Good Morning, Sheep

P1040963I came downstairs at 6:30 this morning to find sheep at my front door. Somebody left a gate open last night, and it wasn’t me!

 

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Bosworth Jumbles

My not very elegant S-shapes.

My not very elegant S-shapes.

Welcome back to #TastyTuesday! It’s fortuitous that I stumbled on this recipe this week, as these cookies are alleged to have been King Richard III’s favorite. Richard, of course, is in the news this week, 500 years after his death, because his remains are being interred at Leicester Cathedral tomorrow after the discovery of his bones, two years ago, buried underneath a parking lot.

August 22nd, 1485, was a rather bad day for King Richard. He was fighting a battle at Bosworth field during the War of the Roses, aiming to maintain his family’s hold on the throne (Richard was from the House of York). Unfortunately for him, fate was against him. He dropped his crown and was unable to retrieve it, his cook lost the recipe for his favorite biscuits (cookies)–the Bosworth Jumbles– and later in the day he lost the battle–and his life–to the Earl of Richmond, who became Henry VII.

These cookies are quite simple to make and similar in taste and texture to perhaps a shortbread or American biscuit. I’ve seen recipes that call for the addition of lemon zest or almond flavoring, and I think they might benefit from the addition of a teaspoon of vanilla. Today, however, I made them just the way the cookbook told me to, though in Googling examples of Bosworth Jumbles I found far more elegantly made S-shapes than mine.

Bosworth Jumbles
Makes 12-15

6 ounces/.75 cups butter
1.25 ounces/25 grams sugar
2 eggs
2.25 cups/250 grams flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour and mix well. The mixture will be thick and crumbly.

3. Shape the dough into small S shapes and place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

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Hey Look! I’ve Been Interviewed!

It’s all about those 15 minutes of fame, right? I was recently interviewed over on the BlogExpat.com expatriate blogging community about my transition from life in the States to the UK. If you’re interested in learning more about me, check it out here. And thanks!

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Why I Love the British, Part 5

I’ve not added one of these posts for ages–shame on me, as there are so many reasons why I love the British, including the three I live with. This I found courtesy of Huffington Post, and it’s a quintessential dose of British humor.

TubePhotoThis photo was taken by butlertron64 and posted to imgur

 

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Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry-Banana Muffin on the plate my son decorated for Mother's Day

Blueberry-Banana Muffin on the plate my son decorated for Mother’s Day

I’ve pledged to share traditionally English recipes here on #TastyTuesday, but not this week, simply because I had some over-ripe bananas to use up yesterday and these muffins are my “go-to” recipe in such cases. They’re fairly healthy, without too much sugar, and my kids love them for breakfast. This is a recipe I’ve been making for so many years the cookbook automatically falls open to the correct page when I reach for it.

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins (or one 4″x8″ loaf)

2-3 very ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup oil or butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups whole wheat (wholemeal) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup wheat germ, oatmeal, or flaxseed
1/2 cup blueberries

*Feel free to add nuts or swap in raisins for the blueberries, if you like

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/375°F.

2. Mash bananas and mix them with the lemon juice until smooth. Cream the butter or oil and sugar together and add the banana mix, stirring well.

3. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in wheat germ, oatmeal or flaxseed. Add to the banana mix, stir well, then add in blueberries or nuts.

4. Place mixture into 12 muffin cases and bake for 12-15 minutes. If making a banana bread, you’ll likely need to bake the loaf for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

This recipe is from Laurel’s Kitchen Recipes, by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal.

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Wordless Wednesday

P1040402

Blue Rooster in Trafalgar Square–Art Installation

 

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Cottage Pie with Potato Topping

P1040953Yum! This recipe is a good one. It’s another one from Mary Berry’s newest cookbook, Mary Berry Cooks. The recipe is a bit labor intensive to make but the payoff is worth it. She recommends King Edward potatoes, but I just use any firm potato I have on hand.

Cottage Pie with Dauphinois Potato Topping

Serves 6-8

1 Tablespoon sunflower oil (I actually don’t use this)
900 g/2 lbs ground beef
2 onions, chopped
4 celery sticks, diced
50 g/2 oz/.25 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
250 ml/9 fl oz/1 cup red wine
300 ml/.5 pint/1 cup pint beef stock
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons light brown (muscovado) sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme
250 g/9 oz/.5 lbs small chestnut mushrooms, sliced
dash of gravy browning (optional)*
1.5 kg/3 lbs King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into 4mm (this converts to “very thin”–technically, 5/32nd of an inch) slices
150ml/ .25 pint/.5 cup pouring double cream**
100g/4 oz/ .5 cup strong Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. You will need a 2-litre/3.5-pint shallow ovenproof dish. Heat the oil, if using, in a large frying pan until hot. Fry the beef over a high heat until golden brown, stirring, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and celery to the pan and fry until beginning to soften. Return the beef to the pan.

2. Whisk the flour and wine (or water, if you prefer) together in a bowl to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the stock then add to the pan with the Worcestershire sauce, sugar and thyme. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened, then add the mushrooms and gravy browning, if using, and season. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, until the beef is tender, then check the seasoning.

3. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7/ 350°F. Cook the potato slices in boiling salted water for about 4-5 minutes, until they are just soft. Drain carefully in a colander and leave to cool a little. Don’t worry if the potatoes break up a little, as this will help them absorb the cream; if they are too hard they will be waxy and the cream will run off.

4. Put the cooked meat in the ovenproof dish. Arrange a layer of potatoes on top of the meat, then pour over half the cream. Arrange the remaining potato on top, seasoning between the layers, then pour over the remaining cream and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbling.

*I had never heard of gravy browning before I came across this recipe, and I still have no idea what it is–so I don’t use it. I also don’t use the mushrooms, as I’m the only one in the family who eats them.

**The best equivalent to double cream in the US is probably unwhipped whipping cream. Double cream, in the UK, is what we use if we’re making whipped cream, though it’s at least 48% butterfat–I don’t think whipping cream has a fat content that high in the US.
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