Dinner With The Omnivore

Archive for the ‘cakes and biscuits’ Category

Granny. Maker of biscuits and teller-off of barefoot children

When my Granny died a few years ago she managed to do so at what for me was an extremely inconvenient moment. No need to change the habits of a lifetime just to hop off your twig, I suppose. At the time I was working as a campsite courier and engaged in end of season démontage in the south of France, which meant that I was living in tents, doing grubby physical work and really not in possession of a funeral-friendly wardrobe. I was also bloody miles from any convenient airport, and severely lacking in internet access, which made travel arrangements problematic, to say the least.

I eventually made it from Beziers to Sheffield via Toulouse and Manchester, arriving at some silly small hour of the morning and kipping on the sofa because all the rest of the family had got there at a sensible time and obviously nabbed all the beds. I also forgot that the Aga in the kitchen used to heat the water to somewhere in excess of boiling point, meaning that it was an act of suicidal madness to attempt a shower before everyone else had got up and run some of it off.

Having narrowly avoided serious full-body scalding, I retired to the lawn to drink tea and luxuriate in the feeling of cool ankle-deep moss around my bare feet. I used to get told off as a child for standing out there on the wet grass without any feet on, but I never bothered to explain to anyone why I was doing it (let’s face it, there’s no explaining these perfectly obvious things to adults). That day was the last time I’d ever be able to stand there with my feet in the moss.

So I went to my Granny’s funeral in jeans and a black T-shirt, since that was the most presentable outfit I had with me,  and possibly with slightly damp feet.

It didn’t occur to me until far too late that I should have asked for a keepsake or two from the house. I would have kept the world map which hung in the downstairs toilet for years, and which fascinated me with all its tiny exotic countries unmarked on other, much more boring maps. (I got told off for spending too much time in the downstairs loo as well, and I never explained about that either.) Following the collapse of Communism the map was probably pretty much up to the minute again.

So the only mementos I have are the gold signet ring which Grandpa gave her when my mother was born and this recipe for biscuits. Innumerable Granny Biscuits have been scoffed down the years by various children and grandchildren, and I can say that a fair few were pinched from the larder as well, though obviously I would have no first hand knowledge of any such thing.

Granny Biscuits

You will need: 1 tblsp Golden Syrup; 4oz butter; 4oz sugar; 3oz rolled oats; 2oz dried coconut; 4oz plain flour; 1 level tsp bicarb dissolved in 1 tblsp hot water

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together, remove from heat and then add all the dry ingredients and the bicarb solution. Put teaspoonsful of the mixture on a baking tray, leaving space for the biscuits to spread out, and bake at 160°C for 10 minutes.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter


Having spring-cleaned the house of savoury snacks, cheese, leftover Twixes and bags of Haribo, then resisted the temptation to stock up on chocolate Breton butter biscuits in Casino, we find ourselves waylaid by recipe books. If we spend the interseason eating as though we were skiing every day we are going to see a grave waistline malfunction, but I can hardly clear the cupboards of baking basics without seriously cramping my culinary style. These are so easy that JC can whip them up in ten minutes while standing on one leg – which is all he’s currently equipped with.

World’s easiest ginger nuts

You will need: 4 oz butter; 8 oz flour; 1 tsp bicarb; 4 oz sugar; 1 (generous) tsp ginger; 1 tblsp Golden Syrup.

Melt the butter, sugar and Golden Syrup in a pan, then add all the dry ingredients. Roll into balls, place on a baking sheet and squah into flat biscuits. Bake at 180°C for about eight to 10 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your biscuits.

Badly photographed but tasty ginger bikkies

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

I stole this almond and orange cake from Le Ski’s chalet recipe book, though obviously I’m not admitting to anything of the sort. It turns out moist and sticky, tastes like marmalade, and you can feed it to people on a gluten-free diet (or just eat it yourself, which is usually my preferred course of action). The orange-boiling sounds like faff, but it isn’t really and the result is well worth it.

Orange and almond cake

You will need: 6 eggs; 240g  sugar; 1 tsp baking powder; 240g ground almonds; two oranges.

Boil the whole and unpeeled oranges for an hour and a half, then remove the pips and puree the fruit. Whisk the eggs and sugar, then add the almonds and baking powder, before finally folding in the orange puree. Cook for 50 minutes at 180°C

And while we’re about it with the gluten-free thing, here’s a recipe for possibly the best chocolate cake you’ll ever eat.

Flourless chocolate cake

You will need: 200g unsalted butter, 200g plain chocolate, 5 large eggs, 200g ground almonds; 250g caster sugar.

Melt the butter and chocolate together over boiling water, then stir in the egg yolks and ground almonds. Whisk up the eggwhites intil they form soft peaks, then whisk in the sugar a bit at a time until you get a stiff shiny foam. Fold the chocolate and egg white mixtures together and scrape into an eight-inch cake tin lined with baking paper. Cover the top of the cake with another piece of paper and cook for about 40 to 50 minutes at 190°C.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

Food for thought

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ― Orson Welles

Food by e-mail - takeaway for the modern age.

Join 182 other followers


Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter


Blog Stats

  • 34,193 hits

Stuff you liked

Stuff you looked at

  • None
© Christa GIMBLETT 2010-2011