Tuesday, December 23, 2008
newcomer, short crust, tea timer
By a devious and complex route, a newcomer has joined our household. Although German by birth, he prefers that his name, Hubert, is pronounced as though it were a French name, which as he is eager to remind you, creates an English pun.
For a long time I found it difficult to make short crust pastry. It was rubbing the butter and flour together to form a breadcrumb-like texture that floored me. The particles were uneven and often too course. The pastry usually seemed to turn out alright, but I suspected that it could be better. With this year's mince pies, there has been a breakthrough. The breadcrumb texture is perfection. Whether the pastry when rolled and baked matches it, remains to be seen. But progress of any sort is something to please us old ' uns.
At Ishmael's, the tea and coffee shop in the centre of the town, they serve Oo Long and other teas in pretty glass tea pots, with perforated glass infusers, which sit in the pots. Nothing very unusual about that. But there is an additional piece of presentation designed to impress , and it does, I have to admit. It is a timer, which they put on the tray with the pot and cups. The disk-shaped, stainless steel device is switched on to count down, to the second, when it is time to remove the infuser from the pot. It would, I suppose in the spirit of scientific enquiry, require a lot of visits to Ishmael's to know whether they have the timing right. But one likes to assume that they know what they are doing. The tea certainly comes up to expectations.