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Memories and Musings

By Cheri Sims
For the first time in many years, I have not seen any of the movies nor do I know many of the actors nominated or snubbed for the 2022 Oscars. Normally I would extol the virtues of my favorites, state surprise at those snubbed and encourage you to see my choices of the past year. Wow, that is at least two weeks worth of article writing and makes me wonder what I did with all the time I would have been going to the movies and researching public reaction to said movies.

As I am sitting here thinking about the above revelation my mind wandered to the Olympics. I would normally be glued to the TV, day and night, watching the USA team in their efforts to bring home the gold but I have found the coverage lacking and with too many commercials. I don’t know if I am watching censored material or the real thing. I have watched a couple documentaries on Shaun White who has competed admirable over the years in snowboard but this is his last year in the Olympics, he stated, and I have a gut wrenching fear of watching him compete in case  he crashes again. Again, as of this date, he has placed in the finals and I sure hope he and the team do well.

I did make a point to watch all the Super Bowl commercials on YouTube, prior to the game, but I did not watch the game. I thought the Budweiser commercial was great but, in my opinion, not quite as poignant as some of the past ones. You just can’t beat dogs and horses to pull the heartstrings, unless it is cats and I will never forget the “cat herding” commercial from years ago. My second choice is the Chevy truck commercial with Walter the cat. I am not a truck fan but Walter was so cute that I did watch the commercial a couple times. I can’t recall any of the other commercials; hummm, what does that say about all those million dollar commercials?

I have been interested in Queen Elizabeth and her 70 year Platinum celebration which began February 6. I admire her for her service to her country and find her abilities at the age of 95 amazing. I hope I can be as aware and present when I am her age. There have been multiple contests within the country to involve all citizens and the “pudding bake off” has been quite interesting to watch. Fortnum and Mason Department store has sponsored the “fit for a Queen” Platinum Pudding Competition and In England just about any dessert is called a pudding. Some of the competition videos are funny and some are so serious I worry about the participant. Dame Mary Berry (renowned British baker and author) will be among the judges of the competition. Can you imagine the honor of baking for your country’s head of state? I would be a wreck.

I found the Queen’s favorite banana bread recipe on “Allrecipes” courtesy of former palace chef Darren McGrady. Chef McGrady has a YouTube site and he has shared his recipe: “Banana bread is the most searched for recipe on the internet. Everyone has their own recipe and in this video I am sharing mine. The banana bread I cooked for The Queen”. He shares other British recipes as well as some of his own and his commentary about the Royals is quite interesting.

“The Conversation’’ (https://theconversation.com/platinum-pudding-a-history-of-desserts-with-royal-connections-175264),a British website states, “The jubilee pudding will not be the first recipe dedicated to Her Majesty.” Poulet Reine Elizabeth – better known as coronation chicken – was devised to mark her 1953 coronation and is now a familiar sandwich filling”, and “Victoria sponge is the most obvious cake or pudding named after a monarch. No sooner was she crowned than recipes began to circulate for “a cake which the confectioners have dignified with the name of  Victoria cake”.

I have made the Victoria cake and it is quite delicious and easy to make. It is simply a multi-layer sponge cake with jam between the layers and confectioner sugar sprinkled on top. The coffee girls have voted it one of their favorite Christmas desserts and I have served it many times over the years. The “Taste Atlas” web site (https://www.tasteatlas.com/most-popular-puddings-in-united-kingdom) lists the top seven British puddings and I have made all of them except the Eve’s Pudding:

Eve’s pudding is a flavorful British baked pudding consisting of a layer of apples topped with a Victoria sponge biscuit. The dish was originally made in the 19th century, while the first recipe dates back to a cookbook from 1823. 

Queen of puddings: is a traditional English dessert consisting of a custard with breadcrumbs soaked in milk, acting as a base, which is then topped with fruit jam and an airy meringue. 

Marmalade pudding: is a Scottish dish prepared with brown breadcrumbs, brown sugar, flour, butter, eggs, soda bicarbonate, and coarse-cut marmalade (homemade, if possible).

Cloot pudding: this traditional Scottish dessert, called either clootie or clootie dumpling, is a sweet pudding steamed in a cloot, meaning cloth. Clootie, is typically made with flour, breadcrumbs, dried fruit such as sultanas and currants, suet, sugar and spices, a little milk to bind it all together, and sometimes golden syrup.

Spotted Dick: is a traditional British sponge pudding made from a suet (mutton fat) pastry which is then sprinkled with a variety of dried fruits such as raisins or currants. Its flavor is slightly sweet since it is only flavored with a small amount of lemon juice.

Christmas pudding: is a staple dessert at every British Christmas dinner ever since its introduction by Prince Albert. Early versions contained meat such as beef or mutton, along with wine, onions, dried fruits, and warming spices. Today, Christmas pudding does not contain meat, but fruits, eggs, suet, molasses, and spices instead of it, and every family has their own recipe for this steamed treat.

I shall endeavor to make the Eves Pudding, the Banana Bread Pudding and the winner of the Platinum Jubilee pudding contest during this year.

The Original Buckingham Palace Banana Bread

(Thanks to Darren McGrady)

Ingredients 

* 8 ounces self-rising 

flour

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 4 ounces unsalted 

butter

* 6 ounces white sugar

* 4 ounces golden raisins

* 1 ounce chopped 

walnuts

* 2 ounces cherries

* 1 teaspoon vanilla bean 

paste (or pure vanilla

 extract)

* 2 eggs

* 1 pound ripe bananas

Directons

1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

2.   In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour and salt until only small pebbles remain. Mix in the sugar, walnuts, raisins, and cherries.

3.   Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl before combining with the eggs and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the center of the well and stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

4.   Pour into a prepared loaf pan, smooth out the top, and bake on the center rack for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Video available: https://www.allrecipes.com/article/buckingham-palace-queens-banana-bread/

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