Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas tradition number 1: cheese and biscuits

Back in Newhaven for Christmas and chaotic as ever, although thankfully warmer than the last two years, as we settle beck into the garden shed and negotiate the return of cutlery (and flatware!) from Number 2 Son. Shopping as usual is unplanned and ad hoc, until the final making of a list today (milk, cheese, biscuits, pickled onions, food). I was going to have a sandwich for my tea but Jim couldn't get a breadcake, so I broke out the cheese and biscuits instead.



These may be considered a quotidien postprandial treat for many, but for me they are very much a Yuletide indulgence. Especially TUC crackers, for which I have long had an inordinate fondness. As a child, I wondered why Len Murray and his ilk warranted a particularly tasty and crumbly biscuit being produced in their honour (yes, I was that kind of child) and to this day I am a trifle mystified by their name. But never mind. They are still crumbly and indulgent and delicious and somehow greasy.

Cheese and biscuits entails firstly selecting the biscuits. You can butter them, but they have a frustrating tendency to shatter, especially in the winter, so I trust to gravity and balance to keep the topping in place. Next, cut up some cheese into nibble sized pieces, and finally cut some pickled onions - the spiciest you can get - into eighths. The purpose of all this advance preparation is that you can now retire to the sofa and assemble a tasty snack with your right hand whilst holding a book in your left. Each mouthful must consist of a piece of cheese, a portion of onion, and a bite of biscuit. It is this last component which can be unpredictable and thus introduces a slight ait of adventure. The trick is to finish the biscuits, cheese and onions all together with no remainders - and of course, without having counted them out beforehand. If there is cheese left, you need more biscuits, and possibly more onions. After the cheese is gone, you may find yourself left with an excess of onion pieces, requiring the adfition of ,ore cheese. In this way, a light teatime snack can go on for a very long time. Being an old hand, ended with a neat two bits each of cheese and onion, requiring just one further TUC biscuit to finish them off in two neat bites. Merry Christmas!

2 comments:

  1. Similar ingredients for me, but prefer Carrs Water Biscuits !

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  2. Do I spy oatmeal thins? Yum yum!

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