Gluten Free Cookie #Fail

I would give anything to eat a hot pasty right now. VAT or no VAT, so long as it’s fresh from the oven I could not care less. I’d quite like some fresh baked bread as well. Again, piping hot out of the oven with a nice slab of butter smothered all over it. It’s all heaven to me so long as it’s not gluten free!

After reading Wheat Belly, we’ve been trying to stick to a ‘gluten free’ diet to see if we can eliminate some of our chronic health issues. It’s done wonders for hubby, so I plan to stick with him on it, but it’s utter torture for me as I love my cakes and crumpets. Not to mention, our lovely red Dualit toaster (which I can’t thank Ginger enough for) has been sitting on our kitchen counter completely unused.

In an attempt to satisfy my cravings for a baked treat, we decided to try and make some gluten free chocolate chip cookies out of a packet. One that claimed we wouldn’t believe it wasn’t a ‘real’ cookie.  I tried to keep an open mind but in the end I could not have been more disappointed.  It wasn’t so much the mealy texture but the strange aftertaste that put me off.

Perhaps we need to try a different packet or recipe but this one certainly did nothing to satiate me. If you’ve got any suggestions for a good gluten free recipe or packet, please let us know! Sadly, even my cute Moomin tray couldn’t help soften the blow.

A Victory For The People

What’s that you say? A u-turn on pasty tax? Huzzah! That’s what we wanted wasn’t it?   This is all very exciting but I’ve got a feeling we’re forgetting something else.  Ah, I think it has to do with the dismantling of the NHS, disability cuts, Sure Start, libraries, etc. You know, the kind of important stuff? But hey, let’s figure out what we’re going to have for lunch first.

Handy VAT chart from City AM

Eat It Don’t Tweet It

When we were still in the film age, I didn’t think to take pictures of food. Then again, since I was still a wee tot I didn’t know how to operate a camera. These days even little ones know how to unlock your smartphone! As mobile phone cameras continue to evolve and get better, a growing number of food-lovers have taken to uploading snaps of their latest food conquests onto their favourite social networks. Oh how times have changed. Imagine processing rolls and rolls of all the food pics we take today!

I, too, love photographing the tastiness in my life, whether it be a VATed Cornish pasty or afternoon tea at Claridge’s. I want to savour the memories (if only we could capture smell and taste) and food photography also helps document my travels. That said, I can see how silly one might look when a lovely arrangement of food arrives at your table and instead of eating it while it’s hot, you spend ages photographing it.

I try not to do it all the time, but it can be hard when the food looks so tasty! Cue voice of reason: but if the food looks so tasty, wouldn’t you want to eat it right away?! I think taking the time to visually savour the food from all angles helps me appreciate it even more. And with that, I leave you with a bit of Monday fun.

The Truth is Out: Pasties and Petrol

As much as I can’t stand politics, all the media mayhem over petrol and pasties is so ludicrous that it’s hard not to follow just for pure entertainment.  Last week the nation was rocked by three major crisis, a false petrol shortage, an increase in the cost of stamps, and most outrageous–a proposed VAT on pasties (which could possibly lead to a bakers’ march).

All the controversy over pasties doesn’t end there.  In fact, it gets better! Never mind the lies that David Cameron told about having a pasty at the West Cornwall Pasty Company.  Our trusted friends at the Daily Mail have discovered that the PM indeed sampled some Greggs treats when visiting the bakery last year, but it was in fact a sausage roll, not a pasty.  Pastry, pasty, all the same when sold warm – all VATable.

But one question still remains, as I asked before, how warm is warm? I scoured the internet for the most simplified answer and forgive me for quoting the DM twice in one post, but I couldn’t have put it any better. If the pie is hotter than what the ‘ambient temperature’ is in relation to the food,you’ll pay VAT at 20%. “Cold or lukewarm and you grab a bargain, cheat the taxman – and maybe get a free dose of food poisoning.” Well said, Paul Harris!

Truth be told, what this nonsense about pasties and scaring people into hoarding ‘jerry cans’ of spare petrol (I think I even read somewhere that a woman in York suffered 40% burns when pouring petrol into a jug in her kitchen with the gas cooker on) really highlights is how out of touch the current government is with the people. I’m not sure what the Labour lot were trying to prove when they decided to jump on the pasty bandwagon, but to be fair, you can’t fault David Cameron for having a privileged upbringing. He had no say in it, really. But there certainly is a huge gap between Tory politics and what the people need.

A Quiz inspired by Fuel Strikes and VAT Hikes

Oh no! I think I’m pasty obsessed! I enjoyed this article in The Independent so much that I had to share it, along with Matt Chorley’s quiz below.  And before any of my mates go assuming that I got mostly Bs, I’ll have it be known I got exactly half As and half Bs, which makes me rather well-rounded! (^-^)v  Please let me know how you did in the comments section. Go on, it’ll be fun!

Crumbs – a quiz! Jerry Can Manor Pasty Person?

Fuel strikes and VAT hikes have exposed the great divisions in Britain today. Do you prefer bankers or bakers? Do you dine in Downing Street or grab a pie on the go? Take Matt Chorley’s quiz to see whether you are too posh for pastry.*

(*Excludes beef Wellington)

What is an oggie?

A A delicious snack, counts as one of your five a day

B A beastly schoolmaster

You pop to the garage. Why?

A To buy de-icer, charcoal and a wind-up torch

B To check the chauffeur has polished the Bentley

How to pronounce “pasty”?

A Past-y

B Paste-y

When do you have tea?

A When you get round to cooking after work

B When Carson brings a tray of Earl Grey to the drawing room

How many pasties laid end to end stretch from Leeds station to Downing Street?

A 1,372,800

B Now, yes, Leeds, I went there once. Got a castle?

What do you expect from a dinner guest?

A A bottle of Kumala red, and some scandalous gossip

B A cheque for £250,000 and some policy ideas

Where do you crimp?

A On the top

B At a card table

Greggs has a special offer on. Do you?

A Buy six sausage rolls

B Book a table for two, by the window

Complete this West Country schoolboy’s song: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John/ate a pasty five feet long/Bit it once, Bit it twice/Oh my Lord, it’s…?

A Full of mice

B A lot of pastry and then mostly potato on the inside

Of all the characters in The Good Life, who can expect to be told off by Margot?

A Is it Homer?

B Jerry can

How did you do?

Mostly As – You’re a pasty-eating man (or woman) of the people

Mostly Bs – You wouldn’t go near a pasty without a knife and fork

Troubled Nation: Petrol, Stamps, Pasties

This week the nation braced itself for a false fuel-shortage due to rumours of tanker drivers going on strike.  Panic-buying ended up causing traffic jams and fights among those queuing for petrol.  Around the same time came the announcement that there would be a 30% rise in the cost of first-class stamps, from 46p to 60p, as well as a 39% rise for second-class, from 30 April.  As a letter writer, I have one word for that. Rubbish! And then came the triple whammy of a proposed 20% VAT on hot takeaway food items, where the debate on the tax somehow catapulted into a ‘Pastygate’ scandal.

Does it matter if George Osborne can’t remember the last time he had a Cornish pasty or whether or not David Cameron has ever eaten one?  On the surface, the obvious answer to these questions is ‘of course not’!  But it does matter that Cameron blatantly lied to the country about having one, further adding to the ludicrous debates centering on the humble meat pie.  Oh, the lies!

I’m not going to sit here and make false claims about how much I love a Cornish pasty.  Don’t get me wrong, they do make for a tasty snack.  Truth is, the last pasty I had was ages ago in Canterbury from the West Cornwall Pasty Co.  Piping hot. Premium quality.  Ah, but what if I get one now and it’s only lukewarm? Is that lukewarm pasty VAT-able? According to the new change, “all food (with the exception of freshly baked bread) that is above ambient temperature when provided to the customer is standard [VAT]-rated”.

Confused? I am!  What if I buy the pasty cold and have them heat it for me after I’ve purchased it? Does that help me work around the new tax? All joking aside,  I am in strong opposition to such taxes, as it affects a lot of hardworking people struggling to put bread on the table.  That is the underlying point of all these debates right?  Yet the Conservative crew seem to have turned it into a (failed) PR stunt and now the nation seems to be more frustrated than ever.  I pray this doesn’t spell riots, although I wouldn’t be surprised if this all led up to future premise for some version of the Hunger Games.  *Shudder*