Italian orange biscuits

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Firstly, let me apologise for the grainy (appropriate, as it turns out) photos in this post.  All the photos have been taken with my phone.  I left my camera in Perth.  My tripod is here but no bloody camera.  I can’t believe I did it, especially as I planned to do an “In My Kitchen” post.  “Oh well, shit happens,” as they say.

As I have mentioned several times before, I have a semolina problem.  Months ago, I bought two packets of coarse semolina thinking it was fine and then lots of packets of fine semolina, merely because I was excited to find it.  Unfortunately, I did not have at that time, nor had I since, a use for any of it.  Then, as fate would have it, the other day, a friend gave me another packet.  Our friends had sold their property in Bridgetown so they were clearing out their pantry.  On a visit, they handed me a big bag which included flours of various sorts and a packet of semolina.  That packet of semolina brought my semolina problem from the back burner into my consciousness.

When I spotted a recipe for Italian orange biscuits in Simply Italian, by Sophie Braimbridge, which required semolina and were particularly simple to make, I decided to give them a go.  I had no great expectation they would be anything more than a plain grainy biscuit but I don’t mind a plain biscuit and if they were a bit boring, it would be good because I wouldn’t eat too many.  Maus had recently made Bizzy Lizzy’s Old fashioned creamy lattice slice with passionfruit and I was having sleepless nights over the calories I had consumed.

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Well, I made the biscuits and they were better than I anticipated. They were both plain and grainy but they had a nice citrus zing which I found quite pleasant.  Here is a photo of my first effort and here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 200g semolina
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ tsp grated orange zest (I used the zest of two oranges which was about 3 teaspoons and I don’t think it was too much)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth.  I had to add a bit of milk to form a dough.
  2. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 190°C.
  4. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  5. Make balls about the size of small walnuts and place on the baking tray.  Press down with your finger to flatten slighty.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edge of the biscuit is dark golden brown.

IMG_0275copyAs I mentioned above, my dough was too dry to form a ball so I added some milk.  Despite this, and even though the recipe said to leave space between the biscuits as they will expand during cooking, mine stayed in the little ball shape that I put them onto the tray.  The biscuits were not particularly sweet, hard little balls – but that nice citrus zing got me thinking.

I thought they would taste better with glacéd orange peel instead of the zest and some essence to boost the citrus zing.   I used Bakery Bits Fiori di Sicilia (see the photo).  This is a particularly nice citrus oil blend but use whatever you can get.  I also decided to give them a sweet crunch with a sprinkling of demerara sugar.

They tasted better.  Yummy in fact.  They are still plain little grainy biscuits but now they have a real citrus zing.  If you have too much semolina in your pantry or some nearing its use by date, either version of these little biscuits is a worthwhile use for it.

Ingredients:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 200g semolina
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 35g glacéd orange peel chopped very finely*
  • ½ tsp citrus essence
  • 2 very large eggs
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling

*Chop the orange peel as small as your personality allows.  I really needed Maus for this job but she was in the shed making me a sign for my soap stall so I couldn’t disturb her.

Method:

  1. Put the orange peel and flour into a food processor and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.  By using very large eggs, I had enough moisture to form a smooth ball.
  3. Chill your dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  6. Roll your dough until it is about five mils deep.  Cut small rounds with a biscuit cutter.  Place on the prepared baking tray.  Reform dough and cut more rounds.
  7. Sprinkle each biscuit with sugar.  I used demerara but I am sure ordinary sugar would do.
  8. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the edge of the biscuit is dark golden brown.

Chestnut flour bread

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Remember my chestnut flour?

At the time, I made some bread but the resultant loaves were a bit dense so I refrained from writing a post.  I did promise, though, when I made another batch, if it was better, I would write a post.  Well, I made another batch and it was equally dense but I have decided to write a post anyway. Continue reading

In my kitchen – June 2016

IMG_5711copyHello, everyone.

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while but I have an excuse.  We have been in Adelaide for their Cabaret Festival.  I must say, we were very impressed.  For a small city, they put on a great, well-organised festival.  We were also impressed with how well patronised the shows were.  Most of the shows were either booked out or had only a few empty seats. Continue reading

A country life… all you need is patience

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About 18 months ago, I decided we needed a retaining wall built behind our garage.  I was reluctant to call the guy who had built another wall for us.  It was not that the garden wall he had built was not good – in fact, it was bloody good.  The problem was he took ages and ages to come.  I remember ringing him on a regular basis until, finally, he arrived.  When he did come, he came with a smile, did a good job and did things over and above what was called for.

In the end, I decided to risk it and called, let us name him, ***.

Continue reading

Penne alla senese

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That is: penne with sausage, walnuts and cream.  It sounds so much more exotic in Italian.

The day I made this dish I wasn’t looking for anything exotic.  I was just needing something, anything in fact, for dinner.  Sometimes, when you have lots of cook books, it is harder to find something to cook than if you have only a few.  It is a bit like when you have a limited wardrobe – it doesn’t take long to figure out what to wear but, when you have several wardrobes of clothes, the decision is significantly harder.

Continue reading

Chicken Waldorf salad

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Maus went shopping the other day and on the shopping list was half a celery.  We were going to make a chicken dish that required one stalk.  I had already thought I could make a pot of pea and ham soup to use up some of the celery I knew would be left over.

Instead of half a celery, Maus came home with one very large celery.  It appears that the half celery was nearly as expensive as the full one and Maus can never forego a bargain.  I did explain to her that it is only a bargain if you need it but I have made that point, off and on, for over 35 years now, to no avail. Continue reading