Friday, 23 September 2011


Possibly the smallest afghans I've ever made.

I've just realised that despite posting several photos of them on Flickr over the years (1, 2), I've never actually posted the recipe for Afghans. Yes, it's a strange name for a biscuit, but they're completely ubiquitous in New Zealand. Afghans are a kind of chocolate biscuit with cornflakes in, they contain no eggs and aren't overly sweet. It's a very particular taste, a surprisingly good combination of dry-ish biscuit, chewy cornflake, sweet icing and walnut.
We discovered them on a family holiday in 2003 and searched for a recipe for ages, trying the few versions we could find on the internet with limited success. One day I realised that they featured in Mum's favourite old battered Penguin Cookery Book from the seventies, which was written by Bee Nilson, a kiwi. We've been making that recipe ever since and they're pretty much spot-on.
My copy of the Penguin Cookery Book was found in one of the many St Peter's Hospice shops here in Bristol and is even older, the last date printed is 1965 and it has mould spots!
So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

Cooking time 20 minutes. Temperature 350F, Mark 4, ~180C.
Allegedly makes 2 dozen, although we tend to make about 8 larger ones.
7oz melted butter or margerine (1 c)
6oz plain flour (1 1/4 c)
3oz sugar (6 tbs)
2oz cornflakes (2 c) - non-Kelloggs work better here, Kelloggs are too thin and melty
1oz cocoa (3 tbs)
1/4 tsp salt
Vanilla essence
1 doz shelled walnuts  - a.k.a. 24 halves, I wonder if they came ready-shelled in those days?
Chocolate icing - refers to another recipe in the book, but I'm sure you can figure this one out

Mix all ingredients together and put in small spoonfuls on an ungreased tray. Bake until firm. When cold drop a blob of icing on top of each and press on half a walnut.

There you go! Nothing fancy at all. Perfect with a nice mug of coffee, or possibly a kiwi-esque flat white (or flit whaite if you must do the accent.)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

From In Between

Nice old cars around Clifton.

A lovely evening sky

 Good dinners:
1. Orzo pasta, bacon, roast sweet potato, walnuts & blue cheese. Rich.
2. Bacon & courgette risotto, best one I've managed yet.
3. Quiche Lorraine (30p), potato salad (30p/kilo, herbs from the windowsill) & general salad (rocket 10p, Vittoria tomatoes 1/3 off). Bargainous and tasty, and possibly claimable as healthy?

Clifton Village - Ice Cold Moet only £28 at the newsagent near the suspension bridge, a rather cute sausage dog for my flatmate K.

Terrifying knitting pattern from a book in Oxfam Books, foreword by Una Stubbs.

Teaching myself new crochet stitches. Half-treble, double, treble?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Revision Stations

One exam down, one to go!
My life recently has been mostly spent in the coffee shops of North Bristol, trying to absorb as much information about rings, ideals and field extensions as I possibly can without giving myself a caffeine overdose. As I'm not a big fan of normal tea (I am British really!) I've been sampling all the fruit teas I can get my hands on. Coffee #1 get ten points for this tasty red berry one, and another ten for their hot apple and cinnamon  - they take proper fancy apple juice and put steam through it like you would to make a latte. Yum.
Last Saturday I had the company of the lovely Ceilidh (like the Scottish dance) who was swotting up on accountancy jargon for her new job, that's her enormous textbook in the photo above.

Of course when you're spending hours on end in coffee shops it helps to drink something cheap, which leads me to Starbucks £1 filter coffee with a free refill. The size of Starbucks makes me feel less guilty hogging chairs too. The branch upstairs in Cabot Circus might be my favourite, despite being in a *very* busy shopping area it's not at all crowded. It's tucked away right at the top and has big squishy armchairs and a good view across Bristol.

Café Kino is a favourite too, both for it's friendliness and prices - a very decent pot of tea is just £1.20. The window seats give you a good vantage point for watching Stokes Croft go about its daily business too. This is their apple tea, a rare example among such teas in that tastes almost as good as it smells.

I may have visited a couple of charity shops on my travels too...

Pretty floral blousey top, originally from Florence & Fred at Tesco, £3.30 from British Heart Foundation.
Blue plastic necklace £1 from The Salvation Army, their shop reminds me of charity shops 10+ years ago, before thrift/vintage became fashionable. It's very much cheaper than anywhere else!

And on the subject of pretty things, Julia of House of Marmalade (and brave maker of corsets!) is holding a giveaway with Dragonfly Fabrics - the combination of Colette Patterns and spotty ribbon is very appealing to me. I've entered plenty of blog giveaways but never won one :'( (but hopefully this cheeky link gives me an extra entry!)