Sunday, 23 September 2012

Polenta parmesan thyme crackers and vale Dolly

It has been a week of misadventure.  The easiest way to tell you is to share what I have learnt.  If a fire starts in the back lane, call the police.  If the traffic jams are horrendous, park the car by the pool, walk home and pick up the car later.  If you are changing the camera lens, make sure it is firmly screwed in before picking it up.  If your 3 year old has a new stick of lip balm, keep her away from the computer.  If dinner is late, make crackers.  If you are visiting a farmers market, keep an eye on Dolly.

Regular readers of this blog will be quite familiar with Dolly and her hijinks.  She has been sister, friend, baby and constant companion to Sylvia for almost 2 years.  That is forever for a 3 year old.  Much easier to understand than the idea that Dolly is lost and gone forever.  We looked and looked and retraced our foosteps countless times.  We asked around and found a number to ring.  Finally we went home empty handed.

We are all very sad without Dolly.  She might have been so naughty on occasion that she had to be sent out of the room, but she made Sylvia so happy.  She would wait in the car for Sylvia to come out of child care and it was a joy to see my little girl's face light up as She saw her Dolly.  She snuggled up in bed with Sylvia last thing at night and bounced around with her first thing in the morning.  She helped put chia seeds in the smoothies, she banged on the computer, she jumped up and down, she had hair ties in her bonnet, and she made funny baby noises.  She will be missed.

Perhaps it was the need of comfort that finally made me bake these Polenta Parmesan and Thyme Crackers from Fuss Free Cooking that I recently bookmarked on Pinterest.  As soon as I saw the recipe I knew I needed to make them.  I had bought Parmesan and not used it as intended.  The thyme is going crazy in the garden.  And I just love polenta.

The recipe was quite easy once I managed to get all the groceries away, and got Sylvia's dinner and had told our neighbour about why there were firemen stomping through our kitchen late at night.  Like everything in my life, they took longer than intended. 

I love make crackers but often find that they don't get really crisp.  These did.  In fact the golden brown ones at the bottom of the photo look overcooked.  Yet they were the crispest.  I took mine out a couple of time, even forgot some while taking photos, and they were far better for a bit of colour.

I am sending these crackers to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for Bookmarked Recipes, an event founded by Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Sylvia loves halva flapjack, carob cake and apricot slice
Two years ago: Collingwood Cupcakes
Three years ago: Green Home, Green Houses

Polenta parmesan thyme crackers
Slightly adapted from Fuss Free Cooking
Makes about 100 crackers

150g white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
100g polenta
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium large mixing bowl.   Add olive oil and integrate with dry ingredients - ie break up clumps as much as possible.  Gradually stir in water until mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Knead dough with some flour until you have a supple ball of dough that is neither too dry nor too sticky.  (NB I used a bit more flour than I needed and had to add a little extra water to make the mixture supple again, so I advise only using a small amount of flour unless your dough is very sticky.)

Cut dough into two pieces.  Roll out one half of the dough as thinly as possible (no more than 1/4 of a cm) with a rolling pin and a little flour.  Then cut into squares or whatever shapes you fancy.  Repeat with second half of the dough.  I rolled mine on a sheet of baking paper, cut the squares and then transferred the crackers on the baking paper onto a baking tray.

Bake for 10-20 minutes until golden brown around the edges.  (I think it took me 20 minutes but I had to return them to the oven a couple of times.  It took Emily at Fuss Free Cooking about 7-10 minutes - I am sure her oven isn't as slow as mine).

Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight container.

Update 7/10/2012 - I made these again with chickpea flour instead of white bread flour and added a tbsp of pysllium husk powder - the mixture was a little more fragile but basically worked just as well.  Crackers were great and gluten free.

On the stereo:
A short album about love: The Divine Comedy

38 comments:

  1. Oh, poor Sylvia, poor Dolly and poor you too. My brother lost his companion 'Froggie' outside the school gates at about 4 years old and was inconsolable. Froggie was only replaced when the school crossing lady provided him with a replacement frog, who was christened Kermit and who, I'm happy to say, was never lost. Sympathies. I hope your lovely looking crackers can provide a little comfort, you must need it!

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    1. Thanks Caroline - we are hoping dolly will be replaced - just waiting for the postman to deliver (after a discussion with Sylvia)

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  2. So sorry to hear what a horrid week you've been having and oh dear poor Sylvia, I hope you are managing to pacify her and find an acceptable replacement.

    I'm really excited about these crackers and have bookmarked them. I'm a polenta fan too and never seem to be able to bake crisp crackers, so we shall see!

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    1. Thanks Choclette - we hope the replacement will be acceptable when she arrives. Would love to hear how you go with these crackers - I think the polenta helped make them crispier

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  3. So sorry to hear about the loss of Dolly... Poor dear Sylvia... These crackers are sure to provide nourishing comfort...

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    1. Thanks Astra - Sylvia has enjoyed the crackers and today as she polished off the last, suggested I make more, so they have been some sort of comfort!

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  4. Poor Dolly - I bet she's on her way to somewhere exciting like Paris or NYC! I've bookmarked these crackers too...just need to find the motivation to make them!

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    1. Thanks Miss Piggy - we have some theories about Dolly - I think as she disappeared at a beachside suburb, she is making sandcastles on the beach! I actually got the Pinterest pin from you (thanks) - highly recommend you try these crackers

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  5. Oh Johanna that sounds like a hell of a week... the crackers look good though.

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    1. Thanks Brydie - touchwood this week is going better :-)

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  6. So sad to hear about Dolly! I hope Sylvia isn't fretting too much. Your crackers look really good.

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    1. Thanks Mel - she is mostly ok but occasionally is really sad which makes me so sad!

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  7. what a shame! Nice recipe though. I never thought to use polenta in crackers.

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    1. Thanks Adam - I don't think I have used polenta in crackers before either - but it makes such good sense and I think helped with the texture

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  8. Oh, so sorry. Bye bye Dolly, fare thee well.

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  9. Hi Joanna I just found your blog from Bookmarked Recipes. I like it very much! Sorry about your daughter's doll. :)

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    1. Thanks Maria - nice to have you drop by, sorry it was at a sad moment with dolly being lost

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear that Dolly is gone! Poor little Sylvia! :(

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - it has made us all a bit low this week but we are looking forward to the arrival of the new dolly at least

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  11. Oh Johanna, what an awful week. I am so sorry about Dolly, but also about the other things (a fire in your back lane?? and is the camera lens ok??). The crackers do look perfect for a week like this.

    As a side note, I had a much loved rag doll when I was two that was my constant companion and by mistake it went into the boxes on ship to Australia when we came out - not our hand luggage. I was distraught even though we did get it back eventually. I was bought a male rag doll who was supposedly friends with my Georgina and he provided a poor but accepted substitute until Georgina came out of her box months later. Perhaps Sylvia can find a friend of Dolly's to keep her company?

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    1. Thanks Kari - the fire was put out before it was too bad but could have been very bad if left to its own devices, the camera lens still works but I think there are some issues that might need addressing, and we are hoping that a new dolly will make Sylvia happier, though it wont be the same as a dolly that fits right into the crook of your arm and smells like home. big sigh!

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  12. Surely someone knows where Dolly is! Poor Dolly - she will be missed. These crackers look lovely - hope they were cheering.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - it is a mystery to me how she could have disappeared at a farmers market that is all about community - not the sort of people to ignore a lost dolly - yet there was not a sign and when I rang later still no luck - still hard to believe

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  13. That is defo a week of epic proportions. So sorry to hear about Dolly, I wish I had the words of comfort for Sylvia ... and yourself. The crackers look fab though, and I too hope they were able to bring some measure of comfort.

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    1. Thanks Chele - it is hard to know what to say to sylvia about dolly - she has had some extra tlc this week

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  14. What a week - I am SO sorry to hear about Dolly. I live in mortal fear of the same thing happening to Teddy in our house. I really hope she turns up after a wonderful adventure somewhere. It does happen - I wrote a newspaper story about it once!
    Amazing crackers, definitely bookmarking this one.

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    1. Thanks Lucy - I still keep expecting her to turn up even though it seems impossible - a farmers market over the other side of town that meets only once a month is not a great place to leave a dolly - once it is packed up I would expect she would have been found if she was going to be and the guy I rang later didn't hold out much hope once she wasn't handed in straight after!

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  15. That is sad about Dolly :(

    The crackers look amazing and I am going to try them. I think I might make some of your vegan cheese to go with them for Graham.

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    1. Thanks Jac - yes very very very very very sad about dolly. I have tried a sort of vegan version of this recipe but it didn't work as well as these - with nutritional yeast flakes - am curious to know how it would work with vegan cheese - let me know if you do it

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  16. Oh no, my deepest sympathies to Sylvia on her loss of Dolly!

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  17. I'm so sorry that Sylvia has had to say goodbye to Dolly. Hugs.

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  18. oh no! bye bye dolly!!!

    those crackers look great btw... I just dont feel like I have patience to do crackers/biscuits (which is ridiculous) but I might give these a go!

    x

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    1. Thanks Carla - crackers are quick to make and if you can find a good dough, they don't give much grief (the chickpea crackers are great for a gf vegan dough if that is what you are after)

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  19. This is so sad! I can so much understand the loss! It always was one of my biggest fears to lose my favorite stuffed animal (I still have it here with me and watch eagerly over it). I just hope Sylvia is okay!

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    1. Thanks Kath - am glad you never lost your snuggly thing - these cherished toys make me think of the velveteen rabbit - maybe the fairy has come to dolly because she was real :-)

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