Bird’s Nest Cookies

“There’s a change in the air, you can smell it. Fresh growth is sprouting under the weak sunshine and the birds in the garden are busy collecting nesting materials. The domestic birds: Verity, Scootaloo, Meg and Moriarty, can feel it too and laying is in full swing. Visitors are compelled to leave with half a dozen eggs whether they like it or not.”

This is an extract from one of my early posts. Sadly all of these hens are long since deceased. They are ‘ex-chickens’, who have shuffled off this mortal coil and ceased to be.* Sadly we no longer keep hens at all; the garden of Crumb Villa is just too small. I do miss them though. The main bird life around here is enormous crows, and seagulls. We don’t live anywhere near the coast, but every morning they wake me up at 5 am shouting “Bleurgh”, or making noises that sound like hysterical crying.

We may not have any fresh eggs to offer visitors anymore, but with Easter over, it’s a good time to buy chocolate eggs at a reduced price and make these yummy bird’s nest biscuits instead. You probably already have recipes for shortbread and chocolate crispy cakes, so go rootle them out and gather the ingredients. You will also need a bag of marshmallows (the proper ones, not Flumps) and about 200g of chocolate mini eggs.

Birds Nest Biscuits

  • A batch of round shortbread bicuits (I used about 10, with some left over). You could use ready made ones if you like.
  • A batch of  chocolate cornflake or rice crispy cake mix
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate mini eggs

Bake the shortbread until pale gold in colour (unless you are using store bought).  Cut some marshmallows in half and put half a mallow on each biscuit. Pop them back in the oven for a couple of minutes until the mallow has melted slightly (if using store bought, preheat the oven to a medium high temperature for this step). Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the chocolate cornflake mix. Put a large spoonful of mixture on top of each biscuit, covering the marshmallow. Press three chocolate eggs on top of each one and leave till the chocolate has set.

Don’t do what I did, and try to melt all of the marshmallows at once in a saucepan. You will never get the resulting sticky mess as far as the biscuits; have you ever read the story of Brer Rabbit and the tar baby? Need I say more!

*Search for ‘The Parrot Sketch’ by Monty Python’s Flying Circus on YouTube

Bread Head

There’s a rumour circulating the internet, that trendy “organising consultant”, Marie Kondo, is recommending cutting down the number of books in your home to around thirty, much to the horror of the worlds book lovers. There are over 100 books just on the shelf opposite me right now; there’s another bookcase in this room, another in the dining room, two upstairs, and the boys have one each. Sorry girl. Ain’t never gonna happen. Admittedly, not all of them bring me “joy”, I could happily get rid of some of the ones belonging to Mr Crumbs, though he might have something to say about that!

I daresay that there are a few I could bear to let go, which is kind of the purpose in testing and reviewing all of the cookbooks currently taking up valuable space on the shelves. So welcome to the first Buttered Crumbs book review!

The Bread Book by Sara Lewis. Bounty Books, 2003.

“The definitive guide to making bread by hand or machine”

So why did you buy it?

It was around the time that we aquired a bread maker. I think I got it on Ebay. We don’t have the bread maker anymore, I could never remember to set it up in time for when we actually needed bread, and I hated the hole in the bottom caused by the mixer blade.

Judge a book by it’s cover…

It’s a picture of bread. It’s a book about bread. So far so good.

Do you use it?

Yes, it’s a good reference point for basic bread recipes. The instructions are easy to follow, and the recipes usually turn out well. I recommend the lager batons and the carrot & mustard loaf.

Why don’t you use it more?

Many of the recipes contain powdered milk. Not something we usually buy: I didn’t want to buy a tin, use a tiny bit, then have it go to waste.

Just for this experiment we bought this huge tin. It cost over £6, and I used a tiny bit. Case closed.

What did you make?

Surprise Chocolate Loaves, a good excuse to use the mini loaf tins that have been in the cupboard for years, unused. Also spiced bubble bread, because it sounded nice. They were both dissapointing. The mini loaves were dry and tough, and the bubble bread, although fluffy, was just boring. Not sweet or spiced enough. So I’m not typing up the recipes.

Is the book still in print?

No, but is readily available online, secondhand.

Is it worth buying?

Probably not. Breadmaking has enjoyed a comeback in recent years, so there are hundreds of books on the subject; go to the library or browse your local book shop to find one you like.

“Bread” can refer to a British slang word for money.

Book Book Book

You’ve heard the joke about the chicken who goes into a library and says “book, book, book”, right? No? Eventually the chicken is discovered delivering the books to a frog, who tosses them aside saying “readit, readit”.

I love books, especially cookbooks, particularly if they’re vintage cookbooks. There are currently 81 books actually on the shelves. There are more under the coffee table, on the coffee table, and languishing in corners. I know that I’m a bit lightweight compared to some, one blogger confesses to having around 10,000! Idk, but that seems a bit excessive…

It would be great to have enough to organise them by colour, like one picture I saw last night, which would have the added bonus of really annoying the rest of the family!

Anyway, like many cookbook addicts I buy books on a whim, maybe the cover looks nice, or you flick through and find a couple of recipes that you fancy. I love big pretty pictures,the ones that seem to promise a lifestyle that can be achieved if only you can try the recipes. Do we use the books? Sometimes. Too often we try one or two recipes (sometimes none at all), then never pick it up again.

Oh, the guilt!

I really want to go through every single book, trying something different, or just trying something. It’s going to take a while though. Then we have the problem with Pinterest…