Afghans and New Zealand Christmas

My lack of posts may be acceptable if nothing had been going on in my life.

However, in the past two weeks, I have done 5 days of tramping (NZ terminology), or hiking for all those Canadian folk, cycled 75 kilometres to a seaside town, swam in the ocean, visited with family, eaten too much, baked and read (almost done my second novel). I know I am on holiday when I have time to finish a novel in less than one week. It is marvellous.

I have been meaning to post the recipe for Afghans. Not because I created this wonderful biscuit, but because it is a NZ favourite and a personal must-have at Christmas time. The best way to describe it? A chocolate shortbread with cornflakes dedans (that’s French for within)

This recipe is brought to you from the Edmonds Cookbook – a staple in most NZ kitchens.

Afghan Biscuits

  • 200g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cups Edmonds, standard plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • walnuts (optional)
  • chocolate icing (I made up the recipe below as the written recipe calls for actual chocolate which I didn’t have. This is just as good I think.)

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Sift flour and cocoa.

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2. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes. 

3. Spoon mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray gently pressing together.

4. Bake at 180 C (355 F) for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.

5. When cold, ice with chocolate icing and a walnut piece.

Chocolate Icing: 

  • 1 tbsp butter, or alternative
  • 1/3 C cocoa
  • 2 C icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp milk, or alternative until icing consistency is reached

Beat all together until smooth.

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On Christmas day, we went to three different meals. Breakfast at my aunt’s brother’s house, lunch at my uncle’s home and dinner out at another family member’s farm! My uncle resides in England much of the time with his lovely opera singer wife who hails from Germany. They put on an absolutely amazing meal! The most delicious salad was served to start – fresh lightly cooked artichokes from Dorothee’s garden with capers, hard boiled egg, fresh dill covered in a lemon mayonaise dressing. I would like to try to create a vegan version in the future.

In case you are interested in opera singing, here is my aunt’s website.  I hope I can see her perform one day, as this past week was the first time we have met!

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Craisin (Orange) Scones

After neglecting my blog for so long, it is hard to know what to write about! In the past 3 weeks, I have made some delicious food, said goodbye to my wonderful preceptor and nurses at GGH, visited with new friends in Guelph, checked out a craft fair in Chicago, IL, written my final exam for the semester (18 months left!) and been on at least 6 airplanes!

I am currently in Sydney, Australia waiting for my flight to New Zealand, where I am heading for my Christmas holiday!

I have a few recipes I would like to post, but they might not all come at once. I brought my mom’s famous craisin scones for my last shift at the hospital and I promised the staff that I would put the recipe on my blog. Other soon to be posted recipes?

  • GF Moroccon Vegetable Pie
  • Spelt seed bread (similar to the bread I bought at With the Grain in Guelph!)

Craisin (Orange) Scones

Ingredients and Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F

2. Soak ¾ C craisins in boiling or very hot water for 10 minutes, or however long it takes you to prepare the rest of the recipe…

3. Mix dry ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ C all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¾ C spelt flour (or whole wheat)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like your scones)
  • 1 (generous) tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp orange rind (if you have it – I didn’t this time, but it is so good!)

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4. Cut ¼ C softened butter (or vegan margarine) into dry mixture until it looks like course crumbs.

5. Drain craisins. Toss them in the dry mixture until they are flour coated and well dispersed.

6. Whisk 1 egg and put into a ¾ C measure. Fill to the top with soy or almond milk. It should be roughly 2/3 C milk alternative.

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7. Add egg/milk mixture to dry ingredients until just combined. Add a bit more milk if needed, depending on the flour you choose (spelt flour will likely absorb a bit more liquid than whole wheat).

8. Place by the spoonful (2 generous tablespoons per scone) on a baking sheet 2-3 cm apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

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9. Optional Icing:

Heat 1-2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate with about 2/3 C. icing sugar until smooth. Pour by the spoonful onto the scones and allow to cool and harden before serving! This is really a nice touch that I highly recommend!

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I asked a couple of kids to be in this photo with me in front of this screen which projects different “faces of Chicago” every few minutes! They agreed!

Here are a few photos from Chicago where I spent the weekend with one of the most amazing people, my dear friend, Josina. She came from Minnesota where she is currently working to meet me for the weekend! We checked out all the best food locations including this vegan restaurant called Native Foods which is from California. We were thrilled to eat whole bowls of vegetables seasoned with fresh tahini and spices.

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The famous 'bean' downtown in Millenium Park with a city backdrop!

The famous ‘bean’ downtown in Millenium Park with a city backdrop!