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Noticed on my last stroll through my local Morrisons supermarket that you can now buy one of these ready mix kits to make your own Jaffa Cakes. Opinions please; a step too far?
May all your crumbs be small ones
|Nicey replies: They are just trying to cash in on the burgeoning Snack Pimping scene what ever that is, we expect.
Vimto and Vanilla Thriller Jammie Dodgers Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I was relaxing at home with my wife last night when she suddenly remembered a rather exciting biscuit purchase she'd made before. She'd been looking for plain chocolate digestives in Asda, she said, when she found some limited edition jammy dodgers which purported to include not only the standard jam but also custard. Intrigued, I went into the kitchen and retrieved the biscuits.
Unfortunately, the experience was far from magical. I wasn't expecting anything remotely resembling real custard, but hoped for at least a rhubarb-and-custard style dichotomy between the biscuit layers. It wasn't to be, though - the custard was stretchy and sticky like the jam, and tasted the same as well, leading me to believe that these weren't in fact jammy dodgers containing custard, merely jammy dodgers in which half of the jam had been artificially manipulated to look like custard.
Aside from this, the usual jammy dodger setbacks remained. The horizontal packaging style always leaves the jam/custard from the biscuits in the top layer stuck to the wrapper and unsalvageable. Why do they do this? I suspect it's to make the packet of biscuits seem larger - if they were stacked vertically in the normal fashion they'd never get away with only giving you twelve in the packet. Also the extreme stickiness of the filling prevented any meaningful enjoyment being extracted from separating the biscuits - they simply crumbled in my hands.
I know this isn't really feedback of the variety people normally send into you, I just thought it was important that you were made aware of this gimmicky, facile biscuit. I was going to send some in to you so you could test out their custard-ness for yourselves, but unfortunately I'd eaten all of them by the time I'd made up my mind. My wife wasn't too happy about that either.
|Nicey replies: Yes they sound almost identical to the Vanilla Thriller Jammie Dodgers we reviewed a while back. Definitely one of those occasions when something sounds much better on paper. I think Jammie Dodgers are only ever going to be two biscuits connected with a squirt of jammie glue. Much as we can imagine them morphing into a new higher form that has a layer of something else in there its never going to happen.
I'm glad you raised the rhubarb and custard point. Nanny Nicey has always said there should be a Rhubarb and Custard cream biscuit. Indeed a couple of years ago I was invited into the Sainsbury's mothership to talk about ideas for new biscuits and suggested this. It was very well received and they even got Fox's involved who did some brainstorming around the idea, with various classic British Puddings interpreted through the medium of biscuits being suggested, but it never proceeded further. It would be a terrific biscuit though.
||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
In the interest of experimentation, I baked a fruit cake at the weekend to the full NCOTAASD specification and brought it to work to have at elevenses with a block of Wensleydale cheese.
The idea was to introduce the non Yorkshire members of staff (myself included) to the alleged practice of eating fruitcake with cheese.
The Yorkshire member of staff was disappointed that the cake provided was not Simnel cake, but having been assured that the cheese was indeed Wensleydale, he quickly relented and tucked in.
The initial reaction was that the cake was a bit on the dry side. This was probably due to my temperamental oven cooking at a higher temperature than that indicated by the dial. This will be rectified on my next attempt.
Apart from the dryness of the cake, the consensus was that the cheese added very little (except in calorific terms) to the cake eating experience as the mild flavour of the Wensleydale was completely overpowered by the fruit.
I am intending to try again with a moister cake and a white Stilton, but I don’t really see the practice catching on.
|Nicey replies: Keith,
Thanks for taking up the challenge on this one. Sorry to hear your cake was a bit dry, it will change its texture with keeping which is why we always leave ours a week in the tin before we tuck in. So it will probably improve a good bit by the weekend. Also as you say ovens can be very tricky. Our gas oven changes it behaviour depending on what its in it and how the heat circulates. If I have two things on two shelves then we are into the realms of needing super-computing models like those used to forecast the weather to predict what will happen. I think in our first few dabblings with fruit cake we would sometimes over do it a bit so it does come down to a bit of trail and error to get them just right.
I'm now struggling with the fact that I now seem to aspire to owning an oven thermometer. This seems a bit Heston Blumenthal-esk, and therefore counter to the free spirited and artisanal nature of baking. I can see both sides of the argument so really need to work this one through a bit more.
||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
I have just read with interest the correspondence from Nick Q relating to the consumption of cheese with fruitcake.
This very topic was discussed in the office recently with one of my colleagues, Nicky, admitting to indulging in this very practice.
This blows the theory that it is a ‘Yorkshire thing’ as she comes from somewhere just north of London and has no connections with Yorkshire.
I was initially slightly perturbed at the concept, but curiosity is beginning to get the better of me and I will probably try some fruitcake with a bit of Wensleydale at the weekend, using your very own recipe.
I might also give the tea loaf recipe from Lois McGrath a go. This sounds a bit like something my mother used to make, but she never weighed or measured anything so getting a recipe from her was virtually impossible.
|Nicey replies: Yes I'm slightly curious to know what it's like too. I think if the atmosphere was relaxed with the right sort of cheese and a cake that I was comfortable with then I might give it a go.
I did make the tea loaf, I think it could have had another five minutes in the oven as its just a tiny bit soggy at the top. I can see that it certainly is the sort of thing that one could fiddle around with bunging in a bit of this and that. We are about to see this little lot off in a minute with the YMOS.
My Grandad was a big fan of a bit of cheese with his Christmas cake. All that side of the family did it. They were Lancastrians. I don’t recall him ever leaving his hometown of Clitheroe in his entire life apart from his jaunt to North Africa in the 1940s to deal with Rommel and catch malaria so I don’t think it was a habit he acquired outside his natural environs. The cheese of choice was a nice bit of Tasty Lancs. which is a crumbly cheese with quite a sharp, tangy flavour.
I am a Yorkshireman so generally don’t like to discuss my part-Lancastrian ancestry but I feel it is important that I make this contribution to the discussion as it suggests the cheese/cake combo. is not limited to the East of the Pennines.
I hope this helps in the debate.