It was with some surprise that I finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and looked around for something to do. The story ends rather abruptly, so I wasn’t expecting to be staring at the clock and wondering when my family would be back to break the silence. The back of my edition is full of notes and reviews from Oscar Wilde’s contemporaries which makes the book look longer than it actually is, hence my surprise at the sudden end to this tale of youthful vanity and sin. What I needed now was a snack that was quick to make.
Dorian Gray is a young man who wishes that all of his vices are passed onto a portrait of himself rather than his handsome face. Over time, each of his sinful acts mar the portrait and age it beyond recognition while Dorian himself remains beautiful for all to see and envy.
In the same situation, I think my portrait would be a bloated chap with a chocolate milk moustache, cake crumbs on his chest and buttery fingers clasping a cheese and ham toastie. It would be a truly grotesque display of gluttony that I’d hide away in the attic lest anyone should see my greedy soul laid bare on the canvas.
Back in my 21st Century kitchen, I was already throwing ingredients onto the worktop and keeping an eye on the clock. There was just enough time to get some Cheddar and Parmesan biscuits into the oven and tidy up before my little boy burst into the room and cooking became a real challenge.
These little, cheesy biscuits are so easy to make and would work with different cheese and even a selection of herbs. Try them when you feel like baking, but don’t want anything complicated or messy. They’re small too, so you don’t need to worry about your portrait becoming hideous after you’ve eaten a few!
Cheddar & Parmesan biscuits
100g plain flour
85g mature Cheddar (finely grated)
40g Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
2 egg yolks
2 tblspoons double cream
1 tspoon dried oregano
1 egg yolk (beaten for the glaze)
In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, flour, two egg yolks, oregano and all of the cheese. Season with a few good pinches of sea salt. The mixture should come to a stiff dough. Add the double cream and work the mixture gently with your hands.
Wrap the ball in clingfilm and refrigerate it for half an hour. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about half a centimetre thick. Use a small cutter to make little discs and place them on a tray lined with baking paper. Add some beaten egg yolk to the top of each disc using a pastry brush. This will give the biscuits a lovely glaze.
They need to go into the middle of a pre heated oven at 180C for about fifteen minutes. Keep checking them. They’re ready when slightly risen and a beautiful, shiny, golden colour.