|This recipe is gorgeous, you must make it. (No false modesty here)|
As a child, I hated museums/galleries/monuments/insert boring cultural type place here.
And I really hated the way adults sounded so amazed at what they were seeing. (It was clearly just an act to get me interested.) *Eye roll*
But see me last week catching the train to London with my brood.
It is time, I declared to myself, that the children know a bit about the capital city. I planned to spend five minutes in the National Portrait Gallery with 20 minutes squealing at the pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
But my second daughter had other ideas.
"Oh let's go to the Tower of London!" she exclaimed. "I've always wanted to go! Apparently Anne Boleyn carved her initials into the wall!"
For a minute I thought she was taking the piss. Was she really interested in going to a museum?
Seriously? You want to go to a museum?
It was a warm, sunny day as we hit London Town and posed for photos with Tower Bridge in the background. But how would it be inside the tower?
Why did no-one tell me?
It was AMAZING! Like a town within a town! All cobbledy streets and beautiful buildings and the stuff you can learn? Bloody brilliant.
We loved it! (Well, most of us)
Three of my four children shared the enthusiasm. My son? Not so much.
His favourite bit of the Crown Jewels? The moving walkway next to the display cases.
No matter that we were looking at a spoon from the twelfth century, ("The 12th Century kids! That's incredible!") or a ceremonial (gold) punch bowl that holds 144 bottles of wine, ("Wow! Look at the intricate details!") he spent his time annoying tourists by playing on the escalator thingy.
The Yeoman Warders, Princes in the Tower and Guy Fawkes
We spent five hours at the Tower and I learnt TONS of stuff. The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) who live within the tower walls told us that when the tourists have gone home, they have the run of the Tower. My kids were soooo jealous, hide and seek on the ramparts anyone?
In the Bloody Tower (yes, that did make us snigger), we had a go at guessing who murdered the princes and although we hunted for Anne's graffiti, we couldn't find it.
It was one of my best days, ever! I have definitely turned into a grown up because I did that squealing, amazed voice that I used to hate so much when I was a kid.
And we discovered that Guy Fawkes was held at the tower before getting his comeuppance in 1606.
So Guy, I dedicate this one to you, to the Yeoman Warders at the tower and to my fab daughter who insisted on going to the Tower of London!
|Squidgy, moist, fragrant... a 'must bake' for Autumn|
Pear and ginger upside-down pudding
These are perfect flavours for Bonfire Night, Halloween and Autumn in general. The black treacle is as black as Guy Fawkes' heart and adds a menacing, earthy taste. Or something like that. You'll need a hand whisk/kitchenAid/massive biceps for this recipe.
3 large pears
agave syrup for drizzling
165g dairy free margarine
140g dark brown sugar or muscovado sugar
30g stem ginger, chopped
115g black treacle
115g golden syrup (or honey or agave syrup)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsps ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
3 tsps of Orgran no egg, egg replacer
¼ tsp xanthan gum
enough rice milk/milk to give a soft consistency (approximately 50 ml)
- Grease and line a 25 cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper
- Peel and core the pears and chop into slim chunks and place into the base of the cake tin. Drizzle over a little agave syrup
- Preheat oven to 180°Celsius
- If using the egg replacer, place the no egg and xanthan gum into a small bowl and add enough rice milk to make a soft paste. It might be quite thick and gloopy, so you'll need a mini whisk to annihilate the lumps
- Place the treacle, golden syrup, sugar and margarine into a bowl and soften in the microwave (or slightly melt in a pan). Add the chopped ginger
- Using a hand whisk/KitchenAid/your massive biceps, whisk the egg replacing mix into the melted mixture. Try to get out the lumps, but don't stress too much if you can't. If you're using eggs, it's a lot easier, just whisk them in
- Add the flour and spices and mix until there are no lumps. You might have to add a little rice milk to get a soft mixture; this is quite a runny mixture
- Pour the mixture over the pears and bake in the oven for about 30-40 mins until the sponge has risen and is springy to the touch
- Leave to cool in the turn and then turn out onto your serving plate
- Serve with dairy free cream, custard or the fabulous lemon ice cream from Bessant and Drury
- And book your tickets for a trip to the Tower of London, it's well worth it :-)