Friday, 4 May 2012

Herb Biscuits

herb biscuits at teatime

I could call them peynirli çörekotlu kurabiye but their shape alone makes it a dead giveaway that they aren’t Turkish at all. How could they be when the recipe comes from a marvellous old M&S [Marks & Spencer] source called simply The Herb Book? And being forever enterprising, it gives the measurements in all three forms: metric, imperial and what they call ‘American’! The book covers not only herby recipes but all manner of things connected with herbs.

Yes, you’ve guessed it: I’ve been consulting it recently with my *herb garden in mind and it’s been an invaluable resource.

This is a quick little recipe that’s easy to knock up - perfect for me here in Assos - good with soups or drinks or just when you feel like a little savoury something! But you must serve – and eat – them while still warm from the oven otherwise they go soft.

The dough is very easy to manage: it behaves itself nicely when you roll and cut it into shapes. The original herb specified in the recipe is caraway seed but I have totally failed to learn what it is in Turkish, let alone track it down. Hence the nigella.

Ingredients for Herb Biscuits

Makes approximately 20

50g/2oz/½ cup flour

25g/1oz/2tbsp butter at room temperature

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of cayenne

50g/2oz/½ cup cheddar cheese (I used eski kaşar)

½ tsp caraway seeds or dried dill seed (I used çörekotu or nigella)

½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp iced water


·        Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F or Gas Mark 6.

·        Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter in small pieces. Add the salt and cayenne and mix in the grated cheese with the blade of a knife. (Alternatively, all this can be done in a mixer or food processor.) Stir in the caraway seeds (or dill or nigella).  Stir the mustard into the lightly beaten egg yolk and stir into the mixture. Add enough of the iced water to give a soft but firm dough.

adding the salt and the cayenne to the flour mixture
stirring in the lightly beaten egg mixed with the mustard

·        Wrap loosely in cling film and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

here's the dough all wrapped in cling film

·         Roll out on a floured board until about 3mm/⅛in thick and cut into small rounds.

cutting out rounds from the easily-rolled dough

·        Lay the biscuits on a greased baking sheet and bake for 7 mins until golden brown and puffed up.

fresh out of the oven

·        Serve immediately.

Afiyet olsun!

* I just want to say you've all been just great with your comments on the blog and in my inbox with suggestions for herbs and how to get them. And how many generous offers of sending me packets through the post even from the US! Thank you all so much. Today at the weekly market in Ayvacık I succeeded in finding some basil, the dark-red-leafed variety - reyhan in Turkish (I do know this one!) but that fourth bed is now planted with ..... strawberry plants! I think the way forward with the herbs from now on is pots!