• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

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    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

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Home Baking

Having read numerous tributes to the biscuit tin favorites I thought it might be time to consider the more delectable home-made biscuit.  Not the thick chunky cookie so beloved of our friends across the water but the buttery sweet concoctions that can be found around the country.

As a mum to two strapping permanently hungry teenage lads I have come to the conclusion that the most cost-effective way of satisfying their sweet tooth demands is to bake my own.  I might work full time but I am no domestic goddess – after all its easy to be a domestic goddess when you have a makeup team and an agreement for your derriere not to be filmed – so for me any recipe has to be quick and easy.  The favorite with my two is Cornish Fairings.  You may have noticed cellophane packets of them on your hols in the South West. I’m afraid that as mine are home-made they don’t come in a uniform size and they tend to spread across the baking trays so you have to cut them up but they are very yummy.

This recipe was taken from a National Trust Cookbook which I found lurking in the library – all of which makes me sound very middle aged and potentially a member of the local WI – not true!!

Cornish Fairings

2 tblsps golden syrup

8oz butter

6 oz caster sugar

12oz self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

Pre-heat oven – gas mark 4

Melt syrup and butter in a saucepan over a low heat

Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved

Sieve flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl and add the butter mixture

Stir together to form a dough.

Grease baking trays.

Roll dough into small balls (approx size of walnuts), place on baking trays allowing plenty of of space for them to spread

Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown – leave to cool before removing from trays.

Helen Johnstone

5 Responses

  1. Pinny & rolling pin at the ready…….. not a pretty sight I can assure you.

  2. damnation, my oven is broken! I’d only eat them all myself though; the hubby would find me in a corner of the kitchen covered in biscuit crumbed shame.

  3. Tip: you can use granulated sugar instead of caster, so the biscuits are even cheaper to make 🙂

  4. thank you thank you – this saturday mornings cooking with daughter sorted…will report back on relative level of success

  5. Glad you like the recipe – I have more!!!

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