#308 Walnut Biscuits

The blog has been a little quiet of late because of a combination of business and broken car. This means that I’ve not been able to explore St Louis’s butcher’s shops, markets et cetera anywhere near as much as I’d hoped this month. However, there are still a few simp recipes to do in the book and this is one of them. I had hoped to not do any recipes from the Teatime chapter of the book because I have done so many and there are so many under-represented chapters. However, beggars cannot be choosers, so I made these walnut biscuits that are very similar to the sugar thins I made ages ago. Don’t feel guity about eating a load of these either; walnuts have more antioxidants than any other nut. You might end up a fat little piggy, but you’ll have none of those pesky free radicals aging the skin of your three chins.

Start off by creaming together seven ounces of softened butter with five ounces of caster sugar. Next, beat in a large egg and then eight ounces of self-raising flour and three ounces of chopped walnuts.

Spoon a third of the mixture onto a rolled out piece of cling film and roll it up tightly to form a sausage shape that is about 2 inches in diameter.

Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Put the sausages of dough in the fridge to harden up over-night. You can freeze them like this too.

Next day, peel away the cling film and slice up the dough thinly and place on baking sheets. Bake for no more than ten minutes 190°C (375°F).

Griggers reckon they go well with coffee, and I am sure they do, but as I am not allowed to drink coffee anymore (Doc’s orders), it’ll have to be a tea.

#308 Walnut Biscuits. A nice, crisp biscuit that is sweet and crumbly; it certainly would go with unsweetened coffee or tea. The only problem with them is that there weren’t enough walnuts. I would go to four or maybe five ounces of walnuts. 7/10

Valentine’s Day – # 28 & 29

I’ve been a bit poor recently with the upkeep of this blog, so I’ll start with Valentine’s Day – least Thursday. If there’s Grigsons for special occasions one simply has to make them. So it was a choice between Sweetheart Cake or Valentine’s Day Syllabub; I went with the latter. The Grigson suggested making Elegant Sugar Thins to go with. The process for both required some prep the day before. For the syllabub add a splash of white wine, a good squeeze of lemon juice plus the grated zest, a dash of brandy and a big tablespoon of honey to a bowl and leave to infuse. For the bikkies, I simply made the mixture and let it firm up in the fridge shaped into a sausage. There were three – yes count them, three – options for the flavoring; lemon, vanilla or cinnamon. I went with vanilla, as I am loving it the moment after the rice pudding I did last week. The mixture was a basic biscuit one really – I really should find out how much of the Grigson’s recipes I can put in the blog without getting done… I only needed about a third of the mixture for the next day, so I’ve frozen the rest.

On the day, it was pretty straight forward: pour in a small tub of double cream into the lemony mixture and whip up. Place in two wine glasses and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. The Sugar Thins needed slicing very thinly and then sprinkled with sugar. They took only 7 minutes to cook in a hot oven.

For the main course I made chilli baked eggs – a recipe from another excellent book – Leiths Vegetarian Bible. This book is excellent – the recipes are all of such high quality. Most of the hundreds of recipes are traditional and not hippy cuisine at all.

All-in-all Greg and I had a lovely romantic evening, filling our faces and drinking wine as you can see by the photo – I do apologise for the depressing background of drying washing and part-built kitchen cabinets…

FYI: noone really knows who St Valentine was,and it may be a day that celebrates several saints all called Valentine. Also, the association with love and romance seems to have been completely made up as part of a story by Chaucer. I am officially a font of all knowledge…

#28 Valentine’s Day Syllabub: 5/10. When I first started eating it I thought it was lovely, but then the wine and brandy made it too rich and bitter for me. I’d have preferred it with just honey and lemon methinks!

#29 Elegant Sugar Thins: 8/10. Lovely delicate, sweet, crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth. I’m so glad I’ve made a big stash of the mixture in the freezer!

Greg says:
#28 Valentine’s Day Syllabub: 6.5/10. I think I liked this more than Neil did, he doesn’t really like boozy foods though. As usual however we tried to eat too much of it, but I think if you got a little egg cup’s worth in a fancy-pants restaurant you’d appreciate it much more. WHEN NEIL GETS A BLOODY DINING TABLE HINT HINT then we can share the wealth a little more. Are you listening?? Any road, the bitterness is nicely offset by these: #29 Elegant Sugar Thins: 8/10. Ooh I like a good thin, me: butter, lemon, cheese or sugar, you names it, I likes it. You could just sit and eat these all night with a brew in fact, they’re like a really classic sweet little biscuit from your Gran’s ‘parlour’. Muchos yum.