Category Archives: Recipe

Happy 80th birthday, Spam – Spam Cheesecake recipe

SpamI found this a few years ago in a Lancaster charity shop.

Of COURSE I bought it – who wouldn’t? Jay C. HormelPrepare for a bit of a history lesson, along with (obviously) some piss-taking. Here’s the feller to thank for this tasty treat. Jay C. Hormel, son of a butcher, developed SPAM assisted by French chef Jean Vernet. It was ready by late 1936, but as yet was unnamed. Hormel held a New Year party and gave guests a free drink for every name they suggested, and $100 for the winning name. “By the 4th drink people started to show imagination” Yum!Hormel commented. The name SPAM was suggested by actor Kenneth Daigneau, and is short for Shoulder of Pork and Ham, as any fule kno. Some of the other products in this photo show doubtful taste – “Arf” (which I hope wasn’t dog meat), “Dinty Moore” and “Spic” (geddit? Spic and Spam?)

SPAM was launched on an unsuspecting world in May 1937, and was a huge success. During the war it was sent over to Britain, and to Russia where Kruschev said “Without SPAM, we would not be able to feed our army”. American troops were given a special cheaper American Government version of SPAM which lacked the true flavour, probably leading  to the low opinion this true food of the gods has among large numbers of misguided people.

Spam cheesecakeThe book’s got a lot of recipes – some of them seriously WTF. On the left you can learn how to make Spam Cheesecake (no really), while there are also such delights as Spamdoori Chicken Wrap, Nutty Spamburger and Deep Spam Pizza. I have a soft spot for Spam Porcupine – chunks of SPAM, onions & pineapple on cocktail sticks, poked into a cabbage – “the cabbage can be used afterwards for other meals” it says.

Spam sconesMy favourite though has to be SPAM scones, which appear to be normal scones but with chopped SPAM added to the mix. Haven’t dared to try them yet, but the recipe suggests using any leftover scones  on top of a vegetable casserole and baked in a hot oven.

My favourite way to eat SPAM? Sliced thinly, fried to a crispy edge, and popped in a pitta with ketchup or summat. Yum. Do let me know if you’re desperate for me to share further SPAM recipes, you saddoes.

Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Bacon & banana butty. YUM.No really, it is, I promise. Don’t turn away all pshaw and poo poo. Leave your snook uncocked, and just try it once, for me. If you’re not impressed, feel free to comment and tell me what your idea of a better sandwich is. If you are impressed, you can thank me later. Yes, it’s the famous

Bacon & Banana Butty

Squish!To make it properly, you really should use a nommy granary or wholemeal bread, but I suppose any old cheap white stuff would do at a pinch. Cut yourself a couple of sturdy slices. Remember, they’ll need to support two fillings when you pick it up.

Sorry about the reflection of the blue sky in this pic.Find yourself a banana. The market is a good place to start – they have good ones at Iddons in Bury Market. Spread your nana over one piece of bread, using whatever method takes your fancy. In my long experience of observing the banana habits of humans, short attractive women will slice the banana neatly, in pleasant rows reminiscent of carefully-planted flowers, while stalwart handsome beardy blokes will squish it on. I squish it on.

Fry your preferably streaky bacon (non-stick pan, no fat remember, this is a healthy sandwich*) to a pleasing crispness. Floppy bacon tends not to work so well. I have no idea why. Sizzle.Lay the rashers over the nana and top with your second slice of bread. As an option, you may enjoy lightly frying your bread in the greasy stuff that came off the bacon. Or possibly not. Divide and enjoy with one of those cups of tea that’s at exactly the right temperature. You’re welcome.

* not a healthy sandwich at all really.

 

(This is an updated post from 2011 that people are STILL asking me about).

Spiced lemon curd

DSCF1354Ok, so this recipe is for winter spiced lemon curd with cinnamon and vanilla, and it’s yummy scrumboes! Let me say here and now that those words are not mine (heaven forfend). The description comes from my good chum Sian Louise Parker who gave me the recipe.

It makes about 700g which is quite a lot – over twice the amount shown in my Kilner jar there.

Ingredients:

Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
4 Eggs, beaten and strained
350g Caster Sugar
100g Unsalted Butter

Optional ingredients:

6 whole cloves
1 x 5cm piece cinnamon stick
2 Star Anise
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Continue cooking the curd for 20-30 minutes, or until thickened. Do not boil, or you’ll end up with sweet scrambled eggs!

Strain into sterilised jars. Leave to cool before dealing tightly. This curd will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

You can leave out the cinnamon and cloves if you want a more traditional curd, which still tastes ‘yummy scrumboes’.

Barley Pottage

DSCF9680To keep me in the medieval mind-set while writing 1322, today for lunch I made barley pottage. The basic ingredients for pottage are stock, oats, herbs and salt, but beyond that you can chuck anything in. I chucked in barley and vegetables, though I cheated a bit, adding a couple of vegetables that weren’t around in 14th Century England – a potato (which comes from a land not yet discovered back then) and carrots (which had yet to be developed from their inedible purple wild variety).

Tasted pretty good, although I wouldn’t want it every day, and I wish I’d had some dark rye bread to have with it.

Pie Butties

Step 2 of the recipeWhenever I mention that I’m having a pie butty, Twitter (well, some of it) responds with an almighty WTF? I thought it about time that these poor lost souls were introduced to an epicurean delight. I give you, The Pie Butty Recipe.

Ingredients: Pie of your choice, bread of your choice.

1. Butter bread of your choice.

2. Squish pie of your choice onto bread of your choice.

3. Add condiments (optional).

4. Fold bread of your choice over pie of your choice.

This simple recipe can give rise to a huge variety of meals. For instance, you could use a big crusty cob instead of sliced bread, in which case Step 1 becomes ‘Hollow out bread of your choice’ and Step 4 is now ‘Stuff pie of your choice into hollowed out loaf’.

A meal fit for a JimCheese pie, steak pie, chicken pie, balti pie – the world of pies is your playground. And you needn’t stop there. Pie subgroups, such as the pasty family and the pudding genus can offer the connoisseur even greater variety. If you feel particularly daring, you might even hazard a.. we might as well put it out there… sausage roll IN a roll.  I am an aficionado of the meat and tater pie, laid gently on a nest of granary bread, and drizzled with salt and vinegar. It’s the food of champions.

Since I became official spokesman for the Pie Butty Board, other splendid (though slightly less traditional) butties have been brought to my attention, including the Curry Butty, the Quiche Butty, and the legendary Pot Noodle Butty.

Though I may occasionally stray into these exotic sarnie realms, however, I shall remain stalwartly a Meat & Tater Granary man. How about you?

Beetroot Buns*

ak2usz“I really liked it. It was good”  –  @37ellie “Tasty and moist. Less sweet than usual; the flavour mix works really well”  –  @little_mavis

Don’t worry about the title – there’s plenty of chocolate in there as well. The beetroot helps make a rich chocolate mixture, which produces a faintly earthy sweet cakiness. I nicked this recipe from Donal Skeehan’s website but found that he made GINORMOUSLY too much topping. If you follow his recipe, there’s enough topping for over an inch of guk on the top of each bun. My measurements are more reserved. OK, ingredients –
Makes 12 of the luxurious sods:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 200g cooked beetroot, puréed with a blender
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g soft butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • 50ml milk



Chocolate topping:

  • 75g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 60ml double cream

Pre-heat your old oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me by turning the grill on instead of the oven. Bloody symbolic oven controls. Sick some bun cases in a bun tray. Pretty ones make your buns taste better. Honest.
65cohStick the cooked (not pickled) beetroot in a blender until it looks like something you would use in a zombie film. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of what they always call ‘gently simmering water’ and then stir in the puréed beetroot.
In a large bowl – or a small one, I don’t care really – beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. The mixture should be light and fluffy, not you. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until it all melds together. Mix in the flour, baking powder (if you’re using it), milk and then your chocolate and beetroot glop.
55vkmDivide the glop more or less evenly among the paper cases and bake (not grill) in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until firm. Again, the mixture should be firm, not you. While they cook, wash up your mucky utensils. You’ll thank yourself later. Allow the cupcakes to stand for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
To make the gloppy chocolate topping, beat the butter and vanilla extract together in a bowl until light and fluffy (see above). Then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and cream, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
DSCF5340Using whatever comes to hand, “frost the cupcakes” (just getting all American on your ass there) when they are completely cool.

* I’ve used the word “buns” here, cos that’s what we always called small cakey things in South Yorkshire when I was growing up. These days, people say ‘”cupcakes”, but “buns” is more alliterative.

Courgette Cake–because Twitter demanded it

DSCF5144When I mentioned on Twitter that I was about to bake a Courgette Cake, the responses ranged from “NOOOOOO!” to “Interesting!” Seems like everyone wanted to see the recipe, however. This is it.

DSCF5145It’s a rich old cake, and you can keep it for up to three weeks in the fridge, or freezing it works damn well an’all. These ingredients make enough for a nine inch square tin, so halve them if you’re using a loaf tin like I did for the pics.

3 eggs
9 fl. oz. sunflower oil
12oz. caster sugar
2 grated courgettes
4 oz oats
7 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 oz. sultanas
6 oz mixed seeds (or chopped walnuts or summat)

DSCF5167I hope your cake tin is non-stick? If not, line it with greasproof paper or expect severe sticking to the tin. Mix all the ingredients together, shove the resultant gloop in your tin, and bake at 180 degrees for an hour, or until a sharp knife or skewer comes out clean after you poke it in. Let it cool a bit before turning it out.

DSCF5169I like it with butter on, bit like Soreen, but I’ll bet it would work with cream or custard.

Best. Sandwich. Ever.

No really, it is, I promise. Don’t run away giggling at how idiotic it sounds. Leave your snook uncocked, and just try it once, for me. If you’re not impressed, feel free to comment and tell me what your idea of a good sandwich is. If you are impressed, you can thank me later. Yes, it’s the famous

Bacon & Banana Butty

Dscf4858To make it properly, you really should use a nommy granary or wholemeal bread, but I suppose any old cheap white stuff would do at a pinch. Cut yourself a couple of sturdy slices. Remember, they’ll need to support two fillings when you pick it up.

Dscf4859Find yourself a banana. The market is a good place to start – they have good ones at Iddons in Bury Market. Spread your nana over one piece of bread, using whatever method takes your fancy. In my long experience of observing the banana habits of humans, women will slice the banana neatly, in pleasant rows reminiscent of carefully planted flowers, while stalwart, handsome men will squish it on. I squish it on.

Dscf4866Fry your preferably streaky bacon (non-stick pan, no fat remember, this is a healthy sandwich***) to a pleasing crispness. Floppy bacon tends not to work so well. I have no idea why. Lay the rashers over the nana and top with your second slice. As an option, you may enjoy lightly frying your bread in the greasy stuff that came off the bacon. Or possibly not. Divide and enjoy with one of those cups of tea that’s at exactly the right temperature. You’re welcome.

*** not a healthy sandwich really.

Dscf4869

Spam and Port Wine

DSCF4242So called because it reminds me of one of my favourite films. Ah, Susan George……

  • Bunch of spring onions
  • A dod of butter
  • Some mushrooms
  • SPAM (hurray!) sliced thickly
  • A big old slosh of port
  • Couple of teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Carrot & Courgette “ribbons”

OK, grab your utensils firmly-

  1. Roughly chop the spring onions and cook in the butter in a biggish frying pan until just turning “golden” (i.e. brown).
  2. Add the mushrooms, and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms and onions into a temporary bowl. No, I mean a bowl to hold them temporarily, not some sort of existential alternative universe bowl that keeps blinking out of existence.
  3. Fry the SPAM (hurray!) until browned on both sides, then pour the port over it and add the mustard. Slosh it about a bit, and chuck the mushrooms and onions back in from the existential bowl. Make sure the veg is heated well.
  4. Serve it however you want, but I like a veg pile with SPAM (hurray!) atop. It’s nice with carrot and courgette ribbons, which you can make easily with a peeler.
  5. Gerrit down yer gob.

Easy Peasy Japanesey Ice Cream a la Wombat

329637845This ice cream is GORGEOUS. This ice cream is DEAD EASY TO MAKE. I wouldn’t keep making it if it were not. Ready? Get down to Aldi to stock up – you’ll need

  • 600ml double cream
  • 70g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 egg yolks
  • other stuff if you want to vary it.

Whisk the three egg yolks in a bowl and keep them ready for action. Heat your cream and vanilla essence in a pan until it’s almost boiling, then take it off the heat and stir the sugar in until it’s all dissolved. Tip the cream / vanilla / sugar mixture slowly into the egg yolks while whisking them together. Keep whisking until it’s smooth. Ish.

Pour the mixture into a freezer proof container – I used one that the ice-cream I bought at the shop came in. Let it cool for a wee while (half an hour?).

At this point, you can mix whatever the hell you like in there. I’ve tried it with crumbled Cadbury Flakes, which works a treat. Or leave it straight vanilla. It’s yummy either way.

Whack it in the freezer for, oooh, 3 or 4 hours, and Bob’s your mother’s brother. Lovely stuff. If you want to be poncy and make it extra special use vanilla pods instead of the essence, but that’s too faffy for wombats to be arsed with.

Enjoy.

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