Tim Tam Luscious Strawberry

January 29, 2014 at 18:29 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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timtamstrawberrypackHold the front page! Stop the presses! There’s a new Tim Tam in town.

Actually, dear reader, I have to admit to noticing these prior to Christmas. I suspect they are a seasonal line. My sincere apologies that it has taken so long for this news to get to my blog. I hope they are still available, in case you want to try them. Or perhaps, after reading the below, you may not…

At the risk of introducing some bias and prejudice before we even start, I have to confess a strong suspicion about strawberry-flavoured sweetmeats. Whilst I love a fresh strawberry as much as the next person (although possibly not as much as my two year old daughter, who can consume them by the punnet-load before them hurtling around and around the house in a hyperactive frenzy), anything ‘strawberry flavour’ is inevitably a disappointment. (With the possible exception of strawberry jam, which can be quite good with thick cream on scones ).

However, I tried to put this thought out of my head an approach these with an open mind. To help counter my bias, I also invited a colleague to sample them with me, and to share his views.

timtamstrawberrybiscuitThey are constructed like any regular Tim Tam, with a regulation-issue milk chocolate coat and the standard chocolate biscuit. The creme filling, however, is lurid pink – quite startlingly so. As you bring one to your lips, the first thing you note is the strong strawberry aroma. This is actually very promising; it has good strawberry-ish tones and certainly seems a step up from the average.

When you first bite into the biscuit, you get quite an overwhelming strawberry taste – the chocolate hardly gets a look in. And it’s not too bad – eyebrows were raised at this point, and my colleague was heard to remark ‘Hmm- actually quite good!’. However, as you continue chewing it starts to pall; it all gets a bit sickly and overdone. When you swallow, you’re left with a strong aftertaste – and one that, unfortunately, has  a distinct artificial tang, like a cheap ‘strawberry’ lolly.

Notwithstanding the sickly filling (which I guess might be to some people’s taste, rather like the Turkish Delight Tim Tam), this aftertaste is really the only fault. On balance, them, Arnott’s have done pretty well as far as strawberry flavour goes, but being better than a weak competition does not make for a great biscuit. I’m going to give this four out of ten.

Those Scofflaw Cops…

January 25, 2014 at 11:58 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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copsonfootpathI came out of work at lunchtime the other day to see two bicycle police officers riding on the pavement outside our building. The ground slopes away a little bit, and one of them instead of being on the pavement proper rode up on the paved area outside the office block. When he got to the end he realised that the pavement had dropped away, and there were a few steps down back to that level – so he just rode down them, clatter clatter. The two officers then continued their leisurely ride along the pavement, through the throng of people on the pavement of the CBD at lunchtime.

Now, for sure, they were riding slowly and I’m sure carefully, and not really inconveniencing anyone. And I’m not really averse to careful pavement riding – I do it myself sometimes. But, technically, they were breaking the law – road rule 250, to be precise. I know that the police are able to break the rules in an emergency, or when attending an incident – usually with sirens wailing and so on. But these officers were just meandering along chatting, with no sense of urgency.

Now, on the one hand I don’t really mind. After all, I think careful footpath riding should be legal, as it is in for example Japan (where, despite the hectic streets, it all works rather well). But I can’t help feeling a bit piqued when those same cops pull me up later in the day for flouting rule 256 – one that it seems to me creates less danger and inconvenience to other road users than footpath riding. I didn’t get a ticket – my magic indemnity saw to that – but it was annoying just the same.

Actually, I have to say I have never ever seen a bicycle police officer riding on the road.  I think it’s  pity – it seems to be bicycle cops would be ideal for catching motorists using mobile phones, blocking junctions, driving through red lights and the myriad other dangerous behaviours that can be seen on the city streets every minute of every day. Perhaps they think it’s too dangerous…

A cycling pot-pourri

January 16, 2014 at 20:46 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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Various blog-worthy things have occurred to me over recent weeks, but I’ve been too lazy / busy to write them up into proper articles. So here’s a few vignettes for blogs that could have been..

Firstly, what’s the difference between these two photos?

signcar_servo_polesThe one on the right I took a few months ago, to accompany this article detailing just a few of the infrastructure fails on the Victoria Road ‘SUP’.  The picture was also included in a Sydney Morning Herald article on the same topic. The picture on the left was taken a few days ago. Magically, the right-hand pole has been relocated to the centre of the path, making it sort of possible to ride between the poles. The power of my blog, or the SMH, or just coincidence? Of course, it’s still an epic fail – the poles are a bit uncomfortable to ride between, and if you choose not to you are forced even further to the right. It really does underlines the incompetence and lack of imagination of our roads authority. I daresay that moving that pole has used up most of the budget for cycling upgrades on this route for the next few years…

pyrmontbrDemolition teams are busily removing the monorail from Pyrmont Bridge, and I have to say now it’s gone I can appreciate just what an eyesore it was – as well as how hard it made negotiating this busy shared space. With the poles gone from the western end of the bridge the sightlines are so much better, and there’s more space for everyone to spread out into. It’s just so much safer and more comfortable for all. The problem though is that now you can see better, some cyclists seem to think it’s OK to ride faster. See that risk compensation in action…

lightsignAlso on Pyrmont Bridge, I see the City Council have put up new signs explaining how to get the bicycle lights to trigger (if you’re lucky). I note that this time they have included the roads authority complaints line – evidently they (and I) are hoping this triggers a deluge of complaints to the RMS. Although I doubt it will, cyclists will simply continue to ignore the lights as they always have.

fishmarketsignAlso on the subject of signs, I felt smug as always heading to the fish market to get the Xmas seafood. Three or four kilometres away and the signs were warning of delays, and sure enough there were queues if cars everywhere and police directing the traffic. I just cut straight through and rode in, of course. One of the cops on traffic duty was an officer I know quite well due to all my helmet shenanigans, and we exchanged a cheery ‘Merry Christmas!’ as I rode past.

Happy New Year everyone – may your 2014 be filled with enjoyable cycling, reading and snacking!

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