Curing the Homesick Blues with Ostrich Nuts

12 April 2015

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What a simply perfect weekend!

I have been desperately missing the pleasure of cooking just recently, so while most the Kwantu volunteers spent their weekend in Jeffers Bay, and the remaining two (George and Heather, husband and wife from Canada) stayed in a nice hotel in Port Elizabeth, I took advantage of being the only person remaining in Port Elizabeth’s Albeit Lodge Hostel and decided to commandeer the hostel’s apparently untouched kitchen.

When I say untouched, I don’t mean something new and sparkling… I’m actually using a very polite term for something else altogether.

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Feas Pudn

Your Village Needs You

Today was a grand day in the village of Long Buckby- the Annual Buckby Feast! Despite this apparently going on for the last 100 years, I only really became aware of it when the challenge to make the traditional “Feas Pudn” was posted through my door- a challenge I quickly accepted.

The making of the Feas Pudn carries with it a strict set of guidelines. Here’s a copy of the lark that was posted…

BUCKBY FEAS PUDN- HISTORY AND HINTS

No, it’s not a typo! We’ve reverted back to the original name in old Buckby language! Feas Pudn is an old country recipe made by country people with ingredients found in houses or specially bought for the Buckby Feast. People would return home for the celebrations and eat as much pudding as was offered while visiting family and friends!

Here are some helpful hints (and a bit of history) to help you make your Feas Pudn.

  • BREAD – was proper bread. Our sliced cotton woolly type didn’t exist, thank goodness, and will NOT get a successful result. Adams white or brown, or any homemade white or brown will be suitable.
  • SUET – vegetable or reduced fat did not exist. Please use beef suet (other fats are not suitable).
  • DRIED FRUIT – currants, sultanas, raisins (these were called dark sultanas as distinct from light ones). Glace cherries did not exist- DO NOT USE THEM
  • CANDIED PEEL –  Was homemade- orange and lemon. Ready prepared is quite suitable.
  • EGGS – Were not size graded so medium or large can be used. Too large or too small are not a good idea! Hens eggs, duck eggs etc- as you please!
  • MILK – Was full fat but using semi-skimmed does not affect the recipe, using skimmed however might!
  • MIXED SPICE Use basic cake spice and/or nutmeg. Please be generous with it as the taste should be noticeable. Many other spices were not available then.
  • SUGAR – Can be white or light brown.
  • The bread should be torn or rubbed by hand. No one had processors, though coarse graters were sometimes used. It is soaked overnight in milk/water and must look very well wetted!
  • The mixture will be very runny and lumpy when all the ingredients are mixed in before baking.
  • The Pudn was cooked in eartenware bowls, 2 – 2 1/2 pint size kept especially for the purpose and used only at Feast Times. If you have something like this, use it. Failing this, an oblong Pyrex dish, a lasagne dish, a roasting tin or even a thick 8″ diameter tin would do. Pudding basins are NOT to be used. Whatever the container you use, grease it very well. It can be lined with greaseproof paper as well, as this helps when turning out the pudding.

People took their puddings to be cooked overnight at the bakehouses- the Co-op in Church Street, Palmers in King Street, or Bob Clarke’s in Brington Road. This was done after the bread had been baked and the oven was still hot but embers starting to cool. This was still being done at the end of the 1940s.

Well, needless to say, after that delightful little read, I was ready for action! Step one. Bread…

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