Sultana and Ginger Buns

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When is a bun not a bun? When it is a cupcake, or a muffin or…… are there a plethora of words or synonyms? English is growing quickly, as I mentioned in a previous article (click here), but what I have recently read is that it is growing most quickly in areas associated with food. English culture has long accepted foreign dishes and flavours, now it seems we are accepting the words too.

My gold source for the English language is my hard-back edition of the Collins Contemporary Dictionary from 1959. As English spreads around the globe it is also diversifying, which is normal. It was always going to happen. Interestingly this divergence is now being recognised, as we are now seeing the emergence of American, Australian or British English dictionaries. In 1959, when the internet was unheard of and English was just English, this dictionary provides me with a snapshot of what was.

So what does my 1959 English dictionary say?

  • A bun is described as “A kind of small cake, light in texture and well sweetened”.
  • A muffin is described as “A round flat scone or cake of yeast dough, eaten toasted and buttered”
  • There is no mention of a cupcake!

Few Americans would agree with the definition of a muffin. English, or at least American has clearly moved on since 1959………

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

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Hasenkeule in Rahmsauce (Hare in Cream Sauce)

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I am a would be Electrical Engineer who studied Mechanical and Production Engineering at what is now the University of Central Lancashire. I ended up working as a Production Engineer in a couple of aircraft companies before moving on to the production of telephones for a large telephone and telephone exchange manufacturer. At this point I then decided upon a change and became a computer programmer.

I joined the now extinct IT company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), on one of their graduate programmes. One of the biggest problems in the IT industry in particular and in the bespoke manufacturing industry in general, is actually understanding then building what the client really wants. For that of course you have to really understand just what the client is asking for….. you have to understand him and his business.

EDS had the ludicrous idea of not hiring IT specialists, but rather graduates in other fields who would be better able to understand the client requirements. What a silly idea right? They hired doctors, finance graduates, chemists, biologists and even mechanical and production engineers.

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All in all I have travelled much in Germany due to work. I have been in the more industrial areas like Bochum or Dusseldorf. I have been to the historical and picturesque town of Heidelberg. I have even been to Berlin, before the wall fell and I crossed through the famous Checkpoint Charlie………..

To see the rest of the article and the recipe please click here.

The Octopus and the Flying Pear Tart

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Before I talk more about Letux and the day we spent there, I wanted to mention a town called Belchite, through which we had to pass to get to our destination. Seeing the ruins of Belchite so soon after the recent bombings in Aleppo left me wondering if, as a species, we ever truly learn from the mistakes of the past? Belchite you see was also the battleground of a civil war.

The war in question was the Spanish Civil War whose combatants met at the town of Belchite between August and September 1937. Basically the town was devastated and was left as a memorial of the war. They actually built a new town, from scratch, alongside the old…………

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……… So let’s get back to Letux and the afternoon we spent there. The two sisters, Pilar and Luisa, put on a delicious and varied spread. They had arranged for us to eat outside, in a beautiful spot on the edge of the garden and shaded by flowering bignonia vines. The table exquisitely set with fine crystal and classical porcelain.

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

Stifado στιφάδο

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It is early October, yet here I am, sat under a hot sun with the temperature somewhere in the high 20’s! I know I live in Spain, but I do live halfway up a mountain in the interior, the temperature should certainly not be so high. Additionally it hasn’t rained for about 4 months…..again, pretty much unheard of here. Even the drought resistant trees are suffering, if not dying. The grape and almond crops are much reduced, and unless it rains soon the olive crop will also be poor. It is really sad to see these normally green hills so brown, dusty and dry……. Is it Global Warming? I don’t know, but can we really take the risk and continue to destroy our planet? We only have the one after all.

The local plants and animals can’t escape the drought, but I can. I am off to the north of England in a couple of days. Who knows, it might even feel good to have to wear a jumper again or indeed a raincoat to keep off the incessant rain of the north of England?

I will be staying at my Mother’s, who of course will be spoiling me rotten. She will already have the cupboards filled with all my favourite foods together with a plan of all the places she would like to take me…… and a list of all the jobs that need doing! I actually don’t mind at all, I enjoy fixing things. One of the ways I like to thank her is by taking her out to a restaurant. Last year I took her to the “Greek Flame Taverna” in Lytham-St.-Annes.

The food was good, really good in fact, and plentiful! Great staff and great service, all in all a great meal. I personally had their “Stifado” which was fantastic, so much so in fact that I felt inspired to make my own. This week’s recipe is my version of their Stifado.

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

Tocino de Cielo

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This week is about the Spanish pudding “Tocino de Cielo”, or translated into English a “Pig from Heaven”. Perhaps if you were to make a pig of yourself with this Spanish pudding you would end up in heaven? Talking of pigs, does anyone know what an “enviropig” is? Well I didn’t, at least until recently.

English, as most languages, is growing in size. I honestly think there is a secret society out there made up of English teachers, translators and writers whose sole purpose is to invent new words and thereby keep themselves in employment. I can just see them now, swearing a secret oath of allegiance on their holy tome, The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)!

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So, as you can see from the photographs, this recipe produces a classy looking pudding with a beautiful glossy shine to the caramel……. and all it takes is sugar and eggs! The tocino was supposedly invented in the 14th Century in Jerez de la Frontera. There it was common to use the egg whites to clarify the wines. As they were loath to throw the yolks away, they invented this pudding to use them up.

To see the rest of the article and to veiw the recipe please click here.