When in doubt, blame your friends.

parmesan shortbread

So… I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make today. What I actually wanted to do my next post on was home-made pizza dough. There’s nothing better than home-made pizza. Unless, of course, you have a terrible hangover, are hiding in your duvet fort and crying about your evidently misspent youth. Then, obviously, the convenience of a delivery is preferable. But ONLY then.

Think about it, what’s not to love about DIY pizza? You get to pick your own toppings (however ridiculous, and I am talking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here…) arrange them however you want, make a giant mess and generally indulge your inner child for the day. This was my plan. I had a couple of friends coming over for the evening and thought this might be a good opportunity. If only I had known how misguided I was…

It was all going well until the pizzas came out of the oven. My back must have been turned for about five minutes and then… the unimaginable happened, a complete and utter betrayal.

They ATE them.

No, seriously, they ate them INSTANTLY. There are no photographs, no evidence that these pizzas ever even existed in the first place other than a few crumbs, some lingering food babies and the distant memory of perfection.

At some point, I will have to do Dough 2 (The Rise of Dough) just to prove I am not going all Emperor’s New Clothes on you but for now I have decided to give you parmesan shortbread instead. Mostly because, on a gorgeous, sunny day like this, there is nothing better than wine and when there is wine there is nothing better than cheesy, melt-in-the-mouth yumminess to go with it.

RECIPE:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g parmesan, grated
  • 100g soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • fresh thyme (optional)

Word to the wise here – please do not use pre-grated parmesan. Why? It tastes of sawdust.

Mix all the ingredients together, either by hand or in a food processor, until they start to come together in a clumpy mass (technical term). Tip this on to a slightly floured work surface and knead it for about 30 seconds or until the dough is smoother and less crumbly.

Half the mixture and roll each half into a long, sausage-like cylinder. Wrap tightly in cling-film and pop in the fridge for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180’C/160’C (fan assisted). The brief sojourn in the fridge should make the dough much easier to cut into little coin-shapes about 1/2 inch thick. Ladies might like to take this opportunity to relieve their innermost penis-envy. Freud eat your heart out.

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I like to press tiny thyme leaves onto them, more for prettiness than anything else, and then pop them in the oven on a baking sheet lined with baking paper for about 15-20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before eating them, if you can wait that long.

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There you have it! Tiny little morsels of yumminess and sophistication. The perfect wine-soaker-uppers. You could almost pretend you are a proper grown-up after making these. Almost.

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I think the term you are searching for is “Rustic”…

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When you know how to make Soda Bread you literally have no excuse to not have the smell of fresh bread permanently sexing up your kitchen. It’s the easiest, quickest, messiest thing to make and therefore appeals to my entire skill set – terminal laziness, short attention span, and permanent sticky-fingerdom. No excuses. Get baking. This recipe is courtesy of Paul Hollywood, the blue-eyed Adonis of the baking world.

Recipe:

  • 250g Plain White Flour
  • 250g Wholemeal Flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbinate of Soda
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Soft Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 420ml Buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 200’C.

Mix together both flours, the bicarbinate, salt and sugar.

Add the buttermilk and mix to form a sticky dough. Bite the bullet here, there is literally no way to do this other than getting your hands in and squidging it about. It is the stickiest thing in the universe. Put some flour on the worktop BEFORE you get stuck in because you won’t be able to touch anything afterwards. You’ll be a dough-y King Midas. More mess, less bling.

On a floured worktop roll and fold the dough together, but don’t knead it! If you want buns separate the dough into 4, otherwise just roll it into 1 big ball.

Score each ball with a big, deep cross and dust with flour.

Put it on a baking tray lined with tin foil and bake for 30 mins.burger 005

They aren’t the prettiest things in the world, and they definitely wont be winning Miss Bread Australia 2014 anytime soon. I think the polite term is “Rustic” or “Definitely Homemade” But they taste SO good and are epic torn into soup or with heaps of cheese and pickle. You’re welcome.

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