There’s a chill in the air, anything & everything woollen have been dug out of the deepest realms of the wardrobe & the countdown to that festive season truly begins (every part of me smiles at the thought). Every week my garden is slowly beginning to resemble a winter wonderland as the frost makes its return (great news for my camera, not so much for my morning routine as de-icing once again becomes a chore).
Life has been a bit busy of late, that’s not to say that my beloved kitchen has been left devoid of baked goods, but having recently taken on two new roles at work (just call me wonder woman), gallivanting to explore Germany & beginning my Christmas preparations (there are currently six Christmas cakes & two puddings maturing all around the house), I’ve found myself without the time to actually commit recipes to the blogosphere.
Worry not, I have a hard drive which is essentially loaded with food porn & my trusty purple recipe book is brimming with scraps of paper.
I’ve given in to the chill & fully embraced all things spiced. Cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg are my three best friends for the coming months. Gingerbread, buns, porridge, fruit cakes, biscuits, casseroles & crumbles.. hello comfort food!
One of my all time favourite uses of my three best friends is in a big, gloopy, steaming bowl of porridge. Not just for breakfast, porridge makes for the most fantastic comforting tea on a cold winters night (synonymous with evenings spent under a blanket, re-watching Battlestar Galactica in our house, anyone else miss Will Adama?).
For me, the perfect tea time porridge consists of oats, semi-skimmed milk, honey to sweeten, a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg & a sprinkle of sunflower seeds for texture (a true recipe for happiness).
As a baker, naturally I like to experiment & attempt to translate some of my favourite flavours & comforts into my baking. Based on my recipe for perfect porridge, there’s one cake that epitomises each wonderful element effortlessly… Parkin.
Unlike most cakes, Parkin is drier, dense & best left to its own devices before it’s ready to eat. It’s a type of gingerbread, traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes night here in the UK. It’s got that little kick of ginger to help beat those chills in the air. It could not be easier to make Parkin, the process is exactly the same as making any other type of gingerbread, a one bowl mixture (my favourite kind, saves on washing up).
So before the festive season truly takes over the kitchen, ease yourself back into spice laden foods & indulge in a square (or three) of Parkin.
(makes one 22cm square – around 16 pieces)
- 200g golden syrup
- 65g black treacle
- 100g butter
- 100g dark soft brown sugar
- 160g oatmeal
- 150g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp jumbo oats
- Grease & line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment
- In a large saucepan, melt together the golden syrup, treacle, butter & sugar
- Sift the flour, oatmeal, ginger & nutmeg into the saucepan
- Beat in the egg & milk to the mixture
- Pour the mixture into the tin & sprinkle over the jumbo oats
- Bake at 160°C for 1 1/4 hours
- Allow the cake to cool fully in its tin before cutting into squares
Pop the squares into a storage tin & forget about them for a few days (preferably a week if you have the will power), by which time the flavours will mingle & the cake develops its fantastic squidge.