Peanut Butter Olive Oil Cookies

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A new year, another classic with a twist. I thought this post would come online much earlier to be honest, but with everything that’s been happening here, and with the past year’s late festivities and jolly holiday obligations, it well and truly has slipped my mind. I actually thought I already uploaded this one, really. Clearly I need help. But HERE’S to a symmetrical-sounding 2020.

I’m all for resolutions and change, but only if there’s a feasible plan involved. Some of mine include:

  • to stretch daily. I used to do this religiously everyday for 10-15 minutes, but lately I’ve gotten more into the habit of just cracking my back (and ew, my neck).
  • to do one thing at a time. It does feel good to multitask (read: supertask), but being at work and at home has made me realise how much more deep, focussed and creative work and creative thinking can be accomplished when doing one thing at a time. Slowly but properly.
  • to do a weekly review on Sundays. Sundays still remain days of reflection for me. Starting off with pancakes, proceeding to movies, then reflecting on what good and bad has happened throughout the week. It’s good to generally not take everything too seriously, so I won’t bash myself for foregoing all the apples I bought for my chocolate brownies, but it’s better at least to be aware of certain bad habits that may be unhealthy.
  • work on my personal/passion project at least twice a week.
  • eat out a maximum of twice a week!! And indulge in a drink once a week (been pretty bad health-wise recently so these will hopefully bring me to my senses again).

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If you read my previous post, perhaps you can tell I’m on a cookie roll at the moment. The end of 2019 saw me making the cream-cheese filled cookies too many a time and the start of this year has heralded a new star– the one and only peanut butter olive oil cookie and the token chocolate studs for all-round appeal. I was skeptical about giving this one a go because I was worried the olive oil would be too strong against everything else happening, but the oil is not too pungent here and actually adds a moist and fragrant depth. Together with the liberal sea salt sprinkle and melting chocolate in the middle, this is quite a gluey, peanut buttery dream.

Peanut Butter Olive Oil Cookies (makes around 7 cookies)

Ingredients

120ml (0.5 cup) olive oil

120g (0.5 cup) chunky peanut butter

300g (1.5 cup) light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (vegan sub: use 3 flax eggs by mixing 3 tbsp of ground flaxseed with 7 tbsp water in a small bowl and let that gel for a couple minutes before using)

1 tsp baking powder

260g (2.25 cup) all-purpose flour

150g (a full bar) chopped chocolate

2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking trays with baking parchment. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, peanut butter (preferably chunky) and vanilla extract. Then briefly mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, chopped chocolate and salt in a separate bowl, then tip that into the wet mix and stir well until everything is just combined. Put golfball-sized pieces of batter onto your prepared baking trays, flatten them slightly with your hands and sprinkle on some Maldon salt (or regular salt) on top. Put them, one tray at a time, into the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle of one cookie should come out with wet crumbs but the edges should be golden-brown and firm. Best enjoyed warm but can be kept for a few days in an airtight container, or freeze and reheat whenever you want (topped with vanilla ice cream!)

Flock Café

Those spur-of-the-moment meet ups with someone special.

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We ambled in, unsure of what to expect, I myself a little doubtful of the humongous crowd and booming noise level. And yet, half of me ached to just try. Flock, like a bird. A dynamic freedom, a short escape. Sometimes, it doesn’t really matter where you are if you’re blessed with the best company.

After browsing around Books Actually, I needed at least a little fuel in the form of fare of little pretentious degree and biting caffeine (as usual. I’m scarily predictable. Maybe it’s just Saturdays). I relished the thought of just sitting down to some stimulating conversation, some heavy comfort. It was hot, dry and balmy outside, and the inside offered a hushed promise of something good. I also loved what was written on the walls:

Morning has broken

Mr. Coffee has spoken.

It really got the tune rolling in my head, that. It was even in swirly letters. I was quite happy, that’s a given.

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Believe it or not, I manage to amuse myself sometimes. I mistook at least two young women to be the waitresses, and dropped my camera. I’m the best at subjecting myself and my poor companions to public humiliation. But about the waitresses, I can’t blame myself really. They all look the same, with identical giggles and smiles and ponytails. I swear on it.

Oh Lix, you tried. And the orders were still mixed up. Still. First, I wanted a cortado. I changed my mind and ordered an iced black, only to have an iced white salaam me soon afterwards. But it was alright. I got my black in the end. All is good with patience and forced smiles. Gosh, the things I do for something to hit the spot. Lix had an earl grey, which was warm and fragrant.

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pork cheek and gruyère sandwich (hand shredded braised pork cheek, gruyère, mustard and ciabatta)
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banana brioche french toast and crispy bacon

After a mid-lengthy wait, the sandwich came, then the french toast.

I was surprised by the texture of the pulled pork cheek, which was tender and rather juicy. The slathered mustard was mild and complementary, offering a sharp creaminess and savoury touch to the dish. Not luxurious enough to the point whereby you wouldn’t mind anointing yourself with it, but appealing nonetheless. Well it wasn’t my dish, but obviously I stole a bite. I’m not all that doggerel in nature, you know. We are all dignified human beings. I didn’t have enough of it to criticise it fully, because eating that whole thing would be more of a journey than a brief side throw comment. I do appreciate the words ‘hand-shredded’, though. Fitting in some elbow grease is always a good thing. Like kneading bread. You just can’t turn that sort of thing down.

My french toast demanded a long wait, but goodness, when that primed platter finally arrived, I knew I was in for some herculean effort. A maple syrup-drenched (not coated) obstacle course, laden with crisp slivers of bacon and soft banana. More effort should have gone into something like bruleeing those yellow slivers instead of drowning the crisp, fried mass in a litre of syrup. At first glance, it looks decent, almost prim, but get a little closer and you spot the shrinking pool of maple pulling in at the edges, every square inch dying to be soaked up by the ever-benevelont brioche, those airy, moist and dangerously buttery inch-thick brick slabs. I thoroughly enjoyed the texture of the brioche. The outside gleamed with a fresh seal of heat, and as my fork broke through a mildly soggy (thanks to you know what) crust, a little whisper of steam escaped from a white-yellow interior. Dense enough for me to wham some bacon and banana against its belly, light enough to be pleasurable on the tongue. However, it was all too much after a while, and I had to stop and gulp down more icy coffee to balance the heady sweetness. Small qualms. Otherwise, the coffee was decent and the fare, satiating. If I do warrant another visit, I might crack down on some eggs.

But once again, thank goodness for the best company. To say I was duly satisfied would be…

A tad bit of an understatement.

Rating: 4.0/ 5

Flock Café

78 Moh Guan Terrace (Tiong Bahru)

Heavy Eyes, Restless Hearts

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Life really has gotten me out of breath. Waters fill the air around me and it gets rather hard to breathe sometimes. Mostly still caught in the web of sleep.

I suddenly stand alone in a corridor and think how absurd it must be to be a human being living right now going to school living by the books and all that I have come to know after 16 years of that incessant and hilarious process commonly known as life.

Funny how it’s going to be May already and I’m practically trying to keep myself propped up amongst the cushions of IB. Not the most luxurious or hedonistic, but firm and upright. How is one to live and survive fashionably? At least not totally recklessly, but don’t lie when you say you don’t wonder about life’s willful wonder and scary prospects once in a while.

Think about it in the shower.

A Breaking Down of Days

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ToTT, the all exalted kitchen wonderland

A series of baked experiments and starry-eyed dawns. With a few new buys and several bouts of angst or ecstasy. Dream journalling and paper perusing.

This ToTT place you see in the last picture above in the heart of Dunearn has all the most wonderful culinary equipment available known to man. Stocked up on ramekins, a stiff french whisk, French Food God Michel Roux’s book on all things eggs and goodness gracious lo and behold, a fine and hardy white hand-mixer. I took one look at its gleaming skin of fresh plastic and saw my name scribbled all over (for what on earth is sharing.) I’m the type who’d rather get down on my knees and scrub wood into dirt, but when it comes to something like omelette making, these things could make a ceramic plate fluffy.

The one downside: there was not one common non-stick baking spray. You can imagine how I scrutinised every shelf for one miserable spray can. The disappointment was mentally toxic.

Tried to hide the glowering response. That long, black, attractive face of mine.

But days.

You know.

Those things which melt and dissolve into months and years in shades of memory and perhaps a tinge of melancholy. Right, and you’re expected to have a better sense of self as the digits in your physical and mental age add up (or good heavens, multiply.)

Perhaps it’s the dim light and minor-key indie music that’s putting me in a disconcertingly nostalgic mood, the sort which leaves me feeling absolutely and utterly drained; not of life, but perhaps the present itself. When I merely can’t be bothered to pay attention to the common blusterings or happenings of the world around me and all that’s left are the tumultuous shadows of soft-edged memories and maybe even a little lament. Good lord, the past is pretty rousing in its shades of wondrous gold and somnolent greys.

‘Life is but a walking shadow’

Come on, March.

(I’d talk about the lovely March wind or accompanying emotions with glorified weather here but alas, that romantic aspect is much lacking in this ever-hot dredge.)