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|Mrs Sarah Mint-Viscount
||Dear Nicey, Wifey & YMOS,|
While looking through the feedback section of NCOTAASD, I noticed various postings on the subject of kettles, and all the talk of kettles reminded me of the time I spent in County Kerry, and the strange kettle-y activity that went on while I was there.
I was there for about a year doing a course, and it turned out to be a place of real significance to me in tea-related terms. First of all, I had foolishly neglected to develop a taste for tea previous to doing that course, but while there, I finally discovered the love for a nice brew. This probably happened because of the canteen’s policy of charging (a lot) for all non-tea beverages e.g. orange juice, but not charging anything for the tea. It’s the old story: student meets free food/drink, student falls in love with the free food/drink - textbook stuff really
Second of all, it was in Kerry that I encountered an exciting new sport: Kettle Racing. A fellow student from Galway had played this unusual sport on a previous stint at student life, and he showed us the way. Basically what it involved was the following: whenever there was a house party, everyone was encouraged to bring the kettles from their own houses. Then, at some point during the evening, we would all congregate with them in the kitchen, and an adjudicator would be appointed (a neutral, who hadn’t brought a kettle). The kettles were emptied, lined up, and plugged in. The adjudicator would then take out a measuring jug and put a precise 1 litre of water into each kettle, ensuring that everybody’s water was equally cold…. and it was “On your buttons, set, GO”.
Naturally, we all got feverish with excitement as we waited to see whose kettle would get to clicking-off point first - well you can imagine the sort of emotion it would stir up. When your trusty kettle – the water boiler extraordinaire, and source of so many a good cuppa - is pitted against other kettles, you badly, badly want it to win. No-one wants some upstart kettle from down the road to be considered superior. So there were shreaks and roars as each person urged on their kettle, the representive of their house: “Come on 27 Millroad Crescent”… “Go on 15 Killeen Drive”. Unfortunately it did get nasty occasionally as people couldn’t come to terms with their kettle being beaten. So there would be accusations thrown around, about elements being pre-warmed with a boiling immediately prior to the race preparations, or overfilling by an allegedly impartial adjudicator. These unpleasantries aside, it was, all-in-all, a good giggle.
I know some people will immediately disapprove, thinking of the environmental impact of all those kettles being boiled unnecessarily, but I would point out in our defence that the kettle races held us all in such thrall that pretty much every other electrical device was abandoned while the race went on – every playstation, DVD player, television, CD player or radio was switched off as we focused on the exciting events in the kitchen.
Anyway, I just wondered if anyone else has played this outside of Co. Kerry, or indeed Ireland. I have a suspicion that, if at all, the sport will only be found amongst other students (Kings and Queens of too-much-time-on-your-hands activities).
|Nicey replies: I think we could only condone such a environmentally dubious sport if all the boiled water was used to make tea for the needy.|
||Sylvia and Alice have been busy this September making very large and very fine cakes. Here is photographic evidence of our Battenburg slices and Butterfly buns. We would love to see them on your ever so splendid website.|
|Nicey replies: Exquisite work.|
|S K Chew
South East Asian Multireview Review
The zhishuyu is the hydrogenated vegetable shortening (probably palm oil based) and the pengsongji is the leavening agent probably Ammonium/Sodium Bicarb. Good Luck to you.
S K CHEW
|Nicey replies: Thanks very much, I'm very happy to have that cleared up, a nice way to close out the week.|
Bakers Iced Zoo Review
I love your website, having been pointed in its direction by my teenage daughter who came across the name somewhere and said it sounded like me.
Having grown up in South Africa I was delighted to read the references to Tennis biscuits and to find they are available (with a bit of effort) in England. They were one of my favourites when I was a kid, not so much because of the taste, though they do make a great ‘fridge cake’ – my mum used to make a rather good one involving lime jelly whipped with evaporated milk on a base of crushed Tennis biscuits; very Sixties but yummy – but because I loved the pretty lacy flower pattern.
On the subject of South African biscuits, the ones I remember best were Zoo biscuits, which were not chocolate biscuits but iced in pastel colours with (not very recognisable) silhouettes of animals on the front. Others might like to know that there is a stall on Brighton Pier which sells South African foods, including said Zoo biscuits, though they now seem to be iced in much more lurid shades than I recall. They taste the same though (and it’s still a challenge to work out what the animals are meant to be).. The best thing was being able to prove to my English children that they weren’t a figment of my imagination. At the same stall I also bought Fanta Grape (which I don’t think I’ve ever had in England) and a cake known as ‘koeksusters’, which are an extremely sweet and sticky plaited dough soaked in syrup, like a cross between doughnuts and the Middle Eastern pastry called baklava, but without the nuts. Does anyone else know these?
|Nicey replies: Yes we enjoyed our pack of Zoo biscuits, and decided that many of the animals were probably slugs.|
Custard Cream Review
|When I was treasurer of my union branch way back in the 1970s, one of my duties was to buy the tea and biscuits for the meetings. It was then that I discovered orange creams. These are very much like custard creams but with orange filling not vanilla. They are divine. Are they still for sale? It's a long time since I've seen them on a supermarket shelf. Perhaps an orange cream spotting competition with my grateful thanks as a reward?|
|Nicey replies: Every so often we get a mail from somebody trying to track down some Orange Creams. The last ones I saw in the wild were in the biscuit aisle of an Iceland as part of a three pack of custard, orange and coconut creams. The Iceland in question has since been demolished and a whole new set of of shops built, so it was a while back.
I have seen various flavoured cream biscuits originating from Ireland, such as raspberry creams and these were made I think under the Bolands brand which was used by Jacobs. These could occasionally turn up in the UK in small grocers and the like. Since the acquisition of Jacobs in Ireland by Fruitfield in 2004 I'm not sure what has been happening with the Bolands brand, or products. However we have heard that the Irish have fixed their Club Milk back from the rubbish raft format adopted in 2001 to the proper sandwich format we all know and love, so they certainly seem like a force for good.
Yes I am aware that I have completely wandered off the point now.