Boarding school mealtimes were memorable in more ways than one…

//Boarding school mealtimes were memorable in more ways than one…

Boarding school mealtimes were memorable in more ways than one…

We would file into the large Refectory four times a day usually famished and sit down at  long allocated tables…about 15 to a table organised by age… Groans  of despair could be heard from all around almost immediately –  those meals were probably the worst I have ever eaten ..cold, congealed and tasteless… However to compensate for being away from home for over 9 months and make meal times more palatable our mothers armed us with survival kits at the beginning of each term – amazing Tuck Boxes…These were large tea crates crammed  with gorgeous home made goodies which we unpacked and stored in the large deep wooden cupboards or wire mesh cages dotted all around. Tuck  rules were strict and even 30 years later remain indelibly etched in my memory .. You were allowed to take out certain things during specific meals -no idea when or who had set these up but we faithfully followed them – a bit like the gospel lessons… Breakfast allowed you cheese, butter,  milk powder, the ubiquitous “bournvita” etc to make that watery liquid  and soggy sponge squares passed off as milk and bread more palatable whilst lunch and dinner allowed pickles, squash and fruit that was stored in the wired cage in the corner. (Fruit  usually lasted a week into term) . Tea times were a lot more flexible – that’s when the cakes, biscuits and other treats made an appearance. Everything that was taken to the table at tea time was supposed to be passed around which meant that usually by the second or third week  into term we were back to the meagre bread and butter rations served as staple. After that we did have some sort of saviour in the form of Radharani stores where generous parents had a tab running for their perpetually hungry children . The store proprietors knew this and kept both prices and service equally  high … At the age of eight,  this offered us great freedom of choice that we exercised unwisely and I for one remember large bills my mum signing off at the end of term before embarking on our long journey back home . The sole contents of those hugely inflated bills consisted mainly of chocolates, bourbon biscuits and “jhal chips ” all of which had zero nutrition but 100% taste …

However even today chocolate filled “Bourbons” remain a firm favourite so here goes … As in those days – both the nutrition content and taste remain unchanged :))


  • 250 gms plain flour
  • 125 gms unsalted chilled  butter
  • 125 gms caster sugar
  • 2 tblsp golden syrup
  • 50 gms cocoa powder
  • 1tsp soda bicarb
  • 3 tblsp milk


  • 75 gms unsalted butter
  • 125 gms icing sugar
  • 15 gms cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Combine all the biscuit ingredients in a food  processor until lumpy and then tip on a work surface and bring together.
  • Roll out dough on a sheet of parchment keeping it rectangular and dusting with flour. Trim to approx a 23 x 30 cm rectangle.
  • Cut into 3 even strips and then at 2.5 cms. Mark five dots on each. Chill for 30 min.
  • Bake for 25 min, carefully remove and separate the biscuits. Leave to cool.
  • Make the filling by combining all the ingredients and sandwich the biscuits together.
  • Stays for 5 days if you can manage to keep it that long!
2017-09-01T01:25:44+00:00March 25th, 2017|Surrey Spice Recipes|