Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Black Treacle

Image result for treacle

Not the most imaginative of titles - but, if, like me, you want to use up a tin of treacle, it should point you in the right direction. 

Black treacle (sometimes caled molasses) is one of those ingredients that is sometimes difficult to source outside of the UK. Although apparently we used to export it :

Image result for treacle mine
Only kidding!

 Unctuous, sweet and sticky- it is made from the syrup left behind as sugar is being refined. It is a wonderful addition to cakes, biscuits, puddings and also meat dishes and BBq sauces. If you can't find it, you can substitute maple syrup, dark honey or caramel sauce.

There are so many dishes that you can make from it- treacle toffee, treacle tart, treacle sponge and so on. I'm concentrating on just a few: Jamaican Ginger Cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding with Fudge Sauce,Treacle Soda Bread and Spicy BBQ pork ribs. Plus of course some ideas of how to use up any leftovers.

So, starting out nice and simple- here is a recipe for Jamaican Ginger Cake which is much much nicer than the bought variety and can be whipped up in less time than it would take you to go to a shop and buy one- even if it's the corner shop on the corner of your street!

175g plain flour
1 level tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp rum (optional)
75g black treacle
75g golden syrup
75g soft dark brown sugar
75g butter
1 large egg

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together
2. Melt together the syrup, treacle, butter and sugar
3. Add these to the dry ingredients, along with the milk and beaten egg
4. Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake for 1 hr at 175 degrees until firm and when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Jamaican Ginger Cake
This cake will keep well for up to a week, wrapped in foil or stored in a tin. I like to use up the last few slices in a trifle: just soak slices of cake in a little sherry, top with mandarin orange segments and a little of their juice, pour on some custard or whipped cream or both , chill and serve.

Treacle Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads to make and its dark richness goes well with Seville marmalade, or crumbly cheese or smoked salmon.


250g plain flour
200g wholemeal flour
50 g porridge oats
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150 ml natural yoghurt
250 ml milk
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp black treacle

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease and line a baking tray
2. Mix together all the dry idngredients in a bowl
3. Warm the milk, butter and treacle then add it all to the yogurt
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones and turn the dough out onto a floured board
5. Shape into a round, cut a cross in the top, sprinkle on some more flaked oats
6. Place on the tray in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes.

Treacle soda bread

Now for a savoury dish- Spicy BBQ ribs. These are pork spare ribs, coated in a treacly BBQ sauce and slow cooked until the meat falls off the bone.

1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
1 heaped tsp mustard
1 tsp crushed cillies or fresh chilli finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato passata
400g fresh pork spare ribs

Mix all the condiments and the passata together in the bottom of a heavy casserole or slow cooker.

Add the ribs and coat thoroughly.
Cook for 4-5 hours in a slow cooker or 2-3 hours in a conventional oven (175 degrees) until the meat is tender. Add a splash of water from time to time if needed.
Serve with fries, sweet potato or green veg.

Spicy BBQ Ribs

Bonfire Baked Beans
Any leftover sauce is sublime mixed with a tin of cannellini beans and some sliced cooked sausage to make Bonfire Baked Beans.

And finally, I made James Martin's iconic Sticky Toffee Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce.

50 g butter
170g brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs
200 g self raising flour
200g chopped dates
290 ml boiling wtaer
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla

110 ml double cream
50 g butter
50g dark sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease and flour a 23cm cake tin
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor until pale and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, treacle and eggs, a little at a time, and blend until smooth. Add the flour and blend, at a low speed, until well combined. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the dates and boiling water in a food processor to a smooth purée. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and vanilla.
  4. Pour the date mixture into the pudding batter and stir until well combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into a cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is springy and golden-brown.
    Sticky Toffee Pudding
  6. To make the sauce, heat all of the ingredients in a pan, stirring occasionally, until boiling.
  7. To serve, remove the pudding from the tin and place onto each of 6 serving plates. Pour over the sauce and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  8. Toffee Pudding and sauce

The leftover pud keeps well in foil, or in a tin- but it can also be eaten as a cake, spread with a little butter like a teabread.
Buttered toffee 'bread'
Happy baking!

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Time to get stuck in!