Sunday, December 11, 2011

Impending doom, and Pistachio Shortbread

It's my 21st party in under a week. I won't be 21 on the day, but because my actual birthday is so close to Christmas, it's kind of impossible to have a party on my actual birthday.

As you can probably imagine I'm excited and nervous, but also I'm dreading it.

It's exciting to be having so many of my family, and hopefully a lot of my friends, all in the one place because of me, celebrating something with me. There will be great food, good conversations, bangin' music, maybe a bit of dancing, and a bit of booze flowing.
Nervous because I hope it all goes well.

The impeding doom is another thing.

My sisters.

I get it. I'm on the outside when it comes to my sisters. I'll admit I prefer one to the other, but I know they prefer to be with each other than with me. They both are into art and stuff like that, one art history and the theory behind it, the other is an artiste. And me? I don't really care much about art. It looks pretty or it doesn't. I think food is an art - the science behind it, the creation of it, the presentation of it. If everything we ate was just brown slop on our plates, no matter the taste, no one would get excited about food. I love to hear people comment on how beautiful a cupcake or a decorated chocolate looks, I love to hear "Wow, you made that?!"
It makes my day.

Anyway, why I'm dreading the combination of my sisters and my 21st party.
Traditionally there are speeches at 21st parties. I know I wasn't a nice kid a fair bit of the time. I know I was a pain in the butt teenager. But I'm different now, I'm a lot more mature and calmer. I don't want that stuff brought up because that just isn't who I am anymore. It will embarrass me. And that is what my sisters do.

Pistachio Shortbread

I love these biscuits. I made something very much like them when I did some work experience at a major hotel in town a year and a half ago (OMG was it THAT long ago?!). Then a few months ago I went looking for a similar recipe to try and recreate them and I found this.
I was so nervous going to this work experience. I was so worried about screwing up and embarrassing myself, but it ended up being so much fun, I can only hope my 21st party will be the same, pleasantly suprised.
The lemon zest cuts through the butter and brightens the biscuit, making you able to eat a whole tray full of them.

250g butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 1/2 cup plain flour
70g pistachios chopped
Zest of one lemon

Cream the butter and icing sugar until it is pale and fluffy.
Mix in sifted flour - at this point mine looked like sweet pastry before you add the egg, I had some coconut milk left over so added a couple of small spoonfuls of the thick part to the dough so it just started to come together. Not sure if it was the right thing to do but it ended up being fine.
Add the pistachios and lemon zest. Mix. The original recipe called for the pistachios to be toasted, which would have brought out the nutty flavour a bit more but I didn't bother, and for them to be finely chopped, but I like being able to see the nuts and the texture when they are only roughly chopped.
Turn out and shape into four logs, you may want to lightly flour your bench first.
Wrap in baking paper and/or gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
With a sharp knife slice 8mm (or however thick/thin you like) rounds and place on a baking tray. Bake at 160C for about 15 minutes. You want them to be firm, but not browned like mine, then again I liked the extra crunch.

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