Do you ever wonder why people ask you about certain things? Recently, I have been asked by at least a dozen people whether I've read the book "Fifty Shades of Grey." I started to wonder if I was giving off a vibe that said "she loves bondage." After the tenth person asked me I turned to Mr NQN and said "Why are they all asking me about that book?" He gave me a look, you know the look that says that you talk too much about the men of True Blood to your friends on Facebook so of course they would ask you about that book...
Initially, I was more interested in the story behind it. I wanted to know how a woman who started off writing Twilight fan fiction parlayed that into a million dollar book deal. Now first time authors in Australia don't get million dollar book deals (sadly!) and I think she is one of the few that has but that to me was so much more interesting than the idea of the book itself. But then I got the book whose paperback version apparently sold faster than Harry Potter. Although there has been some criticism about the writing style, for me it was compulsive reading. I found myself sitting down to it, just on a quick rest break from the computer to find myself completely engrossed, the sky turning grey and then dark without so much as a glance from me.
What were also completely compulsive and the best partner for a book like this, were these florentines which I nibbled on while reading what Christian Grey wanted to do to Anastasia Steele. I first tried these florentines on our recent trip to South Australia while staying at the gorgeous Australasian circa 1858 hotel. From the moment that I bit into these crunchy, toffeed nutty biscuits I was completely bewitched by these too.
Their crunch is addictive after I finished mine, Mr NQN gallantly handed me his. Once done, I then beseeched chef Juliet Michell for the recipe. She was kind enough to share it with me and one afternoon before commencing the e-book, I baked a batch of these ferociously good cookies. They were easy and ended up being my sustenance that evening in lieu of a proper dinner. You can dip these in chocolate or leave them plain without. If you are a fan of dime bars, brandy snaps or other toffeed nutty bars these might be your downfall or your fifty shades of crunch.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you read Fifty Shades of Grey and what do you think of it? Do you like reading fan fiction? And do you ever ask chefs for their recipes?
Recipe by Juliet Michell
Makes about 18 cookies (depending on size)
1 cup caster or superfine sugar
65g/2 ozs honey
1/4 cup cream
1 cup/100g/3.5 ozs roasted, skinned hazelnuts, chopped*
1 cup/100g/3.5 ozs flaked almonds
1/2 cup flour
You will also need a round cutter
From a lighter shade...
To a darker shade
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Have three trays ready and lined with baking paper. In a medium sized saucepan, add the sugar, honey, butter and cream and stir to dissolve sugar and then simmer for about 6 minutes until darkened in colour.
Step 2 - Add both types of nuts as well as flour and stir quickly to combine. Using two tablespoons, make three roughly round shapes with the two tablespoons and place six to a tray wide apart as they will spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and quickly, while it is hot, use the round cutter to bring the edges into a circle shape.
Using a circle cutter to bring the hot cookie mixture into a circle
*To roast and skin hazelnuts, place on a tray in a 180C/350F for 10-15 minutes and roast. Remove from oven and place in a clean tea towel and rub the hazelnuts to remove the skin.