The start of a working week is so much better after a sunny weekend, and this weekend London got truly lucky with some of the best weather we've had all year. The streets and parks were full of bleary-eyed, pasty Londoners, emerging from a long and chilly hibernation. As I ran along the river this evening - wrestling my way past pushchairs and overspilling pub gardens - I might just have had a bit of a moment with my home-town.
I remember marvelling as a child that my parents still drank tea in the summertime. A sun-lover I may already have been, but I couldn't see the logic of hot drinks in hot weather. I never particularly bought the idea that tea was cooling, and still don't quite understand the science behind that theory.
I am a big believer however in the refreshing quality of a good brew, and some of the lighter, fruitier blends really do feel suited to the sunshine. I've baked with Earl Grey before (recipe here), so it seemed only fitting to celebrate the warm weekend with a version for ladies. Lady Grey - spiked with lemon and orange oils - has a delicate touch that works perfectly with rich almonds and sweet, silky white chocolate.
Crisp and nutty, biscotti are practically begging to be dunked in strong coffee or, if you'll forgive me, a cup of your favourite summertime brew.
220g caster sugar
2 lady grey teabags
zest of 1 lemon
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
150g white chocolate
Preheat your oven to 170C, and line a large baking tray with parchment. Weigh your sugar into a large bowl, add the zest and the eggs, then whisk for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is pale, fluffy and very light. Rip open the tea bags, and whisk the tea into the egg mix.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add the nuts and use your hands to bring the dough together. Transfer onto a floured surface and knead a the dough into two, then roll each one to form a baguette shape, roughly 5x30cm.
Place them both on the tray, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough has started to crack a little, and springs back slightly when you press it. Remove the tray, then reduce the oven temperature to 140C. Leave the baguettes to cool for half an hour, then use a sharp knife to slice them thinly.
Lay the biscuits out on the tray (you might need reinforcements), then return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes. Biscotti need to be hard all the way through, so keep an eye on them and remove when baked.