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Showing posts from May, 2013

Posh or common? Or a little of both?

The sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite. Remember that? 
How about: What's got a hazelnut in every bite?  Full of Eastern promise?  Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate, tastes like chocolate never tasted before?  They melt in your mouth not in your hand?  A taste of paradise?
Treat yourself to a Milky Way, a Topic, a Fry's Turkish Delight, a Cadbury's Flake, a bag of Minstrels or a Bounty if you flaunted your age and got all six right. One or two jingles are probably ear-worming you as you read. Anyone who answered the second with 'squirrel shit', pull up your socks and go stand in the corner of the class!
(The links make for an intriguing chocolate history on both sides of the Atlantic.)
Then there were the unmistakeables. A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat. The Milky Bars are on me! And, the Bond-fuelled height of romance and sophistication (I was only 10 when it first came out): All because the lady loves Milk Tray.

And then there were bees... and cake

Brett, the honey bee man, turned up at 9am a week last Saturday. It was probably the dark green cargo pants and lighter green t-shirt that made me think he was in the Territorial Army but he did have an authoritative, no-nonsense way about him too.  'I thought bees had to be transported at night,' I said.  'No,' he said. 'As long as it's cold enough.'  And cold enough it has been.
We are renting four hives to help pollinate the apple trees whose eruption of blossom is about a month later than usual. They're tucked in pairs beside two of the poplar windbreaks although on the day I took this there wasn't the slightest buzz of activity, but Brett did say that they'd take a while to readjust to their new surroundings.
And he was right because a couple of days later there were hundreds of the tiny brown bees surging in and out of the slot at the bottom of the hive. As Brett lives about 4 miles away there's no risk of the bees heading home: apparently …

Dreams of heat and light

Summer arrived in Great Britain a couple of weekends ago: the temperature rocketed higher than in Spain. We all peeled off our vests and long socks, sped towards the nearest coast and exposed our pale wintered skin to Vitamin D and sunburn. It lasted 12 hours. We are now back in our winter coats. In Folkestone, on the south coast, last Saturday I was wearing a North Face beany hat and lined leather gloves. It's the middle of May. This should be Spring. I stare at the online weather forecast in the hope that the depth of my desperation might change it. No such luck: this week is rain, rain, mostly cloudy, rain. And a nipple stiffening 12 degrees. 
My anticipation of barbecuing and get-togethers with friends and family around our new garden table and chairs is diluting with each cold morning wind and the inevitable downpour. Did I really make this chicken satay, grill it in the open air, serve it with sticky rice and chilled rose wine one balmy evening? 

Yes. Two years ago in the gard…

Search and discovery: from custard to corned beef

My search for the perfect custard slice continued last week at Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins's coffee shop in Swansea. ALJ’s isn’t known principally for its coffee and cakes. It’s a furniture store of stadium proportions: the horizons in every direction are choked with plump cushions, waxed leather and wood, mirrors, table lamps and rugs, mattresses that come with latex or pocket springs, and some that feel like uncooked dough when you press your hands into them but are named for Japanese batter. Okay, they're not. The brand is Tempur but my mind goes to the batter every time.
The girl who served us in the coffee shop was confident that their custard slice would be a winner and it was nice (and the cappuccino was a goodie too) but the custard could have done with a little more flavour, more sugar or vanilla perhaps. So, the Greggs custard slice is still at the top of my CS League. And while I know that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality it actually does in this case. I bought…