12 Dec 2014

happy christmas to you all

Where does snow globe liquid disappear to every year?

Another year almost over! Another working year almost over; time very soon(not soon enough) for a few weeks away from sitting indoors at a computer all day. Time now to eat a leisurely breakfast at a reasonable hour, outside, in my garden; to spend hours pottering amongst the pea vines and corn stalks and the cool green leaves of my birch trees, watching bumblebees vibrate in the tubes of penstamon flowers and listening to the chattering and warbling of blackbirds and european goldfinches and new holland honey eaters who also enjoy my garden. Time to flick thru a magazine, actually read a proper book, or have a nanna nap, just because I can. Time to relax and recharge the batteries.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season too, no matter what you celebrate, and how and where you do it – whether it’s vibrant sunny days (keep your fingers crossed for us here in Tassie!) or snowy short ones.

I hope you enjoy all the things that I look forward to in my holidays: favourable weather, good food, unrushed time with family and friends; in fact, just unrushed time. Time to do nothing. Doing nothing is sadly under-rated in these modern online-hyper-linked-charged-zapped days, but I shall be practising it with sloth-like precision over my holidays. I hope visiting my parents and helping pick their berries and cherries and stone fruit is about as physically challenging as it gets for me come early January.

Thank you for all your friendship and support over 2014. I have enjoyed writing for you and talking to you, reading your comments and having conversations with you here at Dig In, and on your own (fantastic, envy-inducing) blogs. I say it every year, but I am constantly amazed at how words and (dodgy) pics about burnt cakes and baby zucchinis can bring us together from so many different parts of the world. As a new blogger, I used to get caught up in statistics and traffic sources; now, I simply enjoy hearing from new visitors; knowing there may be others who read but don’t comment; and saying hello to those of you who have been coming here every week. Change and constancy — as in life.

So happy Christmas to you and your family, from me and mine. Stay safe and healthy and happy and well-fed. See you in a month or so.

e XX

7 Dec 2014


Snickerdoodles! But not just any old snickerdoodles (can we just say that word again? Snickerdoodles!): chai-spiced-vegan-snickerdoodles!

Every now and then I like to bake some biscuits or slice or something for my yoga classmates. I should do it more often, because they pounce on these post-class treats, and then shower me with lovely compliments. What cook can resist that?

But the last time I took biscuits to class, I realised the lovely C would miss out, because she is vegan and my biscuits (the ginger biscuits, I think) were made with butter. I apologised for not being more thoughtful, but C brushed that aside and beamed — she said it made her happy to see I’d brought biscuits for everyone else! If that’s not a blissful attitude, I don’t know what is.

But C’s happiness threw down a challenge. How hard could it be to find some delicious biscuits that were egg and dairy free? I didn’t want anything with weirdy ingredients; I’ve seen vegan recipes with stuff that looks more suited to a pharmacy lab than a kitchen. With a lot of people giving up dairy and eggs these days, for all sorts of reasons, I didn’t think it would be too difficult a task.

And it wasn’t. I found a book by Isa Chandra Moskowitz in the library, with pages of delicious and colourful looking foods. Including the recipe for chai-spiced-vegan-snickerdoodles — what a mouthful; let’s just call them snickerdoodles (snickerdoodles!).

And you know what? Nothing weirdy about these. Actually, the most unusual ingredient was cardamom, because it’s not a spice I use often. I may put a pinch in with stewing apples occasionally; it’s an intriguing taste that reminds me of dried eucalyptus leaves! So because it’s unfamiliar to me, cardamom is the flavour I detected most; but after yoga, P asked ‘mmm, have these got ginger in them?’ and I thought someone else said ‘oooh, cinnamon!’. Mostly though, to my relief, I heard lots of ‘delicious, thank you!’ and I saw C beam her gorgeous smile as she went back for a second biscuit.

Adapted from ‘Isa does it: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week’.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 and prep a couple of baking trays.
  • Mix together the sugary topping in a small cereal plate: 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with at least ¼ tspn each of ground cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, and a pinch of mixed spice. You may like a bit more spice (I may have accidently put in ½ tspn of cinnamon; I was momentarily confused by measuring spoons on the kitchen bench). Set aside.
  • Now, take a cup measure and put in 1 tbspn light brown sugar, then top it up with white sugar. Pop this in a mixing bowl, add ½ cup light olive oil, ¼ cup golden syrup, 3 tbspns soy milk, and 1 tspn vanilla. Whisk together until, as Isa says, it looks like applesauce (it does!).
  • Sift and fold into this 2 cups plain flour, 1 tspn baking soda, half a ¼ tspn salt, and ½ tspn cinnamon.
  • Take walnut-sized spoonfuls, roll into balls, flatten slightly in your hands, and pat one side of the biscuit into the spicy sugar. Place sugar-side up on baking trays, flatten a little more with a fork.
  • Bake biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on trays for a few minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.