using the back flat part of a wooden skewer to make two or four holes, like a button. You can also use a fork around the edges if you want to make decorations like that (we didn't as the kids' didn't have a light enough touch, and just squashed the dough our of shape). 
Bake in at 180C, checking after 5 minutes, and perhaps turning them over. You don't want to burn your buttons, you just want a nice slightly light brown colour. Perhaps 10 - 12 mins at total most. Cool on a tray and serve at your next crafty get-together. 
I had some mixture that I didn't make into buttons, and rolled into a long round about 5cm thick. I then pinched smallish bits off and baked them like that, until nicely cooked. They had a different taste, as they we softer inside. I'm calling them Pinch Cookies. Give it a go, the rough edges got cooked in varying amounts, which meant some bits were more burned and some bits gooier than others. Yum. 
You could also freeze the log, until you need it, and use a sharp knife to cut into rounds. Which means you can make freshly baked cookies at the drop of a pin, or a button!
*yes, their grandad does live there too, but must face reality that grandma is the major drawcard and the one they especially love visiting. I know they do love you just as much grandad - it's just that, well.... you know anyway.

** does anyone know the difference between 'cookie' and 'biscuit'? I always thought it was the Australian / British word compared to American word. But then somewhere along the line I read that biscuit was factory made and cookie was homemade. I've been thinking that I do like the word cookie more, but then wonder if it's too American-ish for my Aussie friends. And cookie also makes me think of cookie-cutter (see alternate definition for what I mean), which is generic and not at all handcrafted, artistic.....
(By the way - I'm not entirely what one would call "Aussie" in any sense of the word. In fact, at school people used to think Sylv + I were English as we actually spoke correctly, and finished our words rather than dropping the last letter, as is very Aussie. "Ya' kno', 'ey" translates as "You know, don't you". Hey (or 'ey) being a particularly Aussie sentence ending sort of word.)


  1. Biscuits and cookies. Cookie is very much an American word. When I was growing up, a long long time ago(lol!) we had never heard of the word cookie, they were always biscuits.All my old cook books call them biscuits.

  2. Anonymous1:21 pm

    Yup, I think it's purely English/American difference. E.g. Anzac biscuits, not cookies, and they're usually homemade.

    To a greater extent than most people realise, language forms culture. Personally, I don't like the word cookie, because I associate it with the americanisation of our culture, something which I am very much against. Bikkie is a much nicer word! :)

  3. Very nice recipes!! the biscuits look so delicious!

  4. Oh they look like so much fun!!

    xo Steph


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