Friday, 27 April 2012

Heading North - and a family recipe for Ginger Shortbread

So this evening after tea I am going to pack the dog and the kids in the car and head North to visit Allotment Junkie, Grumpy and, more importantly my brother and his family, who are over from Tanzania for a few weeks. They were all at ours last weekend for my birthday, but it was complete chaos, and we didn’t really get much ‘quality time’ together. The thought of braving the M1 on a Friday night fills me with fear and dread, but the opportunity to see my brother and his wife and kids is one that I can’t pass up. They live so far away – we haven’t made it out there yet, and I am well aware that as their kids grow up, I need to take every chance I can to see them– these are the kids who make funny grunting noises when they see sheep – they don’t see sheep that often, but hippos, on the other hand – 10 a penny. Hippos grunt. Hence the noise. It makes me realise quite how different their life is to ours...
sheep? or hippo?

Anyway, enough of that. I don’t actually get back to Yorkshire that often, and if we do, it’s usually a fleeting visit to dump Blue and Pink while we go and do something else. More frequently, though, Allotment Junkie and Grumpy come to us. So I am looking forward to spending 2 nights in my old bedroom. We will undoubtedly visit the National Railway Museum in York, and have a roast dinner on Sunday that I will eat far too much of. Just like always. The Husband has scout things to do so he is home alone. I have seen a double pack of bacon, which he thinks he's hidden, at the back of the fridge...

I have been feeling quite nostalgic recently, seeing all my old friends at my birthday party. Maybe it’s something to do with hitting that ‘40’ milestone. Who knows.

OK, so maybe mine didn't look quite like this...
I made Florentines for my birthday tea. When mum saw them, she commented that they had been a speciality of my great aunt ‘Narty’. It made me come over all peculiar to think that I had had an urge to make them for my 40th. I’m not suggesting anything wierd was going on, just that it gave me a strong feeling of being linked back to my family in its wider sense. Mum, Allotment Junkie, has also made 2 trays of ginger shortbread for the big day. This is a family recipe, also from Narty, and I thought I would share the recipe. You can tell it’s a family recipe because it’s a bit vague. I haven’t made it myself so I can’t tell you what size tin it requires, but I’m sure you’ll be able to work it out once you’ve got the shortbread crumbs...

For the shortbread: 4 oz butter, 4oz sugar, Pinch of salt, 7oz self raising flour, 1 tsp ground ginger

For the icing: 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of syrup, 4 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger

Cream together the butter and sugar, sift the rest of the shortbread ingredients in with the creamed mixture. Mix first with a knife and then rub lightly with fingers until crumbly. Press into a tin and bake at 1600C for about 20 mins.

Melt the topping ingredients together in a pan, then pour over the shortbread while it is still hot and cut into slices before it cools.

I haven’t got a picture of it because it doesn’t look like much – and mostly beige – but it is delicious.


  1. Sounds delicious! I love ginger. I had lavender flavoured shortbread for the first time today. I'd always thought it would taste like medicine, but was surprisingly good! Hope you have a lovely weekend with your family x

    1. Thanks - I haven't made lavender shortbread but I ate some (actually lots) at a friend's once and I am determined to bake some myself. Have been put off thus far by the fact that I am supposed to use 'culinary' lavender, but I think the stuff in the garden will do fine!

  2. I hope the trip home and nostalgic cooking brings back your cooking mojo - sounds like your are already on the road to recovery! Delicious!

  3. yum i've been wanting to make ginger biscuits. thanks for the recipe. i love florentines too! wondering if i could make these at home with the kids. b

    1. The ginger shortbread would be pretty child friendly to make (although might be a little rich for them to eat much of - don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...) but I'd probably not do the florentines with mine (8 and nearly 6) until they're a little older - you basically mix all the bits into a hot caramel and then bake - when they come out of the oven they are basically hot toffee, and I had an 'everything sliding onto the floor' incident with one tray (odn't tell my party guests...). They cool and harden up very quickly, but the hot toffee/caramel bit would put me off doing them with the kids.

  4. Florentines sound just the thing for a post match celebration! Family moments are so special, hope you are enjoying yours xx


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