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Tunnocks Tea Cake Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
Firstly, let me say how great it is to see your site continuing to blossom and grow in the way it has, and I really do hope that it continues to do so in the future!
And regarding Tunnock's tea cakes, I'm suprised that no one has said this yet, but their combination of micron thin chocolate, and the soft foamy mallow consistency opens up a whole world of tea table fun (seriously, ALMOST as good as pant toast)!
Firstly, handle the teacake very carefully whilst unwrapping it, you need to have perfectly intact chocolate shell. Then, hold the teacke gently in the palm of your hand, and pressing the nail of your other hand against the shell, twist it gently so that you drill through the chocolate. Then turn the tea cake around, and do the same on the opposite side. then simply put your lips to one of the holes and blow! What results is a creamy white mallow fountain, that comes through the hole, and slowly snakes down the side of the teacake, hours of fun guarunteed (well, guaruntedd for sad cases like me anyway).
For variations on the trick, make lots of little holes on the side and top of the tea cake, for an impressive sychronised mallow display, or only create one hole, and then blow into the teacake untill the chocolate shell pops! Fantastic!
Have fun, and keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Well done. What you suggest is probably even messier than a Tim Tam Slam, and is a valuable contribution to biscuit eating culture. Be simultaneously sticky and proud.
Graham cracker Review
I just finished reading your Graham cracker page. Add me to the list of Americans who had no idea what a Digestive was [until I read about it on your web site] but had known about Graham crackers for well over half a century. Graham crackers were a staple of my youthful diet and a treat through middle years and into my 'rusty' years. They are also a staple for my grand kids. They are the ever-ready between meal snack which keeps little ones quiet.
Graham crackers come in a couple varieties that I know of. Plain, as pictured on your web page, and with a cinnamon-sugar topping on one side. I personally prefer the cinnamon-sugar ones. I have not seen the apple and chocolate ones you mention... but I have never looked for them either.
Graham crackers are one of the three ingredients of Smores, or S'mores. Smores is a contraction of the words some more, as in I want s-more. Smores are almost a 'necessity' while sitting around the evening campfire when camping.
Do a web search for more Smores web pages.
While the photo [on your web page] of the Nabisco Grahams box shows jam on a Graham cracker, I do not recall ever seeing anyone eating that combination.
Graham crackers make a good topping when squished in the hand and sprinkled over a bowl of ice cream. They add a nice random crunchiness to the ice cream and a flavor contrast of grain to milk product.
My favorite topping for Graham crackers is about an equal mix of peanut butter and honey. A small round bottom tea cup or coffee cup makes a nice mixing container. I take a few knife fulls of peanut butter and scrape it into the cup by dragging the knife blade across the cup lip. Alternately, you can put a spoon full in the cup, but then you wind up using your finger to scrape the peanut butter out of the spoon, and then the spoon to scrape off your finger. Once the peanut butter is in the cup, I add honey using my eyeball to 'measure' when there is about an equal amount of peanut butter and honey. Then stir it with the knife until it is well blended. You can then add more of either ingredient to suit your taste, or make the consistency spreadable. Once mixed, it is spread atop a Graham cracker. I usually have milk with it, but tea or coffee would do as well... depending on your personal preference. Smooth peanut butter works better for spreading. No peanut pieces for the spreading knife to bounce over. But crunchy peanut butter will work too... if you like the spread layer thicker.
Both my kids and grand kids like to dunk Graham crackers in a glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate.
I followed a link from Andy Edward's Music web site to visit your web site.
Curiosity question: What kind of tea do you Brits prefer? Unless I am mistaken, if one orders 'tea' at a restaurant here in the US, you will get black pekoe as the 'standard tea'. However many places now bring a bread basket style container with an assortment to choose from. Just curious if you ordered a 'cup of tea', what kind it would be. Is there a 'standard tea' which is usually served in the UK?
Spokane Washington USA
|Nicey replies: Hi Leo,
Thanks for that very informative mail about Graham Crackers. We had smores explained to us the other evening by an American girl, whilst we were down in London for the evening. We repaid her kindness by forcing her to eat a several things she had never encountered before including Jaffa Cakes and Tunnocks Wafers. She seemed to enjoy it although she couldn't finish the Tunnocks so I made her wrap it up again and pop it in her bag so she could have it in the morning.
As to what tea we drink, well that really comes down to brands, but you are essentially right about it being standard tea. All the leading everyday teas are blends of various black teas from India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. These are carefully blended to give each brand its own particular taste, although they are all broadly similar. The leading brands are Tetley, PG Tips, TyPhoo, Yorkshire Tea and so forth. The supermarket chains also have their own blends with Sainsbury's and the Coop both being highly regarded. As you probably know all our teas are designed for drinking with milk. I suppose that if you mixed up some Celyon, Assam and Kenyan teas in the right proportions you could create something fairly close to any of our well known brands. The trick is to blend the tea to suit the water. It was common to ship water from Manchester to the tea plantations in India so the tea could be blended correctly before it ever left there.
If you ever visit the UK you simply just have to ask for 'tea' and that's what you'll get. A couple of Digestives wouldn't go a miss either.
||As an ardent tea and biscuit fan living in the biscuit wasteland that is the American south I love visiting your site. I am sending a "recipe" of sorts for Liz who asked about chai. I found combining 1 bag of Bigelow Oolong tea, and one bag of Celestial Seasonings "Bengal Spice", made a decent chai. The Bengal Spice has all the proper chai spices, especially the pepper-very warming-and it is often left out in the pre-packaged sweet chai drinks. If you are a cardamom lover (another spice often deleted due to its cost) throw in an extra pod or two, or a pinch of the fresh ground powder. Top your cup of chai with milk, soy milk, rice milk or for a special treat almond milk. Hope this serves as a good starting point for Liz and any other chai do-it-yourself-ers.|
PS- Down here tea and biscuits refers to hideously oversweetened ice tea and doughy white bread dumplings that go in your box of takeaway fried chicken.
|Nicey replies: Yep, what ever it takes for you folks to survive, as I have said we drink PG Tips.
I must say I'm really enjoying reading your book (although it is smaller than it looks in the adverts!). Great for sampling bite-sized portions during a regular sit down and cup of tea.
I spotted this intriguing device in the latest Lakeland catalogue to fall out of my Saturday Indy -- what you're supposed to do with the rest of the packet is not made clear! Perhaps you could buy several of these and divide your packet into threes (great for those on a diet!).
|Nicey replies: Fred,
Glad you like the book, its meant to be small and cuddly.
Those biscuit boxes look really handy. Some rectangular ones for Custard creams, Bourbons, Shortcakes and Garibaldis would be good as well. A brief case with a moulded foam insert that could hold say 24 of them would be nice. That way you could always travel tooled up with a full selection of biscuits which could be deployed at a moments notice.
||Jeremy Thomas is not far off the mark in suggesting NASA as a possible source of biscuit protection technology. As you rightly point out, Loughborough University have invested a lot of time and effort with their digital speckle pattern interferometry research into just why a biscuit behaves like an aeroplane’s wing when stressed. The problem of cracked biscuits in an unopened pack is well-known in the industry, and as well as physical damage during transit can also be caused by the phenomenon of “checking”. This particularly affects Rich Tea biscuits, and is often brought on by a new batch of flour from a new crop being used. This results different levels of moisture migration than previous batches, and the biscuits will develop hairline cracks. This doesn’t happen until several hours after baking however, by which time the biscuits have been packed and sent to a distribution depot. The problem can be easily prevented by varying the baking temperature, but it has to be identified first – hence the speckle analysis thingie.|
Just got the book – thanks for the namecheck in the credits!