Cardamom and White Chocolate Biscuits

00 Cardamom and White Chocolate Biscuits

There has been much said about the quality of information on the Internet, or perhaps I should say the lack of it. They often talk about deliberate false news, miss-information and even election meddling by foreign powers in a modern day “cold war”. Unfortunately it is also true that there is much fallacious and poor quality content out there that was posted with the very best of intentions. A Spanish author stated relatively recently that it is not that there are more idiots out there than previously, it is just that they now have a platform that lets them express their often dubious ideas to all and sundry.

While the author in question is no doubt quite right, what I suspect has also changed is that people have become less worried about making a fool of themselves in public or, more worryingly, they actually believe that what they are saying is correct. I have even seen completely erroneous statements being espoused as true in quality journals targeted at the more intelligent segments of society!

Perhaps this quote, possibly from my namesake, should be heeded more often:

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

99 98% Americans distrust informatioin

99 85% Statistics are false or missleading

A contributing factor might be the immediacy of communications these days. Young and old alike are feeling the pressure to respond immediately, slaves to their mobile telephones and their instant messaging applications. A hurried response is likely to be less well thought out and therefore more subject to errors. I like to think long and hard about what I write. No doubt it is just my semi-illiteracy, but these more or less weekly articles of mine take me a full week to write, as I go from initial draft to a (supposedly) polished final version. Even then my brilliant editor invariably uncovers some mistake or other.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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Dulce de Leche Custard Tart

30 Dulce de Leche Custard Tart

Do you ever have the feeling that you have forgotten something?

A couple of months after I moved to Spain, some thirty years ago, I had the feeling that I was missing or had forgotten something, that something in my daily routine was amiss. It took me a while to realise what it was, but I finally worked out I was missing my jacket, or should I say missing not missing it. I had stopped worrying about the weather, I had stopped taking a jacket with me when I went out. I would just walk out of the house carefree, without worrying about the possibility of inclement weather. It was summer and it rarely rains.

But have you ever had the experience of missing something without realising you were missing it; when in fact you only noticed the absence when you had a re-encounter with what you hadn’t realised you were missing?

2018 04 05 Effects Heavy Rainfall in Cosuenda

In the last couple of months it has really, really rained here. The village here has seen water of almost biblical proportions. The river that flows through the village, that is normally little more that a trickle, was turned overnight into a raging torrent. It swept away trees as well as the large stone blocks that had been placed there to define its watercourse. The result was that the village had, for quite a few days, something one would actually call a river.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Coney (or Chicken) and Bacon Pie

28 Coney (or Chicken) and Bacon Pie

Yes, me and my coney again. You will have seen that I use it quite a lot of rabbits, but then again I get them free. I can understand those that don’t believe in eating meat, and although I am not one of them, I do try and avoid animal suffering and any meat or indeed fish that has been intensively farmed. These rabbits are as free range as you can get, having lived their lives in the hills around where I live.

Here hunting the rabbits also provides a very necessary function, helping to keep their population in check. Unfortunately it is not actually working, as we still have a plague of them. Those who live in large towns or cities, might be unaware of just how much damage an out of control population of rabbits can be. It is rather sad to see local farmers planting new vines only to see them devoured before they have had a chance to grow, or the fields of wheat decimated to satisfy their hunger pangs. Many other countries suffer from voracious rabbits too, including Australia where the animals were unfortunately introduced in the 18th century.

31 Vines just planted

Young vines with rabbit protection sleeves

Introducing animals to a new area, or indeed reintroducing them to where they have become extinct, is not without risks. I read that many rewilding initiatives are underway to bring species back yet I wonder if we have really thought it through………..

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Portuguese Fish Soup

14 Portuguese Fish Soup

(Written on the 12th of May)

The most important musical event of the year is on tonight……. yes you guessed it, tonight is the Eurovision Song Contest! I could have put off writing this until tomorrow, when the results are in, but the whole thing has become so predictable that I decided it wasn’t worth waiting.

Firstly of course there is the name itself, “Eurovision”. Did someone redraw the European boundaries and I missed it? Not that I am against opening it up to distant countries, but haven’t the organisers considered a name change?

As for the voting, I guess most of us have noticed that it is biased and in general predictable. Greece and Cyprus seem to have this thing going, then there are the large geographical blocks like the Nordic and Baltic countries. Language blocks exits too, let’s face it, if you can understand the lyrics of a song then you are probably more likely to vote for it.

03 Interior

Portugal – A Village in the Interior

Then of course there are the actual songs, I mean it is a “song contest” after all. To be brutally honest, I believe that most of the contestants can’t actually sing………..

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Mackerel in Piri Piri Sauce

09 Mackerel on Barbecue

As I mentioned last week, my sister and husband were over here for a short visit. I think Spain is a great country and always like to show them around when they are over. We went to many nice towns, some at quite a distance, but I also wanted to show them some places of interest much closer to home.

The village I live in is around 2,000 feet above sea level so the main crops here are almonds, cherries,  olives and grapes; with the olives they make olive oil, and with the grapes they make wine! The hill behind where I live is riddled with traditional underground bodegas, so I thought it would be good for them to see how wine was traditionally made. Although we did view a bodega here, in the village where I live, I had also arranged to see another larger one, 3 miles away in the town of Almonacid de la Sierra.

The bodega in question belongs to Manuel Moneva and their installations consists of an 18th century traditional underground structure, as well as a more modern one in the centre of town.

01 View of barrels

The traditional bodega really has to be seen to be believed. Firstly the tunnels themselves, that are both large and long, were carved out of the rock by hand. Not only was the work arduous, taking them years to complete, but it had to be done in their spare time, after a hard day working in the fields.

The barrels you can see in the photographs are enormous, so much so that the coopers had to assemble them  inside the bodega, like a ship in a bottle. They are still there, the original barrels, many still filled with wine.

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Orange Butterfly Buns

33 Orange Butterfly Buns

I grew up living next door to a farm. I spent much of my youth playing in and around that farm and indeed others, as I grew older and became friends with boys who lived on other farms. In my early teens my father became a milkman and I spent many years helping out, delivering the milk in glass bottles to numerous households. We sold many types of milk, from rich whole milk from Jersey cows, through farm bottled unpasteurised, pasteurised, homogenised and on to sterilised. Milk from Jersey cows and farm bottled milk from Friesians came at a premium price as it was considered the best.

Whilst over in England visiting my Mother over Easter, I had an opportunity to look back in time, back into the stone-age, to see what it was like to be a milkman during her youth. My reference to the stone-age has actually nothing to do with my Mother’s actual age. I am comparing the views on milk and its delivery, back then in the dark ages to now,  with our new, more “enlightened” ones.

02 Milk Cart c. 1950

Archive Photograph

She was telling me that she used to deliver milk at the weekends for the princely sum of a sixpence. She would ride on the back of a horse-drawn cart to deliver the milk. Before essential modern safety measures curtailed such reckless activities, she would jump off the back whilst it was still in motion and run to the houses to deliver the milk. The households would supply a reusable bottle or jug which she would fill up, back at the cart, from a large, open, milk churn.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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