• Bell Notes December 2016 / January 2017

    Now let me talk cake!!

    When we 'do' a tower tour on an Open Day, we always try to do a follow up and at the moment we have a 'Cake and Ring' open evening on a Monday for visitors. It's no hardship for us as we are already there on a Monday evening and for us it means we stop halfway through ringing for tea and coffee and try each others cake - well someone has to eat it!

    Nathan is out chilli superstar as he tries it in almost anything and his Cattor Chilli Cake is more than fantastic and he also tries chilli in other cakes. June says her cakes never turn out as she imagines them although she is geting more practice nowadays. She reminds me of Rosemary Finzel - a ringer for many years who made lots of cakes for countless church functions - but for both June and Rosemary, forget the vision and just enjoy the cakes ...... we did and do! Margeret, Rosemary's sister, another ringer, used to make a mean mince pie but can you call them cakes; while Iris Wilson used to treat the ringers on open days to melt in the mouth Eccles Cakes.

    You never know what Sherry will turn up with, in the way of cakes, as she tends to vary her choice but at the moment it seems to be bread pudding, packed with lots of spice and seems to disappear very quickly. Now a jam sponge cake is my weakness and for that it meant Pam Driscoll, all her family were ringers at one time, her jam sponge was like a slice of Heaven and sometimes she made one just for me.... well I did share one slice! I've had a slice of Rachel's jam sponge and it brought back good memories. I know bread does not count as cake but I must include one past ringer Kate Harris, now she decided that making bread was her choice and she supplied many of our church functions, especially at Harvest and her bread would now be called 'craft bread'. Also thinking of two past ringers Bet and Denis Mitchell (see the plaque in the church porch). Bet was a dab hand with various cakes, again she would supply cakes for church functions but Denis would make the Christmas puddings and cake as a family tradition on 'Stir up Sunday'. And then there is Lynda who nawadays seems to make cakes traditional to Wales, the problem being that you cannot pronounce the names of the cakes!

    As I write this I've realised that we seem to be 'Cake and Ring' bellringers both of the past and present and they are all packed with memories after all a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake is enjoyable, it's not threatening in any way .... so let's enjoy it.

    Teisen Fel (Honey Cake)

    4 oz / 100g butter

    4 oz / 110 g soft brown sugar

    1 egg (separated)

    4 oz / 110 g honey

    8 oz / 225 g self raising flour

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    2 tablespoons milk

    1 oz / 25 g castor sugar

    Bun tins and small cake cases

    1 - Cream the butter and brown sugar, then beat in the egg yolk.

    2 - Gradually add the honey.

    3 - Sift the flour and cinnamon together and add to the honey mixture. (Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff.)

    4 - Whisk the egg whites until very stiff and fold into the mixture.

    5 - Half fill the small cake cases with the mixture and sprinkle a little castor sugar over the top.

    6 - Bake at 200 C / 180 C fan for 20 minutes.

    It is interesting that I have memories of ringers past and present and of various cakes that I have enjoyed and I am looking forward to lots more memories so if you see our cake and ring evenings, please come along, we can teach you to ring but not to bake cakes!

    As we enjoy our cakes, let's not forget all those who are just strugling to afford any food. Saint John's supports the Leytonstone Food Bank. A lot of the people who use Food Banks are in work but still need help. We were a founding member of the local Christian Church Night Shelters scheme and they also need a lot of support over the winter and lastly may I remind you of the Saint Martin in the Field's charity in London.

    The ringers: Anna, June, Sherry, Lynda, Teresa, Iam, Nathan, Ben, James, Guy and I, wish all of you a joyful Christmas and a good new year.

    Michael Wareing


Bellringing at St. John's Leytonstone


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