Simply Simnel

As we approach the holidays, I am flipping through at least fifty English cookbooks to get the lowdown on Simnel Cake.  I know that it has long been associated with both Mothering Sunday (similar to North America’s Mother’s Day) and the Easter season.  Nevertheless, it is a relatively simple fruitcake, covered in the usual marzipan… Continue reading Simply Simnel

Clarissa Dickson Wright and the Art of Medieval Food

  The late Clarissa Dickson Wright is known to the English-speaking countries of the world as one of The Two Fat Ladies – the middle-aged motorcycling cooks who zipped around the English, Welsh and Irish countryside, one at the wheel of a Triumph Thunderbird, the other stuffed into the sidecar wearing what appeared to be… Continue reading Clarissa Dickson Wright and the Art of Medieval Food

Galangal – The Spice of Life

Mulahwajah* “Anything green that grew out of mould was an excellent herb to our fathers of old” So wrote Rudyard Kipling when describing the English medieval addiction to herbs and spices – the more exotic the better.  And surely there is none more exotic than Alpinia officinarum, or lesser Galangale, now simply known as galangal although,… Continue reading Galangal – The Spice of Life

Bringing up the Saffron

Pare saffron plot, forget it not.  His dwelling made trim, look shortly for him.  When harvest is gone, then saffron comes on.  A little of ground, Brings Saffron a Pound The history of saffron, that exotic spice of the Levant, spans three millennia, landing in England some time in the mid-14th century – although certainly there are… Continue reading Bringing up the Saffron