Ugly lockdown baking: Flapjacks


The cupboards are almost bare, and I’ve intentionally been whittling down their contents to this barren state. I am cautioned that this is the behavior of someone expecting an apocalypse. I’m not. But I am clearing out the stuff that’s been occupying space for much too long, and which no longer has much function. When I used to bake industrial amounts of cakes and cookies, I had a lot of use for bulk stores of sugar and baking soda. Not so now.

Although oats are something I will continue to use, replenishing them frequently isn’t a terrible idea. Thinking of oats, and flapjacks, I can’t help but think of the iconic packaging for Scott’s Porage Oats.


I wrote in another recent baking post about watching a show that featured a visit to the astounding Tate & Lyle sugar refinery (it’s rather scary to think about the amount of sugar consumed in the world)… as stated, I’m working my way through ingredients that have been in my cupboards for a long time but need to be used, including several containers of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. There are pretty much no better uses for golden syrup (and oats!) than ANZAC biscuits or the very basic flapjack.

Very simple flapjacks

295 grams unsalted butter
250 grams golden syrup
500 grams rolled porridge oats
pinch of salt

Prepare an 8×8 pan – butter the pan and line with parchment for easy lifting out of the pan. Preheat oven to 180C (160C if you have a fan) or 350F.

Combine butter and syrup in a saucepan; stir together until melted. Add oats and salt. Mix well. Press mixture evenly into pan. Bake about 25 minutes (until top is golden). Leave in the pan for 30 minutes, lift out and let cool completely on a wire rack.


Cut into squares once cooled. Like many such… rustic goods… they aren’t pretty, but that says nothing about what they taste like.


Lunchtable TV talk: Another hit – Jett


In my effusive praise of Mr Inbetween, in which I listed a number of contemporary TV shows with murder-for-hire themes, I failed to mention one of my most recent indulgences: Jett.

I thought of it again suddenly as I was writing about women characters and their often much more transformative journeys as compared to the men with whom they share the screen. In particular, I reflected on some of the more fearless moves women characters have made, and how some of the coldest, most calculating women characters betray almost no emotion, despite how women are framed as being the more emotionally fragile of the sexes. And then I remembered: Jett, something/someone in the no-man’s-land of questionable and violent actions. Jett (Carla Gugino), is a fresh-from-prison, world-class thief who gets pulled back into this underworld, and repeatedly has to insist that she is “not a hit man” and that she does not kill people. Yet the danger in which she finds herself ensnared leaves her always on the edge of making that choice. She doesn’t always succeed in keeping her hands clean.

While not overtly about a hit man, or hiring people to kill for money, Jett does exist in the criminal universe in which a strategic hit isn’t far from possible. And despite her best efforts, she’s always adjacent to this action. Jett as a character isn’t moralizing and does not appear to agonize over very much, but there are moments when she comes to lines she doesn’t want to cross, and it’s fascinating to see how the character manages these dilemmas.

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash


obstinate comedy


The Obstinate Comedy
Michelle Boisseau

In the middle of my life I lost my way.
I knew my turn was coming, coming
around the bend. And there it was.
The crows calling over the shoulders
of trees stretched the space wider
and wider like the circles a focal
dragonfly sends around itself on a pond,
but ahead of me something was
taking up all the space. It was dark
and slippery like things that don’t breathe,
and it was so humongous I couldn’t
see how close it was or get a feel
for its edges. The thing was there
was no straight way, no mythic down
and down a spiraling code to climb
up and over a frozen stiff and into a night
freshly laid with the standard stars.
My way had turned into a knot polished
smooth as a platitude and I was
to lie down in front of it, stupid
and stymied by malignancy.

Standing there with my way knobbled,
my life (which is all I have to go on)
seemed odd as a word turned over
and over until it hatches into shatters.
By turns the tongue in my mouth
was a frog jinking against my palate
or a wad of soggy pulp. You can’t talk
your way out of this impasse, said the crows.
You can’t hold in the rings of time
said the trees, switching their branches.
And the knot? Naturally it was mum.
Obsidian and vitreous, it gleamed
like a symbol while the tumored
forerunners crabbed my lungs.
Breathe deep, turn the tides inside you.

In the middle of my life I lost my way
(or was it more toward the end?)
and I wandered an abrupt gigantic day.
I saw the trees were upside down
waterfalls and the crows were flying veins
of air. Each crow shook its singular crow history,
each tree a history of flying in place, a congress
of beetles and mushrooms which are
the fruit of a tree that grows underground.