All posts tagged: recipe

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 …

Proper Mushy Peas with Mint Sauce – a Nottinghamshire delicacy. Yes, really!

Mushy Peas are eaten across most of the UK –  the only proper accompaniment to Fish and Chips. But let’s be honest, Nottingham owns the mushy pea. Mushy Peas with mint sauce are as Nottingham as the 700 year old Goose Fair that returns every October (and peas are eaten there still, and in some quantities) and they are eaten as a perfectly acceptable stand-alone snack, Fish and Chips are one thing, but a pot of steaming mushy peas with mint sauce on a cold winter’s day is a small joy unparalleled. The Victoria Market still has a stall (or it least it did until recently) that sold just that – a delicious tub of peas and mint with a plastic (used to be wooden) spoon to eat them with. To love this is to know Nottingham, once of you’ve got this, “aye up mi duck” as a friendly greeting, will not be long behind. Now, I know it is the height of summer (and what a fabulous summer it is so far) but I …

Nottingham-Shire Pikelets (well, Midlands Pikelets really)

Pikelets are like slightly wild crumpets, unrestrained by their metal rings, they are the more edgy cousin of the crumpet and all the more sexy for it. Pikelets appear in various forms in probably most cultures, as drop-scones, griddle cakes, flat breads, pancakes, and so on. But pikelets are the English Midlands’ version. The “crumpet” itself is supposed to date back to Anglo-Saxon times with the first known reference to them being John Wycliffe who talks about the “crompid cake’. I suspect though that some version of this kind of food has been around since man discovered fire and flour. The secret to the light and spongy texture comes from the addition of yeast (I used instant dried yeast) to the batter, this creates the characteristic holes that appear on the surface as they cook and it is these that are perfect little receptacles for catching the melting butter that they are usually served with. Crumpets are traditionally cooked used a metal ring, Pikelets are made by just dropping the batter straight onto the griddle …

Baking Bread – on the hottest Day of the Year

So, it was the hottest day of the year, and instead of grabbing a cold beer and the best spot on the decking – I was baking bread. But, hey, home-made bread is hard to better, eaten still slightly warm with a bit of salted Breton butter and a wedge of Lincolnshire Poacher. Bliss. I know that a bread-machine can be really useful, but it’s not the same is it? not in the eating of the end result and definitely not in the making of it. Kneading bread (even in the heat) is so therapeutic, either to assuage your anger or express your love, switching on a machine doesn’t really share the romance does it? Anyway, this recipe is so quick and easy, it is almost no effort. Makes 1  largish loaf. 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting 1 tsp salt 7g sachet fast-action yeast 3 tbsp olive oil 300ml water Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the oil and water, …

Crayfish – Rapu

  The Crayfish is a thing of beauty, a small freshwater “lobster”. When, in the depths of the Finnish archipelago, I first came across  vast piles of  bright orange and ruby crayfish piled high on plates on wooden tables, glinting in the midsummer sun – the air mellow with the smell of the all-pervasive Dill that smothered the crayfish and fragranced their cooking broth, I was smitten. Washed down with ice-cold vodka and adorned with a bib to catch the juices we, a little inelegantly, sucked the tender meat our of the shells, the evenings were, quite literally, endless. Sadly, the lovely Finnish crayfish is becoming rarer and rarer and so are increasingly replaced by the larger Signal crayfish from north American and that, indeed, is the only one I  source here in England. For all its voracious takeover, however, the Signal is still a fabulous treat. And that brings me home. Our native White-Clawed Crayfish which inhabits many of our streams and small rivers in under severe threat from these rapacious North American Signals …

“Karjalanpiirakka” Finnish Karelian Pasties – a little indulgence from memories

I spent much of mid-Twenties in Finland. These tasty little pies were available in every supermarket and from street vendors, and there was little better than a hot Karjalanpiirakka clutched in your hands when it was -20 degrees C, well possibly beaten only by the deeply satisfying “lihapirrakka” (meat pasties) served by the vendor in Helsinki Harbour  – where the steam condensing in the freezing air from the little “kioski” was all but irresistible (I wonder if that stand is still there?). More of that another time. Anyway, Karelian Pasties were generally stuffed with a rice or potato mix, simple but so delicious. I recently acquired the fantastic “Mamushka” by Olias Hercules, and this inspired me to dig out my ancient Finnish Cookbook and have a go at recreating the pasties of my memories. There are regional variations in this traditional recipe, my version is posted in the recipe section. I don’t want to wish away this delightful Nottinghamshire spring, but the only thing missing from the recipe was the addition of a foot of …