We’ve had a busy, but lovely few weeks visiting friends and family – and indulging in far too much food and a (small) amount of beer. We begin by visiting some friends who live in Lancashire who took us to the ‘Alternative Oktoberfest’ in the town of Clitheroe. This was held in Holmes Mill, a former textiles mill which has been revamped and now houses a food hall, beer hall, hotel and spa. We were treated to ‘traditional’ Bavarian food including sausages and sauerkraut, live music from the Bavarian Stompers and steins of beer.
The real Oktoberfest is held in Munich at the end of September/start of October every year. I wondered if its origins would be lost in the mists of time, but it appears to have started in 1810, as a celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. I think the Holmes Mill version has some way to go to catch up – in 2013, 6.4 million people visited the real Oktoberfest, and drank 6.7 million litres of beer….
After this, we headed down to Nottingham to see family and friends. This visit coincided with the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival, so of course we had to pop along to that. This is an annual occurrence and is usually held in the grounds of Nottingham Castle, from which there are great views out over the city. There’s much more of a festival atmosphere than at most beer festivals I’ve been to – in addition to the many different beers and ciders to taste there are loads of food stalls (curry, burgers, duck fat chips…..) and bands playing in the bandstand. We tend to head there mid-afternoon, when it’s not so crowded, and enjoy it as the sky darkens, the lights strung between the trees start to glow and the lights of the city twinkle below… quite magical. We were there with friends and family this year, which made for a really great day.
Mr McGregor and C are both modelling a hat we bought there – it was very useful for tracking people in the crowds – and was bought in aid of the local Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, a very worthwhile cause……
I was recently asked for a recipe using pears… so here’s one for a pear upside-down cake.
Pear upside-down cake (pdf Pear upside-down cake)
300g plain flour, sieved
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
60g soft brown sugar
150g clotted cream
165 ml milk
50g butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly butter and line a 20cm cake tin
- Mix together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl
- Beat the eggs with the caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the flour mixture, clotted cream and the milk.
- Stir the melted butter and cinnamon together.
- Pour the butter mixture into the tin and arrange the sliced pears over butter mixture.
- Gently spread the cake mixture over the pears. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C/160°C /gas 3 and bake the cake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until cake is cooked through when tested with a skewer.
- Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning upside-down onto a plate – can be eaten warm or cold, try it with any clotted cream you have left