It was all going horribly wrong from an internet connection point of view.
The connection from my house decided to cease operations and the provider of the service had been less than helpful with either a diagnosis or resolution. That was followed by a few days as a nomad in search of a wi-fi connection, who quickly became a nomad with lower back trouble due to excessive amounts of laptop carrying. The final straw came with the discovery that, having travelled to my parents house to visit for a few days, I had neglected to bring the laptop’s power lead. Clearly there was a message for me here somewhere!
With no choice but to resign myself to the situation, I retreated to the kitchen for a cup of tea. Tea in my parents house is always accompanied by an inspection of the tins where home-baked goodies, if there are any around, will reside. There’s generally a good chance of some cake or bun loitering within. Taking hold of the first tin, I reckoned by the rattle of its contents that I was in luck. I opened the lid, inhaled an unexpected waft of almond and felt my happiness index rise. Inside were almond slices and all was well with the world. These were my favourite baked treats when I was growing up but it had been a long time since they had made an appearance (I mean, my wayward internet connection might have been gone for days, but these had been gone for years). I tucked in as I drank my tea, taking comforting little bites of nostalgia, and settled right into my offline evening.
Ma’s Almond Slices
Ma tells me that these originally came from an odlums flour recipe leaflet.
- 120g plain flour
- 60g unsalted butter or margarine
- Pinch of salt
- Cold water
- 170g porridge oats
- 120g butter or margarine
- 110g sugar
- 1 egg
- Couple of drops of almond essence
- Couple of tblsp of jam (ideally apricot but use whatever you have)
You’ll also need:
- A swiss roll tin, approx. 9in x 13in x 0.5in deep
Make The Crust:
- If pastry’s not your thing, you can buy some ready-to-use – you’ll need enough to cover one swiss roll tin.
- Otherwise, start by making the shortcrust pastry (or another type of pastry if you have a preferred type of crust). For the basic shortcrust, the main thing to remember is to have the ingredients cold and try not to handle the mixture too much, as the heat from your hands can start to melt the fat, which you don’t want.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
- Rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add a couple of tblsp of cold water and mix using a knife. The mixture should come together as a single ball of dough. Add more water if needed but do so very gradually.
- Place the pastry in a polythene bag and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Now The Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Melt the butter or margarine gently over a low heat.
- Remove from the heat, add the sugar and almond essence and stir to mix.
- Beat the egg lightly and stir into the mixture.
- Add the oatflakes and mix well.
- Roll the pastry out thinly until large enough to cover the base and sides of the tin.
- Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin, pressing it gently into the sides and corners.
- Warm the jam gently over a low heat, then spread a thin layer on the pastry crust using a pastry brush.
- Spread the oat filling over the jam layer.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes until golden.
- Cut into slices or squares while still warm, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.