December 26th, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

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Homer: Now that just leaves little Maggie. Ah, a squeak toy. It says it’s for dogs, but she can’t read.

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VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

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How did you spend your Christmas this year?

Did you get a present that you wanted?

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This year Mr.D gave me a beautiful Marimekko teapot, & I gave him a Hario glass teapot!! – I guess we’ll be drinking a lot of tea from now on! Lol! ^^ As for the children, our boy was given a Hubsan x4 Quadcopter (a dinky remote controlled indoor flyer that RC enthusiasts would nod their approval to), & our girl received a well-made toy accordion which still sounds pleasant to the ear even when played in a muddle (phew!).

Santa (cough cough) gave them each a Mosaic Craft Kit, an attempt for sure to keep the kids busy while the parents have a well deserved rest…

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We ate our Christmas dinner on the 24th, like we always do. And it’s always me that cook. Again this year it was roast duck, brussels sprouts with crisped up bacon, duck-fat roasted root veg (potatoes, parsnip, carrots), home-made gravy sauce. It all went well & got chomped down, which is a delight after 3 hours of cooking in the kitchen.

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The party itself is always the usual fair too – children popping the Christmas crackers throughout the dinner, reading out the silly jokes that fall out, the adults having a vague attempt at guessing the answer whilst sloshing in copious amounts of red wine. Ofcourse, elemental to the cause, we don on the cheap yet colourful paper hats. The dessert was, funnily enough, my usual flourless chocolate cake (that I sell on the stall), simply because I had an order to make 2 of these that very morning, & I decided to make an extra one for us too. (There’s no rest for the wicked…?)

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Today (26th), I write this blog post from bed…! I’ve gotten a terrible cold, I’m feeling terribly woozy. Sore throat, gunky nose. Every year around this time I get ill like this – even after a year of having caught no cold. It’s as if my body reserves all this bad stuff for when I finally find the time to relax… Mr.D has taken the children to the local cinema so the house is quiet right now. Bliss…

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Anyway, dearest people who read this blog, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! And I wish you the very best for the coming year!  Love, T xx

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August 29th, 2013

Join me at the Charity Afternoon Tea

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Hello~!!!! How are you doing this summer?? :) Is it hot where you live?

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Here in UK, we’ve been blessed with great weather pretty much all round! :) For example, around the end of July there was a long stretch of heat-wave too! I don’t mind a bit of hot weather but this heat-wave totally baked me in the kitchen on my weekly bake-a-thons. (Baker being baked on bake-a-thon. Possible tongue twister like Peter Piper?! Lol. sorry… feeling silly obviously.) And as for selling cakes in the hot heat, oh-my-god, standing under the plastic tarpaulin roof at my market stall was soooo unbearable. It was like being in a green house!!
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This prolonged hot weather is super unusual in UK weather standards if you ask me! Normally the weather takes a shine on us for about a week, then you abruptly have to wave a involuntarily bye-bye to summer & say a reluctant hello to autumn! Only…, in such summers, what is left is not a tan, but a hardly used sun-protection lotion which gets shelved to dusty oblivion. Disenchanted by the broken promise of summer, you might even imagine the bottle staring back like a Space Odyssey Monolith, ridiculing at the vain hope you’ve once had of using it up.
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But here it is. Hot weather! After one of the wettest winters & coldest springs earlier this year, it’s certainly something to be happy about! :)
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But enough of weather-talk! I actually wanted to let you know about the event that is coming up at the end of September which I really want to convince you to come!
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My dear friends F & S at The Pastry Network are organizing a Cocktail-style Champagne Afternoon Tea to raise funds* for an exceptionally wonderful charity called Make-A-Wish.
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Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions, to enrich their human experience with hope, strength & joy.
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This charity makes me think of the famous Japanese idiom “ 病は気から” (yamai-wa-ki-kara), meaning “One’s attitude (spirit) can affect the path of an illness, for better or for worse.” When you feel sad you lose your appetite. When you smile you release endorphins which make you feel good. And when you do turn that frown upside down & have upbeat thoughts, it can physically change your body. I really believe so. 
Moreover, it is not just in physical illness, but when you’re feeling down or when you’re having a hard time, be it at work or in personal life, I faithfully think that actively living your life to make it better eventually makes for positive outlook/ outcome. People who are “trying their best” are shiny & beautiful.
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(Got slightly off on a tangent there… sorry.)
Anyway…,
The Cocktail-style Champagne Afternoon Tea will be held at The Park Lane Hotel (nearest station is Green Park), on Monday 30th of September between 3pm to 6pm, & the ticket price is 55 pounds per person.
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Ah yes, 55 pounds may seem a little hefty. BUT here’s what I think about this; 
- there will be an amazing TWENTY-ONE super-chefs from 19 top-notch & famous establishments at our service, making our canapés, chocolates & pastries. You’ve probably heard of them if you’re from this part of the world: Ladurée, William Curley, Wolseley, Delaunay, Koffmann’s… And I would imagine that the chefs will really go out of their way to create the most beautiful stuff, since the place will be swimming with people in the same line of business. To be honest, if you’re any sort of pastry-lover, I really think it’s going to feel like paradise has descended in to one room in Piccadilly. I mean, there’s all these other 5-star establishments such as the Dorchester, Langham & Lanesborough participating too who’re famed for their afternoon tea. Sampling pastries from them all in one time? O.m.g, it’s going to be totally unreal! It’s going to be amazing.
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I should also add that apparently some of the chefs will be holding the trays in the room. SO, which means, we’ll get to talk to them! And on the day, there will be raffle tickets on sale too – of which some of the prizes are:
Koffmann’s dinner voucher
The Delaunay afternoon tea voucher
There will also be a goodie bag from Valrhona, who is one of the sponsors of the event. 
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So come join me on the 30th to hold a bubbly in one hand & mmm… & ahhh… at beautiful food, all in the name of charidy…!! :) (There are only a limited number of tickets so please book well in advance to avoid dissapointment!)
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Date: Monday 30th of September
Time: 3pm to 6pm
Venue: Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London W1J 7BX
Ticket Price: £55 per person
Dress Code: Smart Casual (children under 12 years old cannot be accommodated)
To purchase tickets, please visit www.pastry-network.com
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*all of the proceedings go to Make-A-Wish Foundation UK.

July 9th, 2013

My kitchenware purchases 2012/13

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and me - Marbleized splatter enamelware -  blue marble flat salad plate & red marble muffin tin. From Labour & Wait www.labourandwait.co.uk/‎
(Marbleized splatter enamelware -  blue marble flat salad plate & red marble muffin tin. From Labour & Wait. Now one of many enamel goods I already have. I love enamelware…!)

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Hello!!!! Hello!!!! Hello~!!!! 
How have you all been??? Tell me! I hope you’ve all been good!!!
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Me? Well, I can report to you that I’ve been alright y’know, I’m still my happy self. ^^  Although, I must admit, last week was a hard week for me, a few minor things has happened that upset me, I had to deal with a nasty character, but it’s nothing I want to discuss about in detail here. Besides, don’t worry, it was nothing too major nor dramatic that it changes me. Although…, what it did do however is, it made me all the more aware that I have a loving family, some true friends (& trusty blog readers!^^) & earn an honest living out of work I still love doing. That I am on a good track, that I am lucky.
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Though, talking about awareness of one’s status, recently, I’m also feeling much aware that every day seems to just meld in to one another without much distinction, … if that makes any sense (?) lol…, like how the cycle of everyday affairs is a given. It’s a ‘set’ that has to be done: Wake up, get the kids ready to go to school, make the beds, tidy the house, make the dinner, do the washing, then devote Thursday, Friday & Saturday to my market-work, etc, etc…
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Oh, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! Far from it, I actually find comfort & peace in this secure situation, it”s rather cushy n’ snug isn’t it, although to some, it may come across as mundane & monotonous!
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Then…, perhaps it came from a counteraction to feeling monotonized, & in need for fun spontaneity, I suggested to Mr.D who just turned 49 last week, that for his next birthday ~ the big five-oh ~ I could perhaps take him on a holiday to somewhere very very special. Somewhere unusual from our daily lives. I was thinking somewhere where the stars are beautiful. Like Chile, as he is very much in to star-gazing. (He can’t stop watching DVDs about it). Then he says the one place he’d love to go to is the Himalayas. HIMALAYAS!? Like Tibet or Bhutan!? Wow! Now ‘THAT’ is very special. ^^ The very thought that this time next year we might be somewhere so extremely different from here excites me. So since then, I’ve been researching about how to travel there already. On the off chance, has any of the readers here been to the Himalayas?? If you have, I would greatly appreciate to know how you did it please!
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ANYWAY! Sorry, I suppose this is some sort of a food blog, so here’s some pictures of kitcheney things I bought within the last year! I hope you like them as much as I do! T xx

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and me - eBay purchase! Vintage chopping board from Germany. Wooden Mr & Mrs Onion heads crying.
eBay purchase! Vintage chopping board from Germany. Wooden Mr & Mrs Onion heads crying.
Usually my own policy when buying on eBay is to buy from the UK only, one, because the expensive overseas shipping fee outweighs the value of the item, & two, because having that personal limit stops me from buying willy-nilly (& I will). But, in this case, I decided to buy it regardless because I had a fond memory of seeing these many years ago, hanging on Mr.D’s late father’s kitchen wall!
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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and me - broadway market cake stall - Beautifully grained wooden pedestals, from around the 1930's. Cakes look instantly classy when displayed on these!
Beautifully grained wooden pedestals, from the 1930′s. Cakes look instantly classy when displayed on these!
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Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com Coco and me - broadway market cake stall - Tamami - Glazed tartan stoneware dinner plate by ANTA of Scotland. Rare & collectible. the tartan is an early, orIginal design by Annie Stewart, co-founder of ANTA. Handmade and decorated in the Highlands.
Glazed tartan stoneware dinner plate by ANTA of Scotland. The tartan is an early, orIginal design by Annie Stewart, co-founder of ANTA. Handmade & decorated in the Highlands.
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Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - coco and me - broadway market - Tamami - cake stall - Vintage Royal Worcester bread plate with animal pattern.
Vintage Royal Worcester bread plate with animal pattern. I’ve never seen this design before! I would love to know the name of the collection, but it doesn’t say it on the back other than Royal Worcester…
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Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - coco and me - broadway market - Tamami - cake stall - bread plate is from Alfred Meakin Studio. The design is called Little Green Apples
Again, another design I haven’t seen before. This bread plate is from Alfred Meakin Studio. The design is called Little Green Apples.
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Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - coco and me - broadway market - Tamami - cake stall - vegetable sun-drying net basket
And this is my current craze! (Lol! How boring am I??) It’s a vegetable sun-drying net basket!
You can put deseeded tomatoes, peppers, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, daikon radishes…, all-sorts, you’d be surprised with the variety of foods that can be sun-dried. And if you’ve been lucky with hot weather, the veggies shrivel & dry in no time, & what you’d end up with are foods that has boosted nutrients & condensed umami flavour. It can also be preserved a lot longer, although I often just semi-dry them & have it for dinner that same day as drying.
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Now what else… Oh yeah, I also bought an OXO mandoline slicer in white (Don’t worry, I also have a cut-resistant glove!!). It’s a superb product, especially when you want to create beautiful apple galettes with uniform super-duper thin apple slices, but otherwise I don’t use it often, & is boxed up. At the end of the day, it’s quicker to cut foods yourself by knife, &, no matter how I try, I end up with the the end piece left over.
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Then I also bought my now 7th (!) hand mixer. This time, it’s a James Martin by Wahl hand mixer (300 Watt). I’m super happy with this one. It’s on the bigger & heavier side, but it is powerful (meaning it cuts the time in whipping eggs!) &, despite this, is quieter than the other models I have used in the past. I also like that the whisk attachment is ever so slightly longer than the other models’ too! ^^
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November 22nd, 2010

Waitrose Cookery School

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a preview do for Waitrose’s new cookery school. It was on Thursday evening, which was not exactly great as it’s my chocolate making day but I wanted to go so much, I decided I’d make a little less to make up for the time-loss.

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Now, I’m a sort of person who h.a.t.e.s going to places alone. I get uncomfortable, be it waiting for a friend to turn up at the bar, or going to cinemas on my own. So I asked my friend A to accompany me. She also has great interest in food & teaches Japanese home-style cooking here in London, so a perfect companion for the night I think!

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Soon as we got our coats checked-in, we were handed a glass of champagne. Champagne is my favourite alcoholic beverage (next to Japanese plum wine) that magics delirious happiness in me. Hmm… - And then came very tasty canapés. Ah! We’re getting treated finely tonight aren’t we! (champers fueled giggles with A.)

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(Another one? ~ oh go on then, bend my rubber arm why don’t you.)

(Behind the scenes, making our nibbles.)

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Drink in one hand & camera dangling on neck, we nosed around. Gosh, it’s such a dream place. If I was to ever open a school it’ll be like this. A spacious open plan set-up of cooking workshop area, eating area & impressive bar. There’s also an auditorium for demonstrations in the next room equipped with hi-tech live-camera above the front work-top so that seated students can see what the chef is doing in detail on a mounted telly. Not bad.

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Equipment freaks that we are, we looked in draws in the workshop. I instantly fell in love with the following two; a ‘Lékué Decopen’ for piping,

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& this, oh God I want it so bad, a titanium ‘Kenwood KM070 cooking chef major mixer‘, WITH induction cooking technology!!! I’ve never heard of such a thing! Apparently you can make béchamel sauce in it, & even risotto. Well, with just under £1000 to buy just one of these, it better do. I have never ever been interested in food mixers before, even the lovely KitchenAid, but this… God, I want one. (did I just say this twice?)

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Anyway, back to writing about the evening.

There were only around 17 bloggers that attended & from Waitrose’s side there were around 7 chefs, aswell as more bods from management & PR. (Pamper-ometer, tick!) After champagne, we watched head pastry chef James Campbell (formerly Gary Rhodes’ group head pastry chef ) make italian-meringue based macaroons in orange marmalade flavour. And then it was our turn to do the same. The ingredients were already measured out set neatly by our work table, & ofcourse we don’t do the washing up later.

(Clean & stylish)

(Macs. Italian meringue based are easier to make (compared to french meringue version) as there’s no drying period, but I think the result-texture is harder & chewier… – although it is less so as you leave it for a couple of days.)

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We then had a cocktail master-class. Orange & vodka mix poured in to  sugar-rimmed  glass, & then another cocktail which was coffee flavoured.

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(My friend A making cocktail.)

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We also sampled two more flavours of macs. Eggnog one which had chantilly cream filling which was delicious, & mulled wine one with edible glitter on its surface. Everyone seemed to love the glitter on it, but I personally don’t, although I do understand the attraction of its prettiness. The reason why I don’t like them is simply because I don’t want to eat it. It’s the same feeling I have to edible gold leafs.

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Anyway, all in all I was very impressed with the place & the chefs who were all friendly. I thought that the price for classes (all-day classes are £175) are reasonable if you think that there are three chefs to 24 pupils which is good going.

September 13th, 2008

I’ll be back next week!!!

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Hello!

I’m going to restart trading at the market from next Saturday! (20th) Yay! It’s enough with the maternity break. Time to venture out of the coochi-coochi-koo-land & get active, pull my sleeves up, earn some dough. I tell ya, I’m sooo excited & sooo happy about restarting that I’ve got that wonderful “nervous but also giddy” feeling that is similar to when I started the market the first time round.

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I’m revved up & I’ll be armed with lots of chocolates & cakes. There’ll be the “usual suspects” (like the Flourless chocolate cake) & also one or two new products for the line-up that I am “hoping” to make (like the Caramelized dried fruits & nuts tart which I’m pondering on calling it “Winter fruit tart”, & the lemon drizzle cake that will be sold as slices).
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So if you’re around in London next Saturday, fancy popping over??

Love t xx

September 1st, 2007

Quick message

Hi… Just a quickie to say that I won’t be doing the market this week & the next because of the house-move.

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Also, I won’t be posting much on this blog & reply to your comments/ emails for a wee while, atleast until the internet connection gets sorted at the new house. But then again…, I can imagine myself going to those WiFi cafés to fuel my ‘blog-fix’, so guys, don’t be too surprised to see another blog-entry here in a much nearer future actually…!

July 16th, 2007

Would Voldemort prefer rich tea or custard creams?

harry.jpg(Am I wrong or are these book covers pretty bad??)

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(Note: this post would only interest Harry Potter fans.)

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A bit of light-entertainment this week:

In the run up to the highly anticipated last-ever Harry Potter novel coming out, there sure is a H.Potter fever in the air. I’m getting my copy sent to me via amazon – so come the morning of July 21st (release date), no doubt I’ll be waking up early to run downstairs, in my PJ’s, to see if the parcel has arrived, maybe a bit like a little kid on Xmas day. Oh! Can’t wait!

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I found a hilarious online discussion on the UK amazon site, titled ‘Would Voldemort prefer rich tea or custard creams?‘. The very idea of Voldy relaxing with milky tea & biscuits (is he a dunker?) had me in stitches. Anyway, the discussion goes on for 11 pages, so I just copy & paste the first page of it, to give you a taster. Get ya self tea & several biccies & enjoy reading!
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Mr. Derri P. H. Stephens says:
I think Voldemort would be the kind of gut who eats custard creams, and he is deffinately a dunker.
And believe there is some evidence in CoS that proves he would rather a Maryland cookie to a Jammy dodger.
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John Goddard says:Rich Tea biscuits are a creation of pure evil. They hold out the expectation of a biscuit, but deliver a dry and shrivelled result. Surely Voldermort would therefore keep the custard creams for himself and provide Rich Tea biscuits for the death eaters…
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Daniel Roach says:

Voldemort is the personification of pure evil. It would therefore lead us to believe that although custard creams do have all the qualities of a biscuit a dark lord would indeed be suited to, they do not hold a candle to thier darker cousins…… the bourbon cream. Rich and pure in flavour, yet with a vile after-taste and disapointing air of being a factory staff room biscuit, the bourbon cream by name gives itself an air of elegance which would be apt as Voldemort hails from pure blood, tho is by muggle born. The bitter aftertaste can also pay dues to Voldemorts bitter and twisted persona, whilst the bourbon cream also holds rank as the darkest of the biscuit family.
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Anna Leeming says:
I agree with this. Rich Tea are not the kind of biscuit a Dark Lord would eat – after all, they are very bad for dipping (see Peter Kay at the MEN) – and he would be more likely to provide them for the less worthy of his followers while indulging in something which involves far more chocolate.

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Mary -Ann says:
You`re all way out. It`s got to be a Jacobs cracker, a nice piece of stilton , & a glass of unicorns blood !!!

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Harry C. Young says:
I would think he liked ginger newts because he disasscociates himself with anything muggle.

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D. Halliwell says:That is so funny John… i have had to pick myself off the floor i was laughing so much…nice one

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Alice says:
This is a really crummy thread, it takes the biscuit in my opinion!
Maybe Voldy would like cockroach clusters!
Hmmmm, we never see Voldy eat, except snake venom from Nagini milked by the fair hand of Wormtail!

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Weasley Fan says:
I don’t think Voldemort would like any biscuit with a soft centre! He seems more of a Hobnob guy to me. I can just see him sitting there with a steaming mug of Unicorn’s blood, wearing his fluffy Dementor slippers! :o )

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P. M. Fernandez says:
Nobody in their right mind could possibly prefer Rich Tea to anything!
Voldemort is not in his right mind.
Therefore he prefers Rich Tea.

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Amber R. Wahidi says:
What if he doesn’t see the point in eating. Senses all not in tack. Taste not being there.

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Ms. V. Lovatt says:
Voldemort seems like a luxury biscuit nibbler to me. The sort of twisted evil person that dunks ‘n’ munches his way through an entire packet of Cadburys Double Chocolate Cookies without offering you a single one, leaving you to lick your fingers and hoover up the crumbs when he’s not looking. I should imagine the biscuits are accompanied by a lovely cup of milky Camp coffee to dunk the biccies in. He probably has Pettigrew go fetch him some from the local Happy Shopper, lest he intergrate with the lowly Muggles. “Wanna biccie, wanna wanna wanna biccie NOW!!!!” (oh, hold on, thats Terry Pratchett)

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Mevance says:
lol @ biscuits I like a wee rich tea biscuit does this make me a death eater/slytherin?

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Emily says:
Oh Mr Derri P.H. Stephens..how you mock me! I stated I believe Voldermort would prefer rich teas to custard creams because:
1. I believe he is a ‘man’ (if indeed a man can be a man with a broken soul) with traditional tastes.
2. He does not have a lot of time to eat (his days are full of killing people, cursing people, planning evil things, etc) and anything other than a rich tea is likely to stick in his teeth and cause him to have to use a large amount of energy picking bits out of his teeth (the oats from hobnobs, the jam from the dodgers).
3. He is a man who ‘the whole’ is very important too (other than with regards to his soul)and a custard cream has a tendency to break in two.
4. He has long straggely fingers with very long nails that I feel would find it difficult to pick up and handle a custard cream – a rich tea is a easier biscuit to pick up for those with floppy fingers.
5. There are many varieties of custard cream (e.g. tesco, tesco value, asda, sainsbury’s, morrisons, happy shopper, etc) and so you never know quite what you’re going to get… whereas a rich tea is just a rich tea…Voldermort would hate to not know what was coming and what to expect…he is a man who likes to be ready…he likes to always be one step ahead.
6. Voldermort would sound like a pansy if he asked for a ‘custard cream’ whereas a ‘Rich tea’ is quite a masculine choice I feel.
And finally….
7. Voldermort has a new body now which he needs to take care of…as far as I’m aware custard creams are not sold in 25% less fat versions whereas Rich teas are…Voldermort needs to remember his new figure when he is making his biscuit choices. It would be no good if in the middle of the final duel with Harry, he died just because he couldn’t run away fast enough due to the consumption of two too many full fat custard creams!!So there we have it…Voldermort would prefer a rich tea to a custard cream.

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Googleplex says:
No….He’ll find all those special, vintage or relegiously special buiscuit, then eat them quickly, not favouring the taste by purpose- in front of whoever they are most important to…

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Emily says:
Yes but other biscuits have a tendency to ‘crumb’ whereas the grain of a rich tea is as such that it only causes a light powdering when first bitten in to….Voldermort would not look so ‘frightening’ and intimidating with a big bit of hobnob oat, digestive crumb, smudged custard, etc, on his lip!!.

Mevance says:
In reply to J. Vaidya I agree it would be a religious biscuit for voldermort. The only thing however I can think of is a bun a hot cross one.

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Ms. V. Lovatt says:
What about a Cow biscuit? Not too bad on the crumb front, just that weird biscuit sludge you get at the bottom of your cup of tea. But he could vanish that with a flick of his wand, I’m sure. They are also pretty old skool, a way for Voldemort to sit and relax, reminiscing about zee good old days. Although the cup of milky tea could spoil his image. (but the mug could have an evil slogan printed on it- something like “I enjoy killing people” or “This mug belongs to a violent wizard with psychotic tendencies” that sort of thing to balance it out.)

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Mevance says:
A cow biscuit..? I don’t remember them…I hav however consumed a fair few NICE biscuits in my time… mmmmm coconutty. I think Voldy would have a mug with ‘muggle free zone’ written on it

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Emily says:

Interesting suggestion…on a wizard version of a cow biscuit, would the cow move around the biscuit, often leaving the frame of the biscuit?

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Googleplex says:
he probably has some sort of weak side, so he might like those soft gingerbread biscuits you get in m&s with the thick icing- but he would change it so it looked like his sign- so that he can explain it away if any death eater (or JKR) walks in…

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Emily says:
And perhaps whilst sat by the light of his wand and the flickering of the fire in the hearth, with his mug of tea and evening biscuit, his ‘slippered’ feet would be those big gorilla feet slippers or perhaps Homer Simpson slippers?

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Emily says:
And perhaps he would appear to be reading ’101 ways to kill someone with your eyes closed’ but inside the book he would have the latest copy of the Daily ‘Wizard’ Star hidden…checking out the hot witches on page 3 or ‘Woman’s Weekly’ which he has a subscription to for the knitting patterns???

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(Wanna read more? Read the rest at this link!) Credit to all these witty comment writers!!

March 25th, 2007

The road to Lewes & the groundhog roundabout

street.jpg

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This week, I decided to take a break from my hectic schedule. I really needed a break from everyday life, which I do love & enjoy, but also grinds me in to a heap of tired state.

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So I took this Saturday off. There were no pre-orders for big cakes, & the Easter chocolate fever is yet to come. – We planned to do a day trip to a county town called Lewes (East Sussex. It’s near Brighton), where friends of ours live who had left London last Autumn for a better life there (good thinking!).

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Leaving the house 10am, & thinking that our car journey would be around 2 hours, we left high spirited. It’s so unusual to have a day off on a Saturday, it felt good to make a proper day out of it. We had our car-nav device which would guide us there no problem.

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BUT… somehow, we managed to spend almost 3 hours on just getting to Streatham! Still, we drove despite being hit by bad traffic everywhere, I mean in a seriously bad way (which was a test of composure indurance). THEN…, our bad luck got nailed down, as we hit a road closure on our exit on a roundabout. We follow the diversion signs – which brings us back to the same roundabout! Jeez, it did not make sense. The diversion signs were just not good enough – pointing this way, that way. D kept his cool throughout & try another route, but again we were at the same roundabout… We program the car-nav to come up with alternate route. but try as it might, it would try to take us back to this god-damn roundabout a number of times…

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At this point, we were already driving 4 hours. The thought of another 1 hour drive to get to their house, spend a measly 2 hours with our friends & then face another long long time getting home (with an active toddler strapped in to his car seat), in time for his bedtime…, it would be just plain madness. We U-turned home…

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