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- I Remember...

 Edwardian kitchen with jelly moulds, sugar cutters & eggtimerAn 80-year-old man brought up near Leek remembers how he enjoyed fromarty pudding for breakfast every Wakes Sunday. He still associates the meal with the gangs of Irish labourers who came into the Peak every year to help with harvest. Read on for a recipe for fromarty.

The same chap has fond memories one of his grandfather’s favourite rhymes:

‘Lumpytums, lumpytums, lumpytums,
The rosiest cheeks and the plumpest bums
Are the girls that are fed on lumpytums.
Potatoes they are windy meat,
Fromarty it is a treat.
Pudding’s good when stuffed with plums,
But give to me my lumpytums.’

Oatcakes and bread were basic daily fare in the Peak. Sir Humphrey Davy, writing in 1813, noted: ‘The Derbyshire miners in winter prefer oatcakes to wheaten bread ... such nourishment enables them to support their strength and perform their labours better.’

half a pound (230g) each of plain flour and medium oatmeal
half an ounce (15g) of yeast
1 level teasp sugar
large pinch of salt
warm water

Sift the flour, oatmeal and salt into a warm bowl. Cream the yeast and sugar and mix this with about half a pint (just over a quarter of a litre) of warm water. Mix together and slowly pour it over the other ingredients, stirring all the time.

Cover and stand in a warm place for half an hour. Have ready on the hob a greased, heated griddle or bakestone. (a heavy non-stick frying pan works as well.) Pour a half-cupful of batter onto the griddle. Let it just brown underneath then turn it over to cook on the other side.

At the end of corn harvest, Peakland farmers often gave their workers the main ingredients for a dish called fromarty, or frumenty. It was made from grains of wheat soaked in water, then boiled in sufficient milk to make a thick porridge. It was sweetened and spiced with nutmeg or cinnamon. Some people thickened the fromarty with cornflour. Others served thickened cornflour as a separate helping.

There isn’t exactly a recipe for lumpytums. It is made by scattering oatmeal into boiling milk to form uneven lumps about as big as a ping-pong ball. The oatmeal is supposed to stay soft and dry in the middle. Lumpytums are traditionally served with butter or treacle.

Hasty Pudding
Hasty Pudding is a close relative of lumpytums but nobody seems to make it any more. One recipe tells you to drop small balls of stiff flour paste into salted boiling water to cook. Some people simply whipped flour into hot milk until it thickened. Either way, it needs sweetening with sugar, honey or syrup.

Tharf Cake
Tharf Cake, or Thor Cake, was eaten on special occasions. A number of villages had ‘Tharf Cake Joinings’ on Bonfire Night, 5 November. Some recipes were baked in cake tins about 2 in (5cm) deep but this version makes a kind of biscuit:

Half a pound (230g) each of oatmeal, SR flour and sugar
6 oz (170g) black treacle
6 oz (170g) butter
1 oz (30g) candied peel
1 teasp baking powder
Pinches of ground ginger, salt and coriander seeds

Well grease a baking tray. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients and add the warmed treacle. Knead lightly before rolling out and cutting into thin rounds. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375F, 190C gas mark 5.

The posset is a very old Christmas drink. It contains stale bread, boiled milk, ale, eggs, treacle, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and other spices. It can be livened up with gin, rum, whisky and cream instead of milk. Quantities for the ingredients vary from house to house.

In times past, a ring and a coin were often added to a posset. The bowl was passed around family and guests for everyone to take a spoonful. The finder of the coin was supposed to be sure of a prosperous new year. The ring foretold an early and happy marriage. This custom was a particular favourite in homes with unmarried sons and daughters. Many households owned a two-handled posset pot, sometimes painted with their names, but any large bowl served the purpose.

Buxton Pudding
2 eggs
Match their weight in each of breadcrumbs, sugar and butter
An oven-proof dish

Cream the butter on its own then add the other ingredients including the beaten eggs. Put a layer of jam in the bottom of the dish. Line the sides with pastry and pour the mixture over the jam. Bake in a moderate oven.

Want to know more?
Old Derbyshire Recipes & Customs, Joyce Douglas. Hendon Publishing 1976
ISBN 0-86067-002-3
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