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During business hours Tammy McLeod is the driving force behind leading North Shore law firm Davenports Harbour. Tammy and her husband Kerry live in Rothesay Bay and have two fast-growing young boys. She is also keen runner, but one of Tammy’s main passions is baking. We thought it appropriate that Tammy shares one of her favourite recipes with Channel readers. She shared her Nana's chocolate chippie recipe with Aidan Bennett.
AIDAN BENNETT: What is your recipe and where did it originate from?
TAMMY MCLEOD: My Nana’s chocolate chippie biscuit recipe. This is my Nana’s recipe which I have tweaked a bit to make them how I like them. My Nana died over 20 years ago, but passed on her love of baking. One of my treasured items is one of her recipe books with her hand written annotations in the margins.
AB: What’s the secret to making this recipe work?
TM: A low oven, I always bake the biscuits at a lower temperature for longer, as I like them pale on the outside, and not too crunchy and not too soft. Apart from that, they are super easy and anyone could make them. And of course, as it is baking, proper measuring is important (I always use measuring cups and spoons). Oh, and I always use castor sugar in baking which I think is a really useful tip.
AB: Why did you choose this recipe?
TM: This is the recipe that my two little boys most often ask for, and as it was my Nana’s recipe it’s pretty special. I’ve been baking this recipe all my life, for my sisters and parents, then flat mates at university, and now I make them at least once a week. There are heaps of variations you can make too - reduce the flour and add 1/4 cocoa and use white chocolate chips, add 1/2 c rolled oats for a change, or make them white chocolate and cranberry. I’ve then added the cocoa and added peanut butter chips which were delicious. The raw cookie mixture is also delicious which makes it perfect for baking with kids, and they freeze really well.
AB: What do you love about cooking and baking?
TM: By baking and cooking it is a way that I show my love and also gratitude to people. Baking is a really cool way to show you care. I find it very relaxing and I love the finished product. Baking is my only really creative outlet, such a contrast to what I do on a daily basis. I love it!
AB: Self taught, or did you have a cooking mentor?
TM: In the early days, apart from the lessons from my Nana and Grandma, I was self taught. However, I spent many years before we had children, going to the cooking school at the Epicurean Cookshop in Newmarket (it has subsequently shut down). I would go every Saturday morning and to many evening classes and picked up heaps of wonderful tips and recipes from the teachers there, including many famous chefs.
AB: What’s the biggest disaster you’ve had in the kitchen?
TM: I am a bit of a perfectionist so if something isn’t quite perfect, that is a disaster for me. A couple of weeks ago I made some chocolate toffee biscuits to have with ice cream for pudding after a bbq. They spread all over the tray and dripped down the back of the oven. That was a disaster!
AB: What’s your favourite cuisine?
TM: I quite like simple food and if we are going out sometimes I am just as happy with good pub food as I know it’s not something that I would try at home. At home I like to cook modern Kiwi food which often has a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence.
AB: What foodie spots do you and Kerry enjoy visiting locally?
TM: We go to Paper Moon in Mairangi Bay with our boys almost every Saturday morning - they do the best scones on the shore. We love Tok Tok in Takapuna for dinner - it’s our current favourite, And of course we cant go past Little and Friday in Belmont for amazing lunch food and baking,
AB: If you could dine anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
TM: I would love to sit down to a dinner cooked by Nigella Lawson. I love her simple style and she would be an amazing dinner host.
Nana’s chocolate chippie biscuits - Ingredients:-
240g butter, softened
2/3 c castor sugar
2 dsp condensed milk
1 tsp good vanilla essence
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c chocolate chips
Nana’s chocolate chippie biscuits - Method:-
Pre-heat the oven to 160 fanbake or 170 ordinary bake. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in the flour and baking powder and lastly the chocolate chips. Roll into balls (a bit bigger than a walnut but not as big as a golf ball), place on a tray lined with baking powder, then flatten with a fork. Bake for 13-16 minutes, two trays at once if using fanbaked and one at a time if not. Cool on a wire rack.
Channel Magazine: Issue 75 April 2017