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||Hello Nicey and Wifey,|
I'm French, and I lived some seven years in England, I thoroughly enjoyed these years. But I still have my tea without milk nor sugar.. Which stops me from enjoying the strong brew I often get in most tea places, even if I ask for a very weak tea.
Only posher places allow you to remove the tea bag before the tea is undrinkable, or give you a jug of water to weaken the tea...
Are you all horrified out there???
Now for custard: yes I admit having enjoying some custards, school dinners ones, home made ones made from Bird's I suppose, but I love trifle, and I have an excellent English recipe that doesn't use jelly, but home made custard (from eggs and milk, but with a special tip which I will reveal on your site if anyone would like to hear it), and also using mostly fresh fruit. Of course in summer I use fresh strawberries, peaches, apricots, to the delight of my French guests who first say "What? Not an English dessert!!
Anybody interested in my recipe?
And to finish with, another addition to British shopping abroad: in the little town of Foix (Ariège) where I live, there is a litttle shop called "Simply British" where you can find all this delicious stuff, even Marmite among other things, that I used to have to bring back from England every time I went there on holiday. The shop is run by an English lady, and the adress is Rue des Chapeliers, should you wish to visit that lovely and peaceful part of France. (By the way, lots of British people have bought houses and are settling or plan to settle there at retirement.There is even a B and B place run by English people, and an English restaurant with a English chef, who makes delicious puddings with custard...The place is called Gaia and the 3 ^places are in the same street in Foix
Voilà tout, merci for your site, and I look fotward to any queries!
Keep up the good work
|Nicey replies: Apart from your dubious tea mangling ways you seem otherwise very well adjusted.
Actually the YMOS and I went fruit picking on Sunday at our local fruit farm which is literally the other side of the road from NCOTAASD HQ, even if it is half a mile away down that road. Having gone a bit mad on the raspberries, I juiced the excess added sugar and set it with some gelatine to make fresh raspberry jelly. Some trifle sponges and strawberry blancmange later and we had pudding. Yes I did briefly agonise over the custard vs blancmange issue, but I have a backlog of strawberry blancmange.
So far in our tea tours of France we have never made it down as far as the Pyrenees, but we would love to visit one day.
On a recent adventure the French Alps I discovered that when the French aren't making fine wine and excellent cheese, they busy themselves with a spot of Marmot Tea making. Unfortunately, despite they niceness of the illustration on the packet (two marmots enjoying a nice cup of tea, and a sit down), the tea itself turned out to taste of very little, and we were left disappointed by the drinking experience.
However, the website that I found advertised on the box almost made up for it www.les2marmottes.fr - it has a rather pleasing animation on start up that tells a tale to warm the cockles. Thought you might like it also.
The conclusion of my investigation was that while there are plenty on places for a good sit down in alpine areas, you are best avoiding the cups of tea, and opting for the nice cup of vin chaud and a sit down instead. Nothing to report on the biscuit front, so think further research is needed.
|Nicey replies: Indeed. Never ever expect the French to produce a decent tea bag. Doubly so if they are basing their inspiration on a the leaf litter dragged into the borrow of a large alpine rodent. I could go on.|
||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
I saw your book in the library the other day and borrowed it, and now I am going to buy copies for many members of my family who would really enjoy it. Well done, a really good read with lots of truly vital information, as you will be well aware.
But I had to write to ask if anyone knows anything about Milk and Honey Creams. I doubt there was much honey in them, and possibly not any milk, but for me they will always be the quintessence of a jam sandwich cream biscuit. Slightly toffee flavour jam (the so-called "honey") and vanilla "milk". Do you think people were put off by the possible extreme messiness of a Milk and Honey Sandwich? Maybe if it was explained that it was really a toffee and vanilla biscuit then Huntley and Palmers, or whoever they call themselves now, would produce it again, thus taking me back to my childhood and doubtless providing much pleasure to those whose childhoods were bereft of this wonderful biscuit.
I like the website too by the way. I live near Belfast and we recently had a Christmas market featuring stalls from all over Europe, but most of my money went to the Breton cake stall. Apple buns, almond slices, chocolate tart, all wonderful. Sadly the market was only there for 3 weeks so I did not have time to eat every item on sale, so maybe I will have to go on holiday to Brittany like you did.
Keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Hello Hilary,
Yes I just about remember Milk and Honey's, amongst my earliest biscuit memories, I must have been about 3 or 4 years old. My Auntie Edna had some and they very different to the Crawfords Custard Creams which would have been my benchmark biscuit at the time. At the time she lived in a large old Essex weatherboard house called Clements Hall. I remember eating Milk and Honey's as we went to watch a bonfire in the very overgrown grounds of the place, all sat in a disused tram car that had been salvaged from Southend Piers's light railway. Apparently it's all gone now, I think it burnt down, and a leisure centre has been built there.
Although it is part of our missing in action section I have heard tale that Milk and Honeys which like many Huntley and Palmer biscuits were produced under licence around the world, are still made in Malaysia.
As for living near Belfast, the same can be said of Wifey's family. In fact Grandma Wifey's unrelenting one woman PR blitz on a poor unsuspecting Northern Ireland after our books publication could well be the reason that your Library has a copy.
|Revd. Stephen Day
Cornish Fairings Review
Just got back from Cornwall, and I'm sorry to report that your "missing in action" section may soon have to include the Cornish Fairing
An intensive search in Truro this morning discovered only one shop (a patisserie) selling the biscuits, and the proprietor said that they weren't going to be available any more as Furniss were in receivership.
On the other hand, the Camborne and Redruth Packet has potentially better news
One for NCOTAASD HQ to keep an eye on...
Hope your summer holiday was at least as good as mine, and with fewer blisters !
|Nicey replies: Hi Steve,
Thanks for the on the spot reporting on important Cornish biscuit matters. Lets hope they can sort it out.
We had a lovely time in France, no blisters although it may take some time to erase the psychological scaring of having to play mini-golf in torrential rain.
Here is a rousing picture of some cakes with France in the background, taken on the same day as the mini-golf incident.
Lu Petit Dejeuner Review
|Dear Honourable Biscuit gentleman;|
In two weeks time i will be moving to France to study (it's ok though, i saw that the Auchan across the road stocks McVities Digestives). I had been intrigued by the various breakfast biscuits that i saw on display last week and thank you most heartily for this analysis- it's like thor himself urged you to write that review in order to facilitate my living and make breakfasts a little more pleasurable. Perhaps i will have to become a cake woman for the next three years? (if you're ever in Finland, by the way, i recommend the Korvapuusti [lit: ear rolls- never let it be said that those Fins don't like to mix up the controversy] ).
You didn't happen to see any gingernuts over in France-land, did you?
p.s. if you ever get stuck for language in France, remember that an 'alors' and a 'd'accord' will always get you far
|Nicey replies: Good luck in France - a couple of crates of Tea Bags, proper biscuits, Marmite, Marmalade, Baked Beans, Branston Pickle, Custard Powder, Mint Sauce, Horse Radish Sauce, assorted Curry paraphernalia and some proper fruitcake should get you through the first couple of months with your sanity intact. You'll just have to live on your wits if you want to find sensible bacon for a sandwich.
As for Gingernuts not a sign of them (refer to above!).
The Rev Stephen Day has extensive experience of Finland, as he was on a deep undercover mission out there for a couple of years as a telecomms type bloke. Being suitably clever he even claims to be able to read some of their biscuit packets too. Largely but not entirely unrelated, he reports back from a recent walking holiday in Cornwall that the Cornish Fairing is in big trouble once again.
As for 'Alors' I usually use that followed by a deep intake of breath when commencing any cake business in France. It sets the the tone nicely.