Category: Food

It’s only Past Times Repro Shop but I like it…

It’s not often you come across something that might be totally unique and is something you’d really love.

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Lisa is an old friend I ‘found’ again recently and was delighted to find this is her latest venture. I immediately invested in a couple of rationing style chocolate bars for my classroom when I do my WW2 topic at school.

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I think Lisa’s chocolate would be an ideal gift for older relatives or for someone who loves vintage packaging. It’s funny how vintage packaging is a very vivid walk down memory lane!  You can find her on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/Past-Times-Repro-Shop-1475340269446217/ ) and make your purchases there too. A few of her items may find their way into the stockings I’m making this year!

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It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Stir Up Sunday but I like it…

For the uninitiated, Stir Up Sunday is the day on which you’re meant to make your Christmas puddings. These are made in advance and then stored and allowed to mature until you eat them at Christmas.

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Traditionally it’s the last Sunday before advent begins which this year would be next Sunday – the 22nd November. We loved making Christmas puddings when we little. We helped Mum shop for the ingredients and then weighed and measured everything carefully. The best bit was the mixing and stirring and the all important wish! Everyone queued up and took their turn the mix the pudding, asking a wish as they stirred. I never did get the Jason Donovan board game I wished for in 1988, but I’m not bitter. I plan to make puddings when I have wee ones and was quite sad to read a survey recently that said over two thirds of people had never partaken in this ritual.

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Another tradition, one that we didn’t follow, was the addition of a silver sixpence to the mix. Legend has it that whoever got the portion with the coin would have good luck all year.. I think we skipped this one for fear that Granddad’s false teeth weren’t up to that surprise! If it’s a tradition you fancy upholding you might be interested in this: www.royalmint.com/features/stir-up-sunday/claim-your-sixpence

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The Royal Mint are offering a free reproduction sixpence to anyone who has an Instagram or Twitter account. They also have a Christmas Pudding recipe on their website – all you need for a traditional festive dessert! Just fill in the online form and when your sixpence arrives, add a photo of your pudding to your Instagram or Twitter feed. Be quick! You have until midnight on the 18th! It’s recommended you don’t bake it into your pudding, but pop it into a serving and warn your guests! I wasn’t going to make puddings this year, but I think might be persuaded if I have a lovely shiny sixpence. Just need to make sure everyone is looking for their sixpence – rather feel it might take the edge off Christmas Day if we end it with a trip to A&E…

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I’m sitting in the kitchen typing this, bathing in the delicious aromas from my oven. My Christmas cake is in there – the first one I’ve made as a grown up! I used a Mary Berry recipe ( www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/celebration_cake_61952 )  – who else? The Goddess Berry suggested soaking the fruit in Brandy overnight before I made the cake. Turns out buying the cheapest bottle of Brandy in Sainsburys made me feel a little bit like a lush – I do hope the parents in my class didn’t spot me stumbling out of Sainsburys on a Friday night with a bottle of ‘Basics’ brandy. Not a good look!

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Anyway it it smells fab and I can’t wait to spend the next few weeks feeding it brandy and tending to it carefully. I just need to decide how to decorate it now!

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It is with visions of plastic reindeer dancing through my head I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Welsh Rarebit but I like it…

Autumn is definitely here and it is still my favourite season. I love the cold crisp weather, the warm cosy clothes and I think possibly most of all I love the food.

I like making hot desserts and baking potatoes until they’re soft and fluffy inside, warm steaming casseroles with piles of mash and I like coming in cold from a walk or a shopping expedition to a hot snack for lunch.

One of my favourites is one of the national dishes of Wales: Welsh Rarebit. I’ve always been a bit embarrassed that our national dish is essentially cheese on toast, but over the years I’ve come to love it and find it a very comforting taste.

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There are various ways of making it and various ingredients that can be added or omitted depending on your tastes. I personally am not a fan of adding ale to it and I stick to four essential ingredients:

a nice strong, tasty cheddar

some coarse grain mustard

a finely chopped onion

an uncut loaf of granary bread

Grate yourself a good portion of cheese, add a teaspoon or too of coarse grain mustard and as much finely chopped onion as you can bear. Mix this altogether in a bowl and spread liberally over a thick wedge of bread that has been toasted on one side. Let it toast slowly under a medium grill until it is golden and bubbling.

I like it with a big hot mug of tea, but again, whatever works for you is good. Sometimes, the old classic snacks are the best. This will warm you from the inside out on a cold day and be a virtual Welsh hug – the best kind!

It is with a desire for a cwtch I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Penpal but I like it…

The notion of a Penpal is a very old fashioned one, but it has been given a new lease of life with this idea from Carol at ThisisRocksalt ( http://thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/). The idea of foodie pen pals us that you sign up, get given two names – someone to send to and someone who will send to you – and you send a parcel while you wait for yours to arrive!

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 I received these lovely goodies from Alice. I had lots of nice teabags, some cherry milk chocolate, some healthy crisps and I’m Particularly looking forward to making up the hot chocolate! She also shared some ingredients for making a chicken tagine, so that will be fab next time we have some carnivorous guests over. I’ve just eaten fish and chips but I’m already eyeing up the chocolate…

I loved doing the swap and enjoyed choosing the foods that I sent off to my other pen pal – can’t wait to see her blog all about it! Maybe head over and check it out.

It is with eyes bigger than my belly I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Iced Bun but I like it…

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This vintage classic was my Never-baked-it-before challenge today. I had an Auntie who made amazing iced buns when I was little. They were just the right consistency of fluffy bun with a thick layer of sticky icing on top. I used this this recipe from BBC Good Food (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1269636/easy-iced-buns ) and I think it’s pretty good.

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These were a little smaller than I’d imagined and a bit heavy too. I’m putting that down to the prove. It’s quite cold today and I don’t think they rose enough. The flavour was good though and they didn’t take much effort so I will definitely have another go…

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The plates were a £2 charity shop find on Friday! Aren’t they pastelly delicious?

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It is with a raft of icing stuck to the roof of my mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Ginger Biscuit but I like it…

This is a rare thing – a recipe I have actually adapted to suit my tastes.  I know that’s what you’re meant to do – tinker with things, change amounts, add a bit of rosemary, but I never get round to it. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I’ll cook something else.

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This has evolved by accident – the first time I cooked it I didn’t have any treacle so I put golden syrup in instead. It made the biscuits a bit chewier, with a crunchy outside. you can experiment with different amounts of both depending on your tastes!

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This is time of year always make me crave things with ginger and cinnamon and these are yummy. I made some this week and put half in the freezer for the weekend – we’re going to a pumpkin fair and I’m cooking lunch after. I thought hot dogs followed by ginger biscuits might hit the spot!

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Ginger Biscuits

340g Self Raising Flour

225g Sugar

115g Margarine

1 egg

2tbsp Golden Syrup

3 tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Melt syrup, sugar, bicarbonate and margarine. Add egg, flour and ginger. Roll into small balls and place on a greased tray, well spaced apart. Bake at Gas 5/190C for about ten minutes. Be sure to remove from tray after just a few minutes of cooling!

I love the cracked surface of these biscuits, caused I think by the addition of Bicarbonate of soda. These are a fab Autumn bake – best enjoyed with a hot cuppa.

It is with anticipation of a pumpkin fest I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Be-Ro but I like it…

When I was a little girl I learned to cook alongside my Mum. Our favourite basic recipes generally came from a small, slim, unprepossessing cook book called the Be-Ro book.

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The Be-Ro company was founded in the 1880s and was originally ‘Bell’s Royal’, a grocery company specialising in flour and raising agents. After the death of Edawrd VII it became illegal to use the ‘royal’ name so the company became the snappily title ‘Be-Ro’ company. In the 1920s the company introduced self-raising flour and did a series of demonstrations using new recipes to demonstrate it.

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Customers asked for the recipes and the Be-Ro book was born. It has produced over 40 editions of its cookbook to date and one made its way into my stocking not long after I left home, so I could keep making our favourite dishes. I’m proud to say it already has several pages stuck together where a careless cook has spilt ingredients on to its pages during many uses, and before long I shall have to send for an updated copy from the website (www.be-or.co.uk).

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I know it’s something I’ll use throughout my life and hopefully pass on to future generations. Thomas Bell and your Be-Ro books – we salute you!

It is with a clumsy hand I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Raspberry Bakewell but I like it…

Following a discussion during The Great british Bake Off I decided it was time I give Bakewell Tarts a go as my never-baked-it-before challenge. The Dr (my fiancé) is not a big fan of nuts in cake but he agreed it’d be ok if they were ground nuts, plus it’s a Northern cake so I had the go ahead!

Whilst looking for recipes on the BBC Good Food website (often my go-to when looking for recipes) I found this recipe:Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.53.43

It looked tasty and it looked easy and it had over 300 good reviews so that was enough for me!

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It was super easy to make and just involved whizzing ingredients up to make the cake batter, then layering it into the tin with some fresh raspberries in-between. The Dr ate two slices and didn’t complain about the nuts so I’m calling that a success.

RB2It seemed like a good excuse to use my new Beryl china too so I did enjoy a pot of tea with my cake. All in all a very nice experience! Of course, I still have to make the traditional Bakewell Tarts with pastry case and a layer of jam. Next weekend perhaps…

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It is with a plan for the weekend I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

 

It’s only Chocolate Shortcake but I like it…

My Mum found something special recently, that we thought was long lost, and she sent me a photo.

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It’s a much loved recipe on some very old tide-marked paper, written in my Gran’s own hand. As I think I’ve mentioned before my Gran sadly had a stroke when I was just 4 so I never really got to taste much of her baking. By all accounts she did a good job of baking for her family – at least if that can be judged by how many times her chocolate cake was mentioned  at her wake, then she definitely did.

Gwen’s Chocolate Shortcake

Packet of chocolate digestives

4oz of butter

4 desert spoons of drinking chocolate

1 desert spoon of caster sugar

1 tablespoon of golden syrup

Crush the biscuits to a fine crumb in a large bowl. In a pan, gently melt and combine the other ingredients. Add to the biscuit crumbs and stir until combined. Press into a square 21cm tin and put in the fridge until hardened. Cut into small squares and serve.

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I love this stuff, it’s very calorific and the only recipe I know that contains drinking chocolate rather than cocoa powder! It’s a taste of my childhood as we used to make it sometimes and I always knew it was Gran’s recipe. This summer it’s been a big hit – the Dr loves it and Sister-in-law-to-be El may have indulged in several chunks when she came to visit. In fact I’ve made about 3 trays, meaning to photograph the finished results but it keeps disappearing before I can get the camera out. Seriously – you must try this.

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I’m rather concerned it may have contributed to a few of the pounds I have gained this summer, but hey you can’t get more vintage than that recipe can you?!

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It is with a fear of the bathroom scales I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Blackberrying but I like it…

Take one rainy afternoon, with a tiny break in the clouds. Two twitchy adults, experiencing cabin fever after a few days of such weather. One nearby Common and an expanse of brambles.

Unleash adults on unsuspecting brambles in slight lull in the rain. Male adult in supervisory role only – pointing out where the best fruit are. The female of the species (as usual) has to do all the hard work, i.e. wading in to the undergrowth to collect the garnet-hued berries, resulting in purple staining to fingers.

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The rest of the story has echoes of The Little Red Hen. ‘Who’ll help me collect the fruit?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me make the crumble?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me eat the blackberry and apple crumble with an extra crunchy oaty crust and doused in a good few tablespoons of cream?’ ‘I will!’ said the Dr.

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Blackberry and Apple Crumble

12oz Fruit, layered in a dish – I used blackberries and apples, but anything seasonal will be fine.

3oz SR flour

1oz oats

2oz margarine

2oz sugar

Rub the margarine into the flour. Stir in the oats and sugar. Pour this over your fruit of choice and bake in a 180degree oven for about 30 minutes.

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The only thing is – it’s made me feel rather Autumnal. And we’re not quite out of August yet.

It is with a yearning for bonfires and frosts I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!