Lavender and Lovage - Rural Store Cupboard Supplies
Welcome to our Guest Blogger for November; the lovely Karen Burns-Booth author of the award winning blog Lavender and lovage.
Karen Burns-Booth is a creative freelance food writer and blogger with a passion for local and seasonal produce. Her love of seasonal food and recipes stems from her rural childhood. Lavenderandlovage.com is currently ranked number one food blog*. Karen creates all her own recipes, shares her time between running a cookery school in the South of France and her home in the English countryside and is a regular contributor to on-line food, travel and tourism websites.
She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook and has already published a regional cookbook in conjunction with Hereford Cathedral, as well as appearing on local radio and television.
Rural Store Cupboard Supplies, Sepia Saturday and Milk Fadge: Emergency Bread (No Yeast) Recipe
I am known for my large store cupboard, larder, pantry and multiple freezers; whilst many people are embracing a minimalist lifestyle, and are madly de-cluttering their homes, as is the new trend, I am firmly resisting such a measure, well, on the food and kitchen front anyway, although I am sure my magazines need thinning out soon! It’s not that my home is excessively cluttered, although that may be a matter of opinion, it’s just that I live in a rural location with the nearest shops and post office being several miles away; and, those are small local news agents shops, not large supermarkets. I am very lucky that the nearest farm shop (which is excellent) is only two miles away, but again, two miles away when there’s a howling gale or two foot of snow is two miles too far. So, my back up stores are more excessive than my “townie” friends, who frequently marvel at my tins and jars whilst mockingly calling my store cupboard “Arkrights” ( taken from the sit-com BBC “Open All Hours” starring Ronnie Barker).
When you live in a rural location, it’s so important to have back-up stores - something that people who live in towns tend to forget. And my back up stores are pretty much what most people’s basic store cupboard might be, but with a little extra! I cannot live without my freezers, and they are a boon when the weather gets bad and we get snowed in, or even when the car fails its MOT…….yes, we won’t go there right now. I thought it might be handy to list what I find invaluable to have in my pantry, it’s not a definitive list by any means, and I am sure I will forget lots of things, but nevertheless, it’s my basic back-up of stores needed for living in the country.
The Rural Larder & Pantry:
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Tinned kidney beans
- Tinned sweetcorn
- Tinned tuna
- Tinned salmon
- Baked beans
- Custard powder
- Assorted jams (Usually home-made)
- Assorted chutney and pickles/relishes (Usually home-made)
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Soy sauce
- Porridge oats
- Assorted stock cubes
- Tinned fruit
- Tea and coffee
- Lentils & assorted pulses
- Tomato puree
- Sugar – white, light brown & dark brown
- Flour – plain white, self-raising white, plain wholemeal
- Bread Flour – assorted types
- Yeast – dried quick action
- Pasta – assorted packets
- Cooking oil (Olive oil and rapeseed oil)
- Vinegar (malt and wine vinegar)
- Lemon juice
- Golden syrup & black treacle
- Dried mixed fruit
- Condensed milk & evaporated milk
- Mustard powder
- Salad Cream
- Salt & pepper
- Dried milk powder
- Assorted Dried Herbs & Spices (Such as: Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Bay, Cumin, Coriander, Ginger, Mixed Spice are essential)
- Curry Powders
- Fresh garlic
The Rural Fridge and Freezer:
- Whole chicken & chicken portions
- Fish fingers
- Minced beef
- Home-made pies and casseroles etc
- Chops (Lamb and Pork)
- Oven Chips for emergencies!
- Eggs – my own free-range eggs (I have hens)
- Cheddar cheese – Mature, great for cooking
- Parmesan cheese or similar hard Italian cheese
- Stork margarine or other cooking fat
- Trex – white vegetable fat
As I mentioned before, the list is by no means definitive, but with a back-up store like that, you can cook and bake all manner of tasty family meals such as: cakes, biscuits, pies, tarts, casseroles, Spag Bol, curries, breakfasts, on toast supper dishes, Toad-in-the Hole, a Sunday roast, cottage pie, steamed puddings, cold desserts, soups, stew and dumplings, scones, pancakes, sandwiches and toasties, fish cakes, salads, flans and pasta bakes…..the list is endless! But even with a list such as this, I can be let down, so when I realised I had no fresh yeast today I reached for a packet of dried yeast, only to find that my storage skills had been sadly lacking, as the box was dated March 2011 and was out of date! I don’t like to take the risk with out of date yeast, as if it doesn’t work, you have wasted all your precious bread ingredients. There was only one thing for it, make my mum’s old stand by emergency bread recipe, Milk Fadge, which appears in nearly all of the Be-Ro cookbooks going right back to the 1930′s and is a very nice bread, despite being made with no yeast.
This recipe makes a lovely textured bread, and slices well once it is cold, making it perfect for sandwiches and toast – we used to love it when we were little, my sister and I – I remember sitting at the tea time table with big chunks of this bread, still warm spread with melted butter and freshly boiled eggs. It was very popular during the war too, as an easy bread to make when there was no yeast available and very little fat in the rations. You CAN make this bread with NO fat added, but, the texture will be much heavier and more “pudding-like”. As it is, it only uses 50g of fat to 450g of flour. I made a batch today and served it for lunch with some cheese and salad……the other half of the fadge is being saved for tonight’s tea, which is home-made soup. It makes a perfect Sepia Saturday bake, as well as a fabulous Rural Emergency Bread too!
Time to go now, I hope you have enjoyed my Sepia Saturday Rural Ramblings……before I share my recipe, I want to share a link to a fabulous website, Rural Mums, a wonderful site JUST for rural folk, with recipes (some of mine are featured), competitions, community forums, country events, British gifts, kitchen garden, country garden and much more…….see you tomorrow with two FABULOUS Bonfire recipes……have a great Saturday, Karen
Milk Fadge: Emergency Bread (No Yeast)
4 to 6
- 450g (1lb) Self-Raising Flour (I used Be-Ro)
- 50g (2ozs) Margarine or White Vegetable Fat (or 25g of each)
- 300mls (1/2 pint) Milk
- Salt to taste
A simple no-yeast quick bread that has a nice crumb and texture, due to a little fat being added to the dough. This makes a perfect emergency stand-by bread and can be sliced once cold for sandwiches and toast. Add seasonings of your choice, I sometimes add dried herbs and a little grated cheese. Perfect when served with stews, casseroles and soups.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease a baking tray or line it with greaseproof paper.
Add some salt to the flour and mix well, before rubbing in the fat with your fingertips, until it is all rubbed in to the flour.
Add the mill and with your hands bring the dough together; knead for 1 to 2 minutes and then shape on a floured board, into a large round. Cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife, glaze with a little milk and bake for 20 to 30 minute, or until risen, golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath.
Allow to cool on a wire rack and serve warm with butter. Can be sliced (for sandwiches and toast) once it is cold, and is better eaten on the same day, although it toasts well the next day.
Serve as part of supper, breakfast or tea; also goes well with stews, soups and casseroles.