Biscuit dough…similar to pastry dough? Ah, we’ll draw that connection.
Biscotti di Regina has a homely ring to it. A light, buttery biscuit with distinctive vanilla undertones, and a soft inner encased in crisp sesame seeds, it’s comfort food at its best – especially when dunked in hot chocolate. Although I have no Italian, let alone Sicilian, heritage it brings to the surface memories of sitting on the kitchen bench as a wee lass of four with my grandmother. I’d measure out flour, coconut, brown sugar – the essential ingredients for ‘ANZAC slice’ or a fruit crumble.
Flicking through my recipe books, not an unusual evening past time, in search of a recipe for the fair, these caught my eye. Not only was the author, Izy Hossack, of a similar age and ambitions to me (university student but with an overwhelming passion for food) but this recipe aligned with that of purportedly ‘traditional’ Italian sources. The globalisation of cuisines is exhibited in this humble biscuit: a young woman in London creates Biscotti di Regina, staying true to the original procedures, a young woman in Australia replicates it.
There were no culinary hiccups in the making of these cookies – baking biscuits is the kind of task I’ll undertake when I’ve little brain power left at the end of the day and need to take 30 minutes to recuperate. Inherently quick and simple, they don’t fulfill the intense drive to spend hours in the kitchen pouring love and time into a dish – whether it be olive bread, pizza bases, a roast capsicum dip…
Reception at the food fair was relatively poor, yet this was expected. The presentation – bring ’em in a plastic bag, dump it on the bench and boom, we’re done – was an experiment in determining the degree to which aesthetics influence food choices. Usually I’d spend a good 20 minutes plating, arranging the biscuits on a table with antique tea cups, perhaps a milk jug, flowers…the whole fandangle. However, it’s important to be reminded that having the time to do so is a luxury, and that food can be enjoyed regardless of how ‘pretty’ it is.