The reason I’ve made these orange and almond biscotti is because I’ve just been sent the beautiful ECF01 Espresso Coffee Machine by the lovely people at Smeg and I wanted something suitably Italian to compliment my delicious coffee. If you’re a regular ready of my blog you’ll know that I absolutely adore the 50’s Retro Style Aesthetic range of small appliances. Some, very kindly gifted such as my stand-mixer and some that I simply couldn’t resist such as the kettle. All in either the green or blue pastel shades too match our kitchen. It’s genuinely a brilliant range because not only do they look incredible they all work very well. The kettle and the stand-mixer get a lot of bashing almost every day and they have never failed me.
I’ve wanted the coffee machine since they launched it last year. We’re big coffee drinkers here at Belleau Cottage but we’ve always used a caffetiere so to have the chance to make cafe-style coffee with a milk foamer, was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. Especially now we’re stuck in the house due to the lockdown, a proper coffee is one of the things we’ve yearned for!
Firstly its design aesthetic is clearly a winner. With its rounded, almost bubble top and all the wonderful chrome, it very much sits within the 50’s retro range. It has two settings for espresso – one shot or two, plus a steam wand. It has a generous water reservoir in the back so doesn’t need to be plumbed in and it also has a traditional espresso coffee filter holder that screws into the machine so you can pretend you’re a proper barista. The filter holder has a 1 scoop and 2 scoop option as well as an insert for paper filters. It uses ground coffee and doesn’t include a grinder, which I’m completely fine with, I’m happy to buy bags of pre-ground coffee – mornings are already relatively manic, I don’t need to grind coffee as well!
The real winner is the steam wand. I’ve tried many a coffee machine in the past and the wand has always been a let down. This one just works. You put your milk jug into place and turn the steam handle and a few seconds later, bingo! Beautifully frothy coffee.
The good people at Smeg have very kindly given me a 10% off offer code for readers of my blog. It can only be used via their St James Street shop but you can either email or call them and purchase over the phone. Call 0344 5735573 or email email@example.com and use the offer code BELLEAU10. The offer is valid until the end of May
I’ve never made biscotti before so I turned to the trusted and failsafe Delia for a recipe which I’ve adapted. I didn’t have plain almonds so I used a bag of mixed nuts and raisins and it worked really well. I’m shocked how easy they are to make and how authentic they taste. I shall be making (and eating) plenty of these divine little twice-baked biscuits.
- 110g plain flour
- ¾ level teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 25g ground almonds
- 50g mixed nuts and raisins, or just almonds
- 75g golden caster sugar
- the finely grated zest of one orange
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat your oven to 170C and prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.
Place all the ingredients, except for the egg, into a large bowl and mix well together – your hand is the perfect tool for this.
Pour in the beaten egg and mix it together, again your hand is ideal. It’s a sticky mess but you should be able to drag the dough around the bowl to pick up all the straggly flour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and slightly flatten it down.
Bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. After that, transfer it to a cooling rack and leave until slightly cool, mine took just 6 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 150C.
Now use a serrated knife to cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1cm wide. Then place them back on the lined baking tray and bake for another 10 minutes on each side until pale gold and crisp.
Transfer them to a cooling rack where they will harden up even more and become the teeth-breaking consistency you know and love.
Eat and of course, enjoy!