What would happen if every light and appliance in the country was switched off, for just an hour? Would we make a small, but notable dent in our consumption of energy resources? Would we at the very least be reminded to only use what we need, to hit the switch on the wall when we leave the room, to be more aware of just how many lights we have burning at once?
Earth Hour is an annual initiative about exactly that……..a nationwide switch off, for one hour, tonight at 8.30pm. In the lead up to today’s event, Earth Hour Australia has released Planet to Plate a cookbook consisting of 52 glorious recipes from Australia’s biggest culinary names, Matt Preston, Kylie Kwong and Jill Dupleix to name a few. But it is not just the recipes that make this book unique. Each chapter is punctuated by stories from Aussie farmers, those at the frontline of food production, who are the first to feel the profound impact of our energy consumption. They talk about their long-standing struggles to produce good food that the nation can be proud of, in the face of climate change. They gush about the land they love and the joy they take in farming, despite its difficulties.
I chose to share with you a recipe that caught my eye immediately. Indira Naidoo’s Sage and Cheddar Biscuits were every bit as crumbly and buttery in texture as the beautiful image in the book promised. A dearth of sage in my fridge steered me towards coriander and I succumbed to my usual temptation to pair it with chilli. The result was a delicately cheesy, herb-freshened biscuit that delivers a sharp chilli spice. The adaptation was easy and was a testament to how beautifully simple this recipe is. Next time, I want to add in Ajwain (carom) or cumin and you too can experiment with spices and herbs using the basic recipe. As an addition to a cheese plate or with a cuppa, as Indira says, they are pretty divine. If you ask me, they made a pretty good afternoon post-photography session snack too.
Planet to Plate is available to order on the Earth Hour website here.
*A copy of Planet to Plate was sent to me by Earth Hour Australia, without obligation, and words and opinions are my own.
Chilli, Coriander and Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from Sage and Cheddar Biscuits, Indira Naidoo, Plate to Page Cookbook
Makes 24-30 biscuits
150g butter, softened
225g plain flour, extra for dusting
125g tasty cheddar cheese, grated
1 small handful finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
Generous pinch salt
A few extra coriander leaves for decoration
Place all the ingredients apart from the whole coriander leaves into a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until they come together. Transfer to a clean, floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds. Split the mixture into halves and roll each half into a 3cm diameter log. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Remove the dough from the oven and with a sharp knife, slice into 1 to 1 1/2 cm slices. Place the slices flat side down on 2 baking paper lined baking trays. Bake for 10-12 mins or until the tops are starting to turn golden brown.