What a delightful theme we have this week for #SundaySupper – Hometown Recipes, hosted by Coleen of The Redhead Baker. I can’t wait to learn about the culinary hometown traditions from different parts of the world! I’m so glad that I can call Yorkshire home, so I’m sharing a twist on parkin – a classic cake from this part of the world.
Sheffield in Yorkshire is a pretty special place. It has some kind of magnetic draw which keeps people here. Like many people, I came here for university, and fell in love. I spent a few years away once I graduated, but I kept going back to visit friends, until finally, I gave into the inevitable, and came back to live. It has a reputation as an industrial city, and it’s true that it’s a city proud of its steelworks heritage, but it’s also the greenest city in the UK, with a third of it contained within a national park. I live a 15-minute drive from the dramatic beauty of the Peak District, yet I can still walk into the city centre. It’s a big city by British standards, but people know each other, and it’s the kind of place where old traditions stay.
If you don’t know much about Yorkshire, there are a few things to understand. It’s fiercely independent – during the fever about the Scottish referendum, there were serious proposals for a Yorkshire referendum too (yes, really). It’s a place of beautiful natural landscapes, urban might, and a unique dialect, where the words ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ are still very much in use. We’ve no time up here for pretentious trends, which means that the food is down-to-earth and wholesome. Stout meat pies, Sunday roasts (with Yorkshire puddings, of course), and Sheffield-made Henderson’s Relish is what it’s all about.
Parkin is a Yorkshire cake usually made for bonfire night, but you can buy it at markets throughout the cold, winter months. Traditionally, it’s made with a load of treacle (molasses), giving it a rich, dark colour. It’s the kind of cake you can imagine ramblers taking to fortify them on a wild, blustery walk on the moors.
I’ve adapted the traditional recipe somewhat (which is probably sacrilege),but even just looking at a traditional recipe for parkin is enough to make your teeth fall out. Most call for 200 grams of treacle, plus at least 150g of golden syrup, plus a considerable amount of sugar. Now, I have a sweet tooth, but even I can’t cope with that. I’m also not the biggest fan of treacle, so I’ve made a lighter, brighter version and added a pear topping. It’s still gingery, and made with plenty of rolled oats, so it’s got that parkin texture – somewhere between cake and flapjack.
Feel free to add treacle if you want, especially for that bonfire flavour. But this is my homage to Yorkshire – and it’s a parkin that would go down well in the springtime too.
Now see what else is cooking in other hometowns in the #SundaySupper world!
Appetizers and Snacks
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