Sunday came around once again! This week Jason and I have been housesitting for my sister whilst she and her little family are off soaking up some sun in Tenerife therefore the week has certainly been a hectic one. Between getting up and starting my usual 10 hour shifts I have had a true taster on what life is like as a working housewife (although I am not quite yet a wife and do not own a house – all in good time!) by squeezing in the cooking each night, washing, cleaning and generally finding bits and bobs everywhere that need moving or tidying away. It’s quite a tough life you know! Besides the duty of housekeeping we are making the most of the space we have together and have actually found some roles that suit us quite well. However, weekends are for family and we were off back to my house whereby my dad was expecting us so cooked a sunday lamb roast (with lashings of mint sauce!) for us to enjoy and my mum had spent the last few weeks in search of ‘Parkin’ ahead of bonfire night in different stores however had been unsuccessful in finding any therefore took it upon herself to make her own version the way my grandmother did for many years around this time of year. The day did involved one too many cooks in the kitchen at once between dad cooking dinner, mum baking and myself feeling inspired to make use of some old banana’s and baking my own cake however the outcome was amazing and we definitely returned to my sisters with a full belly, leftover cake and lamb sarnies for lunch the next day.
8oz. plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
8oz. medium oatmeal
6oz. black treacle
4oz. hard margarine
6oz. soft brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 pint of milk
Pre-heat the oven to 180° (conventional) or 160° (fan).
Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Many recipes will suggest you sieve these together however as long as I can remember, mum always just threw it together into the bowl and many a time didn’t even bother to weigh out her ingredients and its always tasted good to me!
Next, stir in your oats.
Place the margarine into a saucepan, add in the black treacle and brown sugar then turn on to a medium heat and stir occasionally until the margarine just melts, be careful not to let the mixture boil.
Carefully add the warm mixture from the saucepan into the centre of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and slowly introduce the beaten egg and milk whilst mixing slowly.
Beat until the mixture is smooth and poor into a shallow tin then bake for 1 hour until golden. For a best result, leave the parkin in a tin for 1 week and then spread with butter as my recommendation.
Alternatively, you could make use of your own leftover banana’s by crushing two banana’s into a large mixing bowl with 170g self raising flour, 170g caster sugar, 170g soft margarine, three eggs, a splash of vanilla extract and a handful of almonds, baked in a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 1 hour.
I love my home. It’s cosy and country with that ‘mum and dad’s house’ feeling. Our garden constantly has an on-going bonfire throughout the year whether it be made from old unwanted furniture, cut-down trees, leaves or just the whole street’s unwanted rubbish that my dads encouraged. Luckily we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by the natural english countryside and have space to burn matter without the worry of smoking out an estate (although we did have the fire brigade turn up one year) therefore I wouldn’t encourage casually lighting a bonfire in your own back garden though its surprising how effective a chiminea can be if you are considering creating space for one on those summer evenings! However, seeing as it was bonfire night last week, our next door neighbour had planned a late celebration to be held this weekend and made the perfect host in our back garden therefore after grabbing a bowl of chilli, nibbling homemade brownies and topping up our wine glasses, we headed to the bottom of the garden for the bonfire to be lit and a few fireworks to catch as we began chatting away for the rest of the evening wrapped up in woolly hats and sitting on my fathers handmade wooden sofas!
Until next time,