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SOP036 – Ho Ho Ho, Smith Britannia!

December 1, 2009

Download this episode or listen online

Show Notes
‘Tis the season and special guest Kevin Bee spreads holiday cheer all over the joint. We chat about holiday goodies, and all things Christmasy.  Neil and Mari share dueling versions of “Silent Night” and for What’s the Best Show on Television? we feature a program from across the pond, the BBC’s documentary “Synth Britannia.” Neil and Kevin do some scheming and surprise Laura with her very own birthday music mix. And to wrap it all up like a pretty package, we discuss what the heck Martin Gore’s songs have to do with World of Warcraft. All this with a lovely assortment of acoustic tunes by Far Beyond Frail, Now Is Now, Adrina Thorpe, and Leigh Nash. Don’t worry Martin, we won’t subpoena you unless it is absolutely necessary.

Music Guide
“Silent Night”
Artist: Neil Smith

Artist: Far Beyond Frail
Album: Butterfly Sketches

“Silent Night”
Artist: Mari Smith

“Sail Away”
Artist: Now Is Now
Album: Transitions

Artist: Adrina Thorpe
Album: Elusive

“Wishing for This”
Artist: Leigh Nash
Album: Wishing for This

Miscellaneous Links and Goodies

Do you Twitter? Swell! Follow us at

Go see Kevin in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

Swedish Spice Cookies

*Plan ahead tip – dough must be chilled for 2 hours before rolling and baking.

¾ cup shortening, at room temperature (I use all butter. Use what you like best.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
4 Tablespoons molasses
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Additional flour for rolling
Red and green colored sugar for decorating

Special equipment: A pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. Without these it is pretty much impossible to roll the cookies thin enough. Williams-Sonoma often carries the set. Here’s a link to what it looks like.

Cream the shortening with a mixer until smooth. Add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly. Blend in egg. Mix in molasses.

Sift together the dry ingredients and spices. Add to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Don’t over mix.

Form dough into 2 disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for approximately 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Put rolling pin cover on the rolling pin and place the pastry cloth flat on the counter. Sprinkle the cloth generously with flour and roll the rolling pin in it to cover with flour as well. Dough will be sticky, so add flour as needed.

Remove one disk of dough at a time from the fridge and roll it as thin as possible. You will get a feel for it after baking the first batch. They will be nearly paper-thin. Cut out in simple shapes – star, heart and rounds are traditional. The dough won’t hold up to more complex shapes. Brush off any excess flour from the top of cookies.

Transfer to a nonstick cookies sheet. Place cookies an inch or so apart. They don’t spread much. Sprinkle unbaked cookies with the colored sugars.

Bake 7-8 minutes. Watch closely. They burn easily! Don’t let the edges get brown – that is too done. The first batch is a test for the time in your oven. Cookies should be crisp after they cool.

Let cool for a minute or so on the cookie sheet to firm up. Transfer to a cooling rack. Scrape any left-over sugar from the pan before baking the next batch. Also, let the pan cool a bit before putting on the next batch or the dough will melt.

Store in an airtight container. They break easily, so ziplock bags aren’t sturdy enough.

Gallery of Guys Neil Finds Attractive

The obligatory Depeche Mode Link

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2009 9:56 am

    A great show Smiths. That montage of Tom Bailey and Neil is so funny, twins! With reference to whether the gays like Christmas, well I know we do, it’s about shopping, eating, drinking and making the yuletide gay – all good. Halloween’s nothing special here really.

    Good to hear Kevin again after all these years, I used to love his Podcast with Michael, nice addition to the show Mr Bee and what a marvellous impression of a potty-mouthed Queen Elizabeth at the end of the show.

    Neil, your birthday compilation for Laura was genuinely touching and what a great selection of tracks too, such good taste, glad you enjoyed synth Britannia so much, it was one of the best things on TV in years, a DVD will be released at some point I am sure.

    Andrew x

    PS: It is indeed pronounced “Clappam”. not Clap Ham!

  2. December 1, 2009 10:07 am

    Thanks, Andrew! I agree, Kevin was fabulous. I hope you know it’s only a matter of time before we try to rope you into doing the show. The Brits must represent!

    I am still a bit weepy after Neil’s surprise. I’m a lucky girl!

    Oh and thanks for confirming about Clapham. I guess since I mastered words like “Leicester” Clapham was easy!

  3. December 1, 2009 3:12 pm

    It would be a joy and a delight to collaborate with you. I haven’t used Skype for years, prefer iChat but do have an account and would be happy to provide a bit of British twist!

  4. December 1, 2009 4:26 pm

    Hooray! Neil handles the technical stuff, but I don’t know why he couldn’t record from iChat. I’ll let him figure that out. I’ll be in touch!

  5. December 1, 2009 4:42 pm

    The Skype is set up here, just a bit dormant, my screen name is isayisayisay, what’s yours? Here’s to Anglo-American collaborations!

  6. December 1, 2009 4:58 pm

    I am smithsoccasional.

  7. December 1, 2009 8:38 pm

    Hearing Kevin was a great surprise! Listening to Neil tell you he chose the different songs choked me up. It was so very sweet and really made my day. Super show!

    • December 2, 2009 7:28 am

      Thanks, Nessa dear! It was nice to give everyone who knows Kevin a little surprise. Plus it was great to have someone else in the mix. Neil and I are pretty sick of just talking to each other!

  8. December 2, 2009 3:19 am

    Aww that was a sweet Birthday surprise for you Laura.

    My grandma used to make Peppakakor but I just thought they were ginger snaps all this time!

    The album art reminded me that I hadn’t scanned in a photo from the ’80s of me for my facebook page!
    Here it is

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