Friday, 21 May 2010


I am currently breaking my no chocolate before 9.30am rule. Defiantly. I have been struck down with a nasty little cold this week, just 3 weeks after my last bout!
Strangely, it seems to have coincided both times with the volcano ash cloud. Is there a connection?
All week I have been obsessing over cookies. OUP don’t really ever do cookies, although they do a plethora of large cakes and pastries. In the Year End briefing yesterday they announced that OUP had consumed 24,000 of said cakes last year. Anyway today I awoke without tastebuds. I even got up early to have a slice of homemade granary bread toasted with marmite for breakfast, and I couldn’t even taste the wonderful sweet nuttiness of the bread! So I decided to go to the coffee bar as a compensation rewarded myself with a morning trip to the coffee bar and lo and behold! Double chocolate chip cookies! It was pretty amazing. Very sweet, and soft in the middle, not unlike a brownie crossed with meringue. I could at least taste the chocolatey sweetness of it. Mmm. But when I got back to the office, there is a tuppaware container on the cake table with homemade cookies in it! It is a mystery, no one knows who made them. My money’s on Steve.

I blame Ben’s Cookies for all this. Had one on Sunday in Leamington, and didn’t think the choice was very good. But then I forgot the golden rule of Ben’s cookies, they always taste about 100 times better than they look. And also they are bigger than they look. I think by putting massive chunks in, they did themselves a disservice as they always look too small. But then you might be inclined to buy more! Ben you crafty corporate devil you! Incidentally, Ben’s cookies was actually founded by Helge Rubinstein, not a Ben. I just learnt that their original store is the one I frequent in Oxford’s covered market! Well I never. Oh no! Ben’s cookies are only available to people in the South. Northerners miss out!? To compensate, they have an online ordering service to anywhere in the UK. I feel the need to send some up north and spread the love. Though really what good would that do them, when they don’t live near a BC shop? I understand that feeling well, for I am haunted by a cookie. This cookie was given to me as a welcome gift from the DoubleTree Metropolitan Hotel in Midtown, NYC. I think it was milk choc chip, but it had nuts in too, and it was large and so chewy. We crashed in the bed on arrival, then awoke at 7am and hungrily ate our cookies. Best jetlag meal ever. I meant to buy some from the lobby before we left…
On a related note, mum was cleaning out the freezer on Sunday night and found a roll of cookie dough! I vaguely remember making the dough. They are basically shortbread with white chocolate chips and almonds, but the recipe told me to use unsalted butter and they were crying out for salt. So, at 9.30 on sun night I sliced up the cookies, put them on a baking tray and milled salt on top of each cookie.
It definitely improved them. Though, having forgotten the original recipe (I think I got it from the newspaper weekend supplement) I had to guess the time and temperature. Mum said they might just be the best thing I ever made! High praise!
Anyway, summer is here so it is time to remind myself of the things I like about summer, so I don’t get bummed out about the things that I don’t like (heat, sunburn, sweating, sun cream, showing the whiteness of my skin, feeling like a whale, gardening):

  • Auntie Jen coming to stay

  • long summer evenings

  • ice cream

  • eating dinner outside

  • the 3 ft thick walls of Barry Cottage keeping us nice and cool

  • crisp early mornings

  • being near the water (tricky since we live in the most inland part of Britain!)


  1. wow gemma now i really miss proper cookies too. not long now though... x

  2. No, not long at all! Getting excited to ply you with Englishness!