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Essentially England News, February 2010 - Peculiar Puddings and English Music
February 28, 2010

Peculiar Puddings and English Music

A cheerful welcome to everyone who subscribed to Essentially England News during the last month! Here you'll find England news, site news, travel tips, reviews and our Recipe of the Month, all in one easy-to-digest email.

February Ė dank, cold and dark Ė is the month I like the least and this year it fulfilled all the non-expectations perfectly. Not only was is cold and dark and rainy, we also got more snow than was really necessary for England Ė and more ice than is necessary for any winter.

The one bright highlight in the month was the wonderful smell of bitter oranges and cooking marmalade. I tried making Oxford marmalade for the first time Ė add fresh ginger, apples and bananas to your oranges Ė but Iím not sure about the end result. Yes, itís tasty, but I think I prefer the clean, unembellished orange taste.

What's New at Essentially England?

As promised last month, Iíve added more holiday cottages and a few chic hotels.

My other news this month has nothing to do with hotels or going away. Instead itís all about music.

Whenever Iím indulging in a major cooking spree I mix myself a kitchen soundtrack. (What did I do before Apple invented the ipod?). This time I was in need of uplifting and relaxing vibes, so Mike Oldfield made my playlist, along with Lesley Garrett, the Mediaeval Baebes, Alexandre Desplatís New Moon soundtrack and all my Libera albums.

Liberaís fifth album, Peace, is due out in just a few days Ė just in time for Motherís Day Ė and here is a sneak preview just for you.

Travel Tips and Reviews

Most people I know donít spend their whole holiday in a hotel, but weekend breaks are very popular. So these romantic hideaways Iíve just added might just give you a few ideas for a weekend away with your other half Ė or even as a treat for your mum on Motherís Day.

And for the history enthusiasts, Iíve just realised that there are several castles in England where you can stay in true romance and style, so look out for a page on castle hotels.

Fairs, Festivals and Things to Do

Food festivals are still thin on the ground in March, but if youíre in London during the last weekend in March, check out the Chocolate Festival at the Southbank Centre. Just in time for Easter! And just in time to lose the winter blues.

Recipe of the Month - Delaville Pudding

Iíve no idea where this pudding got its name Ö I assume itís some Victorian cookís take on a dish eaten during a trip to France. Neither is it really a pudding. Itís more of a tart. So you could serve it after Sunday lunch or any day of the week at teatime.

Delaville Pudding (or tart) plays on my love of all things citrussy, so it sits nicely as Februaryís recipe of the month. Itís one of those old recipes that assumes everyone reading it knows how to cook. So quantities are vague and baking instructions are vaguer.

If you feel in the mood to experiment, youíll need a flan dish (8in / 20cm across) and enough puff pastry to line it. You might want to blind bake your pastry case for a crispy crust Ė even though the original recipe does not specify that.

Cover the bottom of you pastry case with finely sliced candied peel. You want about 1-2 oz. (25 - 50g) each of lemon, orange and lime peel.

Melt 6oz (150g) unsalted butter in a thick-bottomed pan over a low heat. Donít let it burn. When the butter is all liquid, beat in 6oz (150g) fine white caster sugar until dissolved. Keep the heat very low!

Take the pan off the heat and leave the butter and sugar mix to cool for a couple of minutes. Now gradually beat in four egg yolks and whisk until the mixture becomes really thick. Do this well away from the heat or youíll end up with sweet scrambled eggs.

Set your oven to low (gas 3 or something like this), pour the mixture over the candied peel in your pastry case and bake until set. This should take about 40-45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with some greaseproof paper.

Leave to cool and enjoy!

And Next Month Ö

Since I often get asked, Iíve a mind to dive more deeply into English music. Look out for my favourite composers, bands and albums.

Thereís so much wonderful music in Englandís past and present that I canít possibly review it all. So Iím thinking of throwing this open so all visitors to the site can share their own favourites. What do you reckon?

Until then, keep well and think of EnglandÖ

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