Is it too soon to start panicking about Christmas cooking?
Probably not. It's the seventh of December, most of us will have eaten two thirds of our Advent Calendar chocolates by now and swopped our standard egg and cress lunchtime sarnie for a festive 'Turkey Feast' offering.
Thing is, those magazine articles with snappy titles such as "Ten New Ways With Brussels Sprouts", "101 Christmas Starters" and "The Best 'Big Day' Turkey you've EVER served" are already bringing me out in a cold sweat that reeks of feeling the festive perfection pressure.
You know the festive perfection pressure: everything has to be, well, perfect. Canapés have to combine the latest food trend with a 'These? They just took two minutes!' casualness. The Christmas Cake has to be one Mary Berry would happily serve to her nearest and dearest. And the "Ten New Ways with Brussels Sprouts" most definitely can't involve shallots or lardons.
And then there's catering for a Christmas Party. Under-cater: you'll be forever referred to as Scrooge and receive half as many Christmas cards as usual in 2014. Over-cater: you'll still be eating mince pies in March and will have deprived
Even that guy on the Sainsbury's Christmas telly ad with his immaculate Christmas Cooking spreadsheet has my palms-a-sweating (a new verse for that ol' carolling favourite).
So I figured I had two choices. Hibernate until Boxing Day with just a family sized bag of Monster Munch for company or ease myself in gently. Dip my toe in or, in this case, my biscotti.
Christmas Almond, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
200g plain flour
50g ground almonds
2 level tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
150g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 eggs, beaten
50g flaked almonds
50g shelled pistachios
50g candied orange peel
1. Heat the oven to 180C/160Can/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Put the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl and mix together. Stir in the zest and beaten eggs and, using your hands, bring the dough together. Knead the dough until well combined- it will initially appear very dry but will soon combine together. Work in the almonds, pistachios and peel.
4. Turn the oven down to 140C/120C fan/Gas Mark 1. Lay the biscuits flat and bake for a further fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the biscuits over and bake for another 15 minutes. The biscuits will be golden and dry.
5. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight box for up to a month
- Add a decadent touch and dip in melted dark chocolate
- These make lovely Christmas gifts. I wrapped the biscotti in a clear cellophane bag, tied round a ribbon and festive label. I'm entering this into this month's Tea Time Treats, the theme of which is Festive Foodie Gifts, hosted by me!