In touch with my senses... eating with my hands

>> Saturday 13 February 2010

There is something earthly and sensual about eating with my hands. It allows me to engage with my food intimately in a way that no knife, fork or spoon can. This style of eating indelibly marks me as a product of the multi-cultural society to which I proudly belong. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Eating with my hands was not always a given though... my mom insisted that we conform to the British notions of what was proper table and dining practices... Click here to read this week's column.

I am not really a snack person but of late I find myself wanting to nibble at something. I generally have fruit and that's great, but at times I'd like something different and preferably savoury. I opted for savoury biscotti given that I can make a batch and store it at room temperature in an air-tight jar. I had made cheese biscotti before but this time I added dried cranberries for a little bit of sweetness to contrast with the savoury, and, for some added chew.

Cheese & Cranberry Biscotti


2 + 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup whole milk
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons canola oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, black pepper, chili flakes, salt, sugar, cheese and cranberries to a large bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Add milk, eggs and oil to a measuring cup or bowl and whisk thoroughly
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk-egg-oil mixture and knead gently and quickly; do not over knead. The mixture will be crumbly
  5. Divide the dough in half and form each half into an 8-inch log; place the logs 5 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the top of the dough a little
  6. Bake for 30 minutes
  7. Remove biscotti from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 325 degrees F
  8. Slice the biscotti diagonally (about 1/2 inch slices) with a bread knife
  9. Assemble on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 - 15 minutes on one side, flip them over and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes (the time varies depending on how crunchy you want your biscotti)
  10. Cool completely on wire racks and store in an artight container

Inspired by the Zen Chef, I made these pea pancakes a while back and thought I'd share it with you today because I think that it is "pretty" food and would be nice to serve for Valentine's. Zen served his pea pancakes with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and meyer lemon. I used spicy chorizo sausages to contrast with the sweetness of the pea pancakes. Click here for the recipe.

Happy weekend everyone!

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