Tagged: food

Parkin for Amy

This recipe is taken from The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen published by Yorkshire Television to accompany their series in the 70s and I had it as a wedding present for my first marriage in 1988.  It (like that marriage) has fallen to pieces and now has no cover and various stains and blemishes but it has really good recipes for all kinds of traditional British cookery plus some more exotic things like mayonnaise!  The book seems to be out of print but copies are available on amazon.  It’s for Amy

Here, without further ado, is the recipe:

Yorkshire Parkin

250g/9 oz of plain flour (white or wholewheat)

190g/7 oz brown or white sugar

100g/3 1/2 oz porridge oats

2 heaped tsp ground ginger

75g/3 oz of soft margarine or butter

50g/2 oz of lard (or lard 😉 )

190g/7 oz golden syrup

75g/3 oz black treacle*

1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda

a few drops of  (about a dessert spoon) vinegar – you could use lemon juice

150ml/ 1/4 pint of milk

*If you have no treacle use 275g/10 oz golden syrup.  Add 1 or 2 drops of gravy browning when you stir the mixture at point 5 in order to get the true parkin colour (note from me – this is the stuff in the bottle which is just burnt sugar and NOT gravy powder but if you are going to the supermarket to buy gravy browning you might as well pick up treacle instead!!!)

1.  Mix flour, sugar oats and ginger together in a bowl an make a well in the middle.

2.  Melt the fats in a pan.  Before they get too hot add the syrup and the treacle and let them melt a bit so that you have a nice liquid but do not heat to much and do not boil.

3.  Pour this mixture on to dry ingredients drop bicarbonate of soda into centre sprinkle vinegar onto soda and watch it fizz (!!!!)

4. Put the milk into the syrup pan, warm it a little to clean the syrup from the pan and then add to the bowl.

5.  Now stir it up well.  When mixed it should pour like a batter mixture.  Pour it into a large greased and floured roasting tin.

6.  Bake slightly above the middle of a moderate oven between gas 3 & 4, 335°F, 170°C for one hour.  Look at it after 15-20 minutes to see if the middle has lifted.  If so shake it to let it sink again, turn the tin around and allow to continue cooking.

7. Allow to cool in tin.  Cut into squares (it says quarters in the recipe but that seems a tad greedy).  Best if stored for 3 days before eating (I’ve never managed this bit – most I’ve got to is a day and a half and that was quite taxing enough).  Keeps well if stored in an air-tight container (please refer to the remarks I made earlier).

The parkin should be darker than the one pictured above which is a gentrified Channel 4 version.  A proper old-fashioned halloween or bonfire night treat.  Enjoy!

Virtual Pudding

It’s been a strange week with the premature death of a friend and more problems and devastation caused by student finance England.  So I thought some virtual pudding was in order.

James Martin does a Black Forest trifle over here; this is not that.

It was a pudding that my Mum used to make back in the 70s and 80s as a family favourite (for which read one of dad’s favourites).  It probably came from Family Circle.  This was inspired by a post over at Amy Bakes.

Take a large shop bought chocolate swiss roll, cut into slices and arrange around glass dish.  Take a can of stoned black cherries in juice (or if you’re feeling flush a jar of black cherries in kirsch) and a blackcurrant jelly.  We used to use black cherry jelly but I haven’t seen one for a long time – if anyone knows where I can buy them please let me know.  Make the jelly as per the instructions replacing most of the cold water with the juice from the cherries.

You can give the swiss roll sponge a bit of  a soak with liqueur if you like, then arrange the cherries over and around the slices of swiss roll. Add the jelly and chill until set.  Take about a pint of double or whipping cream (whipping cream has slightly lower fat content than double cream: 35% as opposed to 48%).  Whip until soft peaks are achieved, we used to whip to pipe but that was all a bit passe; who knows the cup-cake craze may bring back piping! Decorate with soft peaks of cream, some reserved cherries and shavings of dark chocolate.  Send everyone out and enjoy with a large spoon.

Tomorrow I will be appearing fashionably late to Handmade Monday 37 (just waiting for my phone to charge to take some piccies).

Night all


I started this post way back at the end of August but about half way through discussing how Autumnal it felt for the end of August, WordPress ate my words and refused to spit them back out.  It has taken me nearly a month to come back and finish what I started.

In news, I have been having a sort of artisan birth – I would say rebirth but my craft efforts up to now have been more cack-handed than hand crafted; perhaps all this time on my hands has done me some good.  I thought about using my creative side to make food for a living but a certain number of errant cats, dog and poorly husband mean it is not a practical solution unless I have separate premises which will never happen; crafting things uses almost the same (metaphorical) muscles but is not health inspected (as far as I’m aware!!)

So that is what I’m doing, along with the Phoenix stuff.  I received a lovely commission for a special set of notelets and I hope the lady will be delighted, they are not quite finished but I already am delighted – just waiting for the box to arrive but the label is done and dusted (ever so slightly with gold embossing powder – it sounds gopping but really isn’t).  Pics will follow.  She has also kindly asked to buy one of these, below:

Infact she almost bit my hand off.  I do hope she is pleased.  My craftiness has seen me teach myself to crochet, largely inspired by the fantastic work of Lucy over at Attic 24.  My efforts are not quite to her standard yet but perhaps one day, I will make something other than a bile yellow face cloth – yay me.  Pictures may follow but only once I have got beyond the dishcloth stage.

Knitting and sewing continue as usual although I have actually finished more things than usual which is a good thing.

In other news Arty Daughter has made the trek to Bath to take up her place on the Fine Art degree and Surrealo son has been appearing in the vicinity of Nick Clegg’s left elbow (there must be some freudian meaning there).

In really other news I have started tweeting, not very well, and have made some twitter friends with blogs.  Hello to Weekly Bakeoff and Holly.  I really do bake; the evidence is somewhere down below.  The German Apple Cake I will try to find a recipe for and post here.

Cards and gifts can be found here and here; trying to work out which is easier to use.

Not silent Sunday

 I don’t really understand the silent Sunday concept, perhaps someone will educate me. 

This week I have been getting ready for the fete at Merafield View Nursing home next Friday afternoon from 1.30pm, doing some marketing and getting ready for self-employment again.  I’ve sorted a business account, spoken to tax credits, investigated changes to our income and we are looking for opportunities for John’s artwork, and he’s going to be trying to do some more illustrative stuff which I actually think suits his style. 

He has had so much to overcome during the past few years, it’s quite amazing to me that he is willing to try anything again but the idea of being in this quasi dormant state until death us do part fills neither of us with glee.  If the medical professionals could get their fingers out perhaps we would have something of an answer or at least an idea of whether or not stroke number five is a foregone conclusion or just a possibility.  I know which one the balance of possibility dictates.

Life, chez nous, is not, contrary to my tone, all doom and gloom.  We are basically happy.  We have lovely children and we love each other, our cups runneth over. 

This afternoon I shall be cheating in the kitchen; I’m going to use a Wright’s Carrot Cake Mix.  I haven’t tried it before and bought it out of curiosity, not normally being one for cake mixes.  I do sometimes use their bread mixes as they work quickly, even on a wintry afternoon.  Obviously full of flour “improvers” and other dubious things to help things along.  After that I will return to knitting penguins and jumpers and bells.  I will let you all know how I get on, carrot cake is so yummy it might be nice to have a cheat which doen’t involve grating.

Life is to short to have just one knitting project on the go. 

In other news and thanks to my ex-sister-in-law I have been spending a lot of time over at attic24, drooling over her crochet work and her life to be brutally frank.  If any of you lovely people could actually show me how to crochet I would be immensley grateful.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse a la Sadie Frost

This little recipe was first published in June 2006 over at Sheweevil’s Moveable Feasts a (very small) collection of recipes.  I’m republishing it to banish the dreich, dismal weather outside.  I don’t even really remember the programme but was fascinated by the idea of this dessert.  Mousse is probably a bit of a misnomer but it sounds more appealing than chocolate pud!

Depending on the variety of chocolate you use this is suitable for both lacto-intolerant and gluten-intolerant people.  It’s tasty and healthy and has no added sugar other than that already in the chocolate and the natural fruit sugars of the orange.

I made mine in the blender jug of a Kenwood Chef, which is the one item I would take to a Desert Island.

Here is the recipe, complete with original waffle (as in pointless chattering and not the Belgian incarnation).  If you are looking for a good, highstreet source of avocados which won’t break the bank I would recommend Lidl; they seem to know how to store them so they are not bullets – the big supermarkets store them too cold, like everything else – and they are very good value for money.

I didn’t see the whole programme; just caught the end when I was waiting for the Apprentice and to be honest I tried this because I believed it wouldn’t work. I was wrong, it does and is super delish.
(This is not their recipe just my interpretation of what I saw)

1 200g bar of dark chocolate
2 large ripe avocadoes
the juice and zest of 1-2 flavourful oranges.

Melt the chocolate gently until runny. Halve and peel the avocadoes, roughly chop and place in a liquidizer (or food processor) with the juice and zest of the orange. Blend on high speed and add the chocolate. Blend again until completely smooth. Place in the refridgerator and allow to set.
These ingredients make about 3/4 of a pint

Delia’s Chocolate Truffle Torte for Cheryl

I made this for John’s birthday cake back in January and I can almost still taste it.

You can find it on the Delia website and it’s from her Christmas cookbook which I think was revamped for last Christmas but I have the original one, complete with a price tag where Hannah and Thomas tried to sell it (grrr!)  There are lots of great recipes in the book especially the chutney ones so it’s well worth adding to your collection.

It’s for my friend Cheryl, who is in need of sustenance in a way that a rich tea biscuit just won’t cut.  I don’t actually think you need amaretto in the cream the rum is quite enough.  Here in all the loveliness is the recipe



3 oz (75 g) Amaretti biscuits, crushed finely with a rolling pin

1 lb (450 g) dark chocolate (75 per cent cocoa solids) – the best quality possible

5 tablespoons liquid glucose

5 tablespoons rum

1 pint (570 ml) double cream, at room temperature

To serve:

cocoa powder for dusting

chilled single pouring cream 


Start off by sprinkling the crushed biscuits all over the base of the tin. Next, break the chocolate into sections and put them in a heatproof bowl together with the liquid glucose and the rum. Fit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then leave it until the chocolate has melted and become quite smooth. Stir, then take off the heat and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes or so until it feels just warm.

Now, in a separate bowl, beat the cream until only very slightly thickened. Fold half into the chocolate mixture and then fold that mixture into the rest of the cream. When it is smoothly blended, spoon it into the prepared tin. Tap the tin gently to even the mixture out, cover with clingfilm and chill overnight. Just before serving, run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, then give it a good shake and turn the whole thing out on to a serving plate (don’t be nervous about this – it’s very well behaved).

To serve, dust the surface with sifted cocoa powder and, if you like, mark the top into serving sections. Have some chilled pouring cream to go with it; if you have any, a couple of tablespoons of amaretto liqueur makes a wonderful addition to the cream.



You will also need a 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin, lined with a circle of silicone paper (baking parchment), and the base and sides lined

Great Bake-in

The weekend bake-in has begun with a round of chocolate butterfly cakes with coffee icing.  The recipe is from Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium (1957), my cookery bible which I have used since I was a little girl and have known all my life.  I’m doing these today because John loves chocolate and coffee but it is nobody else’s favourite.  I don’t really count as I’m not particular: I love everything!  I have a new piping bag and nozzle set (this one, here) and I’ve been itching to try it out since yesterday but with moving mountains and ironing this is the first chance I’ve had.  The icing set needed a cake stand like this.

Tomorrow I will be making banoffee pie, not much baking really required but the delicious end result almost qualifies it.  Sunday is the marathon.  I was going to make bridge rolls but taking up the offer to bring some home from work on Saturday by Arty Daughter seemed too good to pass up.  Coconut macaroons will follow; I once visited a ‘bakery’ in Plymouth who had never heard of coconut macaroons, needless to say, they are no-longer trading.  Choux buns or eclairs to follow, then a nice moist fruit cake – a boil-in-the-pan recipe, finally a carrot cake, courtesy of Delia.  The addition of Surrealo son at the table, who returns from his hectic social whirl in London tomorrow, will make our little band complete.  I hope wherever you are and whoever you are with, you have love and good things to eat.