Inspired by Ingredients

You Say Tahini I Say Zucchini

One of my partner’s favourite places for coffee is Patricia Coffee Brewers in Melbourne’s CBD. This quirky little shop is known for its awesome coffee but they also have the most tasty little treats. As I eagerly eyed their display case, greedily checking out the cookie selection, I chose what I thought were chocolate chip cookies. I checked to make sure I was right and was happy to hear that they were orange and chocolate chip cookies with a touch of tahini. I was so excited at the orange bit that I misheard tahini and thought she said zucchini. When I realised it was tahini I was still excited as I love tahini.

The cookies were delicious but I couldn’t get zucchini out of my head. I decided to experiment with a chocolate chip zucchini cookie but didn’t want to make a large batch just in case I didn’t like them. I’ve been meaning to try a small batch cookie recipe and this was the perfect time to do it. After finding a few recipes that didn’t have egg in them, I played around with the measurements to create a single batch cookie. The good thing about an eggless cookie recipe is that you can scale up to make as many cookies as you want!

The recipe below makes one cookie so you can make a few batches and try different flavour combinations. My first try is the recipe below, which gives a subtle taste of zucchini. I made a second cookie and doubled the zucchini but the extra zucchini added more moisture which made the cookie a bit cake-like in texture. It was still nice but I preferred the lovely balance of flavour and texture of the first one. Next I made a tasty chocolate chip and tahini cookie by substituting the zucchini with 1 teaspoon of tahini. Not only can you experiment with flavours but also cooking times as the longer you cook the cookie, the crisper it gets. My mind is bursting with all the different combinations I can try – especially with the holidays approaching!

Chocolate Chip and Zucchini Cookie

Ingredients
15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar (granulated)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon grated zucchini (make sure you squeeze out any liquid)
8g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
salt for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Stir in the zucchini.
Add the flour and mix until combined.
Fold in the chocolate.
Roll dough into a ball and place on prepared tray.
Press down slightly, but not too far as the dough will spread.
Sprinkle with salt if desired.
Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the edges are browned and cooked to your liking.
You can eat it warm or cold.

A Day For Gin

World Gin Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in June. This is a day to enjoy all things gin. For some of us, World Gin Day is every day!

I’ve always loved gin. I love the aromatics and the infinite flavours you can play with. The only things gin needs in order to be called gin is distilled alcohol and juniper berries. After that you can add anything else and it’s still a gin. In fact the name gin is derived from juniperus, the Latin word for juniper.

One of the more interesting gins I have recently discovered is an Australian gin called Ink. It was the deep blue/purple colour that drew me to the bottle. I then discovered that this blue/purple colour changes to a light purple/pink when you add tonic water. I was entranced! I was also very happy that this gin was not just a gimmick, but a beautiful tasting one as well.

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Ink is infused with 14 different botanicals including butterfly pea flowers. It is these flowers that give the gin its bright colour as well as its colour changing properties. Butterfly pea flowers are considered an aphrodisiac as the flowers resemble female genitalia. Not surprisingly their scientific name is derived from the Latin for clitoris – Clitoria ternatea.

With that in mind I started thinking of a way of showcasing this delicious and unusual gin while adding a feminine touch 🙂 After much thought I really couldn’t go past a classic gin and tonic with the addition of strawberries. Strawberries are associated with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, after whom aphrodisiacs are named.

Strawberry Gin and Tonic

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Ingredients
60ml gin
1 strawberry, sliced lengthways
90ml tonic water

Instructions
Pour the gin into a glass.
Add the sliced strawberry.
Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Add the tonic water.
Enjoy!
Makes one mixed drink.

For more gin drinks, check out my recipes for Glow In The Dark Gin & Tonic, Gin Alexander and Sage Mulled Wine.

An Unexpected Delight

On the weekend, I went to one of my favourite places to buy gin – Nicks Wine Merchants. The staff are very knowledgable, friendly and helpful. As I wandered excitedly down the aisles perusing the offerings, a beautifully painted bottle caught my eye. Then I saw the name – Turkish Delight. Intrigued, I read the label. It was made in Tamborine Mountain, Queensland, Australia. I recognised the place immediately! A few years ago my partner and I went to Tambourine Mountain in search of this distillery and much to our disappointment discovered that it was closed on Sundays. I had really wanted to try their Turkish Delight liqueur. Well now I could 🙂 I grabbed the bottle and made my way quickly to the counter, almost forgetting about my gin. But as I passed the gin section I stopped, lured by the promise of piquant juniper libations. The staff were happy to help me choose a very unusual gin, which I’ll be sharing with you soon.

When I got home I didn’t know what to drink first. After much consideration I went for the Turkish Delight liqueur.

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It is a really grown-up liqueur, not sickly sweet, very fragrant and tasty, with a good kick of alcohol. Its light rose colour matches the sophistication of the drink. To accompany it I thought I would whip up a batch of my Turkish Delight Truffles – a fragrant blend of milk chocolate, cream and rose water.

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Ingredients
200g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup double cream
1 teaspoon rose water (or to taste)
cocoa for rolling

Instructions
Fill a saucepan about one-third full with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Set a heatproof-bowl over the saucepan, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate and cream to the bowl. Occasionally stir with a metal spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the rose water.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm enough to roll into balls.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place some cocoa into a small bowl.
Use a melon-baller to scoop chocolate into a rough ball and, working with one ball at a time, roll ball in the cocoa until covered then place onto prepared tray.
Continue until all the chocolate is rolled, topping up with cocoa as needed.
Refrigerate until firm.
Bring to room temperature before serving.