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  • Writer's pictureMartin Castle

Tradition v flashy & modern

A sunnier day in all respects today. 

We were sitting looking at bee books this morning trying to work out how to proceed (we are new to bee-keeping and can't have visits from our mentors at present) when a delivery man drops a package outside and leaves. Inside a new bee book courtesy of Sherry and Dick - great timing guys and thank you very much. Having drilled lots of 1" diameter holes in the birch trunks last week Katayoun now wants me to fill them with bamboo sticks! At the back of my mind is the 'Hungry Wall' in Prague - a wall ordered to be built  along the Petřín Hill between 1360 and 1362 following a famine as a way of occupying the poor and hungry and giving them an income - and to stop them revolting. The wall had no real defensive capability but kept people occupied in a difficult time. There were roads to nowhere in 19th century in Ireland as a similar venture. So the recipe for today ... Near where we stay in the Lake District is the village of Grasmere (where William Wordsworth is buried), and it is also famous for gingerbread.. If I remember correctly, George and I got into a kind of gingerbread arms race. In George's effort note the overblown marketing in the title!

Grasmere from the air. Rydal Water top left & The Lion & the Lamb to the right of the village.

Me, I went for an old recipe from Tudor times. If I remember rightly (and I am whatever George says) mine was a triumph - no gimmicky marketing just 500 years of heritage!!! Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to test the recipes and report back. Hopefully this message will not self-destruct in 5 seconds!

The gingerbread shop in Grasmere


Gingerbread Extraordinaire

3 Cups of Plain Flour

½ Cup of Soft Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Bi-carbonate of Soda

1 Teaspoon of Salt

3 Teaspoons of Ginger (alter to taste)

A sprinkling of Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon of All Spice

½ Cup of Butter or Margarine

½ Cup of Golden Syrup

1 large egg

  1. Mix the dry ingredients first then add in the butter before the syrup and egg.

  2. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 ºC (160 ºC in a fan oven) for 8-15 minutes depending on thickness or until golden brown.

This recipe may only be reproduced with the express permission of George Castle plc. Unauthorised use will incur a grave curse upon your soul. © George Castle

Traditional gingerbread

1 lb. Honey with a flavoured flower blossom - the final product is affected by the flavour of the honey you choose.

Up to 1lb Bread Crumbs - up to a pound, maybe more, maybe less. These must be UNSEASONED bread crumbs, though either white or wheat, or a combination, is fine. Be sure that they are finely ground and not soft in any way.

up to 1tbsp ginger (optional!)

up to 1tbsp cinnamon.

up to ½ tsp ground white pepper -.

pinch saffron, if desired, but not important here

few drops red food colouring (optional)

Bring the honey to a boil and skim off any scum.

Keeping the pan over very low heat, add the spices, adjusting the quantities to suit your taste.

Add the food colouring "if you will have it red."

Then begin to slowly beat in the bread crumbs. Add just enough bread to achieve a thick, stiff, well-blended mass.

Remove from the heat and turn the mixture into a container or bowl to cool.

When cool, take a rolling pin & spread the gingerbread evenly out into a square shape, ½ to 1 inch thick.

Trim the edges with a knife, and then cut into small slices to serve.

Decorate with small leaves (real or candy) attached to each piece with a clove.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. - Julian of Norwich

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Unknown member
Apr 13, 2020

Why not give him the recipe and he can make it. You've got plenty of time to clean the kitchen ceiling!


Apr 13, 2020

Matthew really likes George's gingerbread so now I've got to make more.

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