I’ve never really understood New Year’s resolutions. Why would you wait until the new year to change something you don’t like when you can make the change immediately? Also, when have you ever heard of someone actually sticking to a New Year’s resolution? I know I haven’t, which is why I’ve always been reluctant to make one.
Last year, however, I was introduced to a new concept which made much more sense to me. Instead of setting yourself a strict goal and then beating yourself up when you miss that gym session, give your year a theme. Think of one area in your life that you think you could improve on or develop, and let this be the overarching theme for the year ahead.
It embarrasses me to admit this, but I didn’t read a book in 2017. Not a single page. I was so disgusted with myself that I made 2018 my ‘Year of Knowledge’. I didn’t set a target, I simply made a commitment to myself to read more. And believe it or not, I read more books in 2018 than I have in the past 5 years.
When deciding on a theme for 2019, it didn’t take me long to realise what I want from this year … which is why this is my ‘Year of Energy’. Now when I say energy, I don’t mean I’m going to start attending a gym, because there is no fucking way that is going to happen. Instead, I’m going to spend this year putting more energy into baking and the blog.
I must say, this isn’t me committing to posting new recipes three times a week. Sadly working a full-time job won’t allow me to do this. This is, however, a commitment to posting more regularly than I currently am (which shouldn’t be hard) and spending more time developing recipes while testing out new techniques and flavour combinations.
So, let’s get this started and kick off 2019 with some Pistachio and Orange Shortbread.
Pistachio & Orange Shortbread
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 125 g golden caster sugar
- 250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 80 g ground almonds
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 80 g unsalted pistachios, shelled & finely chopped
- zest of 1 orange
- Using a hand or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth. Add the golden caster sugar and beat together until smooth and creamy.
- Add the flour, ground almonds and vanilla essence and beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed as the mixture combines.
- Add the orange zest and 2/3 of the finely chopped pistachios to the mix until well combined.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead very gently until smooth. Shape the dough until a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- once chilled, lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm. Using a knife, cut the shortbread into 1-inch thick fingers and arrange on lined baking trays. Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully.
These are best enjoyed on the day of baking with a fresh cup of tea, but they will keep in an airtight container for around 3-5 days.