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||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
Lent is almost upon us once again and, as with previous years, two of my colleagues have resolved to give up chocolate and cakes for the duration. As you might expect, discussions have turned to the exact classification of certain items. One colleague is claiming that it is ok to eat waffles as they are not cakes. This is a fairly reasonable view except that waffles are in essence a fancy form of pancake which is a cake by name if not necessarily by nature.
The other colleague is claiming that the Cherry Bakewell is permitted as, in her view, it is a pie, not a cake.
I feel that this is a gross abuse of the classification system and the Cherry Bakewell is a cake for three obvious reasons:
Firstly, they can be found in the cake section in the supermarket. Secondly, the Cherry Bakewell is a tart, not a pie and finally, the more popular ones are made by Mr. Kipling who is not known for making exceedingly good pies!
Can we have your expert opinion on this please so that the matter can be put to rest before the start of lent.
|Nicey replies: Keith,
It really seems a bit self defeating giving things up for lent if you are aiming to simply to have an extended excuse to gorge your face on Mr Kipling Bakewell tarts. If you can't persude the bloke at the next desk that you are eating six packs of tarts to achieve some sort of spiritual renewal then frankly what is the point. What ever peoples views on religion, it would take a fairly dim God to be fooled by such shenanigans.
And yes of course Bakewell Tarts are cakes, as you so ably point out.
Bahlsen Orange Choco Leibniz Review
|Following on from Alan Bromley’s heartfelt – if slightly un-British – review of the Choco Leibniz, I would like to add my own thoughts on this most affecting of daytime delights.|
As I am now resident in New Zealand, these thoughts may seem a little rose-tinted for your usually objective reviews pages, but please bear with me as I relive the pleasures of frivolous tea-dippery denied to us expats.
Before leaving England I worked for a video games developer in Guildford. Although the work is probably of no interest whatsoever to those of even a moderately sound mind, the company bonus scheme was inspired. When we as a team had worked especially hard or achieved another “milestone”, as these things were called, we were sometimes treated to a packet of biscuits by our producer – an especially nice chap called Geoff, whom I will always imagine sitting in an old armchair with a mug of tea in one hand and a half-eaten Pims biscuit in the other.
Most of the time these biscuits were fairly run-of-the-mill affairs – custard creams or bourbons, occasionally even sleep-inducingly stodgy donuts from a well-known supermarket chain – but on ocassions when we’d been especially deserving, our producer would reveal… the Choco Leibiz.
As Alan hinted at in his review, the secret of the Choco Leibniz, I feel, is its density. The Rich Tea portion is slightly small, with rather pretentious frills at its edges, but it is combined perfectly with a thick wedge of either milk or plain chocolate welded to its underside. Had the chocolate totally enclosed the biscuit, or had a pair of Rich Tea biscuits sandwiched the chocolate, I feel the balance would be lost. As it is, the devotee can see exactly what they’re getting: a Rich Tea biscuit offset with beautiful-tasting and beautifully-crafted chocolate.
Like a Patek Phillippe watch or a Mont Blanc pen, anyone even setting eyes on such a thing can immediately see that they are dealing with a product on a different plane from those they are used to dealing with on a day-to-day basis. The chocolate, which resembles a gold ingot in both its solidity as well as its shape, looks and feels as though it has been chiselled by a master chocolatier. Its smooth sufaces and chiselled edges cannot but inspire confidence – and respect. Biting into it is like biting into a bar of the finest chocolate: firm at first, then gracefully yielding; rich, but not overpowering; solid and yet oh-so fleeting.
It is, you might say, a biscuit befitting the finer moments in life. If I ever get to an age or maturity when I can justifiably sit by a roaring fire with a glass of fine red wine and a gently smouldering cigar, I will have at my side a plate of Choco Leibniz.
||I wonder if you can help me. I seem to recall a biscuit selection from the 70's called "Spooks". They came in various garish colours and each biscuit had it's own individual name - Ghastly Green, Blood Red etc etc|
Did they in fact exist or have I simply imagined them?
|Nicey replies: We have had several emails about these in the past mainly from people trying to remember the name of them. So congratulations as you've finally come up with it. This gives us enough info to open up new entry in the missing in action section of the site.|
||All this talk of custard and carveries reminds me of a great moment of schadenfreude I experienced as a child. |
My grandfather, a retired policeman, liked to treat his family by taking them for Sunday lunch at the Metropolitan Police Club in Chigwell, Essex. Sunday lunch was a magnificent carvery. A table as long as an Olympic-sized swimming-pool stood against one wall. At the far right hand end were two jolly carvers, sharpening their huge knives promisingly over an immense joint of beef, a golden turkey and other assorted hunks of burnished protein. Down the rest of the table was spread a dizzying array of vegetables, glistening under the hot lamps. At the far left hand end was a selection of puddings to which each person could help him or herself after personally demolishing enough Sunday lunch for a family of four.
And between the last vegetable and the first pudding stood two big bowls with ladles: one brimming over (not literally, of course, that would be a bit disgusting) with a rich brown gravy; the other a font of purest 'real' custard. Imagine my ten-year-old delight when I saw a man arrive at the end of the line of vegetables, his plate heaped high with thick slices of lamb, roast parsnips, glazed carrots and all the riches the carvery had to offer, only to hesitate over the two bowls and finally plump for a generous quantity of custard ladled over every inch of his food.
I wonder what he thought when he sat down at his table and tucked in. And what on earth do you suppose he thought he was putting on his roast potatoes?
Incidentally, do you think this could be an example of the famed bottomless custard?
|Nicey replies: I reckon he thought it was cheese sauce. Certainly sounds like an impressive amount of custard, much more than you would see in the domestic setting, and probably requiring special equipment to make it such as a huge saucepan.|
|Having conducted a rather interesting experiment with a digestive biscuit we thought you would be very excited at the results and therefore would like to share it with you.|
We came across this exciting find rather by accident in Waitrose Dorking. My colleague Liz and I were purchasing some digestive biscuits for later this pm and a jar of mayonnaise for lunch time to go with our cheese toasties. At the checkout, with just the digestives and mayonnaise, we were telling the checkout lady how we were going to enjoy mayonnaise digestives for lunch - a passaway comment from one of us about dunking them in tea then followed. To our amazement the checkout lady considered the prospect of this exciting new creation until she realised (because we were laughing) that we were indeed joking.
However, on walking back to the office Liz and I decided that we should in fact carry out this experiment and to our complete surprise found out that it works wonderfully well. However I should state - for safety reasons, that you MUST dunk the biscuit prior to dipping in the mayonnaise or risk horrendously ruining the sacred tea.
I would urge your community to try out our newly patented recipe!
Since conducting this experiment we have now decided to pursue further combinations of digestives, tea and other unlikely partners. I will keep you informed.
Liz & Me