Today is the last day of term for L and M. It is also their last day at the village school as they will be moving to a specialist music school in September.
Standing in the playground for the final time this morning, they clutched presents for their teachers and received gifts from friends they have known for most of their young lives. It was a particularly poignant moment tempered only by the knowledge that whilst their classmates may be changing, their long-standing friends at home in the village will still be around for after-school play dates.
To thank all of the staff at the school for their hard work and dedicated teaching, I made a batch of savoury shortbreads flavoured with Parmesan, thyme and pepper. I arranged these around a block of perhaps the creamiest, tastiest Cheddar cheese ever –Barbers 1833.
Hopefully, these nibbles will provide an antidote to the many sweet, chocolatey treats that I am sure are now filling the staffroom!
Parmesan and Thyme Shortbread
8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
7 oz Parmesan, freshly grated
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
9 1/4 oz plain flour
2 1/4 oz potato starch
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Beat the softened butter until it is creamy and billowy.
Stir in the grated Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper, mixing at low speed until combined.
Add the flour and potato starch. Continue to mix at a low speed for about a minute until the dough holds together in clumps.
Press the dough together with your hands and place on a floured surface.
Roll out to about 1/4″ thickness (it helps to place a piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap on top of the dough whilst rolling).
Cut circles using a round biscuit cutter (1 5/8″ diameter). Place on ungreased baking trays and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until slightly puffed and golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Makes enough for a staffroom of Primary schoolteachers (about 60 to 70 biscuits … I’m afraid I lost count).