Tuesday, July 01, 2008

oh for some breeze and a biscotto!

I don't know if you've read that book by Joshua Ferris - half my fellow tube-travellers seem to have their noses buried in it so maybe you have. 'And Then We Came To The End', it's called, and it's set in a modern-day workplace. The workers are 'creative types', as opposed to the accounting types that surround me here, but there were some gems of workplace observations that I think will wring a wry smile of identification from most any of us who spend our days under humming fluorescent lights, wrestling with supposedly ergonomic chairs, staring into the glare of our screens. One phenomenon well known to anyone of the office-worker clan is those fluctuations in the passage of time. How the morning, punctuated by coffee breaks and cemented together with email updating can fly by, but then the afternoon can leave you dazed, beleaguered, emerging into the outside world, feeling a time-space continuum must have been breached and surely a decade has passed by...

Oh, sometimes - like now - time drags. And eyelids droop and minds melt, and thoughts turn to the joy of being free...

Like last bank holiday - (praise be for the 3-day weekend!) - when I walked up to Hampstead Heath, and I could curl up in the grass, and feel the wind playfully muss up my hair as I lost myself in a book and watched the city from through the grass.

And then I went home and made biscotti. And they were so incredibly easy. I love things that turn out good but take so little effort. Perfect! I thought, for impressing people who come round for dinner. For a simple dessert - a little vin santo dribbled over some good vanilla ice cream, biscotti on the side. Or just a good little nibble to go with the coffee.
Or, you know, they can always just sit there in a tupperware box on the counter, and I'll eat one when I get home from work, or as a little 'breakfast dessert' after my toast and cereal, or take them to work for my morning tea break etc. etc.
I just finished the last one, 5 weeks later, so that's what I'm thinking of now, lying in the grass on the heath, or having a slow cup of milky coffee in the sun, a zesty, nutty little biscotti for dunking and crunching alongside
Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe I used right here... but hold on and I'll post it as soon as possible, so watch this space.

And now, there are 38 minutes til hometime. I've expertly wasted a good chunk of afternoon work time so I had better do something before I escape into the lovely warm summer's evening...

Update - I've finally got internet access and the recipe together at the same time!

Biscotti (adapted from Leith's cookery bible)

Mix in a bowl: 200g plain flour; a pinch of salt; 1/2 tsp of baking powder; 40g ground almonds; 75 g sugar; 75g chopped or flaked almonds.

Make a well in the centre and add two lightly beaten eggs. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients to make a firm dough.

Roll the dough into a long sausage shape about 2 cm in diameter. Slice into two or three sausages so that they fit on a baking tray.

Place the rolls at least 5 cm apart on the baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (190C/350F/gas 5) for 20 minutes.

Remove the rolls from the oven nd turn the temperature down to 80C/175F/gas 1/4

Cut the rolls at a 45-degree angle into 1cm slices and place on the baking sheet. Bake for a further hour, turning the biscuits over after 30 minutes. Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

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