Light-hearted

My previous  post was, on the whole, written in a sombre tone. I don’t like to dwell too long in darker spaces so, today, I want to lighten the mood and switch, in a rather mercurial fashion, to a relatively light and fluffy topic….. Spanish Cream……a favourite dessert, from yester year, which is probably no more Spanish than Canadian War Cake is particularly Canadian. Or French fries, truly French.

This is Spanish Cream

Spanish Cream

Spanish Cream

I am not sure how old-fashioned a dish is Spanish Cream ( Google and Wiki are unhelpful in this regard) but I first encountered the creamy, silky-smooth, mousse-y deliciousness of this jellied  custard when I was at boarding school; decades ago!  It was one of the few items on the boarding school menu to which I looked forward.

This is the recipe  I use. It is from my very old Edmonds recipe book.

Old recipe in an old book

Old recipe in an old book

As with most of my recipes, this one is very easy to make. How easy is illustrated by the young man in the embedded video. Although  his method is slightly more carefree than mine, I love his relaxed approach!

And, there, you have it. Ready to eat , either on its own, or with any fruit of your choice. I prefer slightly sharp-flavoured fruit, like rhubarb or berries, to complement the sweetness of  the Cream.

Sweet and simple

Sweet and simple

Now, although I adore Spanish Cream, made to the original recipe, I am sure it  would work extremely well, (and would be better for me and kinder to the world), if it were made  using a vegetarian setting agent and coconut milk/cream or almond milk .  I have yet to try making a vegetarian alternative but thinking about doing so makes me realise that, in our rush to industrialize/ rationalise/commercialize food production,  we have condensed the fascinating art of jelly making to a convenience food that comes in a small packet of garishly coloured crystals . For much of history,  a banquet (think Henry VIII) was no such thing unless it came with elaborate jellies, and, in Victorian times, every well-dressed table required a jelly, to be considered properly presented. And even the more humble home table, with Northern English or Scottish origins,  may, long ago, have enjoyed  a simple type of jelly or flummery called Sowens, which was  made from strained oatmeal.  For more on the history of Jellies and Creams, take a look at this fascinating site http://www.historicfood.com/Jellies.htm

Then, come back here and enjoy a few more moments of light-hearted fluff.

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© silkannthreades

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70 thoughts on “Light-hearted

  1. ordinarygood

    Your Spanish Cream looks very inviting. Milk puddings were not very common in my childhood – we all did better on less cow’s milk in our diets. I do love the antique cloth you have featured in your lovely photos.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Glad you like the cloth. It is so old now I am almost afraid to use it! We usually had a boiled custard most days in my childhood. And I remember one year when my parents decided we should try seameal custard; that was interesting. Have you tried that? I see it is still available; made by Greggs.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I feel I should buy a packet just to revive my memory of it. We probably didn’t have sugar in our seameal custard because we were a sugar free household for the most part. If a cake or biscuit recipe called for sugar my mother put in about a quarter of the amount required, if that. But regular milk custard was a totally no sugar zone.

        2. ordinarygood

          I remember reading the back of the packet when considering whether I would give it to my wee ones and was horrified by the amount of sugar included in the mixture in the box. No wonder we ate it very happily as children. Mum believed in the seameal ingredient.
          Reducing sugar in recipes can alter the chemical reactions in the mix I found. But I certainly reduced quantities where I could when the children were young.
          My daughter tries to be sugar free and I use Agave syrup in baking for her. Tricky stuff and we stick to a few things that work reasonably well.

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Now I am really curious to take another look at seameal custard.
          Is the agave syrup available at your supermarket, or is it a speciality store item? I have read about it but not actually seen it or used it.

        4. ordinarygood

          I think my memory was playing tricks again. I think the packet called for a big dollop of sugar to be added with the powder and then the milk. I opted not to raise my babies on seameal custard. I wonder what it would taste like with minimal or no sugar or perhaps honey or agave syrup used instead?
          The agave we have to buy from a speciality store and it is pricey.

  2. lizzierosejewellery

    I have to admit I’ve never heard of Spanish Cream. At first seeing your title I thought you might be referring to crema catalana as the ingredients are similar, except cornstarch is used rather than gelatine. I would probably enjoy it anyway!

    Reply
  3. jaggh53163

    Gallivanta – I’ve never heard of Spanish Creme but it sounds delightful…. light and sweet. I like the idea of serving it with berries also. I just may have to try it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. 🙂 You may be interested to know that the cloth ( with the little posies on it and bordered with lace) belongs to a vintage afternoon tea table setting that belonged to my mother. Dates from somewhere between 1948/1952. I adore it.

      Reply
  4. mmmarzipan

    I swear I learn new things every time I visit your blog! That in itself amazes me! Yet another dish I had not heard of. Thank you so much for sharing all that you do… and in such a beautifully written and illustrated way 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Some of my family, who dislike anything jelly-like, would say you have been spared by not knowing about this dish until now 🙂 I don’t think it is a uniquely New Zealand recipe but it has been hard to find out much about it on the internet.

      Reply
  5. utesmile

    It looks super and is easy to make….. well that guy does in in just over a minute 🙂 I probably have a try at that! So fluffy I do love that! Save me a bit!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That guy made me laugh. He was so confident and super efficient…..but I hope he encourages people to give recipes a go. Oh dear, I was too greedy; I have eaten it all. I will save some for you next time.

      Reply
  6. Forest So Green

    I have never heard of this but it does look like and fluffy And the foods from childhood hold so many memories 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Indeed they do! So it’s rather worrying then that so many children now grow up with memories of fast food and fizzy drinks as their memory holders….scary, in fact. But, I suppose, a lot of children in days gone by didn’t have good memories of food either; bread and gruel for example.

      Reply
      1. Forest So Green

        There is a movement in my area to educate children about food, in fact, some of the schools have gardens grow by the children, I am glad that I did not grow up with fast food.

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Please do! I am going to look for agar-agar next trip to the supermarket. I think it should get rid of the slight aftertaste that gelatine leaves in a milk pudding.

      Reply
  7. tiny lessons blog

    It looks so delicious I want to take a break and come taste it! I can imagine the Spanish cream with blackberries or blueberries, and a vegan version would be even healthier. And I love the arrangements!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      In fact the berries may well be more delicious than the Spanish Cream! We are about to enter our main berry season. Can’t wait to taste freshly picked raspberries again. What are your treats to sustain your writing energy?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a treasure from my younger days; part of our country’s culinary heritage 🙂 I doubt it is made much anymore because, as a country, we have become more sophisticated in our choice of desserts. We prefer mousses and cheesecakes, tarts, flans etc. We have moved away from simple milk puddings. Flummery was another childhood favourite.

      Reply
  8. Juliet

    Spanish cream was a favourite dessert of mine as a child. My mother made it, but I never realised that the recipe was in the Edmonds Cook Book. I always thought she got it from her aunt, who called the dish ‘Angel Food’. Now I feel inspired to try it out again with almond milk and agar agar. Thank you for bringing back some happy memories.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Angel Food; that’s a good name for it because it is dreamy and angelic and melt in the mouth heavenly. I didn’t have any non dairy or vegetarian resources to hand in the house but I would love to know how it turns out with those ingredients.

      Reply
  9. Coulda shoulda woulda

    You sly food stylist you! Hw clever to decorate with roses instead of fruit. The way you did this plus the name of it made me momentarily think the cream was a dancer with flowers in her hair going, ole!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yay, you saw it too! 🙂 I was thinking pavlova was named for Anna Pavlova and then there is Chantilly Cream, so, perhaps, someone was thinking of flamenco dancers or Spanish lace when he/she wanted to make a plain jellied custard sound exotic! And, did your sharp eyes pick out, in one of the photos, the small wildlife that fell out of one of the roses?

      Reply
  10. Clanmother

    I am always amazed by your ability to find recipes that come from the past – they are filled with memories of a different generation. I have a few of my grandmother’s recipe books – and even her recipe for making soap! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh that is a great recipe to have. My grandmother made soap, as did my parents, but I don’t know of any family recipes written down for it. However, I do remember it being made and cut. It was good soap but only used for washing clothes.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Do tell me if you find something suitable! Something like carrageenan might work. I am really not sure what is available in my city. The Vegetarian Society suggests agar agar.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I was fascinated by that site although some of the recipes were a little disturbing. The history of food is so interesting. I only wish I knew the history of Spanish Cream.

      Reply
  11. valeriedavies

    If you have any luck with your vegetarian substitute for gelatine, do let us know … I gave up using it years ago, but would love to find a good substitute.. have never yet tried agar agar which is often recommended

    Reply

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