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Saturday, November 10, 2012

A year ago tomorrow, The Wayward Oven went live. I chose the date 11.11.11 because it would be an easy one to remember. Only thing is, I didn't remember until I saw what today's date was.
Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Nice one.
The date is significant in a way. Tonight, I will be performing in a rhythm tap showcase, hence the odd inclusion of a picture of shoes at the top of the post in a blog about food. I don't know if it was a coincidence or my tap instructor chose it specifically for the sequence of numbers (written, by the way, in date-month-year order as Malaysians often do) but it would be a memorable date for some people (not forgetful me, of course!). The various groups have been practising separately so far, but at two full dress rehearsals over the past week, I got to see some really nifty moves and colourful outfits.
I have another short practice later this afternoon before the show starts at 8pm, so of course in my nervous state, I have to get into the kitchen to make something. Something simple that wouldn't take too long to make, and most importantly, get rid of the jitters!
Well, you know how it is. Sometimes you're not even looking and you find bits of dried ingredients in your fridge or pantry. A tablespoon here, a soupçon there – not enough to add any real flavour but with all of them together, they add up to something that can turn out to be quite enjoyable.
And that's how I came to make these colourful no-bake chewy snack bars with rice cereal, some marshmallows that had melted in their packet, a bit of dessicated coconut, melon seeds, crystallised ginger and a container of glacé cherries from I don't know when.
Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink squares
I started out by mixing about 2 cups of crisp rice cereal, and 2 tablespoons each of dessicated coconut and white melon seeds in a bowl. Then in went roughly chopped glacé cherries (five green and two red) along with six pieces of crystallised ginger, also chopped. Everything was mixed well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
After melting about 40g of salted butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, I added about three-quarters of a 283g (10oz) bag of marshmallows, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the marshmallows had melted, into the saucepan went the cereal mixture. It was stirred until everything was nicely combined and then dumped into a buttered 18cm square tin.
A piece of plastic was then placed over the top and I pressed down firmly with all my weight. The mixture was hot but fortunately, my asbestos palms prevented me from being too affected by the heat.
Once the surface was as smooth and even as I could get it, I scored the top into squares with a knife to make slicing easier later and left the mixture on the kitchen counter to cool. Then I put it in the fridge to firm up. Using an oiled knife, I cut the slab into 16 squares. Once one of the corners pieces was out, it was easy to lift the whole block out onto a chopping board to slice up.
These bars contain no added sugar, but they are sweet nevertheless. The crystallised ginger does add a lovely mellow heat, though, as well that hint of golden colour together with the red and green of the cherries to an otherwise bland looking snack bar. Both the coconut and melon seeds could have done with some light toasting. 
But that's the nice thing about these squares: anything goes.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Jane, I didn't know you were a tap dancer! Good luck on your performance!
    In a few hours it will be the 11th here so I think I can wish you a very happy blog anniversary! The colorful bars are so appropriate fro the occasion :o)


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