Well, it’s about time that I got my Christmas baking boots on, now, isn’t it?
For weeks, my feed reader has been choc-a-bloc with blog postings stuffed with festive baked goods, and I can only hold out against that kind of onslaught for so long. So, having realised that resistance was futile, I closed my eyes and let my mind drift across the sea of baked possibilities. I ended up in Spain.
While I was still, unquestionably, in Ireland, I had found myself dreaming of that Spanish confection known as turrón. It’s made primarily from toasted almonds and honey, and varies in texture from break-your-teeth hard to soft and fudgy. When I was a kid, my brother, who lived in Spain, would bring a selection home at Christmas and I have been a sucker for turrón, particularly the soft variety, ever since. It’s just as well I can’t lay my hands on it too easily here – I inhale and it’s gone. And while the brother hasn’t lived in Spain for years, in my head Christmas is still flavoured with almond and honey. So I thought that I would try to capture that in festive shortbread form. I was very pleased that I did.
Shortbread, inspired by Christmas past
An apology is in order.
I have been guilty of taking the roastie for granted. A potato classic, known to feature regularly on my plate but yet scarcely mentioned on The Daily Spud… Oh for shame.
Nothing else for it but to make amends with a little Christmas roastie special, for it is fair to say that Christmas dinner in Ireland could not legally be defined as Christmas dinner without a great big pile of roast potatoes. So, with the assistance of the experts that reside on my kitchen bookshelf, may I present herewith my 12 step roastie program.
It was a simple choice: eat my words or eat the contents of my freezer.
What happened, you see, was that Love Food magazine, published with yesterday’s Irish Independent, had included a little piece from me on tips for Christmas (ah, yes, fame at last! – even if it did miss out on my current top tip, which is to head over here for a shot at a free box of Tayto crisps).
Exciting indeed to see my words in actual newsprint but, having urged everyone in the country to fill their freezers with mince pies and the like, I had a weeny problem on that front myself. My freezer bore one of those looks that said “defrost me now, or else…”.