Monday, 26 April 2010


There is something of a renaissance happening in the supermarkets. They have tried infiltrating our charts with gimmicky 80's music spun in with endless norweigan artists and now they are filling our baskets with memoirs of childhood.

It's as if the product development team of every major conglomerate that I have had beef with over the past 10 years have been listening intently on my deepest darkest conversations.

I wanted bigger monster munch preferrably of the hand and breath smelling variety... I got. A giant fondant fancy that would bestow enough manufactured fondant icing and cubic zirconia cream that you can shake a stick at. They made it.

A bar that incorporates the aerodynamics or the honeycomb centre of the malteser in the middle of an actual chocolate bar...? Check! (Thankyou maltester bunny).

The smorgasbord of these decadent grange hill induced snacks have wreaked havoc with my consumer habits of late with a penchant for coloured cakes basking in tantrazine.

Angel cake. A berlin wall-esque mass of cheap grade c eggs, flour, sugar, oil and vivid pastel shades. Cemented firmly with a glossy shaving foam of sweet buttercream. This cake has endless possibilities. It can be deconstructed (very eastern bloc circa 89) and eaten at leisure. Used as a platform for endless fruit opportunities or sandwiching with perhaps a stealth confectionary such as an M&M or smartie. Mein "Mauer" of choice would be the final slab wrapped in the end. If you enjoy the crust of a fat Warburton's toastie, you can get a similar rise from this sensation. Left to marinate and sweat in it's own impurities, the corner of the Angel cake evokes memories of PE kits, Jonny Briggs and Alba Stereos.

One cake that has often bypassed my taste buds because of an unwelcome ingredient is that of Battenburg.

For one, this cake attempts some artistic creation and an attempt at a cuter, mind boggling version of the Angel Cake, however sniff again my friend and you will be breathe in the deadliest weapon known to man. Kitchen napalm...


Almonds are a fairly futile ingredient to me to begin with. Korma's? Enough said.

This Battenburg lark, mangles with our heads enough with it's checkerboard existence, not to mention it was not even made for us cake heads anyway but for Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Louis of Battenburg and their 4 Battenburg princes.

In 2008, the British Food Standards Agency, did not care too much for its blue blooded connection and catapolted it into the same bracket as mushy peas, tinned strawberries and turkish delight as basically manure that could be banished forever unless they began to use a more "natural" colour alternative. Aside from the sellafield snot colour of mushy peas, the rest could disappear.

I applaud the BFSA for this bold move. Perhaps they could make a similar decision with the food of the devil that is Marzipan.

Anything that is moulded into fake fruit, vegetables, or farmyard animals cannot be taken seriously and more importantly should be wary of.

The Meditteranean are usually responsible for sending us food that is the nuts. And they did and some... Almonds. Although the love of Marzipan spreads far and wide across our European friends. The higher the nutty content, the better the Marzipan. I would have thought this equation was a mathematic impossibility. Germany are knocking out the nuttiest at 66%. The Germans are still stuck in a culinary style rut much akin to their many whimsical musical exports.

Classed as a confectionary (don't make my glucose boil) this fiendish feast consists of primarily sugar and almond meal. In many European countries who do not have the pleasure of Rowntrees Randoms, the poor blighters have to stomach Marzipan as sweets. We on the other hand see it in the subterfuge of fruit cakes, simnel cake at Easter and most notable the Rt Honorable Battenburgus.

With a texture not to dissimilar to a mass of Weston Super Mare front in October making it's way into your molar incisors, the heady wafts of a Silvrikin hairspray Ciabatta and tastes of a trip to an English Rose talcum powder factory. Marzipan is a food that needs to stay strictly behind my culinary iron curtain.

Marzipan has a tendency to form a divide. An Everton upon merseyside. It wants to be Angel Cake but sadly as much as it screams and causes a stink, it is never going to happen.

It pains me that I have to hate a food. I am a lover of all things weird and wonderful. Pass the Battenburg and give me a 28% meat content Bernard Matthews Mini Kiev washed down with a glass of beaming banana Crusha anyday.