One of my favourite summer traditions in my family is Portmeirion Sunday.
Portmeirion, for those not in the know, is an incongruous Italianate village in the depths of North Wales, created by Clough Williams-Ellis for reasons I’ve never fully understood. And really, it doesn’t matter why, because it looks like this:
It was the setting of the cult TV show, The Prisoner, has a fantastic hotel and restaurant, and is so special to my family that my cousin Helen actually got married there, thus ruining all other future wedding venues for the rest of us.
It really is the most beautiful place. Normally, when we’re there, it’s pouring with rain. But this year, despite the abysmal summer, we had glorious weather. I was really looking forward to introducing the Daughter to the wonders of Portmeirion, especially after being away from her for the past week. She has been before, but not since she was a baby, as the Portmeirion Sunday tradition has proved difficult for us to take part in for the last couple of years.
I think her favourite part was the Wishing Well – she wished that she could be a fairy princess when she grows up. As usual. Here we are, tossing in our hard earned tuppences:
After a very leisurely and lovely lunch (with maybe just a glass or two of wine) she ran off to explore with first her Daddy, then Uncle Mike, then me, then Auntie Em, then Auntie Barbara, then her Pops… leaving me free long enough to accidentally buy all of the notebooks in the bookshop. And some new cupcake cases. Then the husband dragged me out before I bought anything else…
I wanted to make a cake for the weekend, as usual, and as I’d been pouring over my Grandma’s old recipe notebooks at Mum and Dad’s the weekend before, I thought one of her recipes might be nice. I settled on the gingerbread, mostly because I love ginger cake, my dad loves ginger cake, my Gran, who has developed the sweetest tooth ever over the last year, loves ginger cake, and because I could make it in a loaf tin and keep it there to transport it over the very bumpy Welsh hills.
The only problem was that when Grandma wrote these notebooks, she was scribbling notes for herself, rather than a future generation. The instructions aren’t always in order, or fully explained, and sometimes some of the ingredients are missed out in the method. So I had to make it up a bit, but it turned out well!
- 4oz soft brown sugar
- 4oz butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of sofa
- 1/4 pint milk
- 6oz golden syrup
- 8oz plain flour
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- Put syrup, butter and milk in a pan and melt over a medium heat
- Take off the heat and add the egg
- Add the sieved flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and mix in
- Pour into the centre of a greased and lined 1lb loaf tin
- Cook at 180°C for 45 minutes, then turn it down to 170°C for another half hour (but check after 15 minutes)
- Serve at the seaside, if at all possible
This cake went down so well, in fact, that I didn’t manage to get a photo of it. So instead, you can have a photo of what the Daughter and I did, as soon as we got back to the caravan after our Portmeirion lunch: