What is food, without language to describe and celebrate it? I was lucky to be instilled with a love for both, early on in my life.
I learned English at pre-school kindergarten at a public school, under the no-nonsense eye of an archetypical British teacher, all prim and proper ala Ms Jean Brodie. I remember her fondly; she would drill us for hours on end, on pronunciation and grammar, and to her I owe my lifelong appreciation of the tongue. In class, she was also an enthusiastic and tireless communicator of English social manners and etiquette. She helped set certain standards of behavior that I still live by today.
School day started at 8 am and ended around 3 in the afternoon. To a kid my age this seemed an eternity. But there were blessings. The daily meal routine was tea, lunch, and tea again. We were fed well: at tea, we helped ourselves to sandwiches, cakes, and biscuits, washed down with milk, tea, and fruit juices. Tea became one of my favorite drinks, and afternoon tea with biscuits one of my favorite pastimes for life. Here is a classic biscuit from these early years that I’ve enjoyed, given a twist using fresh ingredients from South East Asia.
Self raising flour 170 g
Soft brown sugar 100 g
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Butter 56 g
Fresh ginger ¼ cup, grated
Ginger flower 4 tbsp
Golden syrup 1 tsp
1. Preheat oven at 180°C
2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Add beaten egg a little at a time to produce a stiff consistency.
4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll them into a ball.
5. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.