A Taste of the Good Old Days
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Retro recipes revisited
How Traditional Food can fill the hole.
When the world is shaky and we struggle to keep up with every change, we often turn to the past with wistful longing. We long for what we know and remember. What better than a taste of traditional food to fill the pit that our new normal has created?
For the past two years, the school holidays and the slew of public holidays in April have been a bit muted. We had very little to celebrate, and very few opportunities to do so.
2022 seems to be the year where things start to reach a hesitant equilibrium. Let’s embrace this by indulging in what used to bring us joy.
Taste Nostalgia with Traditional Food
This year we are seeing a trend towards vintage home design and an upsurge in early 2000s fashion. Consequently, one of the main foody trends for 2022 is Taste Nostalgia.
We’re talking hot puddings with custard, toast with strawberry jam and basic sarmies like ham and cheese.
After two daunting years, our taste buds have decided that they have had enough and are holding us hostage in the past! Not that we really care, mind you. So, this April, let’s stick to the purely traditional food, tried and tested comfort eats. No fusion, no new twist. Just retro revisited.
Traditional Food that Hits the Spot
One of the staples of a family feast at this time of year is always a roast leg of lamb.
There really isn’t much you can do to make a roast better. With salt, pepper and a bit of garlic, a good cut of lamb that’s been slowly baked until perfectly soft and tender is a showstopper in its own right.
Add some roasted potatoes and that’s basically all you need to celebrate traditional food for a Sunday feast with the family.
Also, don’t forget to do something with hardboiled eggs. Whether you devil them or grate them over potato salad, they are a staple of April celebrations. Even more simply – serve them as is with a pinch of salt and a generous helping of nostalgia.
X Marks the Spot
Easter Favourite Traditional Food
Another firm and classic favourite at this time of the year is a hot cross bun.
Who better to bring us her perfect retro recipe than the Fairy Godmother of Baking herself, Mary Berry? She is known for her dedication to traditional food. Her hot cross bun recipe, as it appears on the BBC Food website is nothing if not perfectly Classique!
This is Slow food at its best.
Take note though – this is a recipe that calls for time and patience. Set aside a Saturday morning, get everyone in the kitchen to help and make it a family affair.
You’ll have ample time for coffee and chats or even a bit of reading, as the total proof-time of the dough is more than three hours! Luckily the baking part is just slightly more than 15 minutes, so your buns will be done by teatime.
Mary Berry’s hot cross buns:
The what: traditional food
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- The finely grated zest of one whole lemon
- 10g salt
- 10g fast-action dried yeast
- 40g of real butter
- 300ml Full cream milk
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 200g sultanas
- 50g finely chopped mixed candied peel
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
For the topping: traditional food
The how: traditional food
Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.
- Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan.
- Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go.
- Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough. (You might not need all of the milk)
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and form a smooth ball. (The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.)
- Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
The next steps:
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knock back and knead for a further 5 minutes.
- Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for a further hour, or until doubled in size again.
- Turn the dough out again onto a floured surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces, shaping each of these into a ball.
- Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.
- Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns.
- Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C
- For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.
- When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays around halfway through if necessary.
- Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give them a nice shine.
Allow the buns to cool but eat them before they are completely cold. Smother them in butter and enjoy with a whole pot of your favourite tea. Just like the good old days!