This winter seems to be my season to reflect and to make some changes. Maybe it is the season itself but I have had a feeling that has almost been overwhelming. There is a little ‘something’ telling me to slow down. I have wondered whether it is a warning sign. It has scared me a little and I have taken note.
I recently employed a life coach. I am only at the very beginnings but even before I signed on the dotted line, I knew it was a very beautiful thing to invest in my life. The process is already making me pull things apart. I am looking closely at my values and my top value (above all else in my life) turned out to be ‘family happiness’ followed by ‘adventure’. Defining my values was wonderful.
I heard someone say recently that winter forces you to pay attention. It makes you look for the good things that in other seasons are right there in front of you to enjoy. You have to dig a little deeper in winter and maybe this is why I choose now…. this time…this season to invest in me, my life and the happiness of my family.
I adore baking for my girls. I also love cooking with them and watching them at work, creating magic of their own. Last Friday night, I cooked with Grace by my side. She made a quiche (which, btw got well-deserved applause by her sisters who just so happen to adore quiche!). I was cooking dishes of my own and it was one of those very simple nights that I hope to never forget. It really did strike as a ‘wow’ moment. Grace and I were chatting about all sorts of things. I feel so close to her always but I could feel something changing. Her conversation was a lot more…..well……mature, I guess. We were talking as friends and I suddenly got a glimpse of this girl all grown up. They will leave our home one day, this I know but I hope that they always remember what I hold close. Will they remember the first pie we made together? Will they remember the night Ava cooked dinner for the family at the age of four and their Mother weeping with happiness as she intuitively went out to pick rosemary from the garden to go with the lamb cutlets she was cooking? Will they remember the Sunday they cooked together to then hold a cake and lemonade stand out the front of our home that sold more in an hour than any local café could dream of selling? Will they remember our kitchen fire and the horror on my face as I realized they were not running and were in fact mesmerized by the beautiful flames? Will they remember the night they decided Relish Mama should have a YouTube channel and asked me to film them making dinner to load on to the site? (still to this day it is the only post on our YouTube channel!). Will they remember the cooking classes held in our home kitchen? The smells they presently adore wafting from the hub of our home? (Roast chicken is probably queen here). Will they remember how much they loved it when I would invent a new sweet treat for them to try? I know I will. These are our treasure memories and a big part of my ‘family happiness’. This is what I value most.
I will remember the beautiful little squeals from just last week when I made them this new biscuit to try. Once eaten, the verdict was two daughters with an absolute ‘yessssssssss’ and one “it wasn’t my favourite thing you have ever cooked” (I love it!). They were a big fat ‘yessssssssss’ from me. I love the combination of chocolate with the hint of orange and the lightness the olive oil brings but….. you can make up your own mind and I hope that above all else, they might bring you some of the slowness we need as well as some of that winter beauty we sometimes have to dig a little deeper for.
Chocolate, cinnamon and orange biscuits
Makes approx 24
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g caster sugar
60g dutch cocoa
175g sour cream
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 small orange, finely zested (using a microplane)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
350g plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
250g best quality dark chocolate, chopped or buttons (I used callebaut dark chocolate buttons)
For the icing:
100ml thickened cream
160g dark chocolate, chopped or buttons
Preheat oven to 160oC.
Mix the eggs, sugar, cocoa, sour cream, live oil, orange zest, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to combine well.
Add the flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Dough will become a little stiff. Add the chocolate and mix to combine.
Divide the dough into 4cm balls and place on a lined baking tray at least 4cm apart from each other. Flatten ever so slightly and bake for approx 10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on baking tray before transferring to a wire rack.
Make the icing buy heating the cream until near boiling. Turn the heat off and stir through the chocolate. Stir until smooth and shiny.
Once the biscuits are completely cold, ice the biscuits by either dipping in the icing or loosely spooning it on to each one.
These will store for 3-4 days in an airtight container.