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 Seasonal Food and Memories

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PostSubject: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:09 am

I don't know how other people feel about a food forum but I'm overjoyed about it. It's a cliche to say that food brings people together but it's a cliche because it's true.

My memories of Easter, strangely, revolve around ham and brown bread, because I think that's what we had to eat back in the old Mass days after mass but before we got the one single solitary egg that had been staring down at us for a fortnight from the highest shelf in the kitchen. I suppose it was a plan to prevent us overdosing on chocolate. Anyway we'd all sit at the kitchen table begrudging every mouthful and planning our egg management tactics.

Looking back on it, the egg was always a bit of an anti-climax. I don't remember any of them at all, but I fondly recall my mother's brown bread. She got meningitis exactly this day thirteen years ago and almost died. The worst thing wasn't losing her memory for a while, learning to count again and manage money. The worst thing was that she couldn't bake again afterwards. She said her hands were different, heavier. Virtually everything else has returned to normal for her but she lost her touch with the old breads her mother taught her to make and which I, sadly never learned from her. So she started all over again and we learned to make the same bread together.

Preheat to 220

1 lb plain flour
1 tsp salt
1tsp bread soda
(sift the above well)
add 4 oz bran
and 4z butter rubbed into all of the above or a good glug of olive oil
crack in 1 egg
and stir in less than a pint (a little less than 2 mugs) of buttermilk

Mix all well -it's quite wet but not sloppy.
Pour it all into a a loaf tin. Make a line down the centre with a knife. Sprinkle seeds on top (sesame is good) It takes an hour and 10 mins in my oven.

Alternatively make scones by turning the mix out on a floured surface (brown flour). I usually sprinkle lots of sunflower seeds on these before I pat out the dough to a little over an inch in depth (because it's wet and sticky, the seeds stick to the dough and you don't need extra flour on top). Cut out and put on a tray - 16-18 of them and a 'snake' with the left over bit. They take 12 minutes in my oven.

They're great with strong cheese or scrambled egg. To vary them, add a tablespoon or two of poppy seeds or one of poppy seeds and one of sesame seeds to the mix. You could also add a little more bread soda because the scones never rise as high as the bread does - but they have a different flavour then and I don't think it's worth it.

At some stage over Easter I have our old Easter brunch as supper but I bake the ham in cider and bay leaves (or milk and bay leaves) and usually have red onion marmalade left over from Christmas with crunchy brown scones above.

My mother and I bake brown bread this several times a week - partly because my sisters who can't bake usually expect some to take home when they call and partly because we rarely eat white bread. She makes the bread and I make scones which is kind of nice. We both celebrate our birthday today - it's my normal birthday and she celebrates the day she didn't die.

Theoretically Easter is about lamb, simnel cake and hot cross buns. Maybe Cactus Flower has some more romantic and seasonal recipes than brown scones for Easter but I hate marzipan except in sauce, my mother in law roasts great lamb and I can't put my hand on the hot cross bun recipe just now...


Last edited by Kate P on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:15 am

Bravo. Happy Birthday to you both!
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:17 am

Happy Birthday,Kate. I have a recipe I got from a pastry chef for treacle bread. The problem was that it was so tasty, it lasted less than the baking time after it was made. I'll try to find it and post it up here.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:14 am

sunny Happy Birthday Kate and to your mother. I hope someone else did the cooking for you both today.

Will try your bread recipe, thanks very much.

Our easter food I am ashamed to say was almost exclusively chocolate - with an evil chocolate high kicking in at 8 a.m. and lasting all day.

The Russian easter was good though - Midnight candlelit Orthodox Mass (everyone standing crushed together holding a candle each with a strong smell of incense and singed fur coats) in a glittering church and then all home together for an all-night feast of Pashka and Kulich, splendid OTT towers that can be cooked in a tall flower pot if you don't have the right cake tin. There is a feast of small things, blinis, smoked fish, cheeses and so on. You put the vodka in the fridge before you go to church. There is a lot of toasting and singing and then you go to bed and sleep all the next day.

Can't find the Kulich recipe but this is one for Pashka:

175g unsalted butter
rind of one lemon and one orange finely grated
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 kg of curd cheese
half a pint of double cream
25 g citron peel,chopped, same of candied lemon and orange peel
100 g raisins
50g blanched almonds

Beat the butter, sugar and grated rind together, then the cheese and vanilla essence, then the cream and nuts etc. Line the flower pot with muslin, put the mixture in the pot, wrap it up in the muslin and put it in the fridge upside down with a heavy weight on top for a day or a night. Then turn it out onto a plate.

That would be enough for about 10 people. Not for everyday, but not a speck of marzipan in sight Kate.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:29 am

Wonderful post Kate. Let's make this site the home of posts like that one.

KateP wrote:
...the one single solitary egg that had been staring down at us for a fortnight from the highest shelf in the kitchen

Same here. But do you think it's the same for my offspring ? Mad

Oh, and Happy Birthday !
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:14 am

Cactus Flower wrote
Quote :
Our easter food I am ashamed to say was almost exclusively chocolate - with an evil chocolate high kicking in at 8 a.m. and lasting all day.

This is not for the kids. Even though it seems rich, the sponge is light as a feather. It looks like a lot of work but the sponge is easy and you can make the icing the day before.

It would make a great Easter cake…. It’s a legendary chocolate sponge (the result of lots of considerably less lovely chocolate sponges)– the easiest EVER and yummy.

Get all ingredients ready in advance.

8 eggs separated

8 oz caster sugar

In a bowl 4oz plain flour, 2oz cornflour and 2 oz of the best cocoa you can get

Line base of two springform tins with parchment and grease the sides.

Preheat oven to 180

Beat whites in a bowl until stiff.
Add sugar and beat again until glossy. Beat the egg yolks and then add to the whites – and beat again until stiff. Zero effort if you have a handsfree mixer. I don't but it's still easy.
Sift in the flour mix and fold in well with a metal spoon.

Pour into two tins and bake for about 30 mins. Scrape the bowl with your fingers because the mix tastes just like chocolate mousse.

The cakes will shrink back from the sides of the tin and the house will be filled with the smell of chocolate. It's obscene really. Very Happy

Fudge Icing (adapted from Delia Smith)

Melt 250g chocolate – I use half dark and half milk but if you’re a purist use all dark
In a saucepan weigh out 340g evaporated milk (you may have to overcome any nestle qualms you have to buy this) and 250g soft brown sugar (or similar). Stir this well while you bring it to the boil and the sugar dissolves. Then leave to boil for six or seven minutes without stirring. Hold your nerve, it doesn’t burn though it probably should.

Add in the chocolate and mix well, then add a couple of drops of vanilla extract and 4oz soft butter and watch the fudge appear. You’ll have more than you need so feel free to eat some with a spoon. I told you this was great cake.

Allow to cool – leave in the fridge (or in a hurry – outside the kitchen window!) until cold and thick.

You can use some of this to fill the cake and the rest to put on the top and sides. You’ll need to spread it with a hot knife.

An alternative filling is a tub of sour cream beaten with 125 ml (half a small carton) of cream. You can add some whizzed up roast hazelnuts, mix through a spoonful of the fudge or both. What’s left over you can serve with the cake. It's capuccino coloured and gorgeous.

You can also whizz up some black cherries in their juice with a good dash of crème de cassis and a tablespoonful of blackberry or black cherry jam (don’t bother if all you have is strawberry or raspberry) If you have time, spread this with the juices on both sides and leave to soak in for a while. Then sandwich with some of the cream (not too much). Then spread the fudge all over, top and sides. If you have more toasted hazelnuts put them on top.

Cherries and hazelnuts might seem like a lot but it works… I always do both.

I'll have a go at the Pashka - sounds great.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:51 am

Kate it's your birthday ?? I was wondering where all the Pisces women had gone to - they're on the internet !! Bah! Now it's too late Mad bah!

You set a bit of a bar with your opening post - I can't remember any particular Easter foods unfortunately though I have tons of great memories of spring and around this time. You're a craftswoman with the words too (a 'glug' of olive oil Very Happy) but I'll have to try to outdo you on your receipe with mine for fried cheese and ham sandwiches. Seriously !! More receipes later !!

Happy Birthday. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:46 pm

Hot cross buns.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:31 pm

In my other half's family Easter dinner is a usually goose followed by Christmas Plum Pudding.
We had the goose a week early this year. It was served with a sausage stuffing and a kind of apple sauce with potato through it.
Very yummy!

Happy birthday, Kate.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:40 pm

It's been announced in our household that instead of lamb, we're having hogget for dinner on Easter. Maybe this belongs on the agricultural forum, but aren't lamb and hogget the same thing? Or when people say lamb do they actually mean those cute little things without a pick of flesh on them?
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:51 pm

Hogget is year old lamb - stringier and not as flavoursome as new season lamb (I see our newborns frolicking outside the window as I write).

It's still lamb - almost, sort of. An adolescent.

Easter lamb is about three months old, I think. Not quite the bony, tiny things you might imagine.

In terms of Easter lunch though it's an entirely different animal...
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:10 pm

What's mutton then? And does anyone share my feelings for the taste of those little lamb cutlets you get in the shops:

This tastes like a baby


might taste


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:20 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
What's mutton then? And does anyone share my feelings for the taste of those little lamb cutlets you get in the shops:

This tastes like a baby


might taste
Yeah, 'might'. I'd be a little worried that you thought it in the first place. Mutton is sheepflesh surely? Never had it myself; it only exists in E. Nesbit stories I think.

I love lamb cutlets me. If you ever keep a lamb for more than two months you'll relish every opportunity that comes along to devour one of its kind. They all taste like rose bushes to me, and other garden plants.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:55 pm

Right, there's no denying that the summer is well and truly over and the sight of strawberries in the supermarket brings me out in goosebumps.

Today I'm in the mood for sustenance - roast chicken, chunky vegetable soup, rice pudding. Anyone got any autumnal recipes they want to share?
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:01 pm

Roast pork chops (that have been marinaded in Lemon juice for at least 5 hours) served with roast pears and parsnips. Heaven
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:04 pm

Do you roast them all together?
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:07 pm

Yes. I roast them for about 45 mins at 180 degrees. The pork is very tender after being in the lemon juice for so long; it melts in your mouth. I forgot to say put some garlic in with the lemon juice and put some rosemary in when you are roasting.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:17 pm

It sounds great. I love fruit with meat - my mother-in-law- makes a divine sausagemeat stuffing with apricots for pork and at Christmas.

I have to confess to a lot of dashboard dining in recent times - and it's a soul-destroying exercise; the choices are so limited, especially if you want something hot and especially if you're not a fan of the Irish Hot Deli Counter. So this afternoon I'll be off to replace my food-flask so I can bring my dinner with me more often - thus saving time, money - and my waistline.

What you describe above could be easily popped in the oven first thing in the morning and be ready when a body is ready to leave the house. Mmmm
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:18 pm

The beauty of it is that it's delicious cold too
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:29 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
What's mutton then? And does anyone share my feelings for the taste of those little lamb cutlets you get in the shops:

This tastes like a baby


might taste

Yes Audi - it happened to me once when taken out for a very expensive Valentine nights dinner. Those tiny little bones! I cried into my plate Sad Embarassed

I know a farmer who won't let them go so young.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:32 pm

Short but happy lives, cactus. We had 3 sheep killed yesterday by dogs and another 3 had to be put down and five more missing chunks of themselves; I know which I'd prefer.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:35 pm

Kate P wrote:
Short but happy lives, cactus. We had 3 sheep killed yesterday by dogs and another 3 had to be put down and five more missing chunks of themselves; I know which I'd prefer.

Bloody people with their bloody dogs.

I'm not a vegetarian Kate but I'd rather not eat them until they've passed the skipping about stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:41 pm

You're not alone in that - Husband's sisters don't eat lamb at all because they all grew up with lambies.
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PostSubject: Re: Seasonal Food and Memories   Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 pm

Kate P wrote:
Slim Buddha wrote:
The mercury is beginning to fall noticably here and that means Grog, Glühwein and roast chestnuts begin to get sold on the streets. Last year, I unearthed a Glühwein Bude that sold Glühwein with cinnamon sticks. Hope he is around again this year. A fabulous combination.

I have memories of getting spectacularly sick after eating roast chestnuts in Munich one October. They gave me my second ever migraine and I lost the physical power of speech - or at least the ability for the words to come out the way I said them. I appreciate that is something more likely to happen after too much grog but it doesn't prevent roast chestnuts being firmly off the agenda for me - forever.

But this is the season for hot chocolate. Razz

Not a fan of the "Maronis" myself Kate and after what you said, I will steer clear of them. Nothing keeps me, however, from Glühwein and cinnamon!!! Bring it on!
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