I have, several times, spoken of my love for Jamie Oliver’s recipes – except for one problem years ago, everything I have made from his books and website turned out really good. But unfortunately when the guy opens his mouth for something else other than eating we are “graced” by so many ridiculous remarks that it’s very hard to digest. It’s a shame that someone like him, who reaches out to thousands of people and could send messages about understanding chooses to be judgmental about something he has no knowledge of – and when I think of his shows, especially the 15 minute meal one with all those dishes made with preserved lemons, harissa, pistachios and even saffron I can’t picture someone living in poverty being able to spend money on ingredients like those.
One of the things that aging has brought me is the constant exercise of not pointing fingers at others – I don’t always succeed, as I’m only human, but I try as hard as I can because the “if I can do it so can you” philosophy makes me sick – and that is exactly what Jamie Oliver is doing. Shame on him.
As I am overly disappointed at Mr. Oliver, I decided to post a recipe from a book that, up to this moment, hasn’t failed me – it has become one of my favorite baking sources, one I reach out for quite regularly and with excellent results every time.
Almond poppy seed cookies
slightly adapted from the delicious The Grand Central Baking Book: Breakfast Pastries, Cookies, Pies, and Satisfying Savories from the Pacific Northwest's Celebrated Bakery
1 ½ cups (210g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon table salt
¾ cup (170g/1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
85g (3oz) almonds, lightly toasted and cooled, coarsely chopped
granulated sugar, extra, for rolling the dough logs
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds and salt.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then add the vanilla. On slow speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until they disappear into the dough. Fold in the almonds with a sturdy spatula. Divide the dough in half, then place each on a large piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5 cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in the refrigerator until very firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the fridge) and roll log in the extra sugar, coating it evenly, then cut into 5mm thick rounds. Place them onto prepared sheets 5cm (2in) apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Cool in the sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 40