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!

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