The moment of perfectness baked into cheese-herb biscuits

Do you remember the feeling when being a child we were chasing fallen leaves? Sometimes we only enjoyed its whirring sound while wallowing through them. Sometimes we collected the most beautiful ones, placed them between two sheets of newspaper and pressed them with large, heavy books. Sometimes we made a picture by placing them under a sheet of paper, and gently rub over the surface of the paper with a crayon until the shape of the leaf appeared.

Sometimes we happened to completely forget about them, and found them months later in an encyclopaedia. 

But one thing was sure. For shorter but more often for longer time we immersed ourselves in the moment, and nothing else really mattered, except the autumn leaves, the diversity of colours and shapes and the attempt to seek for beauty. 

Becoming adults made many things more difficult. Mostly we are so busy with life’s smaller or bigger problems that- except something forces us to put aside our thoughts- the moment with its colours, smells and perfectness of minor small things has already flown away before we realise.

Force can happen in many ways: it can be a coincidence, a conscious attempt or an indescribable mystery that propels you forward. 

I am standing in the middle of our garden, and the furry members of our family are running around me. Beeper is chasing her rubber elephant, Gata is trying to catch some invisible enemies in the lawn and I am completely immersed in my worries and fears, which hides the world around me like a dark curtain. Mild wind is blowing and moves fallen leaves and the sunshines arrive in a low angle which makes every colours glister. I hardly perceive anything from all these, until somethings happens.

I notice the first leaf, a yellow one with green dots. Then another one from our plum tree, which is burnt umber. The red ones from the burning bush. Round, narrow, pointed and serrated shapes. I am running around like a child looking for fallen leaves and I discover more and more new colours, daisies between grass halms and wild thyme flowers which grew for its own sake and for our pleasure in the middle of the yard. Áron mows it around carefully and I cut often some leaves to season roasted potatoes and eggplant ragout. 

My worries and anxieties are blown away to the background. I see Beeper’s happy enthusiasm and Gata’s velvety coat she grew herself since we adopted her and feed her well.

Lester Burnham said it so well in the final scene of American beauty : “there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. ”cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com

I don’t try to hold on it but I try to bake it into some cheese-herb biscuits whose recipe I found in a cookbook from 1940. (You can find another recipe from it when I tried to preserve Indian summer in form of a soup seasoning paste) Instead of crayons I use my camera,  and fallen leaves again become part of a picture. In order to catch the moment even more, I pick some wild thyme leaves and knead it into the dough. 

For a second, the colourful fallen leaves seem to glister up once more, when I bite into the first biscuit and ponder about buying some crayons and a pack of drawing paper…

Cheese-herb biscuits

I merged two recipes of Piroska Z. Tábori: cheese biscuits and herb biscuits. Since I didn’t plant any marjorie, dill and summer savory yet, I used wild thyme leaves instead. Although the original recipe didn’t mention to add salt, I did and it is definitely needed to please our palate in our age. It is important to use soft, room-temperature butter in order to be able to knead the dough easily. The author of the cookbook recommends to bake these biscuits in summer so you can eat them throughout the winter. I doubt it, since I baked the double quantity and it is disappearing quite quickly and winter is still far away….

Ingredients:

250 g all-purpose flour

125 g soft butter at room temperature

100 g grated cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 package of baking powder (6 g) 

a big bunch of fresh herbs (thyme, basil, dill, marjorie, summer savory…,)

Mix flour, salt and baking powder, then add butter and knead until it forms small crumbles. Knead the dough until it is easy to shape. Now you have two choices: 1. roll it out very thin and cut circles with a cookie cutter (as the original recipe recommends) or 2. shape cylinders and slice it thinly. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake the biscuits until they are light brown. (approximately 10 minutes). Store them in a container which is well-ventilated (a metal box covered with a piece of canvas can work) You can heat them up before serving if you wish.cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com cheese-herb biscuits from the Taste of Memories Hungarian country kitchen www.tasteofmemories.com

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.

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