hazelnuts before roasting

hazelnuts before roasting

Last night saw a near disastrous attempt at making biscotti (part of our edible Christmas gifts).  Thankfully it tastes great, but looks shit.  Last Christmas was my first go at making biscotti – and two different types no less (lemon & pistachio and chocolate & hazelnut).  It received rave reviews from family and friends, and I don’t recall it being challenging. 

I should have known it wasn’t going to end well after I split open a bag of sugar all over the worktop, but I shrugged it off telling myself that mess is all part of the fun of cooking.  Then the metal blade in my MagiMix broke.

Things went from bad to worse, when the dough just wasn’t forming into the unctuous just-firm-enough-to-mold it state it should have been.  Even with N attempting to diffuse the situation (I get wound up quite easily in the kitchen when things don’t go right – I’m a bit *understatement* of a perfectionist – I blame it on my dad) and rescue the dough it was looking bleak.

Borage helping me cook

Borage helping me cook

I started imagining my miserable trek to a boutique farm shop or worse still a supermarket to find an alternative for the family members we’d intended to give the biscotti to.  Finally, we (by that I mean N, I am busy sulking in the corner) somewhat salvaged the dough and produced some tasty, but frankly unattractive, oversized biscotti.

The thing is, last year is looked so perfect and beautiful – just how biscotti should look, long and slender with a curvaceous bulge – but we wrapped them up in greaseproof bags tied with coloured raffia.  These were pretty, but you couldn’t see the biscotti.  This year I decided that tall glass jars were the way forward, so that everyone could gaze longingly at their dark chocolately yumminess studded with nuts…

So, as you can see I’m not a happy bunny.  N is trying his best to assure me with the “taste is what matters” line, and my reasonable self agrees – they taste great (what wouldn’t taste great with 300g of the best 70% chocolate?!), but my vain self is unhappy at the prospect of giving them as gifts.

THE biscotti

THE biscotti

To top off the past 24 hours, of all things disastrous: I woke up to discover I had racked up 60p (I rack up a lot) in library fines (one namely a Jamie Oliver book that I have already renewed 9 times!); tipped over an Amarylis bulb showering soil all over the living room; partly wrecked the wrapping of a Christmas present; and on writing this post I realised that I am perhaps the first person to ever write about a cookery cock-up.

In conclusion, I have accepted that I am probably just way too tired, with too many things to do, and too many commitments.  Typing up recipes from my (long-overdue Jamie Oliver library book) this morning I was reading over and over again ‘a handful of thyme’ in the ingredients list.  I realise this is exactly what I need, a handful more of time.

*I will post some pictures of the “ugly” biscotti later*  *Pictures now up – when I have revisited and hopefully perfected this biscotti recipe, I shall post it*

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