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My wife was bought your book at Christmas and it was my favourite present.
I must tell you of a memorable moment on holiday in Tunisia, back in February 1988. I was looking in the window of what must be described as a pastry shop in the historic town of Karaiouan. Displayed were a variety of delicacies but unmistakably in the middle were-hand made fig rolls sitting on a tray with a coating of syrup (imagine baklava in a Turkish cafe or restaurant.
It struck me then that in the days of empire British biscuit makers must have surely gained their inspiration from this country in which figs are grown in profusion.
They were very nice but of course lacked the practicality of a Jacobs pack which can be easily consumed anytime anywhere.
|Nicey replies: Yes it makes sense on every level. Perhaps this is why George Lucas was drawn to to Tunisia as a location for filming Starwars, given that its widely accepted (well me and Alice Gorman after I talked her round ) that Fig Rolls are perfect biscuits for space travel.|
||Apologies for the WI type question but does anyone know a recipe for fig rolls? I live in the middle of nowhere in Italy and have changed my eating habits accordingly but occasionally things start calling. The home made tomato ketchup for the home made bacon sarnies was ok but decidedly watery. Now I have 3 big fig trees absolutely laden and fig biscuits are something which my kids are being denied in their admittedly idyllic but proper-biscuit lacking lives. They sell them on the internet I've noticed but at fifteen quid postage I would have to hire a divorce lawyer when the bill came. If it helps to get a level of backwater-ness I made gingerbread men last week with some very dried up old powdered ginger (not nice) and no-one for miles had ever heard of ginger before. And when my husband went to America in January they asked how he would manage with the language.....yours in need. Jo.|
|Nicey replies: Hello Jo,
To make commercial fig rolls you need a big machine for extruding them, so what ever you come up with will inevitably have a bit of a homemade look to it. I think your main challenge is to get your figs to resemble the fig paste inside a fig roll, no doubt beginning with drying them. Maybe you'll have to see if the locals have any fig processing tips you can assimilate. After that you are really into jam rolly-polly territory using a sweet pastry that I think you'll find needs some egg yolk in it.
Thank you for your charming response. You've made me think that perhaps biscuits in space is a much-neglected research area that I should pursue. I'm attaching a picture of a 1959 Russian biscuit tin featuring Sputnik 1 for your enjoyment.
|Nicey replies: Alice,
That is a fantastic biscuit tin, you must be very proud. I tend to think about biscuits in space about 3 or 4 times a week at the moment, which I think is healthy. In our book (out in November) I thought about which would be the best biscuit for zero-g or micro-gravity situation. This is surely going to be an issue for the in flight catering on any future sub-orbital space planes. Inevitably I think its the fig roll.
|Bob in Tokyo
Fig Roll Review
|Dear Mr. Nicey, I stumbled across your "site" moments ago when I did a "google" search for Lyons Fig Rolls, and I discovered the "internet" does indeed have a useful function for those inclined to a "modern" lifestyle. That the correspondent from Niigata found said fig rolls in her local supermarket is astounding, as the best I have ever been able to locate in Tokyo (my domicile for the past decade) has been the Jacobs "closed end" variety. I am heartened by the news. My chidhood favourite (and still now, come to think of it) was the open-ended, non-striated-casing type (by Burtons, was it not?) since these lent themselves best to "peeling" or "nibbling" of the casing before plunging into the lushious, fragrant core. Oh my!.....did anyone else get a cerebral rush like I just did? Eleanor might be pleased to know that if there is a branch of the Daimaru "Peacock" supermarket chain in Niigata she should be able to get Waitrose organic "Oaten" biscuits (a classic, fibre-rich, buttery, oat-crunch type - and a damn fine dunker!) along with a few other Waitrose top-end biscuit varieties and other British products (HP sauce, Original and Fruity!) hard to get at a reasonable price in Japan.|
Anyway, I digress. My reason for this contribution is the query from Brian about Grantham gingerbread biscuits, a memory from his childhood in Newark on Trent. I can assure everyone in the biscuit-concerned world that this variety of biscuit is alive and well, and exactly, and delicious, as described. My mum used to make them (God bless her - she sends me Marks 'n' Sparks Extra Strong to keep me functional). Being Manchester folk, I'm not sure where she got the recipe, or even if it's actually an East-Midlands thing, despite the name. If it is, it's surely the best thing ever to come out of Grantham (oops...should I have said that?). I'll post the recipe as soon as I can get it from Mum.
Other matters (1): Taylor's Yorkshire for "a crucial hit" - life affirming on a hungover morning. And, does Co-op "99", an old favourite of mine, still exist?
Other matters (2): It would be useful to have a contribution date for each correspondence or article on the "site". I have qualms, occasionally, about being out of date.
Cheerio, Bob in Tokyo.
P.S. Returning to fig rolls....open-ended, smooth casing is the best. I defy you to disagree.
|Nicey replies: Bob,
It gives me a warm feeling to know that we are helping people across the world to locate proper biscuits. Hoorah, for the wonder of the interweb.
Your point about the contribution date is a good one, I'll see what I can do.
As to fig roll preferences, I think I nailed my colours to the mast in the original review.
||While living in Canada i am somewhat removed from the biscuit world, I occasionally am able to enjoy a good biscuit (although crackers seem to be more common around my house). I agree with the majority of your reviews, but I find pink wafers to be not only the best wafers available, but one of the better varieties found in the entire biscuit trichotomy. Fig Newtons have always had a strange hold on me; I particularly enjoyed them in my early years. Lately "Dad's" oatmeal and choc chip cookies make for a good lunch time supplement to a sandwich.|
Thank you for your informative reviews
|Nicey replies: Thank you for those thoughts.
I tried Pink Wafers again this week, in a grim experiment instigated by a work mate (Rimmingtons, Rinky dink Pink Panther wafers no less). Maybe it was the vitamins and minerals supplements as each wafer contained 10% of the RDA of zinc, iron, Vitamin C, B12, A folic acid, thiamin, and riboflavin, but they tasted bloody awful. I tried to think of something that might taste that bad and decided that stretches of tha A13 between Dagenham and Purfleet would probably hold their own in a taste test.