The post below reminded me to look out another cookbook from Hodges Figgis, this one a funny gem of a book from the Bargain Basement called ‘From Our House To Yours – Comfort Food To Give And Share’. The oddity of this book (and the reason, perhaps, that it cost me only a few euro) is that it is a book of recipes that are designed to be brought to the unwell, the bereaved, the lonely: as the introduction by Joyce Goldstein asserts, ‘these are the dishes people crave in times of need’. At first this book seems just a little bit too ‘American’, a little bit too nice but after a chapter or two it does make start to make sense – good food can go a long way in a difficult situation; the mere act of bringing someone something can go a long way: ‘food has the power to heal, to comfort, and to convey care and affection’. I wasn’t cooking for a crisis today; I just wanted a nice, oaty biscuit, so I made the ‘Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies’ on p. 119, which I have made several times before and are so easy to make. I used a mixture of cranberries, raisins and sultanas rather than just raisins and I reduced the sugar ever so slightly. I added extra oats this time, which wasn’t really necessary, so I’ll just give the recipe as it is in the book. This recipe uses cups, which is easier than measuring everything out. The only important thing when using cups is to stay consistent: when you’re measuring half a cup, say, make sure you use the same quantity for your next half cup.
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup soft light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I think a little less works better here – maybe 3 or 4 tsp instead)
1 large egg
2tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups of rolled oats
3/4 cup of raisins
– Preheat oven to 180 degrees; line a baking tray with parchment and set aside. Sieve flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, combine butter and sugars and beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture slowly and incorporate fully, scraping down the sides all the while. Stir in the oats and the raisins/sultnas. Mix till everything is incorporated and then spoon tablespoons of the mixture out, shaping into not very neat little balls. Flatten slightly and place nine or so on a tray, with space between each. Bake until golden brown and fully set – ten to fifteen minutes. Once baked, place the tray on a cooling rack for a minute or two then transfer the cookies to the cooling tray (leaving them for a minute prevents them breaking as you move them).
Loaf tin from Lenehan’s Hardware, Rathmines