Recipe for a cold February afternoon and

Sunday afternoon, a dreary February day and the perfect moment to dig out a cookery book and do something for afternoon tea. I chose to make something called “Scott’s Farewell Square” from a wonderfully nostalgic book of NZ recipes called “Ladies, a plate – traditional home baking” and given to me by a dear friend called Karen. The introduction to the recipe reads:

This square contains plenty to sustain a man on a long cold journey; dates, raisins, coconut, walnuts, cocoa, butter, sugar, golden syrup, an egg and even crushed Weetabix. Take it next time you go tramping in memory of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.

Captain Robert Scott’s last expedition sailed from Port Chalmers for Antarctica on the Terra Nova on 29th November 1910. The people of Dunedin had been given a half-day’s holiday and thousands turned out to say goodbye.

My grandmother’s neighbour in old age was Lady Shackleton and ever since we visited a cemetry in New Zealand to find McNeish’s grave with its touching sculpture of his loyal cat, I have had an interest (the family might say an obsession) for collecting books to do with the Antarctic.

Scott’s Farewell Square
4oz butter
6oz brown sugar
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
1 egg
6oz flour (I use self raising)
pinch of salt
1tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa
3oz coconut
2oz walnuts
4 Weetabix crushed
4 oz dates
2 oz raisins

Icing: 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and 1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375f/190c. Line a shallow tin with baking paper or lightly grease it. Soften the butter.
Cream the butter and sugar until light, then mix in golden syrup and egg, combining everything well.
Sift in the flour, salt and cocoa, mix to combine and then add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine well.
Tip into prepared tin, spread evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Make chocolate icing, adding a little hot water if necessary. Spread on the cake, sprinkle with coconut and cut into squares when set.

Almost all of Saturday was taken up with condensing and re-writing text for inclusion on which is an online store with a whole host of products, based up in the Lake District. Inexplicably, we find Intensive Cream sells well through Shopping Bank, but it was time to work out why nothing else was doing quite so well. This revealed the proverbial “can of worms” as far as additional effort was required, but we got stuck into it and between us all, have managed to make some progress. Sometimes you just know it is going to have to get worse before it gets better….

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