“It was never home until you were there, Tiffy.” ― The Flatshare
I must admit, any book that involves mention of delicious baked goods is an instant winner in my eyes. If a cover is adorned with an illustrious cake teetering off to the side, or a sprinkling of anything marginally candy coated, I will most likely - most definitely - pick it up and take it home with me. There are many a novel with a confectionery edge; some that spring to mind are The Strawberry Theif by Joanne Harris, Sprinkles and Secrets by Lisa Schroeder and Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack, all delightful, and all sure to get your sweet tooth twitching.
That being said, I was quite overjoyed to find that one of our beloved main characters in The Flat Share often indulged in rustling up some tasty creations. Tiffy’s baked goods pop up throughout the novel and accompany her responses to Leon in their burgeoning post-it note romance. She would bring something sweet, he something savory, adding an extra layer of intimacy to their private tête-à-tête.
Looking back at the beginning of the novel, I found the first bake to be offered was the humble yet faultless flapjack. These delicacies are native to the United Kingdom, cooked in a flat oven tin. They are a buttery, sugary, syrupy concoction that one must pair with a cup of tea. Dense but delicious, it is quite hard to limit yourself to a modest portion. Tiffy’s offering of a golden syrup goodie is just the beginning and thus in my eyes becomes the important marker for the start of her and Leon's tumultuous adventures.
It is quite funny to consider the weight (l suppose both literally and figuratively in this instance) that a seemingly modest flapjack can hold. It transforms from a simple snack to quell a grumbling tummy, to a symbol of acknowledgement and honeyed well wishes. This is why I have been motivated to bake my own version, of which I promise to share with loved ones and friends as a sign of my gratitude and endearment (if there are any leftovers to spare!)
250g jumbo porridge oats
125g light brown sugar (I opted for Demerara, it is darker than brown sugar with larger crystals which will give the flapjack more of a crunchy texture)
2-3 tbsp. golden syrup
Optional dark chocolate nibs
Step 1 – Heat up that oven to your version of 180C fan. Every oven has a different temperament so plan accordingly.
Step 2 – Mix together your oats, butter, sugar and golden syrup. Add in the dark chocolate bits for extra scrumptiousness.
Step 3 – Grease a baking tin with butter and spoon in your lovely ooey gooey mixture. Make sure to press into the corners to get it as flat as possible.
Step 4 – Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Step 5 – Enjoy and make sure to share some with your flat mates, friends and family (add a post it note with a heartwarming message for good measure.)
Happy tasting and bye for now,