Sunday, 21 November 2010

Manton Pudding Competition

Manton in Oakham, Rutland, is only a small village, but it has a big heart.
Community spirit is evident with people come far and wide to experience an event that happens once a year and raises much needed funds for the village hall and other enterprises.
This year, Manton received a very special award.
The Gold Award for Manton is a very special achievement award and Mrs Barbara Camp receives the prestigious award from the High Sheriff Sarah Forsythe.

The pudding competition itself involved, obviously, making a pudding!
There were 26 in all and alot of tasting going on!
70 people in all enjoyed trying the majority of all 26 puddings, which consisted   of mousses (not the animal kind with horns!) cheesecakes, chocolate sponges, flans, banoffe pies (my favourite with mars bars cheesecakes!) gateaux  and the ultimate winner orange ice-cream.

My little Mars bar cheesecake effort went down well (better than the rice pudding!) but no awards - oh well, maybe next year?

All 26 puddings together before devourement!

Many a willing "eater" came to taste.

And after?
A welcome cup of 
tea (a typically english tradition)
and lots of empty and half empty dishes.

Orange Ice-cream (the winner) at the bottom of picture in bowls.

Recipes are available, but I have not been able to contact people yet to see if I can display them, so for now, pictures only, but well done to everyone who participated and those who walked out like the weeble wobbles, round and pleasantly overstuffed - me included, I think it could be several days yet before I recover from the sugar overload - still, it is only once a year and I could only manage to try 10 puddings and I`m called a wimp! All in a good cause!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

An Ode To Rice Pudding

It was supposed to be an easy dish, 
destined to feed 35 people, but you didn`t make it, I didn`t give you time for the 12:30 deadline!
You should have been mouth wateringly creamy with a zingy nutmeg topping, but you were still swishing about with your rice still hard and not edible.
It wasn`t my fault - the cookers were not working, I tried to rescue you, but you did not rise to the challenge.
You see, it was not only the cookers that let you down, but I failed to add on the extra hours to compliment your dish. 
You should have taken 4 hours to cook, but it was nearly 7 before you had your crispy topping, I`m so sorry.
All those people that ended up with undercooked apple crumble instead and not the succulent rice pudding that was promised.

Well, I couldn`t let you go, you were too good to go elsewhere, but by eck, 4 days later and topped with jam or honey and the odd extra cream, you went in our tummy all 35 portions between the three of us!

So the moral of the story is never let anything that`s worth waiting for go to waste, enjoy and savour it!
Now for the recipe!


For 4 portions!

50g Short grain rice
25g Sugar
1 pint of milk
25g cream (for that creamy touch!)
A Sprinkling of Nutmeg or Cinnamon for the topping


Heat the oven on gas mark 2.
Place the short grain rice, sugar, milk and cream in a heatproof dish and sprinkle the nutmeg or cinnamon on the top and place in oven and cook for     2 - 2:30 hrs and enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Meet And Greet The Zwartbles!

They are a wonderful fluffy flock,
Tall and a hardy stock.
They originate from Friesland, Holland, But are wonderful to handle and can be very sociable and friendly sheep, as you are about to see.
We went to Worcester to bid for a few, and came back with three all willing and friendly, they walked out with me with no tether or rope, trusting my friendly, guiding hand and voice at a stroke.
And with Jane and Marks soothing comfort it was a breeze to get these new ones home.

But their journey started somewhere else, another loving farm, we could tell.

But the next point of call was the auction house where the farmers bid for new stock, whether for breeding or sadly for a few the pot!

With Mark and Jane looking pensively  on, they wanted the best and friendliest of stock.

People think that sheep are dumb, but just like humans they are characters too!

When the three were bought, they were only gently coaxed through, as though they new they were going to pastures sturdy and true. 

They would soon mix with other friends

And just like Marshmallow here, enjoy a good scratch and a cuddle!

How close can you get to a sheep without it running off?
 The three are now settled, one is called "come in No 10", the other Phylis and the other, well, you decide, it is a girl and she is in lamb, so a nice name won`t go amiss!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Farm And Cherry Almond Cake


The farm is always busy, with loads of things to do.
There is the feeding of the animals and mending of fences too, With Mark and me amending, Jane is attending the cattle!
It is a small farm, where the animals come to you,
Not a large farm where the animals are afraid of you because they are not handled.
That is the difference between commercial farming and small holdings farming.

Princess the Highland cow is enjoying her daily brush from Jane.

What I`m about to do is provide an unusual blog and introduce you to farm life whilst the walking is on hold.

I will introduce you to the people and animals and a true story will unfold!
I hope you will enjoy the difference and now that the introductions are over, it is time again to enjoy some culinary delights!

Cherry Almond Cake 

I currently cook for around 20 - 40 people.
Country life is different to city life and even the cooking is different, something I have yet to master, but with Jane`s help, it is coming - slowly!
But this recipe is one that has been handed down through generations, so I hope you enjoy it!

The texture should be light and "bouncy" to the touch

Although the cherries have shrunk to 
the bottom on this photo, there is a trick which will keep them "afloat"


8oz butter, softened
8oz caster sugar *
You can use normal sugar. With caster sugar, the cake mixture is more dense, but with normal sugar it will help raise your cake and make it lighter and your cherries will "rise!"
4 medium eggs (preferably a week old as this helps with texture of cake)
8oz plain flour
Several drops of Almond Essence ( I put in about 8!)
1 tsp baking powder
200g carton glace cherries, halved
4oz ground almonds
4 tbsp milk
2oz flaked almonds


Beat sugar/butter together until light and fluffy, followed by the eggs, 1 at a time with a spoonful of flour and almond extract.
Sift remaining flour and baking powder over mixture and fold in cherries, ground almonds and milk.
Put mixture in tin (approx 20inch lined tin) add flaked almonds and put in oven gas mark 3 for an hour 15 mins - an hour and 30 mins and enjoy!