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Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Real Cookie Monsters

Not once have I ever asked the “cookie VS brownies” question and been met with the response: “neither, I like them the same.” I have had the odd, “I don’t like any,” response, but I categorise these people as insane and pretend the blasphemous comment never occurred. It’s food physics – you always prefer one over the other.

Let me clarify, it is not a case of only liking either brownies or cookies. I love them both (much to my waistline’s dismay), but for me, nothing will ever beat a brownie. Others I have spoken to say that cookies are the irrefutable champion. I have recently been questioning which types of people are attracted to which side of the food fence?

My observations tell me this – cookie people are optimists who make the best of a bad situation. Cookie people tend to like all types of cookies, even if they aren’t gooey enough in the middle. (To me, that’s not a cookie, that’s a biscuit, but what do I know? I’m a brownie person…) Having a goo-less cookie is the risk you take and you still have the option of microwaving the thing for ten seconds to make it perfect. (If you have never done this, do so now. Trust me.) You are happy with what you get, and there is a bigger chance of getting what you want without actually baking it yourself.

You may pick up on my slightly negative stance on how easy it is to enjoy a cookie. This is because I am a brownie person, and for us, it is much more difficult to satisfy our cravings. If you get a brownie that isn’t quite right, you are left with the feeling much the way you do when you look forward to your favourite restaurant all week, and then your friends want to go somewhere else – even though what you eat instead is nice, you still feel unsatisfied incomplete.

It takes years of searching to find the perfect brownie. It has to be gooey on the inside, but not runny. It has to be crisp on the outside, but not overdone. It must contain chocolate chucks which partly melt when baked. It should also go well with custard when served warm as a dessert. My own requirements for a perfect brownie force me to admit that I am a perfectionist, and because of this most of the time, my glass is three quarters empty. The good news is that I now know it isn’t my fault. It’s the brownie makers of the world that have made me this way.

It seems that this long fought debate is the perfect example of we are what we eat. Cookie cravers, I salute you. You are generally content with life and if one cookie out of five is a little off, at least you have the other four to see you through. For us brownie people, this would probably ruin our day. Even though I am very much encamped on the dry and brown patch of the field, and the grass is definitely greener on the other side, for better or worse I’m stuck over here with my quarter cup of milk. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles I guess, but they’re all too busy enjoying life to notice.

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in food

 

The Mars Bar Cook Book.

taken from alcoholbars.com

For too long I have kept these culinary secrets at bay. I have guarded them with pride and they have seen me through some very difficult times, discovering Will Smith was married for one – I don’t think I would have survived that without these lovely life savers. So, here they are, for the entire world to read and eat. I give you, the Mars Bar cook book. Happy munching!

(Note, recipes marked with an * require no extra ingredients.)

1. *Mars Bars for beginners: This is the easiest recipe that even the most inexperienced chefs can master to produce exceptional results. Purchase one Mars Bar. At a moment of your choosing, (author suggests placing oneself on the sofa with favourite DVD or TV series.) Unwrap said Mars Bar and eat. Simple, yet delicious.

2. *The Mars Bar frube: This recipe is dedicated to my little sister, and the bus driver who broke the air conditioning and enabled us to create this coach-inspired delicacy. Purchase a Mars Bar. Sit on said Mars bar, or place in a very warm environment until the package is no longer solid. Tear off a corner of the wrapper and consume as you would a frube. This is not recommended if you are not in full ‘chocolate’ mode.

3. *Mars Bar soup: This is a wonderful dish for a cold day when feeling under the weather and in need of a little pick me up that chicken soup just won’t fix. Purchase a Mars Bar. Remove the wrapping and discard. Place the Mars Bar in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, but stir in between. For the less patient out there (self included) cut the bar up so that it melts quicker. Once melted, eat with a spoon and accompany with biscuits (the sweet tooth croutons).

4. The Mars Bar toastie: This is a definite don’t-knock-it-till-you-try-it dish. Purchase a Mars Bar. Cut it up into slices (not too thin and not too thick). Make up a toastie according to your toastie maker instructions with the Mars pieces in between the slices of bread. Enjoy warm and then worry about cleaning hot caramel off of your kitchen. If you don’t have a toastie machine, you can try sandwiching a cut up Mars Bar between two sliced of toast, but I’m afraid it won’t be the same. Sorry.

5. Mars a la Scotland (avoid if you have any heart problems): This recipe requires either a friend at a chip shop, or a deep fat fryer. You guess it ladies and gents. It’s the deep fried Mar Bar. Purchase a Mars Bar. Go to the chip shop and beg your buddy to fry it in batter for you. If you don’t know any chip shop owners, attempt to fry it in batter yourself. If it doesn’t look tasty, I guarantee it will taste amazing.

6. The ultimate Mars Bar (also not for the faint hearted): This recipe requires 3 Mars Bars, 2 milk chocolate bars, coco pops, treacle, and white chocolate. Melt the Mars Bars in a microwave and add a cup of coco pops and 2 tablespoons of treacle. spoon this concoction into a baking tin. Melt the milk chocolate and cover afore mentioned concoction in the melted chocolate. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle this over the top of the ultimate Mars Bar. This recipe requires 3 weeks of dieting to recover.

7. Chocolate Salad: This recipe has been guarded by my mum for years. It’s the first salad I ever tasted – which explains why all the others were such a disappointment. The good thing about it is that it has the word ‘salad’ in it, so it’s good for you. It’s also very simple to prepare. Purchase Mars Bars, Snickers, Dairy Milk, Maltesers, and basically any kind of chocolate you enjoy eating, in any quantity you like. The beauty of a salad is that you can put what you want in it. Cut up the various chocolate bars into bite size pieces and then toss into a bowl. Serve to your best friends on an evening of your choosing, or eat all by yourself.

There you have it fellow readers, the Mars Bar cook book. Please use these recipes with care, I don’t think there are any studies out there depicting how many Mars Bars you can eat before going into cardiac arrest, but I wouldn’t recommend trying all of them in one day.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in food

 

A skinny moccachocalatteccino please, extra foam and no whipped cream…

So apparently, there’s a Starbucks in every country now. That’s pretty impressive for a coffee shop. We can’t get a decent cup of coffee anywhere in my home village so I’m glad to hear that at least someone is trying to keep the population caffeinated.

My question is, why do we all love Starbucks so much? It’s expensive, it’s a tiny bit too pretentious, and the place is filled with evil temptations such as the chocolate frappuccino and the delicious, but deadly, rocky road. Also, you feel stupid if you don’t give the size you want in Italian (because that’s what it says on the board, and that’s how everyone else says it) – so as if pronouncing the drink you wanted wasn’t bad enough, you have to attach a phallic metaphor on the end to boot. (sorry, but we all think it when we say the word Grande).

I went through a phase where I refused to go to Starbucks. I didn’t want anything to do with the place. It was pompous and posh. But now I know that really, I was just jealous that I wasn’t those things, and so felt like I didn’t really qualify to drink a skinny caramel macchiato. Even now, as my strike phase has ended, I do feel more posh if I’m walking down the street holding a polystyrene cup with the green woman stamped on it. Starbucks makes me feel special.

Is this why the place is so successful? Has it discovered the way to appeal to the masses? Do we all want a little bit more posh in our lives? It appears that the answer is yes. Take the Royal Wedding for example, love it or hate it, it’s all that we talked about. Kate Middleton – as much as I hate her for her genetic blessings and curse biology for mine, we can’t get enough of her. Even shows like ‘Made in Chelsea’ (a very strange programme about very rich people all drinking too much and doing things in hot tubs) have wriggled their way onto television, and people watch it! I walked in on my sister crying – yes, crying, at the finale of that show and telling me that it was the best show in television.

It seems that however we get it, whether from coffee or reality TV, we all want a piece of that lifestyle. As a Nation, we are craving class, but like admitting that you still love eating jelly tots or smiley potato faces, people are ashamed to admit it.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in food

 

Why Dawn French is a Kinder Bueno

When choosing your ultimate idol, you are faced with the same problem as selecting your favourite chocolate bar. For me, there are days when you just can’t beat a Kit Kat Chunky, and there are days when Dairy Milk is the only way to go. The same can be said when thinking about what person you chose your ultimate idol. There’s more than one person you want to be like and, just like finding the right chocolate bar for you, finding the perfect idol can take years of searching- believe me, I know.

Despite all my ‘fad’ days, when only a Twix will do, my favourite chocolate bar of all time has to be the Kinder Bueno. It has everything my kind of chocolate bar needs. It’s chocolatey, there’s a hint of crispiness, and then you get to that amazing hazelnut centre that’s like eating liquid Nutella. Perfection.

My Bueno of the people world would have to be the one and only Dawn French.  On the outside, she’s funny, witty, and inside she’s generally filled with loveliness. Above all, Like a Bueno, she’s beautiful. Whether she’s a big full Bueno, half a Bueno, or a single square of a Bueno, she’s just gorgeous. I absolutely adore this woman.

I think the best phrase she ever said was ” There are two types of women: the ones who like chocolate and complete bitches.” Now, while her words may have been a tad harsh, I am sorry all you chocolate haters, but you are insane. She’s comfortable with herself and her own opinions. She never seems to doubt that everything will work out and she always finds ways to be happy with what life has dealt her. You see this in her biography, Dear Fatty, which gives us all a little slice of her and trust me, it is delicious. Well worth a read (accompanied with a bar of galaxy of course).

How many people do you know who are completely comfortable in their own body? Personally, I don’t know anyone who can confidently stand up and say they love every bit of themselves. Even if Dawn French doesn’t love every single bit about her body, the past and present one, she has never been reported to have said anything negative about her image. She even claimed in an interview with Woman, released today, that she was very fond of her previous body and that she was never unhappy with herself. She’s my hero. Plus, she played Geraldine Granger in Vicar of Dibley (also a chocolate lover) which gives her extra brownie points because that is THE funniest show Britain ever produced.

I also love this woman for saying that she could not watch TV without chocolate. This should be made into law in my opinion. Send it through as a private bill as soon as possible under Dawn-French-Appreciation-Law. Yes please Mr. Prime Minister! There could be a whole range of these laws in honour of our idols. We could have an exercise-while-you-eat law and have a Bueno in each hand to use as weights. We could have a Bueno-appreciation day, and while we’re at it, a Dawn-French-appreciation day as well.

I have my Jennifer Anniston days, where I fall into the social convention trap and wish I was a tall, skinny fashionista. But this, to me, is like having a favourite chocolate bar similar to something like a Special K bar. It’s not really a chocolate bar, and after you’ve eaten it, you still want an actual chocolate bar. Jennifer Anniston is great. But it takes a lot of effort to look like her and to be honest, I’d rather keep my fuzzy edges along with my Bueno. No offence Jen.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in food

 

Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

Any dieter will tell you there are good days and bad days when watching one’s waistline. There are tricks of the trade to ‘tip the scales’ in your favour when said bad days occur. You take off all your jewellery for instance, and any denim wear is a definate no no. The immediate solution, you may say, is to keep the earring and maybe spend a little bit more time in the gym rather than in the bakery isle, but then, why did God invent chocolate?

Once a week, we dieters suck it up (or in)  jewelless and linen clad, and head off to our meeting to face the dreaded scales. For most, there is a feeling of elation as we step down and are told that we are lighter than we were 7 days before. But there are times when our diet has not quite gone according to plan and we must endure the agonising ‘have we had a bit of a bad week?’ talk from our class leader. This was quite a common occurance for me during my diet period.

The truth is, I am a terrible dieter. I love food and food loves me, so really, it’s only half my fault. The problem with being in a relationship with food is that the upward struggle doesn’t stop at the dieting. How and what you eat after you are happy with your image is equally, if not more important in order to maintain that image. And I’m crap at it.

But change I must, and so, I have decided to confess my sins, and purge myself of the biscuit crumbs of binges past that still haunt me. Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in food