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||Dear Nicey, |
It's been a while since we last corresponded, though I have of course been following the site diligently - my congratulations on the continued improvements and all the awards also.
I was intrigued by this week's poll regarding pies and tarts. I voted for the 'it depends what size they are' option, however, being more specific, I believe the depth of the article is really the distinguishing factor. My Mother makes a fantastic apple tart (made with Armagh Bramley's naturally) it is the size of a dinner plate, but only about a half-inch thick. In contrast, the related items purveyed by a certain Mr Kipling are most definitely apple pies being at least twice as deep (and also noticeably sweeter), albeit a lot smaller.
On different note, I am off home for a few days this weekend, so looking forward to stocking up on biscuits, decent chocolate and of course Tayto crisps !
My best compliments to The Wife, as ever.
Kathryn Hall, Indiana
|Nicey replies: Kathryn,
Good to hear from you again. The Wife's folks are here this week so we have our giant sack of Tayto cheese and onion crisps too.
||Hello Biscuit Lovers,|
I remember cartoonies from my childhood. As they are no longer widely available I have replaced them in my lunchbox with "Hello Panda" biscuits. They meet all Nicola's requirements too, as they are small; spherical; chocolate filled; decorated with a cartoon (fore mentioned panda doing lots of exciting activities, like smelling a flower and driving a car); and they come in a box which has a little foil bag inside to keep them fresh, not that that's a problem in my house.
I'm not sure how easy it is to get hold of them outside Liverpool, but I get mine in Chinese supermarkets. A box costs about 85p, pricey I know, but they're worth it.
To save Nicola from disappointment I feel I must place my hand on my heart and admit that Hello Panda's are not as nice as Cartoonies, this may be because Cartoonies have been elevated in my estimation due to their departure from the shelves, but I think it's probably the inferior chocolate.
Hope this is helpful,
(By the way, a friend bought me a box of the strawberry flavour 4 months ago, and they are still in my cupboard, enough said.)
||Dear Biscuit People,|
I find your site a truly informative resource and am in awe of the sensible and relaxed website you have built; well done! I was particularly intrigued when I happened upon the review of the "Mikado" as I recently experienced a packet of the straw-type Mikado while on holiday in Venice. When on vacation abroad I take great delight in experiencing the everyday life of the natives, this means taking a little break from the usual fare of cafes, bars, museums, galleries and sex shops (perhaps that last one really only applies in Amsterdam) to explore the fare on offer in the local
Being a great admirer of the biscuit as a culinary genre I usually make straight for the sweet section; thus has been the case in Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and most recently Venice. When settling down at the end of a hectic day exploring the art of that most watery of Italian cities, my dear boyfriend and I sat down to try the selection of biccies I had bought from the local supermarket. There was a packet of strange Kinder things, a little like a Twix gone horribly wrong, but pleasant as a change, and a packet of Mikados.
The Mikado, in its non-marshmallow form, is a very interesting confection. Anyone who has carried out heavy-duty arc welding or has played with a sparkler on Guy Fawkes night will be at home with the general form. The milk chocolate covers a thin straw about 2mm in diameter by 8cm long leaving about 1cm uncovered at the end. The material comprising the straw is
reminiscent of a pretzel, or twiglet with all the marmite licked off, and the taste experience is indeed similar to those chocolate covered Pretzels that we saw a few years ago. The taste is pleasant, but nothing special; a little dry - the central straw seems a little "doughy" when chewed, and not completely cohesive with the chocolate covering, although the covering is quite generous. However, this would make a very sophisticated accompaniment to a cup of tea where you want to impress without risking your guests or your self becoming engrossed in the biscuits or the whole thing ending up in a pig-out. Dainty nibbling is the order of the day with the Mikado.
A packet contains some thirty or so in packaging similar to a cigarette pack, plastic covered foil retaining the biscuits freshness. I was also pleasantly impressed by the fact that only one or two had suffered damage; when one opens a box of Matchsticks, one is usually presented with a few
breakages, anything up to 15%, I would say that the Mikados suffered fewer than 5% damage. One flaw of employing the Pretzel centre is that it is no good for sucking up tea (I must admit that I took a stash of Sainsburys Red Label teabags with me, English Breakfast Tea, as sold abroad, leaves a great deal to be desired - flavour for one thing...) as it doesn't conduct the fluid.
All in all this is an intriguing take on the biscuit as it totally eschews many of the traditions of biscuit making - volume and shape being completely outside the normal parameters of most. I only wish I knew of your site before I went away as I would have brought back a selection of foreign biscuits to share with other appreciators of biscuitry. Keep up the good work, and dunk!
Tunnocks Wafer Review
|Coming from the States, the whole concept of biscuits, cakes, crackers, etc. are all confused for me. In fact, I would guess that your delineations here on your site may not apply as poignantly across the pond.|
However, although I still struggle to understand the concept of tea cakes and many persons' of English persuasion interpretation of them, I am pleasantly intrigued by the all-encompassing Tunnocks bars, also affectionately known as Caramel bars or Army issue bars. As often I purchase them, I still confuse myself whether they are in the confectionery or biscuit section of the supermarket. I may even venture to say that supermarkets vary in their classification.
|Nicey replies: The clue is the name 'Tunnock's real milk chocolate caramel wafer biscuit'. It should be grouped with other chocolate covered biscuits next to the conventional biscuits.|
||Greetings from the other side of the pond. I'm out in the wonderful US of A, in Texas, where everything is supposedly bigger and better. BOLLOCKS! You ask for tea over here and you know what you get? ICED Tea! It's an abomination that should never have been allowed, and is obviously the development of some evil fiend who is trying to destroy one of life's simplest pleasure, drinking a nice hot milky mug of tea (and some sugar, if that's the way you like it).|
The Chinese drink tea hot, the Japs hot, the Indians, the Sri Lankans. Everywhere they grow the stuff, they drink tea hot. And you know why? Because drinking tea cold is bloody horrible. What do you do when your mug of tea gets cold? You empty it out and make a good fresh cup. But not here in Texas. Oh No! They even have devices specifically to cool down your tea. Have you tasted Iced Tea? It's vile. It makes the wonderfully misnamed Nice biscuits seem like a culinary delight by comparison. Where would be the pleasure of dunking a digestive into a mug of cold tea? I'm telling you. They are out to ruin tea if we let them.
But I feel that all is not entirely lost. They can be saved so long as they are shown the error of their ways. It took a while, but I have converted my girlfriend (a yank) over to the delights of hot tea, which she enjoys out of one of your Giant Bee Mugs (Bloody brilliant by the way). And last saturday at the supermarket, I was going on about running out of decent english tea, and having to get some sent over, when I came across something magical. The Über-Biscuit. My favourite. They had a small stock of Plain Chocolate Hob-Nobs.
The next morning, enjoying a nice cup of Hot tea, I broke out the packet, and after just one bite, I knew that I had a convert to the delights of biscuits. American Cookies are now just not good enough. The Mighty McVitie had triumphed.I shall continue to convert as many as I can to the delights of a nice cup of hot tea and the snap of a proper biscuit. (The supermarket screwed up at the checkout and gave me the pack for 99c instaed of $2.99, so I consider this to be some sort of a sign that my mission is a virtuous one).
I have since tracked down Digestives, Standard Hob-Nobs, Fruit Jaspers (a wonderful citrus creation from McV's and goes great with afternoon tea), and Ginger Nuts (although, I have not seen the plain chocolate version, much to my disappointment).
What is your opinion of iced tea?
|Nicey replies: Woo what a fantastic eMail. Hoorah! Yay for Giant Bee mugs, its wonderful to hear that they are bringing such tea drinking happiness to you and your girlfriend.
I'm absolutely sure the HobNobs at 1/3 of their intended price was a sign from the universe to your self that your Tea and Biscuits path is a righteous one. The supermarket checkout assistant was obviously unaware of the priceless nature of the chocolate HobNob, a biscuit which is frequently enjoyed by adults in a consenting relationship.
Iced tea, I have gone out of my way never to drink it as it is plainly misguided and wrong.