Minty Lemon Iced Tea

Minty Lemon Iced Tea

Minty Lemon Iced Tea

A hot northerly wind has seen the mercury creeping over the 30º mark (that’s around 90ºF) this week and we can no longer ignore the rapidly approaching Summer. Something cool and refreshing for my Beloved, as he works his Arcane Interweb Voodoo (it’s hot and thirsty work you know!) and me as I toil in the newly renovated vegetable plot. Fortunately the mint has stopped sulking over it’s peremptory transplant and gone back to making escape plans with a view to World Domination†. Even more fortunately Bounce brought over a bucket or two of lemons. She also brought eggs and hopeful “Lemon Meringue Pie” hints, so I should get right on that .. as soon as I whip up something tasty to drink 🙂

Hasty Pudding (Apple Charlotte)

“.. I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal,
The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o’er my palate, and inspire my soul ..

.. Oh! could the smooth, the emblematic song
Flow like thy genial juices o’er my tongue ..

.. Not all the plate, how famed soe’er it be,
Can please my palate like a bowl of thee ..

.. The Charlotte brown, within whose crusty sides
A belly soft the pulpy apple hides .. ”

~ The Hasty Pudding;  J. Barlow 1796

 

Apple Charlotte

Hasty Pudding

There had been versions of “Hasty Pudding” around for a long time before an ambitious 18th century cook decided to score points with Royalty by (re)naming this hot, sweet and tasty dish in honour of the incumbent Queen. While poor King George III had the reputation of being a madman who talked to trees, his wife was known for her keen interest in more practical Botany. Queen Charlotte was apparently patron to many apple growers .. hence Apple Charlotte. Fast forward a few centuries into my kitchen and we find the Hasty Pudding served as a satisfying follow up to a Ragout or roast dinner .. or simply as a warm comfort on a cold night.

Hammy Potato Sauté

Bring a plate and knock their socks off

Bring a plate and knock their socks off

I found the original recipe for this in a magazine years ago. Delicious, but kind of greasy and .. well .. stodgy. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to hogtie and gag your inner health-monitor, throw it in a closet and just enjoy yourself. Fried is fun .. stodgy is not. Many, many experimental remakes later, extra steps have been added to the original throw-everything-into-hot-pan formula to drain as much oil as possible. You get also get crispier spuds if you triple cook, so the effort is worth it. We serve this at BBQs (and I often get asked to bring it to friends’ BBQs), with steak and salad, as an alternative to roast potatoes, or as stuff-the-diet comfort food on a cold day.

Lemon Cream Icing (with bite)

Lemon Cream Icing

Lemon Cream Icing

Here’s the icing I use for all sorts of Cakes and muffins. Carrot cake, Banana Cake, Bubble-Nut Banana Cake, even plain vanilla muffins, all get a dollop on the top.  Gingernut biscuits sandwiched together with Lemon Cream Icing .. magic. A boring chocolate sponge is transformed with a layer of sliced strawberries held together with generous blobs. I have even been known to use it as the cream layer in trifles.

Bubble-nut Banana Bread

Bubble-nut Banana Bread (loaf)

Bubble-nut Banana Bread (loaf)

Here’s a blast from my very distant past. Something Gran would make when the Clan had gathered and she had some very ripe bananas to use up. She would solemnly assign each of the children a task. Mash the bananas, cream the butter, grease the pan/s, stir the mixture, smooth everything off. We were each convinced that it was our own contribution that had produced perfection. I will never know how Gran kept a straight face as each of us bestowed benevolent smiles on the family as the loaf was being devoured. Come to think of it, I am very glad I never played poker with her 🙂