Thursday, 6 July 2017

Cheese Twigs

At some point during the early eighties, my mum upped her birthday tea game by purchasing a book of recipes dedicated to children's party food. It was called Children's Party Cooking by Carole Handslip and was a sort of primitive exercise in Pinterest shaming as mums throughout the UK fucked up jelly rabbits and sandwiches that were supposed to look like boats. Here it is below:

My mum got about 3 pages into the book and obviously decided that she couldn't be arsed to go any further because she never made anything past that point. She did make Cheese Twigs though, and they featured at all of our birthday parties from then on. They were delicious actually, and they were the first thing I ever taught myself to make on my own. I made them A LOT. This is evidenced my all the ancient food splatters on the Cheese Twigs page of the book. Compare it to the page in which you have to create realistic swans out of choux pastry and you'll see that 80s me did at least know her limits. 

Cheese Twigs were from the Tots Party section of the book (see above - incidentally, I once attempted to make that train birthday cake one June in a kitchen hotter than the sun, valiantly attempting to create something train-like while the heat melted the butter icing. I ended up with something that looked like a twisted nightmare involving Thomas the Tank Engine and a welder's torch; the screaming of his disfigured metal face, his paintwork melting, the Fat Controller screaming "YOU HAVE CAUSED CONFUSION AND DELAY" repeatedly. That's probably a whole other blog entry).

Serves: It depends. I have been known to eat the whole lot by myself in one sitting, but I have issues. 

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes faffing, 10 minutes in the oven.


125g (4oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
50g (2oz) butter or margarine
75g (3 oz) grated cheddar cheese
1 Oxo cube
1 egg yolk
2-3 teaspoons water


1. Put your flour, salt and butter in a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles - as Nigella would say - "damp sand".

Here I am doing my best Nigella kitchen sex pout whilst holding my bowl of damp sand.

2. Crumble in the Oxo cube and stir this and the cheese into the mixture.

3. Add the egg yolk and water and mix to form a firm dough.

4. Roll to about 5mm thick and cut into strips about 5mm wide. Place on a baking sheet on a baking tray.

As you can see, boredom set in and I shoved any old shape on the tray after a bit.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 8-10 minutes, then leave to cool. Put in your fanciest party dish and serve,

How horrible is this glass apple dish? SO horrible, right? I love it.

You'd think I'd leave it there wouldn't you? But as I am giving this whole 70s and 80s cooking business a thorough testing, I decided to go one step further and recreate the sandwich house decorated with cheese twigs from the book (see book photos above). My mum never did this and I always felt cheated. I suspect that she knew that any parent who presented sandwiches that resembled a realistic thatched cottage at their kid's birthday party was a smug dickhead. I, however, never pass up the opportunity to be a dickhead so I went boldly forth.

I had to downsize the cottage as I was only making sandwiches for myself, and I didn't have any celery or parsley, so had to make do with cucumber and broccoli, but I think I did OK. I even followed the suggestion of using a blob of cream cheese on the carrot stick chimney to resemble smoke jizz.


I thank you.

1 comment:

  1. That is an outstanding house!
    ...the 80s were weird.