An apology - and a shameful admission

Last updated 10:54 14/05/2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Omnivore readers, regular and casual followers - I have a most shameful confession to make. I have never consciously lied to you. I have never attempted to mislead you, or pretended to know more (or less) about a topic than I do. All I have to offer is my experiences with food, my tastes and ideas about what does or does not make it satisfying. The main thing I hope you draw from this forum is some small amount of entertainment, and an idea of how I go about trying to eat as well as I can, whether at home or out in a restaurant or café. Please accept my apologies if I have ever put you wrong - I can only ever call it as I see it. And I reiterate - I have never lied to you.

Well, apart from that once.

Just before Anzac Day I wrote a post about how I had made the delicious Anzac biccies off the Chelsea website. I described the deliciously chewy, not too sweet, not too hard biscuits I made by simply following the recipe. Ho, ho, ho, we chortled - old dumbo finally managed to bake something half decent by following a recipe!

Except, um, I didn't. It was like this - I could either write the blog post, and have something up for you to read, or ignore, or whatever, for Monday. OR I could bake the biscuits. There simply wasn't time to do both. I decided to fudge it. I imagined, instead, a scenario where I made perfect biscuits, and shared my achievement with you. Except, like Gordon Ramsay's claims to an earlier pro football career, or someone who invents a job history and fake references to get a foot in the door of a desired job, I told a wee white lie.

Well, actually, quite a big one. One that made me feel guilty enough that come the actual Anzac Day, I thought I'd better make the bloody biscuits. Plus One would be back from a trip down south, which meant I would also have supervision, which is a good thing. A friend from Auckland was also staying - bearing witness, if you will, to my attempt to make good on something I had already laid claim to.

"Plus One?" I holler. "Have we got any coconut?"

"Have you had a look?"

"Where should I look?"

Thus begin the problems in the Omni HQ kitchen.

"Hey - are baking soda and baking powder basically the same thing?" Oops. Who knew?

I follow the recipe - ish. It looks a bit wet. Whatever - what do I know? It suggests making a dozen cookies, but I like BIG biscuits, so I just make nine, spread out on the oven tray. They go into the notoriously unreliable oven.

...for about five of their allotted 14-minute cooking time, when there is an unpleasant burning smell and a plume of smoke rising from the oven. Opening the oven door, I see my nine large biscuits have fused together into one giant uber-biscuit, and are sliding off the tray and spilling on to the element below.

And catching fire. "Umm, Plus One...?"

She comes to my aid - I take the undercooked uber-biscuit out of the oven, and concentrate on extinguishing the blazing oven - with a handful of flour (her idea - I would have probably attacked it with the watering can).

The uber-biscuit gazes back at me, forlornly. I am reluctant to throw it out, so I start picking at it. It tastes awesome - ha! Even when I screw something up, it still tastes good! But - not quite the way I had already described it in the previous blog. Between the three of us, we eat the baking mishap, as much by way of destroying the evidence of my failure, and my lie, as anything else.

The following weekend, I have another go, this time with more intensive supervision, and actually do as the recipe dictates. Well, actually, I mostly sort of "help" P1 make the biscuits, mostly by keeping out of the way. Remarkably, they do actually turn out okay, which I reckon (sort of) makes good on the earlier blog.

Phew. I hope you accept my sincere apology for the earlier fiction, and I do hereby swear - I will not do it again. Unless...

Did you have a crack at Anzac biccies this year? How did you fare? When did you last set the oven on fire, and how did you extinguish the blaze? And - can you forgive my fiction? Please?!

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Leon   #1   11:17 am May 14 2012

The giant smoking uber biscuit story is in fact far better than the story you wrote at the time :-)

However ... you lied. You must apologise, and the best apology transaction is bacon. Please now be sending bacon. Then I will believe that you are sincere.

Kazza   #2   11:18 am May 14 2012

Its ok Jeremy, I forgive you! But I don't know what is so hard about sticking to the recipe and making the biscuits yourself - I think you should have another proper go. I made two batches of Anzac bikkies this year - the first lot spread out much more than I expected (almost ran off the tray, but not quite a disaster on the scale of yours). The second lot were a better size and I added raisins to half the mixture which worked out well. I have a rule that the first time I make something I follow the recipe to a T, the next time though the recipe is fair game for tweaking.

Kirsten   #3   11:23 am May 14 2012

Liar liar biscuits on fire. I forgive you. But - you really need to practice baking. Is baking soda the same as baking powder!!! Chemistry 101.

layna   #4   11:58 am May 14 2012

hmm i knew that i should have been suspicious when you did not photo these "perfect" anzac cookies!! :)

El Jorge   #5   12:30 pm May 14 2012

Ummmm, yeah. I did the same recipe and it too turned into an uber biscuit. Its now broken up and in the freezer waiting to be used as a crumble on ice cream or as a base for cheesecake.

A-M   #6   12:35 pm May 14 2012

Tsk tsk. I made those biscuits on your recommendation, AND they too turned into one gigantic uber biscuit and were *so* basically oats sugar and syrup glued together with fat that I decided to forgo the clogged arteries and biffed them. I didn't set fire to them though, although I did set fire to some fried tomatoes yesterday, so I guess my experience sort of matched yours. Let us know when the karma police come for you.

Catherine   #7   12:42 pm May 14 2012

Of course you're forgiven. This post made me laugh out loud in a quiet office, cue stares from my hardworking colleagues. :) Can't say I've ever set the oven on fire, but I would never think to throw flour on it if I did. Wouldn't that make more of a mess? Wet tea towel would be my choice! Thanks for the confession.

Suzy   #8   12:58 pm May 14 2012

Mine went black too, but strangely, like yours they tasted delish. Just couldn't offer them to anyone because of the appearance.

D   #9   01:09 pm May 14 2012

I have no issue with the lie... mainly because I didn't read that post as the subject wasn't very exciting.

I am a bit concerned that your plus 1 tried to kill you and herself by throwing a potentially explosive substance over a fire. If you plan on doing any more baking, I suggest you invest in a fire blanket and/or an extinguisher.

Or if you set fire to anything prior to getting these things, throw some baking soda (not powder) on it.

Elle   #10   01:09 pm May 14 2012

Haven't tried the recipe on the Chelsea website, but my go-to is the one in Alexa Johnston's Ladies A Plate - lovely chewy bikkies, no-fail!

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