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I've been a regular visitor to your site since before you became famous (I googled the word "digestive" during a quiet period at work and up came nicecupoftea... etc) but this is the first time I've been tempted to put finger to keyboard. To get to the point, I feel I must point out that your north/south bun argument doesn't appear to include people from anywhere truly northern and seems to stop at the Humber. As a good Durham lad (and let's face it, I'm a southern softie compared to people from north of the Tyne) I have known all my life that a bun is a plain bread, er, bun - what you southern types might describe as a "bread roll". We do of course have currant buns and iced buns but they are always described as such to stop any confusion.
Just to throw something else into the bun mix so to speak, we proper northerners also have the "stottie cake" which is actually made from bread. Traditionally it was made with the left over dough from making normal bread and was just stuck in the bottom of the oven to bake. This resulted in a flat, round, stodgy, and very tasty loaf which is perfect for putting roast beef in and having with your flask of tea while hiking along Hadrian's Wall.
Unfortunately in recent years the stottie's reputation has been dented by both southerners and large bakery chains who don't understand the bread's heritage and there are many light, fluffy, tasteless "buns" masquerading as stotties even in the heart of Newcastle. I've also heard a lot of people from Manchester saying that stotties are just the same as barm cakes and nothing to get excited about. Well, I'm afraid my north-western friends, that this is because you have eaten one of these fake, bastardised stotties.
Anyway, rant over. Have a good New Year and long may you keep us all up to date on advances in biscuit knowledge.
|Nicey replies: Yes probably best that you got that off your chest so you can face 2006 with a clear head.
||Hello Nicey ,Wifey and the rest of the team.|
I've just come back from a cycling holiday in Oakham, Rutland. I visited the local market while I was there and found a specialist Tea stall. ( Must be because the Oakham School is quite posh!) There were 3 varieties of Earl Grey tea on this stall! I bought some loose tea, a tea caddy and a "Dauerfilter" for making loose tea directly in the cup. Its a permanent filter and is "Auch ideal zum Aufbruhen von kaffee"
I don't remember which variety of Earl grey tea I bought because the stall owner put it directly in my new caddy but it has a very strong scent of bergamot and it quite delicious.
I have been amazed by people far and wide who admit to having seen and enjoyed your site or have read your book.
|Nicey replies: We keep passing through Rutland, and Oakham on our way to and from other places. In fact we tried to find somewhere to camp up there two weeks ago but wound up in Derbyshire. If we had of made it to Rutland we would have been cycling round there too..
Just got back from a splendid bike ride this afternoon with both younger members of staff and Nanny Nicey. All off road in the hills between Saffron Walden and Royston. We took half a home made fruit cake and a flask of tea. We pop two teabags in the flask when we are ready to make the tea, and this works very well indeed.
Tunnocks Tea Cake Review
|Nicey, Wifey, Et al|
Hello again, I thought I would put my two pennys in to the Suitable spoon debate.
The other day I was making a cup of tea, and as i came to stir it, I looked in the draw to find there were no clean teaspoons. Now normally in such situations I would steal the dedicated sugar spoon my mum keeps in the sugar bowl (it's not allowed to go any closer than an inch above the cup, incase the spoon gets damp, turns the sugar in the bowl damp and lumpy and all human life ceases to exist, or something like that) however it seemed that someone (probably my brother) had already done this.
With no spoon in sight, and my cupp fast approaching stewing stage, I scrabbled madly in the draw, only to stumble across a Heinz Baby Basic spoon that my nephew uses when he comes to visit (by Basic spoons are brightly coloured bendy rubber things that young kids can safely stick in their eye without fear of going blind).
With no other viable alternative in site I grabbed this spoon expecting disaster, yet as i placed the spoon into the mug and proceeded to stir, I noticed that the slight give in the spoon was making it stir the tea far more efficently than a metal spoon, and whats more, the spoon would bend out of the way of the tea bag instead of snagging on the bag and dragging it around the mug. The end result was a tasty cuppa, it would seem that with the spoon bending away from the tea bag, the tea had more room to move, and blended with the water far more effectively.
So there you go, what I was expecting to be a thouroughly unsuitable spoon, actually made a lovely cuppa!
P.S. Jane Purdon that I'm dying to know how you got on with the Tunnocks tea cake fountain, please enlighten us (well, me, I'm probably the only one sad enough to want to know)
|Nicey replies: I have been known to take the younger members of staff's former dinner spoons on picnics to deploy with the NCOTAASD thermos flask. They have the advantage of being brightly coloured so can be spotted in rucksacks easily. Also we get a nice 'we must be on a picnic' sensation from using lots of plastic gear.|
Ellen from North Carolina was kind enough to reply to my mild whinge about the absence of kettles in the USA, a topic which I note from your archives has been the subject of heated debate. From my quite extensive researches on two trips in the last year to ten proper cities in the US (i.e. big ones), I found not a single kettle. I did however find urns with spitting taps, coffee-makers substituting as tea-makers, vacuum flasks marked 'hot water' for which you needed an IQ of over 140 to open, plus the seemingly ubiquitous microwave. In fact, I suffered a quite nasty experience in one beautifully appointed house where I opened the microwave and was confronted with an encrusted and seemingly toxic ecosystem. I urge travellers to beware. This is not for the faint-hearted and you must not be complacent.
With kind regards
PS Tip : Betty's in York were giving away packets of Yorkshire Tea yesterday! I got one for the price of a macaroon.
|Nicey replies: I'm very fond of a macaroon now and again.
When we were kids, we spent every Sunday in the summertime at Llangennith beach on the Gower (South Wales). My mothers idea of a picnic was a whole roast chicken, a pressure cooker of potatoes and veg taken straight off the top of the cooker and put into the boot of the car not to be opened until we were ready to eat and an enormous red thermos full of gravy. This would be eaten in the field above the beach obviously for fear of sand. The adults wouldn't actually venture onto the beach at all in fact. There were always warm hard boiled eggs too and angel cake and pink wafers. We had a little camping gaz stove and a kettle for tea. It would take all afternoon to boil. My Gran (bless her) would sit there on her deck chair all day in her Sunday Best Coat and Chapel hat despite the blistering heat (1976 if you're wondering - we might be the wettest place in Britain now but we did have sun once I'm certain).
Ps just eaten a custard (or iced) slice. Is that soggy cream cracker on the bottom? Could they go in the venn diagram between crackers and cakes? Loved the book.
|Nicey replies: Splendid we now have beans, soup and gravy as Thermos contents, but I'm willing to accept weirder ones, porridge perhaps?
As for the bases of Custard slices I had always assumed that this was puff pastry that had been transformed by the immense humidity and pressure exerted by an inch and a quarter of custard, into a strange slighty glassy substance. Perhaps custard slices are a model of some geological processes such as the laying down of sedimentary rocks, or the earth's lithosphere.