We are lucky enough to have a wonderful neighbour. Actually she lives across-the-road, rather than next-door but she’s still a neighbour, right? Anyhow, she’s wonderful.
First, she’s a little bit older than me, with slightly older children, so she’s a fount of wisdom about turning 40 and beyond. And if I phone to tell her about something dreadful my children have done, she can always tell me about the time her boys did something worse. She holds a spare set of keys for me and takes in packages for us when I’m not home. She doesn’t mind when I ring her to ask if she’s got an egg or a couple of slices of bread I could borrow. And she’s American, which means she introduces us to all sorts of delights from across the pond.
I’ll never forget the day I first set eyes on her ’4th of July’ cake; a recreation of the American flag using only sponge cake, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. My children had never imagined such a thing existed and were hugely disappointed when I explained it was something very special, that could only be made by Americans. Life is full of disappointments.
Anyhow, this paragon of a woman belongs to Costco and a couple of months ago she introduced us to these pre-formed, ready to bake, chocolate-chip biscuits that come in a frozen pack of 72. They go straight into the oven from the freezer and 16 mins later you have warm biscuits to feed your little darlings after school. They are absolutely gorgeous straight out of the oven, but I’m told if you leave them to cool for 5 mins or so they go all chewy.
I’m sure someone out there will tell me that they make fabulous chocolate chip cookies from scratch, on a daily basis, but I’m an extraordinarily bad cook and so far these have proved to be foolproof. And best of all, there is no washing up.