Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Up until I moved over here to the UK, the mention of the word Parkin used to conjure up a completely different image . . . warm summer nights, soft music, a handsome lad, an open topped car sitting on a knoll . . . but I digress . . .
Here Parkin is something completely different and was something I have long wanted to try. In fact I can't believe I hadn't tried it until just now!
Parkin is a soft and moist cake/bread traditionally served up with hot cups of tea and hails from the North of England, and is particularly associated with Yorkshire. Parkin is generally moist and even sometimes sticky. In Hull and East Yorkshire, it has a drier, more biscuit-like texture than in other areas. Parkin is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, but is also enjoyed year-round.
We've been up to the Yorkshire Dales several times on holidays in the past few years and I have to say I fell in love with the area. Rolling dales, stone walls and meandering sheep as far as the eye can see, it is a place of great natural beauty.
Our first trip up there we took a day out one day and drove across the dales from one end to the other, a journey that took us some three hours and took us through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen, and a journey that also left me feeling quite ill with car sickness as it was up hill and down and around and about . . . to a person that gets ill on a swing, it was not very pleasant as lovely as the scenery was. After that day out, I learned to dose myself up with dramamine and subsequent journies were a lot more pleasant!
One of my favourite shows I love to watch over here is a little joy called Last of the Summer Wine. It's been showing on the telly over here since 1973 and is one of Britians most loved sitcoms, as well as longest running. The show centres around a trio of old men ,who have changed somewhat through the years, as actors have retired and or left this veil of existance. The men never seem to grow up and develop a unique perspective on their equally eccentric fellow townspeople through their youthful stunts. The cast has grown to include a variety of supporting characters, each contributing their own subplots to the show and often becoming unwillingly involved in the schemes of the trio. It's absolutely delightful.
It's not hard to imagine them sitting in their local cafe enjoying a thick slice of this lovely yorkshire treat spread with soft butter whilst drinking cups of hot and steaming tea . . . if one were to close their eyes, they could almost be there with them . . .
Makes one loaf, 10 servings
It is said that this loaf gets better with each day it ages. I can only imagine how tasty it is going to be in a couple of days time as it was most delicious today! This version makes a rather heavy loaf, moist and full of tasty spice. I have heard that this is a must on a cold winter's day.
2 cups flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 ounces ground oats
10 TBS butter
1/2 cup molasses (or dark treacle)
a generous 1/2 cup of soft light brown sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 170*C/340*F. Grease a large loaf tin, and then line it with some parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, spices, salt and soda. Whisk in the ground oats. Place the butter, treacle and molasses in a saucepan. heat until the butter melts and all are mixed well together. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and the beaten egg. Pour this mixture over the dry mixture and mix briskly together. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the paper. It is said that this gets better tasting as the days go on, and it will keep quite well, tightly covered for up to a week. (If you can keep it around that long and it is doubtful that you will!)