I have two cookbooks in my kitchen. The first is Jerusalem by Ottolenghi. I highly recommend this cookbook – the recipes are wholesome and rich, and the photography is stunning. It was on my Christmas wish list two years ago and Santa kindly obliged. My tummy has been ever thankful since.
The second cookbook I rely on regularly is Jamie’s Great Britain. I got this book for my birthday two years ago (way back when I started blogging) and I can’t imagine a week in the kitchen without it.
As B’s British, I’m often required to whip up crumbly scones or Sunday pub fare at a moment’s notice. Jamie’s Great Britian is fool proof and reliable, and undeniably British. As B and I said goodbye to the motherland last Sunday, I think we were both feeling a bit nostalgic this weekend. To remedy this, I turned to Jamie, and by chance flipped open the most Scottish recipe in the book. Scottish shortbread.This recipe is great because it’s easy and customizable. The book first gives you a base-recipe for the shortbread, and then makes a range of favor suggestions – three in all. So you can customize the shortbread to your preferred taste or mood, and I guarantee you will be back to try the other two! While I followed Jamie’s recipe for the shortbread – 200g flour, 50g caster sugar, 125g unsalted butter – I popped down to the farmer’s market to find my own herbs and spices. What I returned with was a colorful bouquet of flavor – a bright and cheerful bunch.Thyme, lemon, and marigold.Making the dough is easy. Combine the sugar and flour in a bowl. Then, add the butter. Pinch the butter around with the flour and sugar until your dough resembles a course meal. Then, season the dough. You could use chocolate or citrus, herbs or fruit. Either way I suggest a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla to add a bit of bite to the shortbread. I used three big twigs of thyme, the zest of one lemon, and the petals of three marigold flowers. Give your ingredients a toss around the bowl. You want your ingredients to be mixed but you do not want to kneed the dough. Preheat your oven to 175°c and lay a sheet of wax paper onto a baking sheet. Then, put your dough onto the wax paper.
Using your hands, pat the dough together and form it into the shape of your liking. You could do a heart for Valentine’s day, a long rectangle (perfect for sharing), or a round circle to be cut up in miniature pie fashionPut your shortbread into the oven for 15 minutes, and then check on it. If the edges are slightly brown, it’s ready to come out. If the edges have not yet browned, it needs a bit more time in the oven. After the 15 minute mark, check on your shortbread every minute or two until the edges are slightly brown. It should be ready in 15 to 25 minutes max.When it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it cool. You can garnish your shortbread with a bit more fruit, thyme, flowers – whatever you are using. And of course, shortbread is so versatile. You can serve it with cream, ice cream, chocolate syrup or honey. – although I think it’s delicious served plain, and really only needs a decent cup of tea to shine!This recipe makes 12 slices. Although I brought it to a dinner party with 6 people, we cut it into 6 pieces, and it was gone in under two minutes. Although B and I are missing the UK, our stomachs seem to be quite happy right where they are, Scottish Shortbread permitting.