Apricot and Ginger Rock Cakes

15 Apricot and Ginger Rock Cakes

When I told my Mother that this week’s recipe was going to be some rock cakes, she replied by saying it had been a long time since she had eaten any. That got me thinking about other traditional cakes from back home. It also had me recalling fond memories of calling into cake shops, and sampling their wares, whilst delivering milk as a youth.

For many years my parents had a milk round. It must be one of the hardest jobs going, long hours, seven days a week, often 365 days a year, out in all weathers and having to put up with cantankerous customers. They must have done something right though because the business grew year on year. This was no mean feat as in those days there were plenty of other milkmen around and if you upset a customer they could easily turn to another milkman to get their daily supply!

Hard work yes, and I am sure I complained at the time, but I also have some very good memories too:

99 Colne

Archive Photograph – Colne

An elderly lady way down the bottom of Newtown Street…… it was a long walk down for a gill of milk, and she always wanted something extra. My father would go down with extra milk, or with some cream, or eggs just in case. He invariably had to make two trips however, as she would often ask for something he wasn’t carrying. He never complained though, at least not to her……….

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the reicpe 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

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

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

 

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