Sunday, July 11, 2010

Polenta Cookies (How Biscuits Can Help Save The Planet)

Well I wouldn't win any awards for being the most regular of bloggers but I can't dwell on that.  When I first started this blog I thought I could easily post three times a week but I was forgetting that I was on holidays and didn't have much else to do, like working and all  that other stuff that absorbs all of your time.

Anyway, here I am again and as much as I am good at wasting time, what I don't like is wasting food - it makes me really cross with myself.  It's not so much the cost that bothers me although that is a factor, its the thought of all that food mouldering away in a big pile of landfill, slowly rotting, becoming smelly, slimy, rodent attracting and generally disgusting.  And that's just my rubbish.  And then you multiply that by all the people in your street, then all the people in your suburb and by then it starts to get pretty ugly and you probably feel a bit queasy about the whole thing. 

I know, it's not pretty but we all have to think about what happens to our rubbish after its picked up from the front footpath and driven away. Just think, if we had to put it in our backyard we'd think twice about what we were buying and discarding.

Joining has made me think so much more about my actions and their impact on the environment.  1 Million Women is a campaign committed to "protecting our climate, our communities and our future, leading change for the better."   Everyone who joins commits to a personal goal of cutting 1 tonne of CO2  from their daily lives within a year of joining the campaign. 

That sounds quite daunting but they provide a  comprehensive list of things you can do and then make it easy to chart your progress.  A simple thing like switching off all your appliances at the power point when they are not in use can save a whopping 120kg of CO2 per year!  120 kg with practically no effort at all - it's not as hard as we think it is. 

The campaign is after one million members and at present they are just shy of 25,000 members so obviously it has a big job ahead.  We can help by first of all joining, and then spreading the word.  Post the link on your blog/facebook page, wherever.  Even if we only commit to a few of the actions, it is still making a difference no matter how small and all we've got to lose is some of that mouldering landfill.

Now I know you might think it could be tricky, tying in a recipe to lots of talk about landfill but fear not -  there is a connection.  Cleaning out my pantry recently I found an opened packet of polenta with only a few weeks to go before it's expiry date.  The following recipe was printed on the back,  they sounded pretty tasty and I happened to have all of the ingredients so I made them.  I prefer the word biscuit to cookie but it's not my recipe.  It makes no difference to the taste.

Polenta Cookies (recipe from Sostanza Polenta


1 cup butter
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn lemon extract
½ cup raisins, chopped
3 cups plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn nutmeg
½ tspn salt
1 cup Sostanza Polenta

Cream butter. Add sugar, eggs and lemon extract, mixing well. Mix raisins with ½ cup flour. Add to mixture. Sift remaining flour with the other dry ingredients. Add to the butter mixture and combine well. Drop teaspoon-size dollops of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and flatten with a fork. Bake for approximately 10 - 12 minutes in a pre-heated moderate oven.

Although it's tedious I cut the raisins into quarters with scissors.  Try and delegate that job to anybody that's walking past and tell them it's therapeutic.  The second time I made them I got a bit cocky and put them in the processor and they turned into raisin paste.  It totally altered the taste of the biscuits and not for the better.  I have also used grated lemon rind in place of the lemon extract and  once I tried a teaspoon of limoncello which was delicious.  I didn't use the lemon extract only because I didn't have any.

Watch the oven temperature, if it's a little bit too hot they tend to go crisp rather than a softer, crumblier biscuit which is nicer.  I think the ideal temperature is about 160. 

These biscuits are what I like to classify as grown up biscuits as they are not too sweet and the lemon and nutmeg give them a beautiful subtlety.  Kids still like them but if they don't then you are at an advantage because it means all the more for you. Unfortunately my kids love them so I can't tell you how well they keep, I would imagine a week at least. 

However long it takes you to get through them, I can guarantee you they won't end up in landfill - and that's a good thing.  You see, you didn't think it would be that easy did you - doing your bit for the planet, one biscuit at a time!