Saturday, March 20, 2010


It's bookclub night soon (yahaa!) and I've realised that I didn't blog about the one I held here last month.
Our bookclub is a very relaxed affair, the host supplies cheese, grapes and crackers.  The guests bring along the wine.  We discuss the book for a short while and then get down to the important business of putting the world to rights!!

We discussed Colum McCann's "Let The Great World Spin", everyone enjoyed it, found it multi-layered, the type of book you could re-read and get even more from it next time round.  He definitely deserves all the awards he has received.

Back to the food - I have never been one to allow an opportunity to try out new recipes pass.  This time I was anxious to try out an idea I had had for a candied, spiced nut mixture - they were a huge success, I don't think I will be allowed to host another evening without serving them!!!

At my son's request I made cheese straws, I wanted to try a new recipe and found one that looked good on Deb's blog "smitten kitchen" - I subsequently made these into cheese biscuits using different cheeses (actually the ones left over from the spread above) and they were even better than the first time.

I, of course served brownies towards the end of the night - I will blog about these tomorrow.

Here's what I did:

Spiced Candies Nuts

200g         hazelnuts
200g         almonds
100g         pecan nuts
1/4 cup     brown sugar
1/4 cup     caster sugar
1/2 tsp      ground cumin
1/2 tsp      ground coriander
1/2 tsp      ground cinnamon
1   tsp       curry powder
1               egg white
1 tsp         maldon salt

Preheat oven to 150 C
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Whisk the egg white until light and frothy and set aside.
Mix the sugars and spices.
Combine the nuts and egg white until evenly coated.
Add the sugar mixture and toss well.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, stir occasionally to ensure there is no clumping.
Remove from oven sprinkle with the salt and allow to cool.

Serve and Enjoy.

Cheese Biscuits/Straws

1 1/2 cups    grated hard cheese*
50g              softened butter
3/4 cup        plain flour
1/4 tsp         chili flakes (optional)
1 tbsp          milk

Preheat oven to 180 C

Combine the cheese, butter flour and chili flakes in a food processor, in short pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the milk and process until it forms a ball.

Roll out between two sheets of cling film until about 1/2cm thick.  then either cut into strips (use a knife dipped into flour) or use a cookie cutter.  The cookie cutter option makes them very attractive to kiddies.  I think these cheese biscuits would be a great option for a children's birthday party,  make you feel less guilty serving all the sugar rich food. (I would of course leave out the chili).

Gently transfer the strips/biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  They expand a little bit so leave some space between them.

Bake the straws/biscuits for 10 - 15 minutes,  until they are a nice golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

These biscuits keep well in a  sealed container.

*First time round I used a strong cheddar,  second time I used an Irish hard herbed cheese and a small piece of spicy cheese (left out the chili flakes).

Hope you enjoy the nibbles.


Coby said...

You know Browniegirl, right now, I don't find time to read (at least to a timetable) which is a pity, but I would SO want to come to your book club evenings! That all looks delicious - I love a savoury biscuit:)

Brownieville Girl said...

Cody, when my kids were as young as yours I felt lucky if I managed to read the first page of the newspaper!

We'd love to have you at our bookclub, if only they could invent "beam me up Scottie" type transportation!!!