All posts tagged: local recipes

Living on the edge, and at my age as well – Raw Milk

Just when you think there is nothing much new under the sun, you discover there is. Well, not new exactly, but you get my drift. I grew up in rural Lincolnshire but, unlike just about everyone who has since contacted me about this, I don’t think I ever drank raw (unpasteurised) milk. I can recall an old fella that used to cycle to the dairy farm every morning with a small metal churn hanging from his handlebars – I now realise what he was up to. I had of course had sterilised milk – which still makes me think nostalgically of early package holidays – you’re still hard pushed to get fresh pasteurised milk in most of southern Europe, but it has taken a fair few years ( I won’t say how many) for the moment to arrive when I finally got to try raw milk. Raw milk is not, of course, without controversy. It cannot be sold in shops or supermarkets, but only at the “farmgate” direct to the consumer by the dairy that …

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 …

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 …

Welbeck Pudding – more batter, more Bramleys…..

Nottinghamshire traditionally had a reputation for excellent batter puddings. Welbeck Pudding is no exception but¬†it¬†is unusual as it features a flour-free batter ¬†(which is a bit like a souffle or meringue topping) with the Nottinghamshire Bramley Apple as its base. What’s not to like? Well, actually, I have slightly altered the original recipe I found as it didn’t work for me with so little milk. Welbeck itself (see my post on the Harley Cafe and Welbeck ¬†Estate) is in North Nottinghamshire and from the 18th Century formed part of the “Dukeries”, the great estates ¬†and Royal hunting grounds around Sherwood Forest owned by 5 Dukes. Welbeck Abbey, home to the Dukes of Portland, is a vast and architecturally complex mansion, with a network of mysterious underground tunnels. It stands on the site of the original Abbey which is thought to date back to 1153. I cannot find any reference to why Welbeck Pudding is named after the House, perhaps one of the cooks developed it as someone in the family had a wheat intolerance (as …

From Mesolithic to Meringues – Cresswell Craggs, Welbeck and the Harley Cafe

Have you discovered the Welbeck Farm Shop and Harley cafe yet? We had a lovely walk from there to the bewitching ice-age lagoon and caves of Cresswell Craggs this week. We ended our walk with lunch at the Harley Cafe and then indulged in the little bit of heaven that is the Welbeck Farm Shop. The Harley Cafe sits in a beautiful courtyard of renovated buildings (including the Gallery which sits in the Welbeck Estate’s restored gasworks, which were originally built in 1860 by the 5th Duke of Portland to light his eccentric network of underground tunnels and apartments. They finally closed in 1928 when the Estate moved over to electricity). The courtyard now beautifully combines the old with the new. We loved the cafe colour scheme, with its deep orange/red and the black wooden outside furniture, modern and minimalist, it contrasts well with the warm hues of the old stonework. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† Anyway, the food. The cafe sells a range of delicious -sounding hot dishes, all freshly cooked (and not your usual cafe fare …

Newark Pudding circa 1890, by “Good Housewives and Competent Cooks”

Bread Puddings exist in many culinary traditions. Most people would recognise, and love, a good Bread and Butter Pudding, essentially layers of sliced bread scattered with raisins and then covered in a custard of milk, eggs and sugar, possibly with nutmeg, and baked in the oven. The earliest bread and butter puddings were called “whitepots” and often contained suet rather than butter, and sometimes rice instead of bread (rice puddings – another great British staple) and any combination of fruits – currants, raisins, lemon zest, apples. One of the earliest recipes appeared in 1723 but variations of this have probably been around forever. Food historians have traced examples of bread puddings dating back to the 11th and 12th century (probably as a way to use up stale bread) and, stale bread soaked in water and flavoured with a little sugar was often known as “poor man’s pudding”. Most regions of England have their own version of such puddings, this one is “Newark Pudding”. The settlement of Newark, a large market town about 20 miles from …

Gorgeous Gooseberries, pucker up!

Gooseberries always remind me of summer, and not always in a good way – as a very young child I always associated them with prickled fingers and face-pukeringly sour berries, but once¬† baked in an old-fashioned crumble, with lots of custard, they were, and still are, a joy. My father still grows tonnes of them in his garden in Lincolnshire and so I returned home from a lovely traditional Sunday Lunch at my parents’ house, last weekend with a huge bag of gooseberries and what seems like thousands of redcurrants (more of them later).So what else to do but make jam. This summer the weather has been so glorious, with sun and rain in equal amounts, the gooseberries are actually sweet. Yep, you can actually eat them raw without the inside of your mouth losing all sensation. So if yours are the same, I suggest you reduce the sugar quantity a little in this recipe. Well, I call it a recipe, more of a process really – fruit, sugar, lemon juice,water, heat. That pretty much …