Archives for posts with tag: parkin

Bootylicious

I’m going to be baking for this car boot sale in Castle Douglas with a friend. No idea how I’ll have time but I’m currently planning on producing parkin, flapjacks, cinnamon buns, chocolate muffins and banana bread.

Tam is making flatbreads, focaccia, cupcakes and scones. Really hope we’ll get a decent turn out and sell the lot!

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I returned from my New Year trip home with a bag of goodies inherited from my nana. These included her old Kenwood handheld mixer and several recipe books. Amongst them was this one, filled with recipes faithfully transcribed in her neat, tiny cursive script along with scraps of paper and cuttings, including one of her favourite recipes in my own handwriting as, in the early stages of dementia, she misplaced her old notebooks and could no longer rely on her baking muscle memory to conjure up cakes on a whim. Thankfully I had a copy of the parkin recipe to copy down and send to her.

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A lot of the recipes reflect her personal tastes – she had a sweet tooth and a rationing-induced fondness for pineapple and coconut – but they also serve as a mini biography, snippets of life in grammes and ounces. Some of the recipes are singled out as “cheap” or for using up leftovers. There’s a lot of lard and dripping specified which modern tastes and pockets would substitute for butter and several recipes for serious stodge – bacon and sausage roly poly anyone? There are names of old friends and neighbour’s – Alice’s Christmas Cake, Mrs Robinson’s scones and Gareth’s biscuits (I’m guessing a particular favourite of my brother’s).

Several recipes appear more than once in different variations and some I can’t wait to try again. There’s a wonderful fruit slice she used to make with mint from their tiny, neat back garden in Wrose. There’s a Yorkshire Sweet Cake and a Yorkshire curd tart recipe, there’s even a page of Scottish recipes which I’ve no doubt she purloined from her friend Sheila in Spean Bridge. Time to put the new kitchen to work!

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A sparkling, frosty morning today got us all off to a good start. I restocked the house with wood and planted the herbs we rescued from our old allotment in the rain this weekend, plus a plant given to us by Fiona.

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The herb garden is now growing nicely and we will have to carve out more beds if we want to add more. It is on the west of the house, outside the side door into what will be the kitchen. Thankfully deer and rabbits tend to steer clear of aromatic plants so less pest-proofing was needed!

As tomorrow is November 5th we have invited the neighbours over for a bonfire and are constructing a small pyre in the middle of the lawn. This time of year always puts me in the mood for proper parkin and I can’t have people over and not bake. It struck me as I went through the familiar measurements and process that this was the first time I have made it since my Nana (whose recipe it is) died. I think she would be pleased with the slab of sticky gingerbread sponge that resulted.

Finally, an update on the trades – the scaffolding has begun to go up but had to be halted halfway as longer poles are needed to avoid the electricity wires coming into the house. If the weather holds the scaffold should be up and work start on the chimney stacks this week.

All the tiles are now down and sealed in the shower room ready for grouting tomorrow.