Posts tagged ‘cookery’

November 19, 2014

paper bags and sobriety

A couple of new articles by me have just appeared online:

1. For How We Get To Next, I wrote about the author of one of my favourite items in my collection of weird old cookery books. I don’t like it for the recipes, but because of the earnest egomania exhibited therein: the author Nicolas Soyer really wanted to change society for the better, via paper bags. I found this so full of pathos, I even wrote a play about him several years ago. Here’s the article.

2. For Standard Issue magazine, I wrote about being someone who doesn’t drink very much and how this is unacceptable to most people even though there is MORE BOOZE FOR THEM. Chug it down HERE.

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October 5, 2014

Boring IV

Earlier this year, I spoke at the Boring Conference. Amongst the many great talks, which you can watch here and here, I particularly enjoyed Ali Coote on ice cream vans, deputy editor of Mojo mag Andrew Male talking about Eric Clapton’s bookshelves, Rhodri Marsden exposing the monotony of national anthems, and of course my husband Martin Austwick banging on about eggs.

Here’s mine. It’s about my collection of mid-20th century cookery books, and the grimness therein:

October 6, 2011

What to do with a Mars bar if you don’t like Mars bars


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I left that space above for you to supply your own Marianne Faithfull jokes.

Anyway, curiosity led me spend £1 on a pack of the new ‘limited edition’ triple-choc Mars bars, which turned out to be rather underwhelming. So I was stuck with several unwanted Mars bars cluttering up the place. What to do?

Make cookies, of course!

cookies! Of course!

I used a modified recipe from an old Good Housekeeping cookbook (not THIS one, thankfully), which can be used to make very fine chocolate chip cookies on a day when you don’t have Mars bars to contend with.

Ingredients:
75g/3oz butter
75g/3oz granulated or caster sugar
75g/3oz soft light brown sugar (I thought I didn’t have any, so used normal brown sugar. Nobody died. Of course I found the correct sugar about 5 minutes too late.)
a few drops of vanilla essence
1 egg, beaten
175g/6oz self-raising flour (I like to substitute a few grams of flour for cocoa powder, for extra chocolatiness)
pinch of salt
3 unwanted Mars bars, chopped into small pieces (or use 100g/4oz chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips)
optional: 50g/2oz chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans would be nice, but I only had Brazil nuts which worked fine)

Makes 25 smallish cookies.

yes, I know it looks like squirrel turds NOW, but wait!

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180C (slightly less if it’s a fan oven that isn’t shit, like mine).
In a big bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until well-mixed, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
If you want to be teacher’s pet, sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder before mixing into the creamed mixture. Or just go right ahead and mix them in, and hope that there aren’t any pebbles in your flour.
Add the chopped Mars bar/chocolate and optional nuts. Stir in well.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto lined baking sheets, and keep them well spaced.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Leave them on the baking sheets for a minute after you take them out of the oven; then when they’re firm enough to move without falling apart, transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Ta-da!

...still looking quite a lot like squirrel turds, if I'm honest.

Despite appearances, they taste great. Unlike squirrel turds, I assume. I’ve never tried eating those, but I’m sure that if they were delicious, we’d have heard about it by now.