A brass band, blue skies and more biscuits

This week seemed to go on and on, despite being busy with one thing and another.  There has been a definite autumn chill in the air, but the sun has shown itself again, and it is still warm enough to sit outside.


Wellington from the cable car


This afternoon

On Thursday evening, we went to see The New Zealand Dance Company perform a full length piece, Rotunda, at the theatre in Te Papa.  The work was created by the artistic director, Shona McCullagh, and Don McGlashan, the musical director, and featured a live brass band (in Wellington, the New Zealand Army Band).  Rotunda is a piece about World War 1, timed to commemorate the Gallipoli landings in 1915.  The piece sees the young men, eager to go to war and adventure, face the battle field and come home broken and shattered.  The women, dressed in red, are also joyous and mournful in turn, and in their costumes, seemed to represent poppies and (to my mind at least) the loss of blood.  The four men and women performed with great energy, and the company seems to have improved and sharpened up since I last saw them.  The music was eclectic – modern pieces for brass mixed with ‘Jerusalem’ played by a solo trumpeter, and ending with ‘Nimrod’ from ‘Enigma Variations’.  Definitely an interesting evening.

Now, however, it is Saturday, and time for baking.  This week’s biscuit recipe is for ‘Frangipane Jam Drops’, taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cakes, Biscuits and Slices’ book.

Preheat the oven to 180C, grease two oven trays and line with baking paper.  Beat together 125g softened butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 110g caster sugar, 120g ground almonds (almond meal) with an electric mixer to save your arms until light and fluffy.  Add 1 egg, and beat until just combined.  Stir in 100g plain flour.  Drop level tablespoons of the mixture onto trays, 5cm or so apart.  Using the handle of a wooden spoon, or your little finger, make a small hole in the top of the biscuit.  Fill each hole with a little raspberry jam (I used the gorgeous one from Floridita’s) and bake for about 15 minutes.  Cool them on the trays, then enjoy with a cup of tea.


Verdict and lessons learned! The recipe produces a lovely, crisp yet crumbly biscuit with a gorgeous almond taste.  The recipe said to make the hole about 1cm deep.  I didn’t, and so on some of the biscuits, the jam kind of leaked out, not making them look nearly as neat and perfect as the ones in the picture in the book.  Anyway, they tasted good, and I had the rest of the afternoon to catch up on some reading.


Reading matter with tea and biscuits




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