Archive | Food and Drink & Yorkshire Products

Comestibles and useful products from God’s Own County

Gingerbread or Parkin

Parkin and Gingerbread are two famous Yorkshire favourites with their own local recipes and variations. Which do you prefer? Perhaps like me are you partial to a bit of both?

Book Cover

Gingerbread distinguishes itself with golden syrup and brandy in a Wakefeild concoction that sounds almost too good to be true. In North Yorkshire the Startforth version of gingerbread in the book ”Yorkshire Teatime Recipes’ uses black treacle, brown sugar and a good pinch of bicarbonate of soda plus the usual suspects. Bi-carb dates from the 19th century when it was first used for aeration to produce light cakes.

Parkin is a Yorkshire favourite containing oats or oatmeal and in my favourite versions with far more ginger than in gingerbread. Sticky Parkin was made by my mother in law but I hanker for the fresh irresistible parkin made by my own mum. I can’t be waiting a week or so before sticky parkin has matured in a tin to become truly sticky.

Rhubarb Gingerbread has the normal attributes of it’s kind with the added attraction of a layer of crystallised ginger and rhubarb pieces like a rhubarb sandwich. Wakefield, the home of the rhubarb triangle, has its own local version of gingerbread worth tracking down in a local cafe.

I tried to drop subtle hints in the last paragraph combined with the absence of full recipes which could be found in the amazon book. Why bake yourself? Instead, enjoy yourself tracking down as many varieties of homemade gingerbread and parkin in tea rooms and cafes around the county. You could be in for a ‘reet treat’!

Ginger Sponge and ‘Soggy Moggy’  are variations on the theme which can combine elements the products above. I like a bit of plain cake containing a generous portion of dried ginger, I’ll leave the fresh ginger to others.

To go with custard, a good Ginger Pudding can’t be beaten especially if there is some golden syrup at the bottom of the pud. I don’t think I have ever had a ginger suet pudding but now there is an idea for the chef to ginger up desserts.

 

 

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Re-homing Hens and the Cock of the North

Yorkshire is a significant producer of eggs and chickens. It is also as humane as practical in the way it treats the flocks including some re-homing of aging birds.

The British Hen Welfare Trust have regional co-ordinators to help with ‘Hen Re-homing’ when the birds get past the age to lay eggs. All commercial laying hens are sent to slaughter at around 78 weeks old when their working life reaches an end unless they can be re-homed. The British Hen Welfare Trust work with schools and 92% of the hens they find homes for come from formerly caged birds not free range chickens. Very occasionally they take barn hens but supporters prefer to offer the old birds a life they previously didn’t enjoy.

Ikkle Chooks Yorkshire Rescue is a re-homing hub. for ex battery hens or ex-commercial hens, with a no cull policy. All rehomed birds are as pets not for commercial activity.

How Long Do Hens Live

  • Birds grown for meat are culled at around 6 to 8 weeks
  • Poultry producers slaughter battery hens or egg layers when they’re between one and three years old. This is when the cost of egg production out weighs the income from egg sales.
  • Free range or garden birds can live beyond 5 years.
  • One of the oldest pet hens was 16 years old when it passed away. Age for a pet hen will depend on the care provided and the breed.
  • The average life of an ex-battery hen could be from two to 12 months as they are about worn out from high egg production when they are 72 weeks old.
  • ‘Free from harm’ a USA charity reports ‘Male chicks born to egg-laying hens can not lay eggs, and are not the breed used for meat …. so they are worthless to the egg industry’ and are disposed of as soon after birth as possible.  The RSPCA says ‘meat chickens are bred to grow large breast muscle and legs  but surplus newly hatched chicks (including males bred for egg laying) that are destined for disposal must be treated as humanely ….. they must be destroyed promptly by a recommended humane method such as carbon dioxide gassing or quick maceration. ‘

 

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Pudsey Pudding Update

Protectionist Corn Laws had existed in some form since the 12th C. and the repeal of 18th century laws curtailed restrictions on foreign grain coming into the country that had been protecting the profits of landowners and British farmers by artificially pushing up the price of bread. Brexiteers and free traderse are you watching.  Pudsey Civic Society published a Guide to Pudsey West Yorkshire available in 1988 for the price of 35p. One of the more notable articles recounted the history of the ‘Pudsey Pudding- Pudsey’s Celebration of the Repeal of the Corn Laws 1846. Acknowledging “The History of Pudsey” by Simeon Rayner.

‘The year 1846 will always be memorable in British history as the time when the Corn Laws were repealed. All over the country, but most particularly in the manufacturing districts, there were demonstrations of rejoicing but none of these were more characteristic or racy of the soil than that which took place at Pudsey, where an original and typical mode of celebrating the important event was adopted. A number of Free Traders had formed themselves into what was called “The Little Committee” which met at the house of Mr. John Baker to devise means to celebrate the great event. The outcome of the deliberations of this committee was the determination to provide a monster plum pudding – such a pudding as the world had never seen before.
The pudding was compoised of twenty stones of flour, with suet, fruit, &c. in proportion. The ingredients were divided amongst twenty housewives, who each mixed her share into the requisite consistency, ready for the final blending. Leave was obtained from Crawshaw Mill Co. to boil the monster pudding in one of the dye-pans of the “leadhus”. The pan having been duly scoured, it was filled with water from the spring. The dames then brought their twenty “bowls” containing the mixed flour, fruit and suet, and these were tipped into a large and strong new canvas “poke”- specially made for the purpose- and by means of a windlass that had been fixed over the pan the “weighty matter” was hoisted into the vessel.
For three days and nights the pudding was kept boiling, along with half a dozen smaller ones to keep it company. On July 31st 1846, the puddings were craned out of the huge copper, and placed upon a wherry, lent by Mr. R. Wood. Here the steaming monster sat in triumph, the smaller puddings being around it, the whole forming a solid and substancial evidence of the material idea meant to be conveyed by the recent Act of the Legislature, and the benefits it was believed the people would reap thereby.
A procession was formed, headed by Mr. J.A. Hinings and Mr. Samuel Musgrave, on horseback, and four grey horses were yoked to the wherry containing the puddings, the driver of which, James Wilson, watchman at the Priestley Mill at the time, but who had previously been a sailor, exhibited no small degree of pride in the part he played in the memorable event of that day. Hundreds of persons joined the procession, and thousands of others lined the streets, the livliest interest being shown in the demonstration- even beyond the borders of the town, for visitors from far and wide having heard of the “stir” came to see the “Pudsey big pudding”.
Tickets were sold at a shilling each to those who desirous of dining off the extraordinary pudding, but each guest had to provide his own plate, & knife & fork or spoon. Hundreds of hungry onlookers sat on the walls surrounding the field and once at least these made an ugly rush to get to the tables, but they were kept at bay by the vigilance of Messrs. J.R. Hinings & Samuel Musgrave who, on horseback, kept up an incessant patrol of the ground. The pudding was literally dug out by Mr. Hinings snr, who was armed with a small spade for the purpose. That the dish was of an excellent nature is proved by the fact that some of the guests “sent up their plates” three or four times! After the last of the guests who had paid their shillings had been served, there was still some of the pudding left, and the aforesaid hungry onlookers & others then had their turn, the result being that the last of the “big pudding” was soon safely tucked away, and so ended a remarkable incident in the history of Pudsey.’

Other Pudsey Pudding References

‘Pudsey Town where it was made
In commemoration of free trade
Five hundred people I do declare
Dined off the monstrous Pudding Rare’

Pudsey Bear had a special dessert  created, to raise money for the BBC’s Children In Need. Pudsey Pudding, named after the charity’s famous bear mascot, was a poor size when compared to the original.

The Urban dictionary defines ‘Pudsey Pudding’ as ‘someone who takes up much needed space in the living room that could be used for legitimate stoned people.’

My  Pudsey Christmas Pudding came from Asda at Owlcoats near the Pudsey railway station – great it was but no silver sixpence.

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London for Yorkshire Folk

London

This is t’missus swimming with Dolphins on the Thames.

Local fish and chips turned out to be Eels and mash so we didn’t recon much to that.
As for the price of Beer!!! I know this is the capital but it’s punishment.
Still near Tottenham Court Road tube the is an Angel with reasonably priced Sam Smiths in an Edwardian pub setting that hasn’t been spoilt be refurbishment for yonks.

As they say you can always tell a Yorkshireman in London – but you can’t tell him much. With all the tourists asking us for directions it was worse than York on a bank holiday.

Note Ferrets are frowned on in London but Fayed flogs fancy ferrets at Harrods.

Pubs

  • The Yorkshire Grey is a favourite pub in Fitzrovia. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub so the beers are reasonably priced and the bar staff are very pleasant for southerners and Australians.
  • The Cittie of Yorke Holborn grade ll listed Sam Smiths watering hole.
  • Duke of York  Harrowby Street Marylebone reopened in March 2017
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Corn Dolly Bradford’s Best Boozer

 

In our pagan past it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crops and that the harvest made it effectively homeless.

Corn Spirit was supposed to live in the plaited straw  or corn doll  until the following spring to ensure a good harvest. Straw idols have been made for centuries under the name of Corn Dolls.

The idols in this Bradford pub are the landlord and his selection of beers and lunchtime banquets of pie and peas, hot beef in sandwiches or Yorkshires. You might thing the idle in the pub are tax office escapees but I couldn’t possibly comment. (It is on the old trolley bus route to the real Idle!)

Reverting to the ‘pagan’ theme this is a pagan advert for an ale at the Corn Dolly, probably brewed in the Pagan Place Pendle.

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Mucky Fat for Your Drip Teacake

Nowt better than a bit of ‘Mucky fat’. That is the nectar of the gods that drips out of a large well cooked beef joint. When poured off it will conceal, rather than set, into two layers. The top will be a tasty float of soft fat or as some say dripping but then we get to the mucky bit. Underneath the fat will be a brown jelly like substance of beefy goodness ideal for spreading  on a breadcake, scuffler or teacake.

The best result is when a helping of fat with a scrape of brown goodness is spread on your bread of choice. Barm cake, roll, bun, oven bottom, batch, cob, stottie, softie bridie, muffin, oggie, bap or buttery will all taste better with a lashing of mucky fat.

I am prepared for this delicacy to be called a drip teacake but not as southerners may say ‘a dripping sandwich’.

 

Do not Mistake Lard  for Drip

  • Another Yorkshire staple is lard! It is a key ingredient for cooking Yorkshire puddings. Batter is best poured into hot lard and cooked until golden brown.
  • Lard is not dripping and vice versa!
  • Lard is made from pigs as dripping is make from beef.
  • Pigs may be mucky but that is just pigs for you.
  • Lardy lads may play rugby league in Ponte or at Cass but they are too big for me to say so.

 

 

 

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Barnsley Food Porn

Barnsley Chops

  • Barnsley does ‘Chops’ better than it does Porn!
  • Soft juicy and succulent these Barnsley Chops are just waiting to be well and truly cooked! Cheeky chops.
  • At the local Chinese no.241 is Barnsley Chop suet – ideal for deep frying and pastry production.
  • Did you think ‘Barnsley Chop’ was a form of vasectomy? If so I am cut to the quick. Barnsley Chops are a snip at your local butchers at £5.55 a pound.
  • Are “Barnsley’s at home” is a local euphemism for menstruation.  As for bloody chops  I am not as sure but check out Doncaster NHS

Barnsley Mutton Chop Whiskers

You Know You are from Barnsley when:-

  • The fast food shop sells a Barnsley Chop  chop chop
  • Snap is something you eat.
  • You know that a bag of spice is something kids eat.
  • You judge a cafe by its black pudding, chops and gravy.
  • You consider having warm chips and chops as your birthright.
  • You call drinking water “Dearne Valley Pop” but have Barnsley Bitter with chops.
  • Your ‘five a day’ means Lyons Cakes after  chops.
  • You visit another town and they “claim” to have Barnsley Chops – but you know better.
  • Your side burns are shaped like chops
  • You’ve been busting your chops writing this post.

More Chops – no chips on chin or whiskers on the stiff upper lip

 Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg  memorial website.

Barnsley Butchers are selling Houses!
Get your car from the Barnsley Chop shop
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Rhubarb Triangle Around Wakefield

Yorkshire rhubarb is at it’s best when forced to make thin pink stalks (once tasted you will never be forced to eat it again). It grows all around Yorkshire but is at its best when grown in a triangle between Wakefield, Ardsley and Ossett then forced in the low sheds built for the purpose.

Rhubarb Flower Head

Your rhubarb will flower like this if you don’t eat it first! Ornamental varieties of rhubarb are not grown in the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ as rhubarb is a serious crop grown under strict conditions to produce thin pink stems from February to make into delicious pies.

The rhubarb triangle is not a gardening device but a geographic location between Wakefield, Morley, Dewsbury and Rothwell where the majority of the worlds supply of forced rhubarb is grown. The rhubarb grows in forcing sheds while it is still winter and is ready before your garden crop grown outdoors. You can force your own garden rhubarb by covering the crown of the plant with a large pot filled with loose straw to keep it dark and warm.

There is a book of Walks in the Rhubarb Triangle ‘It includes delicious recipes from Barbara Bell for rhubarb bread and butter pudding, rhubarb cheesecake and rhubarb triangles, which are a type of flapjack.’ There is even a rhubarb festival each February.

From them apples in Saltaire ‘The classic culinary use for rhubarb is in a crumble. Gently stew rhubarb chopped into two or three centimetre chunks with a splash of water or orange juice, with sugar added to taste. The cutting acidity of the rhubarb must be preserved, so be careful with the sugar. Top with a simple crumble, made with 160g of plain flour cut with about 110g of diced butter, with maybe 25g of sugar added. Cook in a hot oven for twenty-five minutes and eat hot, maybe with cream or yoghurt.’

Rhubarb Recipes have a range of different recipes including Rhubarb Ginger Smoothie

75g cooked rhubarb, retain some for garnish
40g stem ginger (chopped), 1 tablespoon ginger syrup
50g low-fat vanilla ice cream, ice cubes to serve
Place the cooked rhubarb, ginger, syrup and ice cream in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with extra rhubarb.

rhubarb-1

Yorkshire is still the place to grow, buy and cook your rhubarb so give your taste buds a treat. Wakefield is the centre of Yorkshire’s rhubarb triangle

See Yorkshires Imperial Measures
Forced Rhubarb growing in Yorkshire
Yorkshire Rhubarb good enough to eat
Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb has been elevated to the same status as Champagne and Parma Ham. Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb was awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Commission’s Protected Food Name scheme. Now we can ask Melton Mowbray ‘who ate all the pies?

Photo Credits
Rhubarb Flower Head by i_gallagher CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
rhubarb-1 by nalsa CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Yorkshire’s Best Beers

If you are an unrepentant beer drinker you will already know a lot about Yorkshire’s best beers. It is a well known fact that to a Yorkshireman a good brew comes from God’s Own County.

Best Beers in Yorkshire

  • The rapid and welcome increase in micro breweries means some of Yorkshire’s best beers no longer come from Tetleys but from clever niche brewmasters or in pub brewery.
  • You may never discover all Yorkshire’s best beers but you will have great fun trying!
  • Sorry to all the larger drinkers but I am afraid you do not have any products that qualify as one of Yorkshire’s best beers! That is because larger is fizzy pop not beer.

Names for Yorkshire’s Best Beers.

  • Websters Best, Ramsdens, Heys or Bentleys Yorkshire breweries are sadly now names of the past, Even Tetleys is no longer a Yorkshire brewed beer!
  • Enter the new breweries such as Saltaire, Copper Dragon, Ilkley, Wharfedale even Leeds.
  • Micro breweries are ‘the new black’ providing an ever growing choice for the discerning drinker
  • Can you match Yorkshire’s best beers with their breweries. Try Ale Mary, Hellfire and Yorkshire Gold, Mary Jane and Mary Christmas, Golden Pippin, Fire Dancer, Amarillo Ale and Triple Chocoholic 4.8%
  • Brewery trips around Black Sheep and Theakstons have long been popular but now Copper Dragon in Skipton and Saltaire brewery in Shipley have cafes and visitor centres to try out the magic ales.

Let us know the best beers of Yorkshire that we have missed out on. Then I can try sup some of them and say cheers on this web site.

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