We’re delighted to welcome Kate Caldesi onto the blog today, her and her husband Giancarlo run two Italian restaurants, Caldesi in Campagna in Bray and Caldesi in Marylebone in well Marylebone! They also have an Italian cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi, that holds one-day courses in cookery in Marylebone, Gerrards Cross and Bray. We hosted a wonderful cook-off event with them in our Bracknell garden last year.
Katie and Giancarlo have published 17 cookery books, with their latest one due out this month. But our favourite has to be the Italian Cookbook for Children and Adults. Today Katie is sharing a favourite a simple recipe that you can make at home with your little one. It can be adapted and the herbs add such unique flavour to them. Signed copies are available at their restaurants or online on their site www.caldesi.com or on Amazon.
Easy Biscuits by Katie Caldesi
I have made these with so many children and each time they come up with another new flavour. The whole world of herbs and citrus fruits is open for experimentation here – try different combinations like orange zest and basil or rosemary and lemon. You can cut them into all sorts of shapes; long thin triangles to stick out of ice-cream sundaes, circles or little squares. Have fun! If you use buckwheat flour, they are gluten-free.
Makes 20–30 biscuits with a 5cm (2in) cutter
For simple vanilla biscuits
100g (3½oz) softened butter
30g (1oz) muscovado sugar
150g (5½oz) spelt or buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, if necessary
Other flavourings to add to the dough:
10g (1/3 oz) chopped basil (approx. 20 large leaves)
finely grated zest of a lemon or an orange
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme
Replace 25g (1oz) flour with 25g (1oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.
Mix the butter, sugar and flour together with your chosen flavouring in a bowl with your hands, or in a food processor. If the dough is very crumbly, add a little milk.
Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry to 3mm (1/8in) thick.
Cut the pastry into shapes, using a cutter, or cut triangles with a sharp knife. Use a thin spatula to move the biscuits on to on a tray lined with baking parchment or a silicone mat and bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. They will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.