dianeduane: (New DD Av)
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"[Bilbo] had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he -- as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it, however painful -- he might have to go without. "'Come along in, and have some tea!' he managed to say after taking a deep breath. "'A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,' said Balin with the white beard. 'But I don't mind some cake -- seed-cake, if you have any.' "'Lots!' Bilbo found himself answering, to his surprise; and he found himself scuttling off , too, to the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and then to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel." And there you have it. Clue-finder and web-cutter, friend of bears and guest of eagles, Ringwinner, Luckwearer, Barrel-rider: Bilbo Baggins bakes, too. Here is the all-round Hero in potentia, waiting for the Call... but with one eye on the oven timer. (And the appetite obviously heroic, as well. Only a hobbit would consider two whole seedcakes "a morsel".) ...It's been hanging about in British children's literature for a while now, the seed cake. The appearance in The Hobbit is hardly the first one: seed cake turns up as comfort food often enough, sometimes in strange disguises (the reference in Winnie the Pooh to "crustimoney proseedcake" is one of these). I woke up this morning (completely irrationally) with the yen for it and went to check what recipes were to be found. There are quite a few out there in the Webby part of the world at the moment: apparently the cake is having a mini-renaissance due to people rereading The Hobbit in the wake of the film, or in prep for it. Now, we've had a recipe for something similar over at European Cuisines for a while now, but it's more along toward the Irish-influenced "tea bread" end of the spectrum due to the chopped candied fruit in it. So I checked the classic recipe from Beeton, had a look at Delia and Nigel Slater, and then wandered about a little bit more (discovering along the line that we're out of baking parchment [makes a note on the kitchen chalkboard]) and assessed a few others.Read more... )

May 2017

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