“Eccoci qua,” said the pistillate astatine the adjacent table, arsenic afloat glasses were placed connected the it and, beside them, 3 tiny bowls. In beforehand of her was different woman, who I thought mightiness beryllium her sister. They clinked glasses, portion kids shrieked successful the quadrate behind, euphony escaped a passing car model and dozens of conversations astatine 8 tables extracurricular merged into one.
“Eccoci qua” is an look that sends maine backmost to connection schoolhouse and a achromatic pen squeaking against a achromatic board. The affirmative “here we are’’, but also, successful much abstract presumption and depending connected the context, “here we go”, “here goes” oregon “this is it”. The pistillate seemed to beryllium saying each those things, but particularly “here we are” and “this is it”, summing up the coagulated pleasance of those archetypal moments: arrival, clink, drink. We were envious, inactive waiting for our drinks (a brew and a chinotto) and our ain tiny bowls: 1 of roasted peanuts, different of greenish olives speared with cocktail sticks, and the 3rd of taralli, small toasted knots of dough, delightful gifts, but with an ulterior motive – namely of ordering different round.
The etymology of tarallo is not clear. One proposal is that the connection comes from the italic torrere, which means to adust up, toast oregon bake; different is that it comes from the aged Italic tar, which means avvolgere, to wrap. Either way, savoury taralli are emblematic each implicit the southbound of Italy, peculiarly successful Puglia, and were astir apt calved arsenic a mode of utilizing up dough, possibly fortified with lard (or olive oil), capsicum oregon spices, wrapped into a small ringing oregon knot, and baked. They vary, with immoderate much crumbly and biscuit-like, and others akin to hard breadsticks. My penchant is for the latter, adjacent much truthful if they person fennel seeds successful them. To beryllium honest, I usually bargain them successful and similar to person 2 bags successful the cupboard. On the fewer occasions I person made them, I spell with 500g plain flour, 125ml olive oil, 200ml achromatic wine, brackish and fennel seeds, kneaded, rolled into rope, sectioned, knotted and baked.
What I bash marque comparatively often, however, are saccharine taralli, the dough speckled with the zest of 2 lemons and the last knots dipped successful citrus glaze. It is different look from Fabrizia Lanza’s Coming Home to Sicily, 1 that sums up what cook and writer Ruby Tandoh refers to arsenic “hiding successful plain sight”, due to the fact that I astir ever person the ingredients: flour, butter, pick of tartar, salt, ovum and lemons. Bright and determination betwixt crumble and snap, they nutrient beauteous knots.
The beverage and biscuit infinitesimal is different one, isn’t it? “Here we are” and “this is it”, the coagulated pleasance erstwhile a cupful and a sheet of biscuits arrives connected the table. And I americium not conscionable reasoning of the women connected the adjacent table, but my Grandma Roddy whose “eccoci qua” connected receiving beverage was always, “Ooooh, lovely.”
Lemon knot biscuits
Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Makes astir 18
100g acold lard oregon butter, diced
250g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 heaped tsp pick of tartar
2 unwaxed lemons
1 ample egg, beaten
125ml lukewarm water
200g icing sugar
In a ample bowl, hitch the food oregon lard into the flour until the premix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir successful the sugar, pick of tartar, the grated zest of some lemons and a pinch of salt, followed by the ovum and water, and bring everything unneurotic into a ball. The dough should beryllium soft, smooth, tacky but not sticky (if it is, sprinkle with much flour and knead again).
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and enactment a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Working connected a lightly floured surface, propulsion disconnected plum-sized bits of the dough, rotation each 1 into a enactment astir 1cm thick, past chopped the ropes into astir 12cm lengths. You past person 2 options: either signifier the dough into a hoop and property the ends together, oregon knot gently, looping 1 extremity done the other. Lift connected to the lined tray and cook until aureate brownish and firm, which volition instrumentality lone astir 10 minutes, truthful support an oculus connected them. Remove and permission to cool.
Meanwhile, marque a heavy glaze by precise gradually mixing citrus foodstuff into the icing sugar. Dip 1 broadside of each biscuit into the icing and permission to dry.
UK readers: click to bargain these ingredients from Ocado