The downsides of feeling poorly are pretty boring. You probably know them all too well, so I won’t spend too much time delving into the details of the nasty flu that hit me last week. There’s one particular Italian word that describes what it made of me: we use it to describe old, rusty, useless objects, and its English equivalent is “piece of junk”. How flattering.
Thankfully, being stuck at home has a few silver linings. Sleeping, or at least tricking my early riser brain into giving it a try. Reacquainting with my laptop, ghost of my fleeting productivity, and writing one new recipe and one review in as little as three days. Quickly catching up with “Breaking Bad”, embarking in my first TV series marathon since “The Wire” – which says it all, as far as I’m concerned.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much screen glare I can take before I start feeling dizzy again, and alternatives can be quite narrow when the borders of the universe are as constraining as the walls of a one-bedroom flat. Still, I think I’ve done a good job of not giving in to passiveness, by baking a batch of soft, tasty biscuits I’m utterly proud of.
My Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and as well as the excitement about flying to Rome in less than one month, the realisation that I’ll be leaving my blog alone for two whole weeks has also crept in. So if you’re a food enthusiast, and would like to share one of your recipes, why not write a guest post for me? Drop me a line to let me know your idea, and we’ll take it from there. If you’re up for it, I’ll be happy to reciprocate, and write one for you as soon as I’m back.
Oat, Chocolate and Hazelnut Breakfast Biscuits
(makes 20 – 22 biscuits)
Finding a recipe you can make with the few things left in a half empty fridge, and without braving a trip outside to the shops, can be a challenge. However, it’s not impossible, as long as you’re well equipped with the very essentials. Flour, butter and eggs are a good foundation for many simple recipes, and the lack of fancier ingredients, such as the exact kinds of dried fruit and flavouring in your recipe, can work as an encouragement to create and combine new flavours.
This I realised on Friday, when I decided I needed less paracetamol and more biscuits in my life, and started perusing my cookbooks in search of an easy recipe I could adapt to the few things left in my cupboard. The result? A couple of hours of baking and photographing fun, a delicious smell comforting me for the rest of the evening, one very happy partner, and an uplifting Saturday breakfast. Yes, you heard that right – “breakfast”. I almost forgot that the supporters of breakfast biscuits are deemed insane in this country.
Perhaps the fact that these cookies contain oats will convince you to try them in the morning, and get a taste for the Italian way. If you really dread the thought of a change from your scrambled eggs, and really think we’re doing it wrong, just wait a few more hours, and dip them in chocolate spread as an afternoon tea treat. You can thank me later.
- 80g butter, softened
- 50g sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 pinches of salt
- 50g rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla flavouring
- 50g chopped or coarsely ground hazelnuts
- 50g chocolate chunks
- Chocolate spread, to your taste, to serve (I used Damiano’s Choco Bella organic spread. Try its smooth texture and rich chocolate flavour once, and I promise you’ll forget about Nutella for ever)
- Whizz the butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla flavouring and one pinch of salt in a food processor, until well blended.
- Mix the flour, rolled oats, bicarbonate of soda and one pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Combine the two mixtures, then add the hazelnuts and chocolate chunks.
- Shape the batter into a roll. Wrap it with cling film or foil, and leave it to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- With a floured knife, cut the roll into slices, about 1cm thick.
- Place the slices on a greased or lined baking tray.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°, and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from the oven, and leave aside to cool down. Enjoy your biscuits with a cup of tea or coffee, and dip them in chocolate spread for added pleasure!