Last weekend I attempted to do a one-stop mall shop for all my Christmas gifts. This proved to be a way better idea in theory than in practice, especially when you’re nearing that ‘one week until Christmas’ frenzy.
People start panicking. They go nuts.
I lasted half an hour at my local mega-mall before turning to Colin and whispering, with the sweetest, kindest smile on my face “The next person who walks into me, because they’re too busy looking at their phone, is going to get slapped.”
Except, clearly, I can’t be trusted to online shop like a proper grown up either. After half an hour on amazon.ca, I had made not one but two very, very exciting purchases… for myself: The Flavour Bible and Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune.
I was thisclose to wrapping them up all lovely and addressing them to me from Hannah, my dog, because that’s just the kind of dog owner I am (Hannah has made some very good Christmas purchases for her other pack members this year), buuuuut I could neither delude myself that much, nor wait that long to read them cover to cover.
Firstly, I would recommend The Flavour Bible to just about any chef, home or professional. It’s… a bible. It’s a tome of flavour combinations- no recipes per se, but a detailed index of flavour profiles, perfect for creating your own recipes! I love it. It lives in my kitchen.
Prune is, in many ways, the complete opposite. After reading (and loving) Gabrielle Hamilton’s autobiography, Blood, Bones and Butter, I knew I had to at least skim through her first (and potentially only) cookbook- she’s all about quality over quantity. Doing one thing very, very well rather than doing a bunch of things sort of okay. I respect that.
Hamilton is a lightly controversial character on the food scene since she breaks a lot of “rules.” Rules that, perhaps, should never have been there in the first place, but rules nonetheless.
One of Prune’s most famous menu items is Sardines on Triscuits. Triscuits.
Reading Hamilton’s cookbook is a joy, she clearly pours so much of herself into it- like it or not. Her recipes range from simple perfection (like the Triscuits) to wildly out of the realm for most home chefs (calf’s brains in milk). Still, I love it for what it is: a work of complete passion.
Hamilton is unabashedly strict in her instructions. Where she calls for certain brands in a recipe, she means use this brand. One of her recipes calls for a particular brand of beef stock and, in her own red penmanship, she notes on the page to not use any other brand and not to use homemade. Homemade stocks have their place, she implores, and this is not one of them. Fancy artisinal stocks have a place, this is not one of them. I feel like I’m going to get my knuckles wrapped by Chef Hamilton if I veer outside of her instructions, but her wisdom is hard earned. She knows what she’s talking about.
So. What does all this have to do with today’s recipe? It’s as simple as sardines on Triscuits and I am unflinchingly strict over the type of cheese you must use.
MacLaren’s Imperial Aged Cheddar. Red container. Find it in your average grocery store in the non-fancy cheese section, near the milk and eggs. Don’t use grated cheese. Don’t use cream cheese or goat cheese or artisinal cave aged cheddar. MacLaren’s Imperial.
I can’t tell you how much I love these crackers. My mum has been making them since I was tiny and as soon as I was old enough, I would steal the box from the pantry and take them back to my room. Simple. Perfect.
Crispy, chewy, cheesy, soft. For someone with a fat tooth, they’re the perfect bite. I can skip the Christmas baking no problem, but I will more than make it up my over indulging in these cheesy bites.
|Cheese Crackers|| || |
- 230 g MacLaren's Imperial Aged Cheddar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1½ cup flour
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco
- 4 cups Rice Krispies/Special K cereal
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Mix cheddar, butter, flour, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco together until smooth and creamy. Add rice krispies and mix together using a fork.
- Roll into 1 inch balls and drop on to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.