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||Dear Mr Nicey,|
If Monika Duhig lives in Melbourne, she'll find lovely hand-made Eccles cakes, made by a pastrycook from Lancashire, at JT's Bakery, Pinewood Shopping Centre, Mount Waverley.
Can't eat 'em meself, now, because of diet restrictions.
||Hi again Nicey…|
I’ve been giving Anne’s recollections some tea-induced fantasy consideration. I think she may be referring to “Carnival” biscuits. I too remember the lady-with-parasol design and the odd echo when tapped. Bit like an iced shoebox lid. And just as unpalatable. Does anyone else think so too? And how did the manufacturer achieve that stone-like texture and brittleness? I suspect the presence of tinted quick-setting cement powder in the icing mix. Even a 10-second dunk at 90 deg C failed to soften/wetten the icing, although the immersed Rich Tea-like base disintegrated and subsided into a nasty sludge at the bottom of the cup.
But perhaps my memory is at fault as no doubt by now I’m getting senile (I am 58¾)…the Wifey here says this is indeed so. And as anyone who has listened to Ruth will appreciate, she’s NEVER wrong.
Most biscuitly yours
||Dear Nicey, |
Thanks for the great site (and thanks to contributing readers/authors). As an Aussie living in your wet islands I came to adore the eccles cake and a hot drink, practically anytime, really. I wanted to know if any Brit company distributes eccles cakes down under - please, somebody......it is too tragic that I and my recently converted sister should be EC free. Specifically the Lancs company that makes them in Manchester and stacks them in a cellophane wrapping - can't think what the brand is and manufactured in Manchester is probably dodgy but whatever they had in them was utterly addictive (heroin?) but really, any EC of comparable quality will do
|Nicey replies: Monika,
Regrettably I don't think thats a likely scenario. Still maybe somebody knows different. As for the secret ingredient, I think its simply our old friend butter which makes the pastry so tasty.
Hope you and The Wife and the rest of the NCOTAASD crew are fine...not too bloated from onerous cake- and biscuit-sampling activities.
Please could you open a review thread on Cheese Footballs (for the more sporty types out there) and also Cheese Sticks? I think Cheese Footballs were made by Huntley & Palmer but I don't know who made their slender cousin, the Cheese Stick.
They used to remind me of Andre Maurois' most excellent children's book "Fattipuffs and Thinifers". It was about two neighbouring tribes of people. One tribe was short, round, fat and jolly and the other was tall, thin, stick-like and morose. Bit like their cheese-filled biscuit relatives, really. Quaere: Can biscuits be jolly? Or morose? I think we may need a philosopher of the Biscuit World to rule on that one...
The Cheese Footballs (spherical - about 20mm dia) and the Cheese Sticks (cylindrical - about 10mm dia x about 75mm long) had significant things in common. Both were constructed of a wafer covering (a bit like Askey's cones and wafers for carrying ice cream) with a very salty, slightly gritty and VERY moreish and strongly cheese-flavoured paste inside. The wafers sometimes were faultily moulded so that a careful and dedicated deconstructor could part the two halves with thumbnails judiciously inserted, and expose the yumulicious filling which could then be consumed "neat", so to speak. This salty, cheesey paste would really go for any slight abrasions in the roof of the mouth, rather like over-liberally spread Marmite soldiers do. The filling did smell a bit odd, though. A girlfriend of many years ago claimed they made my breath smell "fusty". Or could she have meant "lusty"? No matter. But nothing that a Nice Cup Of Tea couldn't wash away pronto.
I haven't seen either of these masterpieces of the savoury biscuitmaker's art for years. This could be because they're out of production (like Chocolate Olivers - Hallowed be their Blessed Name - and Abbey Crunch) or because I'm getting too short-sighted as I've got older to see them as I slowly surf the supermarket aisles. Have any other NCOTAASD readers spotted them recently? I think we should be told.
The volume of cheese-flavoured filling within a standard Cheese Football can be found by applying the formula V = 4/3 x ? x r3 (where r = 10mm) giving a result of 4190mm3 (4.19cc) of cheese-flavoured filling per football
The volume of cheese-flavoured filling within a standard Cheese Stick can be found by applying the formula V = ? x r2 x L (where r = 5mm and L = 75mm) giving a result of 5893mm3 (5.893cc) of cheese-flavoured filling per stick
Both calculations make no allowance for the wall thickness of the enclosing wafer, and assume there are no voids within the wafer; i.e. each artefact is perfectly filled and, in the case of the Cheese Sticks, each stick has circular ends square to the length
|Nicey replies: John,
I certainly remember cheese footballs and concur that Huntley and Palmer were the main protagonists in this regard. I'm sure Marks and Spencer also had their own label ones. I think that could get cheese and celery ones also, at at Christmas time they liked to travel in tins. From what I remember of them the smelt quite a lot like rampant foot odor. This meant that unless you really liked them you had to get yourself quite psyched up or moderately drunk before tucking in. Much the same thing is true of oysters, I feel. There was also a round cheesy potato snack, cheese balls/puffs with bright orange cheesy stuff on it which smelt worse, so much so that I won't even mention what it reminded me of.
I haven't seen them in years, I think they were displaced from their ecological snacking niche by Scampi fries, much in the way Grey Squirrels have kicked out the red ones.
||Hi there Nicey!|
I've not emailed you before but have spent far too much time perusing your website when I really should be doing something else like the ironing or clearing up the furball the cat's just sicked up!
Anyway, hoping you can help. Last week at work my friend Maureen and I were having one of our regular biscuit discussions (her having purchased in Tesco's that lunchtime a bumper pack of Malted Milk and me saying I wasn't actually that struck on them as I don't really like anything with a malty taste - apart from Maltesers - and then proceeding to eat at least 15 of them!). As usual, the discussion involved much "do you remember...." and I suddenly experienced a flashback to my childhood and an image of a particular biscuit from many years ago (I am 44). On describing it to Maureen, she felt a growing sense of recollection, but neither of us could remember its name so I'm hoping you might be able to solve the puzzle.
From memory, the biscuit was rectangular, maybe 2" by 1.5" with maybe one of those scalloped type edges. It was quite a crisp texture and not particularly sweet (perhaps akin to the base of an iced gem??). It had a thinnish covering of icing - again quite crisp. The colour I recall most vividly was a sort of bubble-gum pink, but I think they may also have come in yellow and may even have had both colours in the same pack. Two more features are ringing in my memory. The first is an image in white icing on the pink or yellow background of maybe a figure of a lady (crinoline/parasol type thing) and the second is that when the biscuit was tapped with your fingernail it actually sounded sort of hollow.
I know this probably all sounds a bit weird and I'm a bit worried that I might be imagining the whole thing but it is really bugging me and the fact that Maureen has an inkling of it as well makes me think that my memory might not be playing tricks on me after all. There again, Maureen has admitted to liking Malted Milk dunked in Horlicks - yuk!
Does it mean anything to you? Hope you can put us out of our misery and look forward to hearing from you!
|Nicey replies: Yep, they sound like the sort of iced biscuits that many people recall but can't name. Iced biscuits used to be way more popular than they are today although I didn't get that many at home, if at all, I certainly remember having biscuits such as you describe when visiting friends or relatives. Hopefully your detailed recollection will jog some memories.|