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    Pen Vogler: ‘Tastes help me unpick the past’

    3 December 2020

    Pen Vogler is the author of Scoff, which describes the history of food in the British class system. On the podcast, she tells Lara and Liv about being vegetarian for a year, eating at Oxford colleges in the 1980s, and why avocados are so popular.

    On the podcast, Pen tells Lara and Liv that she loves all things gingerbread. With Christmas fast approaching, try making this 10-minute old-fashioned gingerbread recipe:

    Old-fashioned gingerbread

    Makes: 12 slabs of gingerbread

    Takes: 10 minutes (plus cooling)

    Bakes: 50 minutes

    150g salted butter

    200g dark brown sugar

    300g golden syrup

    2 eggs

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

    ¼ teaspoon fine salt

    250g self-raising flour

    100g self raising wholemeal (optional; sub in an extra 100g of normal self-raising flour if not using)

    275ml whole milk

    Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 20 x 30cm rectangular tin. Because this is a loose batter, avoid using a loose-bottomed tin, as the mixture might drip through.

    Place the butter, dark brown sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat, and allow to melt. Stir to combine, and set to one side for ten minutes to cool down.
    In a small bowl, break the eggs up with a fork, and then tip these into the (warm but not hot) butter and syrup mixture, and stir through until thoroughly mixed.

    Combine the flours, spices and salt together, and then fold these through your mixture. Finally, gently stir the milk into the batter – it will be very loose, don’t worry!

    Bake for 50 minutes until the sponge is risen, chestnut brown and, when pressed gently with a finger, springs back.

    Leave to cool, and then cut into twelve slabs. This cake will keep very well for four days in a covered container.