Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thunder and Lightning.

As a little variation from the topic of old food-words, today I want to briefly revisit an English dialect phrase which I have touched on previously, in one of my posts on ‘The Naming of Dishes.’ ‘Thunder and Lightning’, as far as I understood it, refers to clotted cream and treacle, or bread or scones served with the same, in a regional variation of the standard English afternoon ‘cream tea’ concept. 

I came across another reference to Thunder and Lightning the other day, as indicating a beverage, so I went in brief pursuit of the phrase. It apparently also sometimes refers to gin & bitters (an Irish usage), or (less commonly), shrub & whiskey (Anglo-Indian.)  Finally, it may mean ‘brandy sauce ignited’ - so think on that next time you inflame your Christmas pudding.

‘Shrub’ deserves its own post tomorrow, so the recipe for the day, inspired by today’s topic, is for Treacle scones. These are a wonderful northern English and Scottish variation on the inexhaustible topic of scones in general, and are particularly associated with Halloween. The recipes are taken from Daily Cookery from Breakfast to Supper, by Eleanor Sproat, 1923

Oven Treacle Scones.
1 lb. flour, 1 teacupful of milk, 1 tablespoonful of treacle, 3 ozs. lard or margarine, ½ teaspoonful of baking soda, ½ teaspoonful of sugar, a pinch of salt.
Rub lard into flour and sugar, then add baking soda and salt. Have the egg [not listed in the ingredients] well beaten with a teacupful of milk into which the treacle has been mixed. Stir all into the flour and mix altogether with a knife into a fairly stiff dough. Roll out into the thickness of an inch, cut into four and put into a floured baking tin and bake in a quick oven from ten to fifteen minutes. A teaspoonful of cinnamon or ginger may be added, according to taste.

Treacle Scones.
¼ lb flour, ½ tablespoonful sugar, ¼ teaspoonful ground ginger, ½ tablespoonful melted treacle, ¼ oz. butter, ¼ teaspoonful baking soda, a good pinch of salt, a little buttermilk.
Method: Mix [dry] ingredients. Rub in butter. Milk to make a softish dough. Finish like ordinary scones. Bake on hot girdle or oven.

Quotation for the Day.
Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.
Alice Walker, Author of The Color Purple


Lauren Hairston said...

The treacle scones sound delicious. I'd only heard of Thunder and Lightning from reading my copy of How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I love how evocative the name is; much better than "clotted cream and treacle." Although I love saying "clotted cream" and "treacle"!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, is this really treacle or golden syrup?

Xaos said...

Tate & Lyles Golden Syrup!

Anonymous said...

In my neck of the woods (Southeastern US), Thunder and Lightning means a salad of cucumbers and onions with tomatoes optional, chopped or sliced, soaked in apple cider vinegar, oil, and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. Very old fashioned, yet vegan and tasty. A popular summer pot luck and picnic dish for ages. Try it!

Anonymous said...

why are these pickles called thunder & lightning?