Wednesday, 25 November 2015

25th November is........

..........St Catherine's Day. St Catherine was the 4th century martyr who was put to death on a spiked wheel which then gave the name to the spinning firework. She is the Patron Saint of Lacemakers among other things.
It was traditional on 25th Nov to make Cattern  Cakes. How do I know all this and what are Cattern cakes, I hear you asking (or not!).
It's all due to some of the books I have on the shelves. Years ago I found this book in a charity shop for 70p



 (I know 'cos it still says so inside) and it got me interested in special days of the past. Later I found other books with more information, like this one
 For many years I wrote a diary piece about our smallholding for The Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter and then one year I did a piece called " Country Days and Country Ways", which saw me searching through these two and all my books of weather sayings and odd facts, to fill a page of the newsletter every month.



 I love the way the year was marked by special days, some from Pagan times others from Christianity and how few remain -  Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, Hot Cross buns on Good Friday. I wonder if Black Friday will become a day mentioned in books of the future? I hope not!

So what are Cattern Cakes? (Cattern being a corruption of Catherine)
Here's the recipe from the book, I've not tried it..........maybe next year.
Sift 9oz SR Flour and ¼ cinnamon into a bowl and stir in 1oz currants,2oz ground almonds, 2tsp caraway seeds and 7oz castor sugar. Add 4oz melted butter and 1 beaten egg. Mix well to make a dough and then roll out on a floured surface to make a rectangle about 12 x 10 inches. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle over a little cinnamon. Roll up like a swiss roll and cut into ¾ inch slices. Put these on a greased tray, spaced well apart and bake for 10 minutes at 200℃ ( less I guess for a fan oven).

This morning I've been and got lemons and oranges ready for Christmas cake making and hit a problem with my low/no spend November challenge - If you buy most of your clothes from charity shops, as I do, and have been looking for some good length tunic tops ready for winter and then you discover one that is just right, do you (a) leave it because you are doing a challenge to see how little can be spent this month or (b) do you buy it because you know very well that by 1st December it'll be gone?
ANSWER It was brand new, just right for over a tee-shirt and leggings and it cost me £6.


My money saving hint today from the 2013 list was never to use first class stamps by getting organised and posting earlier with second class. This is something I always try to do especially at Christmas.

Thanks for comments yesterday and thanks to the folks who said they would read my posts whatever I write about. One thing I won't be doing is making a video to tell you what you should and shouldn't do!

Back Tomorrow
Sue



20 comments:

  1. Your bookshelves are remarkably similar to mine you know. I actually have Cattern Cakes and Lace (and other similar ones). I love reading about traditions from the past, and old recipes and social history.

    I shall make several of Eira's Cardiganshire Boiled Pineapple cakes for christmas - one to eat and a couple as gifts. It is a lovely moist cake which you can make on Christmas Eve and yet it still tastes like a good matured Christmas cake (sans booze). I'll put the recipe up as I make it.

    I got the ingredients for Christmas present cooking today (jam, chutney and a Persimmon Curd) so will get started on those tomorrow.

    You write about interesting things, so don't stop!!

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    1. Re your comment on yesterdays post - I was very excited when I discovered The Real Seed Company a while back as I loved the idea behind the business and all the information that came with the seeds. I ordered from them for a couple of years but had really poor germination so gave up. Perhaps seeds produced in Wales don't do so well this far east.
      The book shelf pics were from the posts I did in Feb and I realised after I'd put them on again that some(but only a few) from these shelves have traveled off to charity shops to reduce the number we have to move.
      Persimmon curd sounds interesting - it's not a fruit I've ever tried, actually not even seen one.

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    2. My daughter Tam bought lots of seeds from them this year and had good results up in Sheffield. I had their tomato seeds and they all started to grow well, and then we had a summer like a winter and they weren't too happy with that. I had a handful of fruit from 25 plants (!) but it was the cold weather and low light levels I think.

      Persimmons are everywhere and cheap right now (39p each in Lidl and 3 for £1 in Tesco). We have a couple a week to eat and they are pleasant. I wouldn't go mad about them, but they are a fruit I can eat with no effect on my histamine levels and they're high in Vitamin C. I'll probably do the Curd tomorrow, so can report back then.

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  2. Giving recipe books to me are like giving a braille book to a man who ripped his own eyes out then ate his own hands. I'm so clumsy!

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    1. I know what you mean about being tempted to spend when you're not meant to. Its Sods law' you'll always come across the best bargains when money is tight.

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  3. Well they say you learn something new every day, thanks for the info about the Catherine wheel I use to love them as a kid although they never spun round like they were suppose to :-)

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    1. I remember them either getting stuck or flying off in a randome direction

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  4. I love the concept of a food for every occasion - I might look into this further too. I just LOVE looking at folk's bookcase contents....so thanks for sharing yours today too.

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    1. If you look in the labels bit on the right and click on my bookshelves you can see all the 1400 books I had last February! Since then several have gone to charity shops before we move

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  5. I had to have a little giggle at the end of your post. :)
    xx

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  6. Well done to succumb to that top Sue - too good an opportunity to miss.
    I do agree about second class stamps - not sure they take any longer than first class ones anyway.

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    1. We find some things get here the next day even second class and other things seem to take lots longer than we would think

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  7. I do like book such as the first one you featured, it's so interesting learning how these traditions and festivals come about. I've never tasted caraway I don't think, but I like the sound of the cinnamon in the cake.
    I try and buy a few second class stamps each month ready to put away for Christmas cards.
    Lisa x

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    1. I stocked up on £20 worth of stamps before the price went up in April and they've lasted me all year until I shall buy some Christmas one soon

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  8. St Catherine didn't actually die on the 'breaking wheel', it broke when she was being attached to it, and she was beheaded instead. The myth continues.

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  9. I love the sound of the cake. Across all cultures we seem to celebrate with special food to share with family and friends. Hopefully some of these traditions will survive for many years to come.

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  10. In France some cities have a Foire de la Sainte Catherine - a big agricultural fair. Also French gardeners know that "A la Sainte Catherine, tout bois prend racine" - a good day for planting trees!

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  11. I really enjoyed your post, so interesting, apart from the snide remark at the end.

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