It’s been years since I ate porridge regularly for breakfast. Lumpy and overboiled, it was always a one of the foods that I hated as a child – unless it was made in the Aga at Oldcastletown by my grandfather. Put into the bottom oven the previous night, his porridge was one of the highlights if we stayed overnight.
My mother makes the best scones. There’s always a carton of cream souring in the fridge to add lightness to the eventual product, which, when I come home, are often piled high on the wire rack to cool, large, golden and flecked with sultanas. They’re the kind of scones that you can’t resist eating warm from the oven, with plenty of melting butter…
When I was a kid, Bread and Butter Pudding was the desert that we all loved. I wasn’t too impressed with other traditional milk puddings like Farola or semolina and often would walk away from the dinner table with my pockets full of secreted spoonfuls rather than actually eat a bowl of the insipid stuff.
As I’m still buying about two kilos of apples a week – I never can resist those markets – I decided, after my success with the French Apple Cake, that it was time to chance an Irish version. I turned to Clare Connery’s Irish Cooking for inspiration and took her version of White Soda Bread as my base.
Ginger is big business in New Zealand. Whether it’s the pieces of ginger slice available in every café and bakery, gingernut biscuits beloved by the boyfriend’s parents, the many brands of commonly available ginger beer (not in the least bit like the insipid ginger ale mixer common in Irish bars) – the best of which is always a hotly debated topic of contention in the boyfriend’s household – or Ginger Bear sweets (like gummy bears, but with a ginger kick) it seems like the Kiwis just can’t get enough ginger.
One of the birthday presents that came from a very thoughtful friend in Ireland was a very welcome book of Irish Cooking by Clare Connery. While this was a book that I might not have ever noticed in bookshops in Ireland, having several Irish cookery books already, here in New Zealand it is a pure treasure.
I’ve been temping lately and Friday was my last day of work in a lovely office so I decided to make some queencakes aka buns aka muffins aka cupcakes aka fairycakes (take your pick!) to bring in for morning tea.