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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.
Tunnocks Wafer Review
You may have already heard of this, but while queueing in the kiosk at ASDA the other day, I spotted a "Giant" Tunnocks Caramel wafer. It wasn't particularly big - just a tad longer than a normal wafer but there were a few aspects that caused a double take and left me staring in disbelief. The first was that the addition of the word "giant", onto the otherwise traditional wrapper. The second was that they were being sold individually, and were individually wrapped in a wrapper akin to a chocolate bar. The third and most bizarre factor was it's placement - at the cigarette counter nestled amongst the Mars Bars, Bounties and the rest.
Being on a lunch break I didn't have time to wander to the biscuit aisle and was left wondering who's idea this placement was - ASDA or Tunnock's? Has anyone else witnessed this commado infiltrating foreign territory?
|Nicey replies: Well well well. Looks like Tunnocks have rolled their sleeves up and decided to tough it out with the likes of the KitKat Chunky and all those other renegades from the biscuit aisle. I reckon the plucky Scots might do well with this.|
Hope you're not developing psychokinetic biscuit-moving powers like the man in Mitchell & Webb last night
|Nicey replies: Yes that was some well observed biscuit humour, and technically correct that he was unable to move Jaffa Cakes using his mind. Also at the end when all the biscuits exploded in a Carrie style finale we again observed that Jaffa Cakes were intact. Also we noted the supermarket scenes were shot in an Asda, and wondered if all Asdas have to have a button next to the eggs which makes loud chicken noises when you press it as ours does.|
||Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I'm not sure whether your excellent website covers the topic of Tea Shoppes, but as you are connoisseurs of all things tea related and must on occasions travel about the countryside and find yourselves in desperate need of a cup of tea, I thought you might be interested in our experience in a Tea Shoppe in Shaftesbury, Dorset. We were in the town on Saturday following an ebay run to collect a nice pine wall mounted dresser top and, badly in need of refreshment, we spotted an idyllic looking Tea Shoppe which should remain nameless but can be found in close proximity to the Sherlock Holmes Dolls House and Miniatures Emporium. On enquiring if we could partake of tea, we were informed that they were only doing 'tea and cake' as obviously they didn't want riff raff in who would just order one cuppa and sit there cluttering the place up all afternoon. Which was fine as what we wanted to order was a cream tea plus cake. They did a cream tea with one scone or a cream tea with two scones, so we thought we would order a cream tea with two scones, share the scones and then share a piece of cake. BUT I made the mistake of mentioning the sharing bit at which point the lady in charge rather frostily pointed out their 'sharing policy'. They had little notices on the table saying that their prices were according to portions and if you shared they would add on 25%. This seemed such a bizarre notion that we asked for further clarification. She just repeated 'our sharing policy is as explained on your table'. Rather than quiz her further on whether they had an 'I can't finish all this, will you have some of it?' policy, it seemed easier to settle for the cream tea with one scone and abandon the idea of sharing altogether, but then there was the question of the cake. I can never eat a whole piece, so asked Hubby which we should have, but then I remembered the 'sharing policy' and panicked. Meanwhile the lady was sighing. rolling her eyes and tapping her pencil very loudly on the pad, so I just chose at random. When it came we had to wait until she left the room to share the one scone and cake in case we incurred the additional 25%. Now I can understand a policy of 'Set Teas Only' at busy times, which I believe they apply in the excellent Polly Tea Rooms in Marlborough, or a policy of charging for extra scones, but I find it hard to understand a 25% penalty for sharing. Surely once you have purchased the tea, scones and cake, how you divide it up is a matter for the individual. I think this lady is worthy of a Basil Fawlty Award for Customer Service, although she did do herself out of a couple of quid by not letting us have the cream tea with two scones to share.
Forgive me for boring you with this tale but I do believe this sharing policy needs to be put to the test- possibly by Michael Winner, although he would probably not be inclined to share his scones and cake anyway.
Thank you for your lovely website.
|Nicey replies: Gripping stuff Barbara, and I understand your pain of random cake choice under pressure. It is best to get these things off your chest, otherwise the resentment could lead to to some nasty scene years later, such as the wilful taking any unused little pots of jam.|