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

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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

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