Queen Viv has been my friend for years, almost 2 decades to be precise. She has always been my fairy godmother. She watches over me and along with my darling Mr NQN was the first person to encourage me to start this blog two years ago. Ever since she has been one of my most loyal supporters and is a fantastic cheerleader whenever I have doubts and along with Mr NQN comes up with great ideas. She is like a big sister or mother figure to me (and her son Michael is about my age too).
Queen Viv is from New Zealand and when she recently visited I asked her if she would bring me back some Denheath Custard Squares. I kind of knew it wouldn't happen, after all a box of custard squares and a woman travelling by herself handling her own luggage paints a rather awkward picture but one thing she did give me was an Edmonds Cookery Book. I had seen her and Miss America get so excited a few years ago when they saw a copy of it. It's part of New Zealand's history since 1879, apparently almost every household in New Zealand has a copy of this book and it's one in which the recipes are said to be very reliable. When she asked me to make her some Belgium Biscuits I readily agreed.
I've tried a select few New Zealand biscuits in my travels and they seem to like short textured, almost sandy in textured biscuits with icing on them. The Afghan biscuits which are seriously, amazingly good are a good example of this pairing. These biscuits were delicious with a sandy and short richly spiced biscuit, a sweet raspberry flavoured icing, the tartness of the raspberry and the crunch of the pink sugar.
When I watched Julie & Julia recently it got me to thinking how lucky I am to be able to blog full time. Julie Powell had to contend with full time work and blogging and believe me I know how hard that is having done that for the first year and a half and I knew that it was possible but not feasible to do long term and still be able to write quality posts every single day. Unlike Julie (I'm thinking of her mum), I have a very supportive network including people like Mr NQN, Queen Viv, Miss America, Teena, Gina, M and The Second Wife who play Fairy Godmother to me as well as my parents who whilst I don't think they fully understand what I do, support it. And it is them along with the fact that I'm doing what I love that means that working 9am-Midnight or 1am is no hardship, it's a pleasure. In my former life as an Media Strategist in the Advertising industry, if you had asked me to work 9am-Midnight 7 days a week I would have quit within a few weeks. This however feels right, as if I were born to blog. I was told that American Express calls me a "Potentialist" i.e. someone that living a fuller life by turning their passion into a job. Although Ferris Bueller did say that isms (and by virture, ists) "in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself" so be it if I am one.
So now I lust after books and cooking equipment rather than designer shoes and bags (ok I still lust after those and I still want a Hermes Birkin or Chanel Classic bag) but I say farewell to the advertising corporate world Lorraine and hello to the happier (sadly slightly rounder) version of Lorraine. And do I mourn the loss? Only of the kilos!
So since I am spoiled for Fairy Godmothers, allow me to be someone else's Fairy Godmother this time. I've partnered with American Express so that I can pass on some fairy godmother dust and give away to one reader...drum roll please...
A gorgeous Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer KSM150 in White worth $730 plus a copy of How To Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson! All you have to do is tell me in 50 words or less, how you will realise your potential with these two items!
THE WINNER OF THE KITCHENAID COMPETITION IS: *
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WIN AND I HOPE IT HELPS YOU TO REALISE YOUR POTENTIAL!"*
This competition is open to Australian residents and can only be shipped within Australia. You can enter once daily as long as your answer is different. Please do not email me your entries as they will not be counted. The competition closes on the 13th of December so one lucky person will be having a very, very Merry Christmas :)
Lots of fairydust,
Adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book
Makes 10-12 double layer biscuits
- 125 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- 3/4 to 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp raspberry or vanilla essence
- a few drops of red food colouring
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam, approximately
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- a little pink food colouring
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180c/350FCream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice, and cocoa on top of the bowl and then mix into combine and make a firm dough.
Step 2 - On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to 3 mm thick. Cut out rounds using a 6.5cm cutter. It does sort of fall apart as this is a very short biscuit but keep going, you will get there (just make sure that the surface is lightly floured all over so that you can pick these up with a lightly floured palette knife easily. Re-roll scraps - it may seem more mottled and harder to roll together but don't worry you can use this half of the dough for the bottom halves.
The cooked biscuits
With raspberry jam
Step 3 - Bake at 180 C (350F) for 15 minutes or until cooked. When cold, ice the more attractive looking half of the biscuits. Spread the less attractive biscuits with raspberry jam and place iced biscuits on top. Sprinkle with pink sugar before icing fully sets.
Step 4 - Mix icing sugar with flavouring and colouring. Add sufficient water to make a pink icing of spreading consistency.
Step 5 - To make pink sugar, place sugar in a ziplock bag and add a tiny amount of food colouring. Seal the bag tightly and shake the sugar and massage it with your fingers so that the colouring is evenly spread.