In celebration of International Women’s day on Tuesday of this past week, the 2016 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction, announced it’s long-list. Commending the excellence, originality and accessibility of women’s writing across the world, I felt compelled to burry my head in at least one of the nominated publications.
“But these were days of self-fulfilment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.”
…But what was happiness but an extravagance, an impossible state to maintain, partly because it was so difficult to articulate? He couldn’t remember being a child and being able to define happiness: there was only misery, or fear, and the absence of misery and fear, and the latter state is all he had needed or wanted.”
Hanya Yanagihara, A little life.
Crisp, buttery shortbread helps sustain my state of happiness a little while longer.
Sour Cherry & Coconut Shortbread
(adapted from Sal Henley’s recipe, Waitrose Food Magazine)
60g Sour Cherries
125g salted butter, room temperature
180g plain flour
60g golden caster sugar
50g desiccated coconut
100g dark chocolate (70% coca solids), melted
Preheat the oven to 180c, gas mark 4. Roughly chop the cherries or blitz in a blender for a couple of seconds.
Add the butter, flour and sugar and mix with the paddle attachment until it forms a dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough roughly to a 21cm square. Trim the sides so you’ll get straight-edged squares. Cut the dough into 5cm x5cm squares using a sharp knife. This should make about 16 biscuits, give or a take a few.
Space the squares out onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden in colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, spread the desiccated coconut evenly over a baking tray. Place in the oven for 2-3 minutes but keep an eye on it because it will quickly burn. Tip into a small bowl.
Once cool, dunk half of each biscuit into the melted chocolate then straight into the coconut. leave to set on the rack.
Friday 11th February 2016