Lardy Cake

27 Lardy Cake

After dipping my toe last week into the sea of contemporary culinary flavours, with my Norwegian / Spanish fusion cod, I am back to an old traditional recipe this week. This one is very old in fact, as this recipe’s origins are way back in the 15th century!

This cake is actually a richly spiced and fruited sweet bread, although the original cakes were probably much more humble affairs. All those rich spices and dried Mediterranean fruits were probably not available to much of the population until the 17th or 18th centuries at the earliest. Even the lard which gives these cakes their name was not that easy to come by, so these cakes were always somewhat of a luxury item and were never something to be eaten on a daily basis. They were most probably reserved for special occasions.

If you were to look on the internet for Lardy Cake recipes you will see that many recipes use butter not lard. I however strongly recommend that you try an original recipe like this one. Of course, in truth, it wouldn’t be a “Lardy” cake without the lard would it. Lard also gives a different texture to the cake due to its low melting point………..

Archive Photograph

Archive Photograph

 

…………. Well, enough history I think, so what is a Lardy Cake like? …….. well, in a word, delicious. The lard, spices and sugar in the layers all get together in a gooey sweet soft interior whilst the sugar on the top gives a crunchy crust to the outside. It is one of those simple but fantastic cakes that has been around for ever but, like so many others from out past, has fallen somewhat into oblivion.

 

To read the complete article and to see the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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Skrei in Romesco Sauce

22 Skrei in Romesco Sauce

Some of you may have noticed that I published no article last week; my excuse is that I was back over in England for a few days. As is often the case, I noticed how expensive everything was over there. As I no longer live there, I guess I notice them more, the price increases from one visit to the next. I was amazed to find myself paying £4.50 for a bottle of cider or £2.50 for a hot drink in a café, the latter being the only way to stave off the inclement weather we “enjoyed” whilst over there!

What I always notice is that fish too is very expensive. Given that Britain is an island, the exorbitant price of fish has always surprised me. The fishermen blame Europe for many of their woes and pin their hopes on taking back back control of British waters with Brexit.

What I see from my distant offshore location however is that if Brexit does indeed happen, it will not be as envisaged by many of the leave voters.

Before you all mentally switch off, this is not a Brexit rant, enough has been said on whether it is the right thing to do or not, I actually wanted to talk about voting and who has the right to decide what happens in a democratic country. So let’s have a look at the history of who has the power to affect the decisions taken, who in fact can vote?

 

To read the rest of the article and view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Pea, Leek and Cream Cheese Pasty

25 Pea, Leek and Cream Cheese Pasty

Before I start let me just say that today’s meal is delicious. Basically it is just peas in pastry, and frozen peas and pastry at that! Trust me therefore when I say that it is well worth giving it a go, you will not regret it…..…

Why am I making something now with peas you might ask? It is hardly the pea season after all……. Here I have just removed the cloches from my pea plants. I have put in the supports, branches that I have pruned from our fruit trees over the last few months, and I have built a net cage around the whole area to keep off the birds….… so although the pea plant’s growth is quite advanced, they are no way ready for picking yet. All this has work however has reminded me that I still have peas in the freezer from last year’s harvest, peas that need to be eaten up!

26 Peas growing in allotment

Apart from all the aforementioned work, I am also installing a new drip irrigation system in place of the existing sprinklers. Sprinklers are great for lawns and the like, but quite wasteful when it comes to irrigating individual plants or areas. With the drip system I will use far less water than previously. It is though taking me quite a while to lay out the tubing to match the crops planted and, as I rotate my crops each year, the laying out is not a one-off effort. Alas I will have to re-lay or at best rearrange the tubing each year too.

Setting up the system reminded me of a “learning experience” in my first ever office job…….…

 

To read the rest of the artcticle and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Maids of Honour Tarts (?)

28 Maids of Honour

I came across these tarts in a magazine quite some time ago and I have been making them ever since. They are quite easy to make and delicious, but are they really “Maids of Honour Tarts”?

It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and it would seem that King Henry VIII’s heart was stolen by Anne Boleyn, via these very tarts. Supposedly he sampled these tarts when he came upon Anne and her maids of honour, who were enjoying a light repast, in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. They had been baked by the maids who were subsequently locked up in Hampton Court and, supposedly, only released occasionally so that they could bake more tarts for the King and his court!

It is told that the recipe remained a Court secret for some 200 years, before it was leaked by a palace cook to John Billet, a baker in Richmond, West London, who began baking them for his more wealthy customers. For this reason these tarts are also known as Richmond Tarts.

An apprentice of Billet, John Newens, opened his own bakery in Kew in 1850 which is  now generally considered as the home of the “original” tart. The bakery still exists today and has become somewhat of a legend. Everyone and his dog seems to have visited this bakery!

If you are interested in more on the bakery click here for a link to the bakery.

Website Photograph

Website Photograph

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

 

Fondue

15 Eating cheese

A fondue is a great dish for almost any occasion, and there are few things better for when you have a few people round for a meal. It is easy to make, requires little or no up-front preparation and provides a great sense of theatre as you prepare it, on the dining table, in front of your guests. Importantly of course it is delicious and also great fun to eat. What more could one ask?

This recipe comes from Biel in Switzerland where I worked for a while. Interestingly when I went to buy the cheeses here the shop owner stated quite categorically that it wasn’t an authentic fondue recipe! The woman, who had probably never been to Switzerland in her life, felt it her duty to tell me the error of my ways……. I continue to be surprised how so many people these days strongly defend ideas of which they are mostly ignorant!

SWITZERLAND.GET NATURAL.

Archive Photograph

Anyway back to the fondue. The client I was working for at the time learnt that I liked the culinary arts so he gave me a local authentic recipe, took me to a local shop to buy the cheeses for me and even bought me a fondue set.

We are talking nigh on 20 years ago now, and what was accepted then is no longer seen as appropriate. My team and I worked on the project for months and the client wanted to show his appreciation with what he considered to be an appropriate gift. Unfortunately less scrupulous clients and companies offering large gifts and bribes have led to strict rules around the giving and receiving of gifts in a business environment……….

To read the rest of the article and view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Saxe-Coburg Soup

14 Saxe-Coburg Soup

A very posh name for what is quite a humble soup. It is cheap and easy to make, but it is delicious and seasonal too. Don’t be put off if the thought of a Brussels sprout soup seems strange to you, I for one really enjoy their flavour and here they make a delicious and rather unique soup.

So why such a regal name for a simple soup? The Saxe-Coburg’s ruled Brussels so that is one possible connection. It is also true however that this soup was popular in Victorian England and Queen Victoria’s husband’s surname was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Either way this is an “old” gem of a soup that should be revived. Perhaps there are still some things we can learn from our forefathers? I really don’t know, the last few days have left me wondering if we are capable of learning anything from the past…….

This week I have been trying to choose a new electricity supplier for our house. I was looking for a supplier that respected the environment and had an option to choose renewable energy sources.

Of course living in a house with a large roof and large garden I myself might consider installing solar panels, but thanks to the current government and its “Sun Tax”, the use of the sun’s rays is no longer free…………..

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

White Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

22 White chocolate dulce de leche cheesecake

As I write this I can hear the band playing here in the village. It is not yet 9:00 a.m., but they have already started the festivities for their special day, but more on that later……….

I can feel the yearly cycle turning, the arrival of Spring feels imminent. Today promises to be a nice sunny day, the light mist is already being burnt off by the weak yet strengthening sun. The air is still chill, but the afternoon will be warm and pleasant. Of course in these modern times we put specific dates to the changing of the seasons based around the fixed points of the sun’s yearly cycle. Mankind can now count time to an incredible degree of accuracy and can exactly fix the sun’s solstices and equinoxes.

Being semi-retired I no longer have work to mark my hours, days and weeks. I no longer have to be in a specific place at a specific time for some work-related activity. In this timeless state I have to use other signs as a guide to the passing of the seasons, and these natural markers, the trees and birds, are telling me we are moving into Spring.

99 Almond trees

Around here the almond trees are in flower and the cranes are flying overhead. The latter in particular are a visible and audible sign of Spring as around 50,000 fly high above, from a nearby lake, on their way on their yearly migration north. They fly high overhead but their call can be heard from over a mile away. So for me then it is time to start sowing the hardiest of Summer vegetables and remove the cloches from my already growing winter pea plants.

2018 02 24 Cranes over Cosuenda

And so back to the music I mentioned at the top of the article and another sign of time passing; in this case the cycle of life. Today they are celebrating the “Quintos”, the coming of age for a group of teenagers here in the village that are passing into adulthood.

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge