All posts filed under: Nottinghamshire and Heritage Recipes

Channeling a bit of Robin Hood. Nottinghamshire Venison & Celery Casserole

Both Venison and Celery have strong associations with Nottinghamshire, venison from the King’s Deer of Sherwood Forest of course, and celery which was cultivated at Newdigate House next to the Castle, by Marshal Tallard (the celery was growing wild on the Lenton marshes, and Tallard, held captive here after the Battle of Blenheim, grew it in the garden there). Here’s my take on using two of our celebrated ingredients. Nottinghamshire Wild Venison Casserole Ingredients (serves 4) 500g diced Nottinghamshire venison (wild, from the Thoresby Estate) 6 shallots (peeled and halved if large) 2 large carrots (cut into chunks) 2/3 celery stalks (cut into chunks) 2 cloves garlic (crushed) 1 small glass red wine 5 sprigs fresh thyme (strip the leaves off) Half a dozen button mushrooms 1 x beef stock cube 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly Plain flour Large knob of Butter Pinch of sugar Method Season flour with salt and pepper and lightly coat the venison. Fry quickly and in batches until browned. Remove the venison and set aside in a bowl. Deglaze the frying …

Newark Show “Cut and Butter” Cake

It is told that the illustrious, and slightly scary sounding, Nottinghamshire Women’s Institute Catering Committee devised this fruit loaf for the Notts County Show held at the Newark Showground every May. I don’t have any dates for this recipe, it appears in Angela Greary’s 1994 local recipes book and follows a similar fruitcake recipe from Southwell, dated 1890. However, it is clearly a very traditional and, indeed, a very simple recipe. Given the array of food choices and exotic street food that characterise so many shows and festivals nowadays (not that I am complaining, you understand ūüėä) ¬†it is nice to think that such a simple and traditional tea loaf was the talk of the show. Apparently it was sold in the refreshment tent, sliced and buttered (hence the name) and was always a popular choice. This recipe (in post-Brexit Imperial measures, I’m afraid) ¬†makes two solid loaves or cakes (put one in the freezer or store in an airtight tin). Ingredients ¬†1 and a half lbs mixed dried fruit, 3/4 pint hot tea (or …

Manhattan-style Clam Chowder, tomatoes, no cream..

So reminiscing about last summer’s trip to New York and a lovely chowder at Pier A, I felt inspired to rustle up a Manhattan Style Chowder. To me a Chowder always has milk or cream in it but in New York it was all about the tomatoes. It seems the addition of tomatoes instead of cream is not historically without its own controversy… apparently by 1939 it had become so contentious that one State Representative, a certain Cleveland Sleepe, introduced a Bill in the legislature attempting to make the addition of tomatoes illegal. However, after a panel of Chowder connoisseurs at a competition in Portland declared the traditional New England Chowder the epicurean champion, the Bill did not pass and the Free World is still free to add tomatoes to its chowder, and so am I. Delicious.

“Hot Toddy” Batter Pudding – with a wee nip

My local newspaper, the Nottingham Post, asked me for a couple of suggestions for winter warming puddings. Well, Nottinghamshire is traditionally known for its batter puddings and what could be more traditional for winter than a hot toddy – the classic remedy for a winter head cold and sore throat, with honey, lemon and perhaps a wee nip of whisky. This pudding has a subtle touch of all these, and separates into two layers as it bakes. Eat warm straight from the oven and serve with a dash of pouring cream. If you are not keen on whisky, you could go for Brandy, or double up on the honey instead. This is an old recipe, and perhaps something of an acquired taste, some more modern versions turn it into more of a sponge, but traditionally it is an egg batter. Give it a whirl! HOT TODDY PUDDING Serves approx 6 INGREDIENTS 40g (1¬ľoz) plain flour salt (pinch) 200ml (7fl oz) full fat milk 75ml (2¬Ĺfl oz) fresh lemon juice and 1tsp grated zest 3tbsp Scotch …

Warming Winter Puddings – Coconut Sponge with Raspberry Jam

As the nights have drawn in and winter is just over the horizon (although it is unseasonably warm here at the moment) I was invited by our local newspaper, the Nottingham Post, to suggest a couple of warming winter puddings to keep the cold (when it arrives) out. Those of us who went to school in England, and are of a certain age, will remember the steamed and sponge puddings from primary class. When this Coconut and Raspberry Jam Pudding was chalked up on the menu board, even the grey and lumpy mashed potato could be forgiven. So when the Post asked me for a winter pudding, I thought I would go for a bit of nostalgia. This is ¬†so easy to make, very difficult to get wrong and perfect for using up your home-made jams now the summer fruits are over. You could serve it with cream, but really only custard does it justice. Be warned, though this is very sweet, you might need a nap afterwards… Coconut and Raspberry Jam Sponge Pudding 200g …

23rd January 1942, Cod a la Biscaienne

Today is Armistice Day so a good day, I thought, to share with you something we found amongst my Grandfather’s papers. It is a menu from the Troop Ship HMT Thysville, setting out Breakfast (love that the Oats are branded – not just any old oats!) Luncheon and Supper for Friday 23rd January 1942. On the back are lots of hand-written names, notes and messages, mostly in Afrikaans/Dutch.¬† I do not know where the ship was going, but do know that my grandfather served in the Military Policy and the Royal Artillary in Burma. Does anyone have any information on this ship? I would love to hear it. In the meantime I thought I would share this menu, I do wonder if this was for officers or all ranks, but have no idea. There are two courses – Brandade of Cod a la Biscaienne and Ragout of Mutton Printanier that I can find no on-line recipes for, if anyone can help with the ingredients for these I would be extremely grateful. Thank you.

Cattern Cakes and Nottingham Lace

The two great holidays of the Lace Makers – for which Nottingham is known the world over (and which, according to modern folklore accounts for number of beautiful and feisty women in the City) are Cattern’s (St Catherine’s Day, November 25th) and Tander’s (St Andrew’s Day, November 30th). St Catherine is the patron Saint of Spinners, lace-makers, rope-makers and “spinsters” and Lace-makers traditionally made these cakes to celebrate her feast day (also the name, coincidentally, of the Duchess of Cambridge who chose Nottingham Lace for her wedding gown). The story is also told that when Katherine of Aragon was imprisoned at Ampthill she heard of the plight of local lace-makers and ordered all her lace to be burned so she could commission new in order to give work to the industry. Sometimes the cakes are made as rounds or¬† “wheels” (Catherine Wheels, associated with St Catherine of Alexandria) but I remember them more like scones. Either way, they are delicious – something between a cake and a cookie bar flavoured with Caraway. This recipe is …

A Festival of Apples, well, just the one Apple, really.

A festival celebrating an Apple Last weekend saw the annual Bramley Apple Festival, held in Southwell and centred on the wonderful Minster. This has been going for as long as I can recall but I have never managed to get along, despite my love of the Bramley. Prompted by a comment on this blog by Celia Steven (n√©e Merryweather), we took a drive over on a very grey and miserable Sunday morning. The story goes that in 1809 Mary Anne Brailsford planted a wild pip in the garden of her cottage in Southwell. From this pip grew an apple tree, which still stands today some 200 years later. Mathew Bramley who later bought the cottage gave Henry Merryweather the rights to sell the apple commercially (as long as it retained his name). The Bramley is probably now the queen of cooking apples, is the basis of many local puddings, ciders and pies, and I have a box of them ¬†right now in my garage, hand-picked by my father from his Victorian, and still glorious, tree. …

Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread Cake (and the Trentside Cheese Riot of 1766)

Seasonal Fairs were traditionally an important means of selling and buying produce from the surrounding countryside, hiring workers for the coming season and for socialising and celebrating. Given that most roads were not much more than dirt tracks it was important that the fairs took place before the roads became muddy and impassable in the winter. Many towns had several fairs and we can see their roots in shows and fairs that still take place today – the Newark County Show held in May was originally a hiring fair for farmers to take on agricultural workers for the coming summer, and Nottingham’s Goose Fair still to this day takes place around Michaelmas, at the beginning of October. Nottingham’s Goose Fair is over 700 years old and is the oldest and largest travelling Fair in the country. It is now, of course, solely a fun fair but originally Geese were driven from Norfolk and Lincolnshire to Nottingham for sale. Geese are at their best at this time of year, and have always been the traditional dish …

Stubble Goose and Sour Blackberries – Devil Spits Day

He who eats goose on Michaelmas day Shan’t money lack or ¬†have debts to pay. [Old English Saying] Nottingham is rightly famous for its Goose Fair which takes place at the beginning of October each year. Its story extends at least some 700 years back into history. Goose Fairs were held around Michaelmas (29th September) when the harvest was over and the Geese were starting to fatten up picking grain left amongst the stubble in the fields. A “Stubble Goose” was a traditional feast dish for Michaelmas (in Christianity the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, marking the beginning of Autumn and the last day, according to Folklore, on which Blackberries should be picked). The carcass of the Goose was then used for making Michaelmas Broth. Story tells that thousands of¬† Geese were driven from Lincolnshire and Norfolk to be sold in Nottingham, in the old Market Square and that this is the origin of the modern fair, which sadly no longer sells geese, ¬†but is now one of the largest (and oldest) travelling fairs …