Biscuit and Cookie recipes are a great place to start if you are new to home-baking. They are quick and easy to make and taste so much better than shop-bought varieties. You will have home-baked treats on the table in under an hour!
These Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are a heated-up version of a basic cheese biscuit recipe. They are fantastic as a snack with drinks as they are deliciously cheesy and pack a big load of chilli heat. I think they go particularly well with a beer!
I have been making the basic biscuits for years and if you are not a lover of spicy food, you can leave out the chilli. If you are serving them with wine, the non-spicy version might be better. Or you could do a batch and put chilli in one half.
I have a taste for savoury, salty snacks, which I try to moderate generally and indulge occasionally. One of the good things about making your own snacks is that you are in control of the salt levels. Adding strong flavour elements, such as chilli, also helps with this as it means that the snacks have a powerful hit of flavour without being overly salty.
Whether you are looking for a plate of snacks ready for a box-set binge evening or for a drinks party, these Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are fantastic. They will keep in a sealed tin for several days once baked. Even better, you can keep the dough in the refridgerator for a week and slice and cook the biscuits when you want to eat them. You can also freeze the dough for several months. I always prepare a large batch of cheese biscuit dough in the run-up to Christmas and refridgerate or freeze which means that I can have freshly baked home-made biscuits within minutes.
If you are in a snacking mood, you might also like to try my recipes for Spiced Nuts and Marinated Feta. Both are really easy and are great at a party or if you are just watching television with a cold beer!
Whether you make these Cheese Biscuits with or without chilli, they are a fantastic snack with drinks or for a box-set binge. The dough can be kept in the fridge or freezer and baked whenever you feel like fresh home-made biscuits.
100 g butter (at room temperature)
100 g strong cheese (eg Cheddar)
100 g plain flour
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined to form a dough.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Set your oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut across to form disks approximately 1 cm thick.
Place the disks on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on a baking rack to cool.
If you don’t like chilli, you can leave it out. The plain, cheese biscuits are delicious too!
The baked biscuits will keep for several days in an air-tight tin.
The dough can be kept in the fridge for a week. So that you can cut it into discs and bake for home-made biscuits within minutes.
I love lavender! I grow several varieties in my garden and look forward to the first hot day of the year when you get a waft of lavender scent on the air and know that summer is truly here. Lavender Shortbread is an excellent way of capturing the essence of this beautiful, fragrant plant.
Lavender has many culinary uses and its fragrance works well in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. However, you do have to be a bit careful though as lavender is a very strongly scented plant and, if you use too much, it can overwhelm other flavours. For this reason, I think it is best used on its own rather than in combination with other aromatics.
Plain shortbread is delicious – it should have a fairly soft, crumbly texture – but it also makes great vehicle to showcase a range of flavours, including lavender, rose geranium, thyme, rosemary and lemon verbena. It is a great accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee and is also a good partner with ice-cream or sorbet.
The English word lavender is thought to be derived either from Old French lavandre which is taken from the Latin lavare “to wash” which refers to the practice of using it in infusions or from the Latin livere “blueish” in reference to its colour. Lavender (“nard” in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.
It was introduced into England in the 1600s. At that time, it was used to make herb tea which was appreciated for its taste and for its medicinal properties. It was also used to make a conserve which was prized by members of the aristocracy including, allegedly, Queen Elizabeth 1. Although lavender is often now associated with southern French cuisine, it was not widely used until the turn of the 20th century and its use was popularised only later by its inclusion in the 1970s in herbes de Provence, a blend of herbs invented by spice wholesalers.
These Lemon Biscuits are very quick and easy to make and also very versatile. They are made of lovely buttery shortbread, flavoured with zesty lemon, and the addition of ground almonds keeps them moist and gives them a lovely crumbly texture.
I tend to make mine heart-shaped (if you look at the rest of my blog you will see that I love heart-shaped food) as I think hearts are pretty! However, round is fine – or any other shape you like. They are great biscuits to make with children, as they are very straight-forward, so if you want to get creative (and have the right kind of cookie cutters) you could go for flowers or rabbits or trains or whatever takes your fancy!
These biscuits are excellent as an accompaniment to ice-cream – I particularly like them with my Elderflower Ice-cream – but they are also great with morning coffee or afternoon tea. I think they would also make a good edible gift for a birthday or Mothers’ Day.