Thursday, 29 May 2014

Afghans and Neenish tarts

Hi folks,

On Sunday, I ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon for the second time, beating last year's time by 1'49" and raising £350 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.  I'm pretty chuffed with both things, and to thank my work mates for sponsoring me I decided to make them some kiwi classics: Afghan biscuits and Neenish tarts.  Both of the recipes came from a wonderful book that two dear friends gave me for a birthday a while back: Ladies, a Plate.  The book is filled with recipes from NZ's history and is written in such a warm style, with information about the history behind each recipe - I love it.  Given that NZ is a comparatively young country, and that cultures are becoming ever more global/homogeneous, this book also has a very important part to play in continuing our own little culinary quirks and nuances.

Un-iced  Afghan biscuits
The recipe for the afghans is actually available online here.  Afghans consist of a chocolate biscuit kind of like shortbread in consistency, with cornflakes through them, covered in chocolate fudge icing and finished off with a walnut half (must be fresh!).  The biscuits themselves are not particularly sweet, but the icing generally makes up for that!  Here are mine waiting to be iced.  They are usually made quite small - a little bite sized biscuit.  Which is great because the recipe feeds many, and those eating can try more than one thing!  

Finished biscuits - yum!

Neenish tarts without icing
So if Afghan biscuits are *almost* healthy, let's move swiftly on to Neenish tarts.  They are not healthy at all.  I have absolutely no idea where Neenish tarts got their name.  They are pastry cases filled with butter, sugar and vanilla, then topped with icing (so more butter, sugar and vanilla)... In NZ, the pasty cases would be made from sweet short crust pastry (hello butter, sugar and flour), but I couldn't find any and couldn't be bothered making any so mine have savoury bases.  Hopefully it will be OK.  I absolutely adored these as a child.  I was pretty chubby as it was, but after seeing what goes in them (and how often I would eat one if I could get away with it) I am actually amazed that I could see my feet.

Finished Neenish tarts
En masse - the artery clogging army of happy memories! 
Here's me after the half - I swore I would never do another (sore hamstrings really made it a mental slog this time), but once I had finished that cider and saw my time (2'17"45 a new PB and so close to my ultimate goal: 2'15), my mind did start to turn to the 31st May 2015...
BTW, we are saving money and getting rid of stuff, so I am in the process of uploading some vintage patterns to Etsy for sale.  Check them out if you're interested - various sizes and styles available.  


  1. Well done on the half marathon and those biscuits look totally yummy.

    1. Thank you Sewingelle! I can happily report that the biscuits were yum ☺


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