The Great Crumpet Smackdown

The Great Crumpet Smackdown took place in a Weight Watchers meeting when I was about 13 years old. This was in the days before Points. Weight Watchers didn't let you eat just any old thing you fancied back then. It had to be on The List of Stuff You're Allowed To Eat.

One night after weigh-in we were sitting around in a circle airing our grievances and confessing our sins when a woman asked our lovely leader, "Why can't I have a crumpet?"

"Crumpets are not on the list."

"Why not? I read the nutritonal information on the packet. One crumpet is only 330 kilojoules (86 calories). That's less than a piece of bread. It doesn't make any sense!"

"They're not on the list!"

"We can have bread, bread rolls, pita bread, English muffins… but no crumpets. What's so wrong about a crumpet?"

"Because they're inevitably served dripping with butter! And/or honey!"

"But I don't HAVE butter or honey on my crumpet. I don't even have Weight Watchers Whipped Margarine! I have a plain, toasted crumpet with either banana or Vegemite."

"They're not on the list."

"WHY aren't they on the list?"

And on it went.

I remember being conflicted on the issue. Part of me thought, "Well hey, if it's not on the list, you know… we really should obey the list". But the teenager hitherto lacking a cause to rebel against was thinking, "Just let the woman eat her bloody crumpet!"

The incident was seared into my memory. One one of the first purchases I made as an independent householder was a packet of Golden Crumpets. I had them with butter AND honey and yes indeed, they were Golden Good. It was all downhill from there, as has been well documented on this blog.

I've wanted to bake my own crumpets since Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini blogged her Sourdough Crumpet recipe in January 2010. I bought some crumpet rings then promptly did nothing for 20 months. Then when Carla and I were coming up with our Five Fun Things for the podcast I decided it was time to give them a red hot go. Messing around with a sourdough starter was beyond my interest level so I went for a straightforward recipe from The Hairy Bikers (Edit: here's a video of them in crumpet action!). For those not in the know, The Hairy Bikers are two hairy blokes on the telly who ride around the countryside on motorbikes and cook things.

The crumpets were simple and satisfying to make. All that rising and waiting and rising and waiting was very soothing somehow. It was such a sweet feeling when I finally poured the batter into the crumpet rings and it went all bubbly like real live crumpets.


I ate the first one with doused with too much butter and eucalyptus honey as a two finger salute to the crumpet fascists of yesteryear. The rest were enjoyed more sensibly over the next few days. My favourite topping is a little butter and a scraping of Vegemite. Well worth the effort on a lazy Sunday if you like that sort of thing!

P.S. I posted about my crumpetry on the Up & Running forum and the wonderful Yvonne replied: "I never considered that they could be made. I assumed God just dropped them out of the sky ready made, like babies." Snortle!


Friday Link Feast #17

image from www.dietgirl.orgIf you want to call something Friday Link Feast, it helps to hit the Publish button on Friday!

Can you dig it?

My parents-in-law recently got an allotment. I'm not sure if that's a universal concept so here's a wee definition from

"In the UK, allotments are small parcels of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops."

(See also Wikipedia for difference between an allotment and a community garden)

They put themselves on the waiting list about a year ago as they don't really have space for veggies in their own garden. Finally their number came up, and it turned out to be one big mofo of an allotment so there's plenty of room for Gareth and me to join in. We've always wanted pumpkins but don't have the space to give them a proper go – remember the micro pumpkins of 2009? I hope to grow a shitload of kale too.

But first, we must dig. The plot is absolutely choked with weeds. Layer upon tangled layer of weeds, about a foot deep. Like a giant stinky weed trifle. With occasional wooden planks, old potatoes, plastic bags and a 6-foot piece of guttering thrown in for flavour.

Edit: I totally want to try a kill mulch to snuff out the weeds, as suggested by the lovely Debbi!

I think it's going to be the ultimate metaphor. For lard-busting. For life.

It takes ages. It feels like you're getting nowhere. Just when you finish one bit you turn around and see metres and metres of un-dug space and you want to cry.

Some days you are in love with it. The pissweak November sun warming your brow; the promise of a sandwich at noon.

Some days you hate it with a passion. Surely we'll be done soon? It's only been twenty minutes.

Some days while you're wrestling with a particularly stubborn weed, some smart arse will shove a pile of grass down the back of your jeans.

Some days you can't stop smiling from the simple pleasure of hanging out with loved ones. Some days everyone gets on your nerves ("Can I just make a small suggestion?") and you long to whack them over the head with your garden fork.

But then you remember it needs time. And consistency. And there is pleasure to be had in the process. Just gotta keep on diggin'.


New Years Goals Check-in: October

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals.

Late again! I could almost write you a Quarter of November review. Highlight of November thus far: seeing an episode of The Simpsons I'd never seen before! It was Homer of Seville, in which Homer develops the ability to sing opera after falling into an open grave, with sexy results.

October review

  • Kick butt on new post-Cycletta exercise plan (spinning, weights, Pilates) Check!
  • Keep up the exercise during the Royal Mothership Visit Aye!
  • Watch the portion sizes and really pay attention to the hunger signals. Yep! Despite that the scale did not budge. I think it was all the restaurant meals – even eating mindfully it was a lot richer than everday food. Plus there was that giant bag of marshmallows… and the birthday cake(s). Okay. No surprises there.
  • Continue work on Operation Morning Person. Indeedily! Averaging 7.45am, which is an improvement on the old 8.24 panic, but not early enough to do anything productive before I go to work. So this month I am going for 7.30. Don't laugh, all you proper early birds! A gradual approach is needed when trying to reform decades of snooze buttoneering.
  • I also started an awesome new yoga class and roped Gareth into coming with me. We'll teach that bloke to relax if it kills me!

November plans

  • Get through the month without stabbing anyone. Here we go with Scottish Winter Number 9 and the annual "should I get one of those sunrise alarm clock thingies or is it just an overpriced lightbulb" debate.
  • Be consistent with my food tracking. I'm using Weight Loss Resources this month, at slowest rate of weight loss (½ pound per week). We've established I can maintain weight but I'll be honest – I want some proper progress before the year is out. It's vanity and it's belly rolls annoying me at yoga. So time to pay closer attention to what I'm eating but without being crazy dame about it.