Canberra got a little less boring this week, as the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival rolled into town. Card-carrying hippies that we are, Chadwiko and I both adore Mohamed Nasheed and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the documentary about the man- The Island President- on the big screen.
While the story behind the film won’t be new to anyone who followed the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 (which I’m sure you did- I think your vegan powers are retracted if you didn’t), it’s a beautifully made documentary that gives a great insight into the real Maldives. You know, the country beyond all the expensive beachfront bungalows. And while things have changed politically over there in recent times, it’s still a great time to see the film and understand the context of February’s events. Highly recommended!
Because our movie night wasn’t hippie enough, I packed up some freshly-baked cookies and smuggled them into the cinema. It’s the vegan way! I wish I’d had the foresight to conjure up some kind of Maldivian-spiced cookie, but alas, that wasn’t the case. These cookies were born more from creativity of the ‘why do I have so much of this ingredient, and what should I do with it?’ variety.
In this case, the culprit was homemade pistachio paste, leftover from a fig and pistachio frangipane tart. Combined with my recent desire to make some kind of cardamom cookie, these pistachio cardamom shortbread cookies were the result. While Chadwiko couldn’t offer his thoughts on the recipe in the quiet theatre, the empty container he’d left beside my handbag spoke volumes. It’s a good thing I’ve still got more pistachio paste in the fridge.
Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
Makes around 30 small cookies.
- 1 cup vegan margarine
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons pistachio paste (store bought or home made), softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/4 cup raw, shelled pistachios
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F, and line three baking trays with baking paper.
- Cream together the margarine, sugar, pistachio paste and salt until fluffy and the pistachio paste is well-incorporated (this can take up to five minutes, depending on how softened your pistachio paste is).
- Add the vanilla and orange extracts and beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, cornstarch and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients to the margarine mixture in two batches, beating to combine.
- If the dough is dry and crumbly, add splashes of almond milk to form a soft dough.
- Form tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten slightly onto the baking trays. Top each cookie with shelled pistachio halves.
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. The edges should be turning golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking trays for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Store in a tightly covered container- if they last that long!