Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not Cutting The Mustard

I recently attempted a dessert with results I'm not proud of. I'd spent a good week at least, just thinking about this one dish and like my last relationship, it was a huge failure on my part. Individually, the components worked out fine, however once combined well.. Let me assure you that it wasn't something I'm looking to repeat any time soon; so much so, that my normally trigger happy shutter finger immediately pounded the delete button in a panicked frenzy as soon as any evidence of its existence appeared. I suppose it's back to the drawing board, although I'm not quite sure how to fix this tiny little calamity.

I'm not really the type to pack up and move on. I like to dwell, dwell on things until that one thing is all I can think about and I suddenly feel as if I'm going nuts. I know where I went wrong but I don't know how to make things better and it's so frustrating. The answer this time, seems to be just out of my reach.

Peering into the glass that's half full fortunately reveals a recipe for mustard shortbread which I've concocted using the ratio of flour to rice flour in a recipe from one of Darina Allen's more recent publications: "Ballymaloe Cookery Course". It's rich with butter, wonderfully textural and nice with a cup of tea. My Mum says it reminds her of a popular Chinese biscuit which is slightly sweet yet savoury and even my Dad likes it which is saying something. Yay!

Mustard Shortbread

30 g yellow mustard seeds
120 g flour
30 g rice flour
40 castor sugar
4 g salt
90 g unsalted butter, chopped
Pound mustard seeds using a mortar and pestle until mostly fine.
Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients.
Rub butter in with fingertips and press into a ball.
Roll out to 3-4 mm thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Place straight onto a tray. Alternatively, press into the bottom of a square pan in an even layer.
Dock with a fork at this stage if you wish.
Bake at 140ÂșC for 20 minutes on the bottom rack.
Remove from oven and cut into desired shapes while still hot if you haven't already done so.
Cool on tray.


  1. Yum. I love mustard shortbread, especially one that walks the fence between being savoury and sweet. With regards to the other dish, I think you're too hard on yourself. Can't imagine anything coming together perfectly within the space of just one week. Just first drafts, well on their way to being something greater :)

  2. reading this post on mustard shortbread leaves me curious - it's definitely not your average shortbread flavour! glad to have found your blog; i'm liking it already :)


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