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My sister sent me the Afghan URL as we grew up on them - one of our favourite biscuits - in Australia! A neighbour made a trayful for my birthday party recently. So I think Lilly is correct. There is another mysterious use of the word Afghan, to describe a sort of throw-rug, knitted or crocheted. Perhaps this also derives from the Afghan camel drivers.
|Nicey replies: Alice,
Its always lovely to receive emails from famous Space Archaeologists about biscuits and rugs.
Rich Tea Review
I was very interested in your report on the biscuit throwing contest happening this month back home in England. I am currently in Australia working at the Australian Institute of Sport in the Sports Biomechanics department and as a sport scientist and tea/biscuit lover, I was quite surprised at the choice of biscuit which has been selected as the 'ideal throwing' biscuit. I would have thought that a rich tea biscuit would be to light to throw a long distance, something more like shortbeard which has a solid mass (so it will not crumble) and is not heavy like a chocolate covered biscuit would be more ideal. Especially the shortbeard fingers, they have an aerodynamic shape and would be able to stand up to some wind if present on the day.
I think it would be a very interesting experiment if you got your members to have their own contest and report back the findings.
Keep up the good work, love the site!
|Nicey replies: Perhaps there is a psychological aspect, you've got to want to throw the biscuit a long way away from you, so the duller the biscuit the better.|
|Peter J. Hexter
A nice site, though distressingly bare of Peak Freens. I have only just returned to drinking tea after a 20 year hiatus (my parents were obsessed with tea and I was force fed from an early age), and I am now in search of a dunking biscuit. Growing up in Canada we had a brand called Peak Freens, who produced arguably, the three best and tastiest biscuits ever for dunking:
the Shortcake, the Digestive and the ne plus ultra of dunkers - the Bourbon
Cream. The latter being a thin layer of chocolate cream between two chocolate biscuit wafers and named for the House of Bourbon, rather than the rotgut whiskey.
Since my youth I have travelled the world. I lived in England for many years, and am now settled in Australia (which despite claims to the contrary, is a biscuit wasteland). Alas, I have yet to find the equal of these fine friends.
Now you may scoff and pre-suppose that Canadian biscuits would be of inferior quality but bear with me here. At the time, British Columbia had an enormous population of English ex-pats that demanded only the finest biscuits. Competition was fierce, much blood was shed (metaphorically of course) and PF emerged as the favoured brand.
IMHO its success was based on three things:
Most PF biscuits are made from hard winter wheat that is superior to any other for baking biscuits.
Being a land of farmers we were awash with real butter and much of it found its way into PF biscuits.
PF biscuits seem much lower in sugar than others allowing the true biscuit flavour to come through.
So if any others of you have a thing for PF lets here from you.
Peter J. Hexter
|Nicey replies: Peter,
Peek Frean is of course an old British Brand dating back to 1857, which manufactured biscuits and christmas puddings in Bermondsey in South London. Peek Frean formed associated biscuits in 1921 with Huntley and Palmer, and were joined by Jacobs in 1960. In 1982 Nabisco took over Associated biscuits. I'm not sure on the history of the Peek Frean brand in Canada, but given what I know of their portfolio of products I'm fairly sure that Nabisco's involvement is key. Anyhow, none of this in any way diminishes, your praise for their biscuits.
In the UK the name Peek Frean is vary rarely seen, it used to be trotted out by Jacobs for such things as selection tins, but I haven't seen that in over 20 years.
||Dear Mr Nicey|
I do enjoy your site. I'm sitting here with a nice cup of green Lapsan Souchon from a specialist tea supplier on the New South Wales central coast (Cesar's) and a dark chocolate Tim Tam. (My daughter has eaten all the Tia Maria Tim Tams which I was planning to suck with a fresh brew of Cesar's Cuban Supreme coffee, but that's life as mother of a teenager.)
I am wondering whether you can help me. I spent two wonderful years on a working holiday in London back in the early '70s. During that time I became very fond of McVitie's ginger cake. I have never been able to find a suitable substitute here in Australia and despite many years of experimenting with various recipes I have never succeeded in recreating that wonderful combination of light texture, slight stickyness and rich, dark colour. If you consider it appropriate, I would be eternally in your debt if my plea for a recipe that simulates the McVitie creation could be posted on your site.
With best wishes
|Nicey replies: Jenni,
I can understand your plight, being stuck in a sub-tropical paradise, wanting nothing more than a slice of ginger cake from Halifax. Also as for a slight stickyness, perhaps its a fond 30 years of memory playing tricks, but the outside is the cake is like a blend of syrup and carpet tile adhesive, and will only usually be parted from its paper case if threatened with some sort of knife. All part of its unique charm of course.
As for a recipe, I don't hold out much hope. These things usually can only be made given the correct industrial cake plant. Maybe somebody will bring you one, but it might not take well to confinement in a suitcase.
Regal Multireview Review
Thank you so much for reminding me of Imqaret - absolutely yummy treat. It reminds me of my childhood and my visits to Malta (my Dad being Maltese) - makes me want to return.
As for the vegemite debate - every Aussie knows the best way to eat vegemite is on warm toast with lots of butter and a small amount of Vegemite. It's amazing how good it makes you feel if you're ill/hung over/or both.
Love the website since first hearing about it on BBC2 whilst working in London last year.