I’ve been researching shortbread. The Weather Man loves it when I do research because of the testing. His favourite ever was the Yorkshire pudding analysis: I tested the fats, chill-the-batter factor and the baking dishes. As a result about two dozen of mostly misshapen puds – the research findings – were up for him for grabs. He still asks whether I think I shouldn't perfect my technique further.
But the shortbread research (outcomes published soon) led me to think how summer isn’t a biscuit time; autumn and winter are. During the summer there's less tea drinking, ergo: less dunking? Possibly. Anyway, the time is now – or this week – to bake some super easy and super lovely biscuits.
The crunchy biscuits are my intended Fox’s crunchy creams and they are indeed a good replica. For a chocolate type bake a batch of choc crack biscuits, the name comes from the cracked appearance, though they are admittedly addictive. Ginger cookies might be nice too; and for an authentic cookie experience (chewy-crusty, you got it) make the great cranberry and chocolate cookies and ad lib the add-ons.
But don’t let them eat (only) cake. Make the chicken saltimbocca one night this week and you’ll be making it again and again. And for a slow and low casserole, meat falling off the bone there’s no beating osso buco - veal shanks braised in tomato sauce - which some might be wary of. Don’t be – go for British rose veal (or your native humanely reared equivalent); those weird chops with a bone in the middle render the tastiest meat in the world.
That was slow and low; for a high and fast whip up the bucatini alfredo – it’s veggie too. And for a full-on vegetable dish make the courgette gratin with tomato sauce and pile it on thick slices of toasted sourdough. I think I’ll have just that tonight.