Ask any book lover what their favorite childhood read was, and chances are they would name one of the Enid Blytons. Who can ignore the charms of Noddy, or the very mischevious Famous Five and Secret Seven. Blyton must have written hundreds of books in her time. I still devour all her childhood sagas, and I know a lot of you do as well. For when Bhags first ran "This Book Makes Me Cook" in May, didn't half the participants pick an Enid Blyton as inspiration to cook from.
It isn't surprising then that "This Book Makes Me Cook" is reading a Blyton this month. The book we picked was "The Naughtiest Girl in the School", one of the several school series she wrote. With vivid descriptions, the book brings to life a quintessential English boaring school called Whyteleafe. Equally close to life is our heroine Elizabeth, the girl with a heart of gold who's pretending to be naughty.
There is plenty in the book to excite a foodie. The lunches and dinners at school, the tea times and the children's visits to sweet shop to spend their weekly allowance. But what fascinates me the most is the tuck boxes these children bring with them at the start of the term. Filled with cakes and jams, delights they then share with their friends. Elizabeth's tuck box always has shortbread in addition to cakes. And this sinfully buttery Scottish treat is what I am recreating for this month's edition of the book club.
To make shortbread, soften 100 gms butter. Mix 130 gms plain flour, 30 gms cornflour and 55 gms caster sugar. Add butter and slowly rub it in. Press with your hands until the dough comes together. Roll or pat into a square and cut into fingers (or any shape you like). Arrange on a baking sheet and make indentations with a fork. Heat oven to 180C and bake for 35 minutes. Let harden for a few minutes on the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
In the meantime, let's sneak a look into other members' tuck boxes and see what they brought to school:
- Aparna also made Scottish Shortbread
- A fancier shortbread from Curry Leaf. Sweatha made Chocolate Nut Shortbread with Stewed Apples
- Rachel made a Chocolate Cake for Elizabeth
And now on to November. Next month, we are reading Alice in Wonderland. If you would like to join us on the trip to wonderland, leave a comment here and I will get back to you with details.