Olde English Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding2

Ingredients:

4oz plain flour

2oz breadcrumbs

4oz shredded suet

4oz brown sugar

4oz grated apple

1 grated carrot

4oz mixed fruit peel (candied peel)

3 eggs

4oz currants

8oz raisins

4oz sultanas

2oz chopped dried apricots

4oz blanched chopped almonds

1 lemon – grated rind and juice

1 tablespoon treacle

1/4 pint beer or milk

2 tablespoons brandy

1 teaspoon mixed spice

I teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

pinch of salt

nub of butter for greasing pudding bowl

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir thoroughly.  Cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Grease a large pudding bowl.  Add the mixture and press down well.  Cover with pleated greaseproof paper (allowing the pudding to rise and expand) held in place with an elastic band.

3. Place in a steamer and boil for  6-8 hours until the center is cooked through.  Remove wet paper.

4. When the pudding is completely cold wrap in cling-film and store in an airtight container.

To Serve On Christmas Day:

1/4 cup brandy for firing

1 pint whipped thick fresh cream

 

5. Turn out pudding on to a microwave-safe plate.  Heat (full power) in a microwave for 3-4 minutes until steaming.  Place on dining table.

6. Pour over brandy.  Carefully set the alcohol alight with a long match to flavor the pudding.

7. When the brandy burns out the pudding is ready to slice.

8. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

(Photo: Public Domain)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Return Of The Druid

Return of the Druid


In the days of old they called us
the Wise Women
and begged our aid
when the world beat against them.
The Druids crowned us
High Priestesses –
we raised storms to keep
the invaders at bay.
Dancers span spells
and wrought powerful potions,
bringing new life into being
and healing ill.
We brewed roots, bark, plants and
poisoned berries
and sang to claim the winds and wilds.

Then the clergy spoke and made
all the Cunning
into Heretics,
ostracized from the Divine.
We terrified them
and were ground down
under the boot of
the cruel Inquisition.
We became Witches
and the burnings began.
But we never honored Satan –
only nature.
Yet those put to question
still gave up
their friends to fire and gallows.

We now roam the land as Vagabonds
telling futures
and changing luck.
Skilled eyes that can pierce through the veil
will be Clairvoyants,
mastering the spirit world.
When doctors and science
fail to tame the feral –
they will label us mad and
damaged Hysterics.
Yet healers always find new ways
to combat superstition.
And when faith returns
I know Wise Women
will ride the moon once again.

(Kit Perriman)


(Pictures:
Wilhelm Kotabinski
John William Waterhouse
Evelyn Nesbit)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Olde English Flapjack

English Flapjack

Olde English Flapjack

Ingredients:

8oz butter

4oz sugar

 4 big tablespoons of Lyle’s Golden Syrup

1lb porridge oats

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 250 / 130 / gas 1.

2. Grease a 8″x 8″x 2″ metal baking pan with a nub of the butter.

3. In a large pan stir the remaining butter, sugar, and syrup on a stovetop over a low heat.

4. Add the oats and salt.  Stir well.

5. Press the mixture evenly into a greased baking pan.

6.  Cook in low oven for 1 hour 30 minutes until the side are slightly brown

(the middle will seem uncooked).

7. Remove from the oven.  Cut into 12 pieces. Leave inside the pan until cold.

Do not overcook!  The best flapjack is moist, buttery, and chewy.

(Photo: Public Domain)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Kit’s Crit: The Wise Woman (Philippa Gregory)

Gregory

The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory

This historical fiction begins in 1540 and follows the tragic life of seventeen-year-old Alys, a young peasant girl in Tudor England.  Alys grew up on the moor with a harsh foster-mother called Morach, the local wise woman.  But turning her back on superstition and the pagan arts, Alys decides to join a nunnery.  For a time she finds contentment in this orderly sanctuary.  She enjoys the rigid structure, comparative luxury, and the safety afforded to the Holy Sisters.

But Alys happiness is short lived.  One night the monastery burns to the ground, a casualty of King Henry’s Reformation, and the young woman is summoned to the local castle to work as a scribe for the ailing lord of the manor.   Here she falls in love with his married son and heir, Lord Hugo.  She grows intently jealous of the Lady Catherine, and seeks to replace her in Hugo’s bed.  Calling on all the cunning tricks she recalls from living with Morach, Alys devises a difficult, disturbing plot to gain her heart’s desire.  At this point the novel slips into magical realism.

Gregory’s story has many Faustian overtones.  Alys conjures up the powers of darkness to possess the man she fixates on, aware that her actions are prompted by self-promotion rather than genuine love.  By the end of the book the Wise Woman is exposed as self-centered, unlikable, and evil – and therefore she meets with a hellish end.

The Wise Woman can also be read as a morality tale.  Although Alys is a victim of historical circumstance, feudalism, and gender, she serves as a warning against forbidden love and obsession.  She tries to take the rightful place of another woman – a place where she can never truly belong.  Alys discovers she has the power to unleash terrible things on the world, but by the time she realizes she has little control over them, it is too late to go back.  She sinks further and further into witchcraft.

I enjoyed the atmospheric setting of Gregory’s novel, and not expecting to sympathize with the central characters I was pleased to find them portrayed in a refreshingly honest way – warts and all!  The historical research is sound and convincing, and any book set in the medieval era must acknowledge the common superstitious beliefs of that time.

This is not a feel-good story.  It suggests everything in Alys’ world is a sham – magic, life, love, faith, and family.  But one of the great joys of reading is the ability to close the book at any point and find yourself back in the twenty-first century!

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Shape-shifting

A shape-shifting spell from the Scottish wise woman, Isobel Gowdie:

I shall go into a hare,

With sorrow, and sigh, and much care;

And I shall go in the Devil’s name,

Aye while I come home again.

I shall go into a cat,

With sorrow, and sigh, and sudden pain!

And I shall go in the Devil’s name,

Aye while I come home again

I shall go into a crow,

With sorrow, and sigh, and convulsion!

And I shall go in the Devil’s name,

Aye while I come home again.

Shape-shifter

Adapted from Joyce Froome’s book, Wicked Enchantments (Lancaster: Carnegie, 2010)

(Picture: Public Domain)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Put to Question: The Strappado

Put To Question: The Stappado

Torture was banned under English Law except in certain circumstances,
but some unfortunates fell prey to The Strappado:

“They tied my hands behind my back. Then they hung me from a door. It feels like they are stretching you from all sides. My torso was twisted and my shoulders were dislocated from their joints from time to time. The pain cannot be described. The [Inquisitor] was shouting, ‘Confess or you will die here’.”

(Confession: Public Domain Records)

(Drawing: Public Domain)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved

Put to Question: Pressing

Put To Question: Pressing

Torture was not allowed under English law unless by royal decree –
but some folk still got pressed to death by the peine forte et dure!

“he will lie upon his back, with his head covered and his feet, and one arm will be drawn to one quarter of the house with a cord, and the other arm to another quarter, and in the same manner it will be done with his legs; and let there be laid upon his body iron and stone, as much as he can bear, or more.”

(Confession: Public Domain Records)

(Drawing: Public Domain)

Copyright © 2021 | KitPerriman.com | All Rights Reserved