Treacle Tart

Another of the old favourites. Italians also seem to like this. The troppo sweetness of the Golden Syrup (I obviously found it one time here – details in link below) is cut through by the sharpness of the lemon zest and juice. I have made it with bought pastry, but it’s not quite so nice. Again, this is from the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book. If you can find Golden Syrup, give it a try!


Pastry –
4 oz plain flour / 113g farina tipo 00
pinch salt / pizzico sale
1 oz lard / 28g strutto
1 oz butter / 28g burro

Filling –
8 oz golden syrup / 227g sciroppo di zucchero di canna (parlzialmente invertito)
2 0z fresh white breadcumbs / 57g pangrattato bianco fresco/appena (I’m not sure which word applies)
grated rind of 2 lemons / scorza grattugiata di 2 limone
2 teaspoons lemon juice / 2 cucchiaini di succo di limone


Sieve flour and salt into a bowl. Add the lard and butter cut into small pieces and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to mix to a firm dough. Roll out pastry thinly on floured table and use to line a 7-inch (18 cm) flan dish (although I always use a normal dinner-size plate instead). Re-roll pastry trimmings and cut into circles with a 3/4-inch (1.9 cm) fluted cutter. Brush underside of each with water and arrange, overlapping, round the edge of the dish.

Mix together the syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon rind and juice. Spoon filling into flan.

Bake for about 25 minutes in the oven (400°F/200°C/Gas mark 8) until the pastry is pale and golden.

Serve hot or cold. on it’s own or with hot custard (crema)

The 1000th Post

It’s a lot, really. OK, so some of my previously published posts haven’t been earth shattering but it doesn’t really matter. I got to 1000.

I wanted to do something a bit special for this post. Gail suggested I talk about God. No one else suggested anything.

So, let’s talk about God or, rather, let me talk about God.

The first thing that comes to mind is, why?

I mean, why did we make up God. Of course, there are stories in the Bible about people having a direct relationship with God. If they said such a thing now, we would lock them away.

I believe it’s our need for two things. 1. We need some way of explaining the inexplicable and 2. We need someone to blame/call on when things go bad. We need that feeling that there’s someone more powerful than us who can help us or whose fault it is.

That’s it.

Now, we need a name for him/her. Let’s call him/her God. For that matter, why should it be a him or a her? Why not an ‘it’? Well, we don’t know how to depict an ‘it’. In the olden times, before God became God, humans worshipped gods. The gods could be trees or animals – the things around. When we became sophisticated we made God in our image and someone wrote a book about him where we were the image of him. That was very convenient. It makes us more special than anything else. But he may not be a he or a she or, even, an it. Maybe God, should such a being exist, is nothing comprehensible to us but if that were to be so then he would be too difficult to handle.

So we made him like us. And then, until recently, we made him a him. Now we say he could be a her.

It’s a bit like death. We make up stuff about a heaven and, just so we make sure that all the nasty people we don’t like can’t be with us in this heaven (‘cos they don’t deserve it), we make a hell too. And whilst we’re at it we’ll have a bad guy against God because, well, all the best stories have a good and a bad guy. Let’s call him Satan or the Devil.

And now we have a reason why everyone can’t be nice and perfect. ‘Cos they got in with Satan. So, although we have already given God all powers – we create someone who also has a (nearly) matching power.

The logic problem with that is that, if God is all-powerful, then there can’t be a Satan, can there?

I could stop there, I suppose. Because the problem with all this is that, if you get rid of Satan because of his impossibility to exist (God being all-powerful and all that), then what about the bad people? I mean, if God made us in his (very convenient) image and Satan doesn’t exist, then why the bad people? Or are we saying God can be good AND bad?

Of course, if God is both good and bad and he made us in his image, then we, too, would be good and bad. And that’s not good, is it? Since that gives him ‘whims’ since being bad is not a Christian thing to be.

So, I guess I’m saying we’re stuffed. Since there can’t be a Satan and, since, without Satan, that would make God both good and bad, then all the stuff in the Bible that there is like ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love your enemies’ is flawed. And if that bit is flawed and if Satan doesn’t exist then, to be honest, neither does God.

But if God doesn’t exist then neither does heaven. And if heaven doesn’t exist then that’s just too scary because what happens to you when you die? Other than you die, of course. What I meant was, what’s the point?

And the point is not 42.

But, of course, if there is no God, then there isn’t necessarily any point. Why does there have to be a point? Why isn’t there just life? Because we are always striving for something. A goal. If your goal is to get to heaven to be with God, then there is a reason for life and a reason to be good (or try to be). We can’t be ‘goal-less’, can we? Or, can we?

I mean to say, why should we have a goal, even just the one? What if we live everyday like it will be our last day? What if the ‘heaven’ that everyone wants to get to is really just a thought – I mean, a thought by others? What if heaven is really that we shall be remembered?

I.e. heaven is not a ‘place’ (was it ever?), but a memory, by others.

When you’re dead, then you’re dead. Why do we want to live forever? We don’t think that animals do (well, generally, we don’t think that animals do). We think that, when they’re dead, they’re dead. We even eat some of them (or, rather, a lot of them). There are even (or maybe that’s ‘were’?) tribes of cannibals. So, even we are eaten. And then? When there’s nothing left?

We talk about soul. As if it’s real. We even describe it as not being able to be seen. Like the Holy Ghost. It’s the get-out clause of all time. Something that exists but doesn’t.

We laugh at those people who believed in gods. We think they are slightly crazy. But, surely, they are no crazier than us? They believed in things they could not see; tried to make images of these things they couldn’t see – images that were like themselves or things around them; there were gods that couldn’t be seen.

We have a need to have these things that are higher than us, more supreme. We make up stories to ‘fit’ the things that happen, the things that exist.

We do it, too, with science. We ‘prove’ things. We look in incredible detail. We theorise about how it all started. Is this any better? The bible, one great fairy tale, was written to explain about God and the things that had happened. Are science books that different? If we, as a race of beings, survive for another couple of thousand years, are our ancestors going to look back and laugh at our beliefs (both of God and in science), since they have found a better story around which to fit everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I call on ‘him’ in times of strife or worry. I have my beliefs. I have the things that I believe in. They are the things that I’ve picked up over the years that suit me. They are the things that make sense to me. Even if some of them are as stupid as believing in astrology. I pick and choose the things I believe in. I don’t quite ‘fit in’ to the single belief. That’s OK. Why not? I’m making my own bible. It does for me.

Do I believe in heaven, even if I have some belief in God? No, that’s where I can’t go. I want to make an impact on this world in the (vain?) hope that there will be people who remember me. That is my heaven. I try to be nice, not because I am a Christian but because I feel more comfortable living like that.

I try to do what my Grandfather said. I am trying to be content. It works for me.

Unusually for me, I have decided I might edit this post after the event. So I may do that. Just so you know.

Summer socks

I love September. The days are quite often warm and, although the nights and early mornings are a bit on the chilly side, it’s the extension of the summer – at least, here.

There’s also the smell of the fallen leaves. The dark nights which should be cold (in my head) but are warm enough for sandals, T-shirts and shorts. There’s the warm rain at nights (at least, hopefully warm and only at nights). And, there’s the rub. You can’t really rely on the weather. And that’s the bit I hate (also the fact that it IS the end of summer.)

But, what I definitely DON’T like is when September comes early. Like last night. And this morning. It’s July, FFS!

Last night we had rain. Rain in summer is OK as, here, afterwards, it is warm and pleasant although a degree or two cooler. But not last night. After the rain during the night, this morning it was 14°! It was chilly. If not, cold.

I am wearing socks again. I don’t like wearing socks, at least not in July. Not in this country.

It is the end of summer. It is September. I am wearing socks. We are all doomed.