Sunday, 16 December 2018

Rach Eats Christmas: Tree Cheese Crackers

Christmas cheese crackers recipe

I'm writing this, in my pyjamas, with a few banging tunes on, and my hair's messy, and I'm wearing my glasses, and I'm waiting for the post to roll in. So, while I wait, why not do some work? I feel like a proper writer, here. It's always the dream, when you're a paid writer - to be able to write in your pyjamas - and although I'm not yet paid to write yet, it's a nice feeling doing so. The other day I thought about my first few recipes... my first few weeks. The cheesy pasta bake that took three hours. The first recipe... for chicken Supernoodles. Many, many pitta breads that went mouldy soon after taking them out of the packet and putting them in foil. And you know what? I'm doing quite well at this learning to cook lark. Practice makes perfect, and sometimes, progress can be linear. (In other words, straight up.) I swear to goodness, the best thing you can do is just try. Take up a new skill, and see where it takes you.

So, today's recipe is ripe and ready for your Christmassy cheeseboard, or indeed any occasion where you need to whack the biscuits on a plate and hand them out. I don't obviously recommend putting these next to the posh chocolate ones, or chocolate covered digestives... but they're a good savoury biscuit with a hit of salty and creamy cheese that'll keep you wanting to eat another... and another... and they're tree-shaped! (Best place for cookie cutters, I've found, is in Home Bargains - this one was 40p!)


(Cheese trees, please)

Makes enough for your cheeseboard - 16!

You'll need:
100g strong grated cheddar cheese
40g feta cheese
20g soya margerine
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon each garlic and ginger

1. You're going to love me for this... all you need to do is put all the ingredients into a blender and pulse it up until it makes a dough! Tip it out onto some clingfilm, wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for about an hour. It just makes it a little easier.

2. When you're ready, line two baking trays with paper and preheat the oven to 180℃. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up in your hands a little. Flour the worktop, and a rolling pin, and then start rolling out the dough to about a quarter of a centimetre thick. Using a Christmassy tree cookie cutter, cut an absolute ton of trees and line them up on the baking tray, leaving plenty of room for any spreadage.

3. Put the trays in the oven and allow them to cook for 12-15 minutes until they're golden and puffy, but not bendy when you handle them. Take them out and let them harden while they cool. Repeat with the rest of the dough - rolling, baking, rolling, baking - until you've baked all of them. Let them cool and then enjoy with a bit more cheese. You've earned it. These keep well in a biscuit tin for about two to three days.

Oh my days. I think we have finally found the successor to the humble cheese straw. Although I might actually make some using this recipe, but... this was fabulously cheesy, beyond flavoursome and crunchy, crispy bliss. Yeah, we're having some of these for Christmas. Ooooooh. Oh yes.

Friday, 14 December 2018

The Daily Snap - 14/12/18


Wrapping... love it or loathe it?

Rach Eats Lunch: Chilled Avocado & Lime Soup

Chilled avocado and lime soup recipe

Today, I am mostly feeling a bit normal. Although I actually could not sleep last night. Not at all. I've heard that old wives' tale that if you're unable to sleep, you're awake in someone else's dreams, so if that is true and someone somewhere is dreaming about me... you couldn't knock her out, could you? She'd really appreciate a bit of rest, and, oh, maybe some painkillers for the inevitable headache that will probably follow. Thanks. But anyway, it seems like since slowly recovering from feeling poorly (and anaemic, starting to become a theme here), my insomniac brain has been back on its' usual nonsense, so maybe I am better? Who knows. But I know I'm mainlining the fruit smoothies and veggies as an attempt to build my resources up. Ready for the next big energy crash. Stupid PCOS. Stupid CFS.

Anyway... I've made something else that is green. It's a theme here. It's a very random theme. I'm on my way to one of those weird curated Instagram feeds where everyone seems to take flatlays of flowers, magazines and coffee on top of a white duvet cover while rambling on about their latest Primark haul and five top things about Autumn. I mean. If I ever had to do one of these curated feeds, I'm pretty sure there would be none of this - I don't like coffee, and I don't have a ready supply of pretty things just lying around. I mean, I could take a flatlay of a pile of discarded cereal bar wrappers, a ripped up Post It Note and a used cotton bud, but who wants that? It's not one for the 'gram, is it? But it is honest, I suppose, since that is exactly what's hanging around on my desk at the moment. Today's recipe, before I get too carried away here, is a decidedly different way to eat an avocado, especially in the middle of December, but it is a good alternative to having it on toast.


(I don't own a bike, but I do avocado)

Serves 1

You'll need:
1 fully ripened avocado
1 small lime, zest and juice
200ml vegetable stock (hot water plus a vegetable stock cube)
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
1 large wholewheat wrap, to serve

1. This one's really easy! Simply boil up the kettle and crumble in your stock cube into a jug. Measure out the boiling water, stir it up with a fork until everything's dissolved... and then... let it cool right down. Yep. Right down to cool.

2. When you're ready, gently cut your avocado open and scoop the flesh out. Remove the stone and either bin it or plant it. Instant avocado tree there, guys! I mean, mine hasn't yet sprouted anything, but I'm sure it will. Chop the avocado into little bits and then throw it straight in a blender jug, along with the cold stock, the lime juice and zest. Obviously the lime juice is the most important bit, and I swear to goodness you'll know if you don't use it. Promise. Brown EVERYTHING.

3. Blend the avocado into a smooth, soupy... soup. Then pour it into a bowl and stick it straight into the fridge and chill it for at least half an hour.

4. While you wait, if you want to make tortilla chips to serve, simply line a baking tray and preheat the oven to 180℃, lie one large wrap on the baking tray and bake the whole lot for 15 minutes until crispy. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool before breaking into rough bits.

5. And, um... that's it. Take the soup out of the fridge and serve immediately, maybe with a sprinkle of chilli flakes... but you don't have to, if you don't fancy it.

This is unusual, yes - especially for December - but it is lovely. Avocado always gives my skin a light sheen afterwards, the same as salmon does, which means it has to be the right kind of healthy! And it tastes gooooood. Definitely worth it for one (or for two small starters... just saying!) for a deliciously light meal.