Sunday, 25 January 2009

Giant Hobnob - "Jobnob"

Hobnobs are a ridiculously delicious type of biscuit, chocolate hobnobs even more so. The problem is that they are a bit too small.

Down in the labs at McVities, however, Loki has been jigging his mischievous dance. Evil biscuit scientists have created life from the fetid malformed afterbirth of the hobnob to engineer the monstrosity known as the mini-hobnob.

Now is time to correct the balance. I give you the Giant Hobnob - "Jobnob".

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 250g porridge oats
  • 250g butter
  • 1tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 500g milk chocolate


Before starting, make a flow-chart of the cooking process:

Add the butter to a pan and melt over a low heat. When melted, add the golden syrup and sugar and then stir until fully combined.

Now add the oats, flour, hot water and bicarbonate of soda, stirring like crazy to combine.

Now do the appropriate mathematics to ensure that your hobnob is scaled perfectly. In our case, we had enough mixture for about 25 regular 'nobs, so we had to scale the radius and depth by 5.

Layout the mixture in the shape of a hobnob. Make sure to check your scaling and always remember the motto of the good engineer - "measure twice, cut once!"

Bake for about 20 minutes.

While your 'nob is baking, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. When the biscuit is baked, cover it in the chocolate and use a spatula to create the distinctive chocolate hobnob pattern.

Add cowbell to taste

Leave to cool and then put in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Serve with a suitably large cup of tea.

Eat gracefully.

The Final Analysis

  • Appearance - [4/5]: Looks pretty much like the real thing, except the colour of the oaty bit is slightly too dark. This would be improved by using a light sugar (I used dark muscavado).
  • Smell - [4/5]: Mmm, baking.
  • Texture - [5/5]: To the surprise of all, it was an almost perfect replica of the original hobnob's biscuityness.
  • Taste - [4/5]: Chocolate and sugar? Yes please!
  • Adventure! - [3/5]: Well, it's been done before, but not from scratch like ours!
  • Overall - [4/5]: This was a fun cook and actually tasted good too - surprise your friends, family and random people you meet on the street with this mind-bogglingly big biscuit!
Thanks to my housemates and the amazing photographic mad-skillz of Niall Oswald and Thomas Hinton.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Meat sushi - "Mooshi"

I love sushi, however I know that some people shrink from Japanese cooking because of the unfamiliar ingredients and fear of raw fish! This post attempts to introduce people to the sushi experience using only foods that are familiar to them.

Here are the familiar ingredients. You will need:
  • potatoes
  • worcester sauce
  • parma ham
  • onions
  • streaky bacon
  • eggs
  • steak
  • horseradish sauce
  • milk
  • a knob of butter
Mooshi "Rice"

Sushi rice is a form of glutinous rice. In order to mimic the texture and consistency, it was decided that a good substitute would be onion mash.

Peel, chop and boil the potatoes for 20 minutes in lightly salted water.

Meanwhile, chop the onion finely and fry until golden.

When the potatoes have been boiled, drain, then mash the potato with some egg immediately so that the hot potato cooks the egg. Add the butter and a little milk too. Add the fried onions, season with a little salt and pepper and voila! Fried onion mash!

Mmm, fried onion mash. You'll notice that I've made it a little too liquidy by adding too much egg and milk. We shall see the consequences of this later - don't add too much egg and milk, kids! Let the mash cool for about 5 minutes.

Mooshi "Nori"

"Nori" is the Japanese term for seaweed. It is also used to describe the most popular kind of sushi - the Nori roll which is held together by a flat sheet of seaweed. We shall be emulating that here with two experimental methods!
  1. Parma Ham
  2. The Bacon Lattice
Parma ham is an easy substitution . . . The bacon lattice, however, must woven from strips of streaky bacon!

You will notice that I've not cooked the bacon to crispiness - it needs to still be bendy for making into a roll!


Cut up your tasty steak into strips

- Parma Ham and Raw Steak

Lay out your parma ham in a sheet on your sushi rolling mat. Spoon a line of onion mash and lay the beef strips on top. Use a little horseradish sauce as a substitute for wasabi and spread it across the exposed areas of the parma ham.

Now comes the tricky part - roll up the parma ham into a sausage shape with the mash and meat in the middle!

EXPERIMENT #2 - Bacon Lattice and Cooked Beef

The procedure was carried out as in experiment 1, except with a bacon lattice and some cooked beef (for the whimps!)

Experiment #3 - Beef "Nigiri"

Another popular sushi format is Nigiri, where you sit a topping on a base of glutinous rice. Here is our beefy-mashy version!


The rolls were chilled in the fridge and then sliced into pieces and served with horseradish sauce and Worcester sauce (our substitute for soy).

Some eating and reactions:

Tom is tentative

Amy finds the raw steak a little chewy, and the Nigiri annoyingly impractical

Dom's just happy to be here!

Phil approves!

The Final Analysis

  • Appearance - [2/5]: Well, it's cool that it looks like sushi, but apart from that it's a bit minging really.
  • Smell - [3/5]: Mmm, fried things. What's there NOT to like about that smell?
  • Texture - [1/5]: The texture is the big thing which lets this down. The mash I made a little too liquidy and so the rest suffered as a consequence. Also, raw steak is incredibly hard to chew and so it impractical in large pieces, but worked fine in the smaller rolls.
  • Taste - [3/5]: The nigiri and parma ham versions were just a bit odd, however, the bacon lattice mooshi was delicious!
  • Adventure! - [4/5]: The ingredients may have been plain, but the spirit of adventure was clearly evident in this meal.
  • Overall - [3/5]: Meat sushi is a good thing! Maybe make it as an interesting buffet food for your fussy friends? The only thing I'd change is that I'd probably serve it hot, but maybe that's too far removed from the sushi experience?
I'd like to thank my patient housemates and Niall Oswald for photography and yet more patience!


Hello! I am Mike, the visionary coordinator of Cheffervescence. This blog is for recording all the cool food research done by me and my friends.

Mission Statement: We are a culinary collective dedicated to exploring new and interesting culinary methods in pursuit of food nirvana.