All posts tagged: Heritage

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 😊)  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 …

Borough Market – I know, I am such an old romantic

I’ve not met anyone that doesn’t love London’s Borough Market. It’s not just the fabulous range of fresh produce, meat, seafood, products, herbs, spices, bread and street food, it’s the atmosphere it evokes. Like much of London, its history colours your sense of the present. I defy anyone to walk towards the Market nestled under the iron girders of the  railway bridge above and not find themselves cast back to any number of films, novels and exhibitions that describe the sights, sounds and smells of historic London. You feel you are walking in the footsteps of thousands of others stretching back hundreds of years who have come to this place to meet and to trade. And indeed you are, the market is believed to go back possibly as much as a 1000 years. It is situated at one end of London Bridge, for centuries the only route over the river and believed to have been built originally by the Romans (which then became a strategic defence against the marauding Vikings as they sailed up the …

Field to Pot….Slow Roast Lamb

The fields around the house are bucolic at the moment, the sun is out in the English Spring, and the lambs are skipping around, racing each other and bleating madly. It’s like an episode of the Archers, but without the domestic violence. Spring lambs are a joy to behold, but, now be strong, they are only there enjoying the sun because we eat them . This 4 hour pot roast with red wine, chunky carrots, onions and courgettes, Rosemary, garlic and stock, was devine.

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.

Absinthe and Champagne. Teatime at The Loom

The Lace Market area of Nottingham is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the City. It has a history going back to the early settlers who carved out caves in the soft sandstone rock of the cliff in which to live and it has had a crucial place in every period of the city’s history. It now forms Nottingham’s “Creative Quarter”, with some wonderful architecture, the magnificent St Mary’s Church (where I was wed, incidently ☺️), and lots of bars and restaurants, one of the latests and coolest of which is The Loom. The Loom is located in a beautiful Grade II listed 18th Century building that was formerly the city’s Lace Museum. The entrance is a deceptively discreet Town House portico which opens up into a surprisingly huge space. With the front rooms classily set out as restaurant space, leading to the bar/lounge and stage area at the rear (which operated as a lace warehouse as recently as the 1960s). I love that The Loom reflects Nottingham’s lace-making heritage, everything about …

Unforgivably neglected Old Fashioned Puddings

Last Autumn we visited the Melton Mowbray Food Festival, one of the few food festivals in this region that is really worth the effort to visit and doesn’t charge you a small fortune for the privilege of traipsing around a few stalls by the usual suspects, many of them resentful at giving out free samples (I have a thing about this, dear reader).  Anyway, we came home with bumper haul and some of it, inevitably, ended up in the freezer. Fast forward to last Sunday and a traditional family Sunday lunch. Having got up at the crack of dawn to get my pork shoulder in the oven to slow roast for 5 hours, I felt justified in not doing a pudding too and instead rooted around in the bottom of the freezer for the two Old Fashioned Pudding Company puddings I knew had been languishing there since September. The puddings (once defrosted) can be steamed (40 mins) or microwaved for 2 mins. I went with the 2 mins I’m afraid. They did look a bit …

“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 (1¼oz) plain flour salt (pinch) 200ml (7fl oz) full fat milk 75ml (2½fl oz) fresh lemon juice and 1tsp grated zest 3tbsp Scotch …

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.

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 (née 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. …