We have just had a wonderful weekend of eating and cooking. I had to go to the Hunter Valley for a work conference on Friday and Saturday and managed to pick up some favourites reds and some lovely cheeses. On Saturday night we had a bbq at a friends house and enjoyed said wines and cheeses.
On Sunday we went water skiing before I had everyone over for a Chef's Toolbox party. If you haven't seen this before, you MUST have a look. I went to a party a couple of weeks ago, somewhat reluctantly, with my Mum. I was so surprised ! It was brilliant, nothing like what I expected from a party plan. Chef's Toolbox is an Australian company that sells cooking equipment and bakeware. http://www.chefstoolbox.com.au/
Catherine, the demonstrator, did a 10 minute talk then all the participants used the demo stuff to prepare a meal. We made a Thai chicken curry and caramel chocolate tarts. One person chopped chicken, another stirred the coconut milk etc. When it was all done we looked through the catalogues, made our orders and then sat and enjoyed the food with a glass of wine ! It was great so I quickly booked a party.
Yesterday we did the same recipes that I did at the first demonstration. I got loads of freebies for being the hostess ! The products are exceptional quality. The cookware is expensive as a one of purchase, but excellent value ( the saucepan I want is $149). They have a lifetime guarantee so I am prepared to save to get them. The bakeware is very reasonable with most pieces being about $39-$49. It suits the needs of all budgets.
I told Catherine that if I had the time, I would become a consultant. It is so aligned with my passion of empowering women and cooking from scratch. I also know that party plans go VERY well in regional areas because we just cannot access the quality products. There are no department stores to duck in to.
After the party No 1 Son made pizza dough in the breadmaker and cooked a great pizza for himself. Not bad for an almost 10 year old ! Today I made a big batch of choc chip cookies and put a big amount of dough in the freezer ready for busy times. Hubbie made rock cakes tonight because he has to go away tomorrow and these seem to have become his signature dish !
The Chef's Toolbox scales allow you to use one bowl for weighing all ingredients. They allow you to press a button and 'zero' the scales each time you add something. This means you only wash up one bowl ! For example, you put the bowl on the scale and then zero it and add 300g flour and then zero it again and add 90g butter and zero it etc etc
So, here is the rock cake recipe:
300g self raising flour
1.2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( heaped if you want a stronger taste)
2 tablespoons of sultanas
3 tablespoons of milk
Sift flour and rub in butter with fingertips - keep rubbing until the mixture resemables breadcrumbs. (Hubbie says the secret is 'cool hands' - this cracks me up !)
Add sugar and ginger and stir through. Add fruit. Beat egg and add milk. Make into a stiff dough. Place spoonfuls or small handfuls onto a buttered tray and bake at 220C for 10-15 minutes. Turn onto a rack and cool.
Hubbie also makes pretty mean scones - I mean real ones with buttermilk ! The world, in my experience, is grouped into two classes of people - those that can make great scones and those that can't. Last time he made scones he had to ride his motorbike to town because he didn't have any buttermilk. When he got home I saw him laying on the bed reading a water ski magazine. When I said 'aren't you making scones' he told me that he was waiting for his hands to cool down, because his secret ingredient is 'cool hands'. LOL - you gotta love the man- he takes his cooking very seriously !!
The chocolate chip cookies are really easy and the kids love to make them - yell out if you don't have a recipe and want to try mine.