Start your week off with these beauties – Chocolate Treacle Biscuits, Marian Keyes style.
Have you heard of Marian Keyes? She is an author – who is probably more suited to someone of your mother’s vintage – and an incredibly successful one at that. Her novels have sold millions of copies across the globe. In the last few years, she developed severe, god-awful depression – and has been hauntingly honest when recounting her experiences.
This wonderful book, ‘Saved By Cake’ (which you should all buy, because it is full of yumminess) was released in early 2012. It is a cookbook, but really it is so, so much more. She tells her story of dealing with mental illness, and most poignantly, describes how baking saved her life – one recipe at a time. She was a total novice when it came to making cakes, slices, puddings and the like, but felt the urge one day to bake a cake for a friend’s birthday. She made another. Then some cupcakes. Then some biscuits. And the rest, as they say, is history.
As Ms Keyes points out in her book, baking hasn’t cured her – but it has given her a purpose and method as to make it through each day. For someone dealing depression or anxiety, feeling as if you once again have a reason for being, is possibly the most empowering concept of all.
When I was living in London, I made these for my housemates every other week. The smell of the biscuits would fill not only the flat, but the hallway of the whole floor – and my lovely friends who lived next door or down the passage would come knocking. Basically, these biscuits sum up for me what food does so brilliantly – food brings people together to share time and conversation.
It was this paragraph that (metaphorically) screamed “SHE IS SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE!! SHE GETS ME!!” I hope that maybe her words relate to you as much as they did to me;
“Baking makes me concentrate on what’s right in front of my nose. I have to focus. One weighing the sugar. On sieving the flour. I find it calming and rewarding because, in fairness, it is sort of magic – you start off with all this disparate stuff, like butter and eggs, and what you end up with is totally different. And also delicious.”
– Marian Keyes, ‘Saved By Cake’ p.13.