Things are not going to get any better because it has been reported that are at least 100 over "hot spots" in Sumatra, Indonesia. "Hot spots" is vegetation fire and in Sumatra, these fires are done intentionally to clear the land so that new crops can be grown. The Indonesian farmers are mainly from poor families and therefore cannot afford machinery to clear their lands. Thus the easiest and cheapest way of clearing their fields is to set the old crops on fire. Because of the intensity of such vegetation fires, the neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia suffer from air pollution. As these fires increase, the air quality gets worst and a haze would cloud the skies. At times, you can even sniff a burning smell in the air. I certainly hope we have some intermit rains to dispel this.
Luckily just before these "hot spots" were reported, I had a chance to play a round of golf at a local country club with a couple of girl friends. The gods must have been smiling on us that day because the weather was superb ... cool, cloudy skies and an occassional breeze. The night before my golf game I happened to bake some cookies and was asked to bring some along for sampling. These cookies are quite addictive with a toffee like flavour and a hint of heat from the ginger. I think they make great give-aways especially around the Christmas holidays.
Recipe Adapted from “A Piece of Cake” by Leila Lindholm
Makes 25 slices
100g unsalted butter, softened
40g caster sugar
40g brown sugar (you can use all caster sugar if you do not have brown sugar)
2 Tbsp golden syrup
135g all purpose flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
1) Preheat oven to 175C.
2) Beat butter sugar and syrup until light and creamy.
3) Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and salt together. Then add into the butter mixture and incorporate well.
4) Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes so that it is easier to manage and shape. Remove and shape into two long logs, spaced fairly apart. The dough will expand whilst in the oven.
5) Put the logs on parchment line baking trays. Flatten slightly and then score each log with a fork.
6) Bake in center of oven for about 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
7) Let the logs cool a bit before cutting them diagonally. Leave slices to cool completely before storing into biscuit tins.