My garden is full of surprises.
One day last month, when I was moved to do a bit of tidying up outside, I found this:
That's one funny lookin' Christmas tree...
Having long ago resigned myself to the fact that the romanesco cauliflower I had planted earlier this year had come to naught, there it was, a single specimen, presenting its wonderfully fractal head for inspection. At times like these, you really have to hand it to Mother Nature.
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
Let’s play a game called “If you had been in my house for dinner last Saturday.”
I’ll tell you about the dinner and you have to guess what made it particularly noteworthy, ok?
Right, here goes.
If you had been in my house for dinner last Saturday: