Shrewsbury Biscuits

18 Shrewsbury biscuits

This week I have a traditional biscuit recipe for you all. I already have quite a collection of traditional biscuit recipes, but I was reading through my grandmother’s handwritten recipe book and came across these Shrewsbury biscuits. As they are made with grated lemon rind, and here we are in the citrus fruit season, it seemed the prefect time to give them a try.

99 Nana's Recipe

For those of you who don’t know it, Shrewsbury is a town on the border between England and Wales. Although my grandmother was a Lancashire lass, my grandfather was born in the city of Chester, again a city on the border between England and Wales. He spent his working life in Nelson, Lancashire before retiring across the great divide to Bae Colwyn in Wales. We would visit my grandparents on most school holidays. In those days the trip was long, before the numerous motorways and bypasses we had to drive through many large towns and cities, including Chester, on the way to our destination.

99 Chester city

Chester City

When I was quite young, I remember on one occasion my grandfather took me to Chester and we went out on the river in a small boat. It was a relaxing day, the river was calm and the sun was out. He was telling me about his ancestors and how they were the Lords of Powys. I thought I could put up with being a Lord, and Lord Lincoln does have a certain ring to it doesn’t it.

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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Lancastrian Pea Soup

14 Pea Soup - Finished

The weather here has been quite capricious over the last few months. The autumn was particularly dry, continuing the trend set over the summer and dashing any hopes I might have had for a good crop of wild mushrooms. For the most part it was overly warm too and very windy, with a howling banshee-like wind battering our house on a number of occasions.

Now into another new year and the weather continues its wayward way with rain and snow storms drowning whole towns as rivers burst their banks or trapping thousands of motorists in the snow. I guess we should be thankful that water is falling from the skies and the winter wheat, so common on the dry plains here, has the moisture it needs to grow. The snow in the mountains, now many feet deep, will provide water throughout the spring and early summer as it slowly melts. It is also, at last, cold too. That at least is in keeping with this time of year.

2017 12 02 Moncayo with Snow

Moncayo Mountain from Home

The inclement weather and the cold means I can finally start to cook heavier cold-weather food. I love the lighter summer food, but there is something so relaxing about sitting round an open fire, or next to the wood fired stove, whiling away a few hours as a stew or warming soup slowly bubbles away. I sit there with a glass of wine and a good book, whilst contemplating the flavoursome mouth-watering dish I shall be eating a few hours later.

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Bread and Butter Pudding

16 Bread and Butter Pudding

A few days back I was in Zaragoza, crossing the bridge over the river Huerva, as it flows close by the San Miguel Plaza. As I crossed the bridge I noticed a young woman with a young child in a pram, looking down at the river and the ducks sat along its banks.

The young woman then opened a large plastic bag and started throwing large amounts of bread down to the ducks waiting below. The bridge is quite high and so the drop is considerable. As the pieces of bread were large, I did worry about possible duck concussion as they waited blissful innocent below for their lunch. I was also surprised by the total quantity of bread being thrown.

Young people in general, in Spain, are having a rather hard time of it. Many are without work, whilst those that are lucky enough to find a job, end up in precarious and low paid employ at best. Having young children to clothe and feed can also be a costly undertaking. Rich or poor however, throwing away large amounts of food, bread in this case, would not appear to be the best use of one’s money nor appropriate given the number of people in the world who lack enough food to eat.

 

99 Plaza San Miguel - Archive Photograph

Plaza San Miguel – Archive Photograph

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Scones

19 Scones

Scones, there are few things that are quite as English as scones….. just think afternoon or cream tea in a flower filled garden on a nice sunny day. Ok, I know, the sunny bit is stretching it a little, but you get the idea. Just perform a search for “cream tea” in your favourite internet browser and you will find that just about all the photographs on display show a plate of scones!

The custom of afternoon tea supposedly originated in the 1840’s at the behest of Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford. Before the end of the century it had become common amongst the upper and middle classes. To be honest, I have never really partaken of afternoon tea as such, but it does remind me of the afternoon meal observed at the farm I worked on for a while in my teens.

20 Freisans

Archive Photograph – Freisans

The farmer’s wife would serve a fine spread of cakes and pastries at around 5:00 pm, for the whole family, temporary workers and hangers-on (me). The large farmhouse kitchen would be full, at least temporarily, with delicious smells and hungry mouths. It was designed as a large snack, something to tide them over before a larger more formal meal, once milking was finished. On that dairy farm at least, the day began and ended with the milking of around one hundred Friesians.

Scones also take me back to my infancy and watching mothers and neighbours baking. Perhaps I was, unbeknownst to myself, attracted to the idea of baking and cooking in general? More likely I guess it was simply that I wanted to be first in line to sample the still warm fare, or my desire to help them clean up after their baking, by licking out the bowls and spoons!

Archive Photogrpah - Cream Tea

Archive Photograph – A Cream Tea

But of course licking out the bowls is no longer safe, the killjoys are out in force to destroy yet another humble yet enjoyable pastime……. I have just read an article on the BBC’s news website that particularly dismayed me and in more ways than one…….

 

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Candied Ginger Brack

11 Bought Brak

My Mother, in spite of just having reached a significant birthday milestone, is “como una rosa”…… like a rose. An English one, and a red one at that. Today however my recipe comes from the white rose county of Yorkshire. My Mother gave me a version of a Yorkshire Brack, a Stem Ginger Brack, when I was over for her aforementioned birthday. It was delicious with butter, or indeed with custard, as per the image above.

We visited a couple of garden centres whilst I was there. My Mother enjoys going to them and, given the lousy weather up North, I guess there isn’t much else one can do on a typical inclement, windswept day. It is also true that garden centres have come of age and offer a wide range of services. I tend to focus on the seeds and plants which, although of great interest to my Mother too, are but a small part of what is on offer in your average modern garden centre……..…

06 Lilly - To use - Updated

A recent article in the British Daily Mail newspaper stated that “there are around 2,700 garden centres in the UK, and the market is worth £5 billion a year”. With the abundance of garden centres I see around my Mother’s, I would suggest that the article has vastly understated these numbers. The article also stated that they have become “destination stores” or “retail experiences”. From what I saw after visiting a couple on this last trip, I can say that this is certainly the case!

08 Poppy - To use - Updated

Garden centres have changed over the years and probably the last thing a visitor needs these days are green fingers or eau de manure! It is hard to find one without a café or restaurant, a food section  and a section dedicated to the home…. something indeed to tempt just about everyone. My Mother and I ended up in once such mega-centre, a place called Barton Grange. They had a fine selection of plants, and all the now typical aforementioned sections, but they also had two other items I thought worthy of mention…… firstly they sold the “Stem Ginger Brack” my Mother had fed me, and secondly they had some unusual sculptures on show. You can see photographs of them throughout the article. Apart from being expensive sculptures by an American artist called Clark Sorensen, they also have a practical purpose……. but can you guess what it is?…………………

 

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Tomato Ketchup

16 Ketchup in jars

Ode to a Bacon Butty by Lincoln Betteridge……

I didn’t post an article last week as I was in England, my Mother who lives there was celebrating a significant birthday milestone. It was good to go back home and meet the family again and celebrate a special day. It was also good to be back home to sample good wholesome British cooking. I knew I could count on my Mother for that, and she did not disappoint. Throughout my stay she ensured that my gullet was never under-worked! She knows what I like, and top of my list is a good bacon butty, or Dagwood as my Father used to call them.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Dagwood Bumstead was a cartoon character famous for his large sandwiches. I think my Father picked up the phrase when he was in the Navy:

99 Dagwood Bumstead

The humble bacon butty, one of Britain’s most significant contributions to world cuisine. Simple to make yet difficult to get just right….. unless you are my Mother who gets them perfect every time. There are just four main ingredients, bread, butter, bacon and ketchup, so let’s take them one by one……….

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Lincoln’s Lancashire Hotpot

28 Lincoln's Lancashire hotpot

I have called this week’s recipe “Lincoln’s Lancashire Hotpot” because two Lincolns are involved in the story of this recipe…… but before I talk about the Lincolns, let me talk about a Trevor…….

This recipe was actually requested by Trevor, a friend from my dim and distant youth. A friend with whom I have had little contact until relatively recently when, thanks to the wonders of Facebook, we have managed to share the odd conversation. He lived about half a mile from me, at the bottom of the hill, and we used to “knock around” quite a bit in our early teens. I also enjoyed being in his mother’s kitchen, enveloped in all those wonderful aromas whilst watching her bake.

As a couple of tykes we got into all sorts of scrapes! I recall on one occasion I went on a camping trip with him and his parents. I remember being surrounded by families and caravans as we discussed the inner workings of a toy rocket, that was absorbing all our attention, with a single-mindedness that only the young can display.

99 Winewall

I lived at the top of the hill (Archive Photograph)

I remember the toy consisted of the rocket, a base structure and a pumping mechanism. We had to pump air into the rocket and then let it go, the compressed air giving it the power to fly high into the sky. The instruction booklet made it quite clear just what the maximum amount of pumping was.

I mean come on games manufacturers, how can you think that a couple of young rascals aren’t going to give it an extra pump or two, or ten? Using true scientific method, we started to steadily increase the pressure to see just how high we could make it fly……….

 

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge