East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

Cheesy chocs for Valentine’s Day…

Something a little different as a Valentine’s Day gift… Long Clawson dairy in the Vale of Belvoir, best known as makers of Stilton cheese, has produced a limited edition range of chocolate covered cheese especially for Valentine’s Day: white chocolate and Stilton with apricot, white chocolate and Stilton with blueberries, milk chocolate with aged Red Leicester, and dark chocolate with Blue Stilton. They have already sold out – but you can feast your eyes on the images at http://www.clawson.co.uk/products/savoury-blends/cheddarwithspicyfruitchutney.

You still have time to make the more traditional gift of Valentine buns, with caraway seeds, plums or raisins, or the gingerbread that was given as a gift in Uppingham. Here’s a recipe for the ’plum shuttles’ made more widely in Rutland for Valentine’s Day

Rutland Plum Shuttles

1 lb plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 oz butter

4 fl oz warm milk

2 fl oz warm water

1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg

8 oz currants

1/2 oz fresh yeast, or half tsp dried yeast

Sieve  the flour and salt into a bowl. Cream the yeast and sugar together, mix with the water, and allow to stand for about 20 minutes until frothy. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, and beat in the egg. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and salt and then mix in the currants, making a smooth dough. Knead well on a floured board and cover. Leave to rise for around 30 minutes until double in size, then knead the dough again. Divide the mixture into 12 pieces and shape each one into a small oval. Place them onto a greased baking tray, cover with a damp cloth, and leave them to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Brush with beaten egg, and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200°C, 400°F or gas Mark 6 for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you don’t feel like making your own, you could always try your luck at the ‘big house’ as the children in Belgrave near Leicester did in the 19th century, visiting Mrs Vann at the Hall on Valentine’s Day to sing a rhyme, ‘after which they were rewarded with pennies and buns’: 

Good Food Fair, Belgrave Hall Museum

‘If you’ve got a penny in your pocket

Slip it into mine.

We used to come at eight o’clock

But now we come at nine’. 

Or you could just go out and buy some cupcakes in the 21st century tradition. Here’s a sample from the Good Food Fair at Belgrave Hall Museum earlier this year… I’ll be giving a talk there on my MuBu researches next month – more of that later. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day in the meantime. You never know, some of those limited edition cheesy chocolates may be destined for you…

 
 

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A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.

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