Heat and the kitchen

midday nap
placing my feet against the wall
how cool it is

– Matsuo Basho

I’ve just woken from an afternoon nap – tuckered out by a morning of Christmas shopping, present wrapping, the heat and this infernal wind. We had a break yesterday and it was glorious, but it’s back again today, “poking and prodding” as a gardening friend said this week.

Monday
pegging the wind
into our sheets

– Greeba Brydges-Jones, from the taste of nashi (Windrift, 2008)

Tomorrow, I’ve promised myself, is baking day.

As well as a Christmas wreath cake, there will be ricciarelli, almond biscuits from Siena (although I first met them in a tiny village on a mountain pass in Tuscany). This recipe is close to the one I use, except that mine contains only 350g of sugar so you might want to adjust that. Ground almonds are available from the bulk bins of many supermarkets. The biscuits should be pale to be authentic, although mine come out quite golden – when I tasted my first one I thought it was going to be something shortbready because of the colour. How wrong I was!

Christmas recipe –
all the ingredients except
my mother’s hands

– Sandra Simpson, from Ice Diver (New Zealand Poetry Society, 2011)