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||Dear Nicey,Wifey and YMOS|
It seems to me that "whether biscuit or cake" is still arguable topic in the U.K. And I wonder if the "Biscuit-cake" is popular in many other countries outside Japan. The "Biscuit-cake" is a familiar as a simple, easy, safe but delicious "home-made" cake suitable for beginners in Japan.
The cake doesn't need the oven. I'm sorry if you have already known , but I would like to try to introduce the "Biscuit cake", here.
* Rich tea/Marie type biscuits
* whipped cream added sugar ( Luckily,ready-made whipped cream is available at my local E-mart in Korea)
* strong brewed coffee (or milk), room temperature
#1 Dunk the both faces of a biscuit lightly in coffee (or milk).
(Be careful not to make it too moist, please!)
#2 Spread some whipped cream on top of the biscuit.
#3 Continue piling with slightly moist biscuit and whipped cream alternately as much as you like, finishing with the biscuit.
#4 Fill the gap between biscuits and spread on top with cream, stylishly.
(If you prefer a "low-calorie" cake, you can skip #4.)
#5 Cover the yummy tower with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least three hours until the biscuits successfully change into a soft moist texture like a sponge cake thanks to the whipped cream.
#6 Adorn with your favourite fruit before serving.
If you create your cake longer like a log and lay it and then spread cream all over it, I think that your cake can be something like a Buche de Noel. To tell the truth, I have never baked even home-made biscuits and I know that my home-made "biscuit-cake" is extremely out of touch with elegance.
However, it was enjoyable for me to fix this cake. I hope many people will enjoy making your own "Biscuit-cake". By the way, as much as we the Japanese call the Biscuit-cake "cake", some people outside Japan may consider it "biscuit".
How do you feel about that, Nicey?
Hiromi Miura (seoul Korea)
|Nicey replies: Dear Hiromi,
I think that biscuits can be ingredients in cakes, as the digestive biscuit and ginger nut often form the base for Cheesecakes. So biscuits are quite prepared for this treatment. I don't think it can go the other way though. Perhaps the closest is the sponge fingers that get used in desserts which are very dry and brittle which have almost entered a state where by they could be used as biscuits. Even so that is no the same thing as smashing them up or treating them with a solution that would turn them into biscuits.
Perhaps some of the people outside of Japan should think about that, although you might have to do the translation again.
P.S. I like the strawberry on top, very tempting.
||Welsh Cakes |
I got this recipe from my father's mother, Mary Blethyn, who had it from her grandmother in Hendy Gwyn (Whitland), Pembrokeshire.
- 1 pound of Flour
- 6 ounces of Sugar
- 6 ounces of Fat (1/2 lard, 1/2 butter) (I generally use all butter these days, though)
- 1/2 a teaspoon of raising powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- a generous handful of dried fruit
- milk to mix
Rub the fat into the flour until it's like fine breadcrumbs. Mix in all the other dry ingredients. Beat the egg well, add gradually to the mixture. Add the milk until you have a stiff, manageable dough. Knead well. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to 1/2 an inch thickness. Cut into rounds about 2 inches across. Cook on a well greased plate (a thick frying pan will do if you don't have a bakestone) over a low heat until brown on both sides.
Some people sprinkle them with sugar or let them get cold and have them with salted butter, but in my house they don't even reach the serving plate. I like them warm and still soggy in the middle, preferably a bit burnt too. Some strange people even go as far as leaving out the fruit and spice, then cut them down the middle and fill them with jam. This is a ‘jam split’ and is an abomination, so we won’t delve too deeply into that
|Nicey replies: Sue as you know we hardly ever, ever put up recipes on NCOTAASD as we would soon wind up swamped with them. However this is definitely one time when we happily bend our arbitrary rules.
We used to borrow Aunty Marilyn's griddle (and recipe too) and make a big batch of Welsh cakes. They definitely cooked best on the griddle, but with St Davids day a month away now I may well see if our big frying pan is up to the job.
||Hi Nicey, |
Have a Welsh Cake & make a difference!
It's Bobath's "Bake for Bobath" week from the 1st to the 8th of March. Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales is a registered charity that depends on donations and the fundraising efforts of their friends and supporters to enable then to see every child with cerebral palsy who needs them.
At EDS's office in Swansea we'll be organising a cake trolley on the 29th of February (a bit early, I know, but there you go.).I'm sure we'll be downing plenty of tea too! If anyone would like to organise something similar they should email 'email@example.com' for an information pack.
Every little helps!
|Nicey replies: Sue,
Of course we could really use your Welsh Cake recipe so that we can all join in.
||I'm writing to you as an American who has recently begun a love affair with tea and biscuits, to inform you that you are much to blame.|
Although I was born and raised in the American Midwest, I've always been a bit of an Anglophile - eschewing action movies and MTV in favor of staying up late watching old BBC shows on public television.
If you have any American readers ask you where they can buy proper biscuits in the states, you should tell them to see if they have a store called "World Market" in their area. It's a chain of about 300 stores, and really the only part of the country they haven't spread to yet is the Northeast. (http://www.worldmarket.com/) They carry furniture and goods from all over the world, plus lots of tasty imported foods. I became a regular at our local World Market a year or so ago, when I discovered that they had an amazing selection of tasty European chocolate bars. I confess to being a complete Ritter Sport addict, especially the "butter cookie" and "milk chocolate hazelnut" varieties.
Then, this summer I moved into an apartment across the street from the store, and I began visiting much more frequently and trying a lot of new things. Well, really I only got as far as the biscuit aisle and have gotten hooked. I started with the Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers, but was still skeptical of the Digestive. Then I somehow stumbled upon an article about Custard Creams online a few months back, and ended up at your website.
I have always liked tea, although it is a bit sacreligious in the coffee-obsessed Pacific Northwest part of the country, where I live now. I have to confess though, that until recently I mostly drank herbal "tea", not realizing how good proper tea could be. Everyone I had ever known brewed their tea the same way - by plopping a couple tea bags into a pot and just letting it sit there forever, resulting in bitter, stewed tea. I have since learned the error of my ways (thanks to encouragement from your website and book) and now drink loads of proper tea (with milk and one sugar). I have even procured some PG Tips, which certainly is better than any American brands of tea I've tried. I've become such a tea fanatic I've even bought myself an electric kettle (brilliant! why doesn't everyone else have these?) and my friends and family think I'm crazy.
I've learned to love the digestive, of course. It's the perfect companion to tea! The selection at World Market is varied and unpredictable, but they always have plain and milk chocolate McVitie's digestives, as well as Crawford's Bourbons and Custard Creams (yummy), plus usually Penguins and Cadbury Fingers. Occasionally they will have Gingernuts, Fruit Shortcake, Garibaldis, McVitie's Chocolate Caramel, etc. I recently picked up a packet of Plain Chocolate digestives, which only make occasional appearances on the shelves. My favorite biscuit though has to be the Hob Nob. Until recently I had only tried the Milk Chocolate, but I spied the plain ones on the shelf the other day, and my are they delicious. I prefer to eat the less chocolatey-sweet biscuits at work, as too much sugar makes it hard to type straight.
I have to say that as much of a fan of Cadbury's chocolate I am, I don't like their biscuits. Too sugary for me, and not in a good way. Don't get me wrong, I like my sweets, but Cadbury's biscuits make me feel like I'm just eating spoonfuls of sugar.
This is turning into quite a long message, but I just have one more thing to add:
Regarding fruitcake in the States - I saw an expat reader of yours mention that she had noticed a certain negative attitute towards fruitcake over here. That is certainly true. Fruitcake is legendary for being an horrifically dense, overly sweet dessert that little old ladies bake and give away as Christmas gifts. The story goes that when you receive a fruitcake as a gift, you should not eat it, but rather try to pawn it off as a gift to someone else - or failing that, stick it in the back of the cupboard until next year, when you dust it off and try to give it away again. I don't know anyone that actually eats fruitcake, except for possibly some little old ladies. I may have tried some at my grandmother's house as a child, but I don't really remember. However, I did try some at a fancy tea party that I attended at a fancy hotel last Christmas, and found that it had a very strong brandy flavor, which does not appeal to me at all, and decided to avoid it in the future. Your rhapsodizing about the perfect fruitcake might make me reconsider, though, and attempt to bake my own this Christmas. Maybe.
That's all for now. Keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: You seem to making very good progress towards a completely well balanced tea and biscuits outlook. The fruit cake will come in time. Ours is a very tasty and relatively light recipe not like those dark tarry masses that appear to have given it such a bad reputation in the US. I would have tough the Pacific North West is probably ideal fruit cake territory, providing it doesn't attract bears.
|Dr Alice Gorman
My best regards to you, Wifey, and the younger members of staff. I feel like I have been out of contact for too long. Academic life, it must be said, is not always conducive to engaging with the broader world.
Last week, as you know, was a momentous anniversary in the history of space exploration. To celebrate the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 my colleague Dr Lynley Wallis spent all night in the kitchen making special sputnik cakes. We offered them to our graduate students in a masterclass on the day itself. The presence of cake brought home to them how significant this day was in the creation of the modern world. I knew you would enjoy seeing the results of our efforts and attach a (only slightly blurry) picture of the special sputnik cakes.
I remain your most humble devotee,
|Nicey replies: Its always good to hear from NCOTAASD's favourite space archaeologist. We too were excited about the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, which for good reason is the artificial satellite that I most often think of. Despite all the hundreds of other ones up there routing our phone calls, guiding our transport and keeping an eye on the weather, Sputnik is the only one with its own vegetable. The Kohl-Rabis that turn up in our weekly delivered veggi-box are the spit of it, and very nice in a stir fry it is.
I'm impressed that each cake seems to be unique in its design and colour scheme and I note that Dr Wallis didn't spare the food colouring. I hope this didn't render all your students hyper-active with attention deficit issues. Granted the latter is always difficult to diagnose in students although working in such a stimulating field I'm sure you don't suffer from such things.