Blog writing is an odd hobby. Blogs are by their very nature subjective things, when you write something you hope that someone somewhere will care enough about your opinions to invest the time to read them. That being said I do aim to keep a modicum of objectivity when writing. I’m not crazy about mushrooms, but if, say, Philip Schofield came up with a range of different mushroom risottos I’d try them and review them. I’d aim to do this as if I were a mushroom fan, as my indifference to mushrooms wouldn’t necessarily make the risotto bad, anymore than my fondness for Philip Schofield would make them good.
That is all very well and good you may be thinking, but what on earth have fictional Philip Schofield ready meals got to do with anything- you lured me here with Rick Stein Oat Biscuits. The reason is that this weeks blog has provided my biggest objectivity challenge yet. I hate oat biscuits. They are like edible MDF, chalky, claggy, dry discs that turn to thick wallpaper paste on mastication. In addition I am not the greatest Rick Stein fan either, his camp, slightly awkward presenting style, coupled with his pseudo intellectual ramblings about Hemingway (his cultural reference is always Hemingway, bar one time when he mentioned Cervantes) really turn me off him. I also get the hunch that he would be incredibly difficult to work with, have no humility, any ability to accept criticism and that the crews on his shows can’t stand him. I could be completely wrong of course, and he may be the perfect gent – I hope that is the case. Taking all that into account I trust I have illustrated why objectivity could be an issue today.
I open the nicely designed box and pull out a little tray of oat biscuits and tip them onto a plate. Each one has Rick Stein’s signature etched into it, as if Rick has pain stakingly signed each one – if only he had, I’d take back all I said about him.
I bite into one, with my oat biscuit prejudice at the ready, and lo and behold I am proved WRONG! This is the nicest oat biscuit I have ever tried. It does have that trademark powderyness, but then it is an oat biscuit so it has to be judged on its own terms. Instead of being a bland, flavourless, unsweetened hobnob, this oat biscuit is surprisingly complex. The flavour of the cheddar or “Davidstow Cheddar Cheese” to give it correct billing, comes through without feeling fake or manufactured. It adds a lovely dimension that doesn’t overpower but blends in with the oaty base. As if that wasn’t enough it also tastes buttery, providing a richness that rounds it all off making this oat biscuit a triumph before you start adding toppings to it. Well done Rick!
Rick Stein Savoury Oat Biscuits with Cheddar £1.58 for 170g