As many of you mentioned in the comments of my last post, another excellent Christmas romantic comedy set in England is Love Actually. This movie features many actors who I love, namely Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and the even-more-dashing-than-Jude-Law Colin Firth. (I like Colin Firth because he is dark haired and cranky-yet-good-hearted, just like my husband.)
The movie has many good points. I love the wedding scene with the band, and Rowan Atkinson’s tiny, hilarious role, and the conversation between Alan Rickman’s character and Laura Linney’s character about precisely how long she’s been in love with one of their office mates.
But I do feel that the remarkable Mr. Rickman gets a bad deal with this role as a bland married guy who can’t seem to decide what to do about the (completely creepy) advances of his young secretary. I prefer him in cranky-yet-good-hearted roles (surprise!) like Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. My only other quibble with the movie is that Keira Knightly seems way too skinny. Perhaps because no one in the movie seems to eat. Ever. There are hors d’oeuvres served at a wedding, and sandwiches delivered to an office, and a few other cursory mentions of food, but that’s pretty much it. Not much for a blogger to go on, really.
The only food related scene that peaked my interest was when Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister asks who he would need to screw* to get a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. Cue adorable office assistant with a tray of tea and cookies. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can guess how that turns out.
The cookies she brings him are chocolate digestives. Just in case you’ve never had them, I will tell you they are dense and oatmeally and gently sweet. The chocolate covered ones are the best. When I was kid my British grandparents would buy them for us from Marks and Spencer. I can still find them at the grocery store, but not in any kind of vegan form. It never occurred to me to make my own until now.
I used regular white all purpose flour for these, and I think they would have been even better with whole wheat flour, since the texture is supposed to be kind of dense. The white flour made them a bit puffier than the store-bought version, but I wasn't going to complain. They were still the perfect cookies to have with a cup of tea and I had to put them in a tightly closed container way up high on top of our fridge to keep myself from eating the rest of them immediately.
Vegan Digestive Biscuits
1 3/4 cup flour (white or whole wheat or a mixture)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup quick cook oats
5 tbsp vegan margarine (kept cold until used)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and then add oats.
With a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, work the margarine into the dry ingredients until you have a coarse, crummy mixture.
Add in sugar, then milk and flax mixture. Add small amounts of milk, bit by bit, if your dough doesn't come together.
Form dough into a round, thick disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour.
While dough is refrigerating, preheat oven to 375 degrees and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Flour your counter top and rolling pin liberally. Try not to flour yourself liberally as well.
Roll the dough out to about a quarter inch thickness and use a cookie cutter (or a handy drinking glass) to cut the cookies into circles. You should end up with approximately two dozen cookies.
Place the cookies on your prepared baking sheets and poke them gently with a fork several times to make a pattern of small holes on the tops of the cookies.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown.
If you like chocolate digestives, like Hugh Grant does, then melt a big handful of chocolate chips with a teaspoon of margarine and, when cookies have cooled, use a knife to carefully spread of layer of chocolate on top of each one.
*He really does say "screw" that's not me translating the more common British expression "shag". The exact quote is: "Right. Who do you have to screw around here to get a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit?"