Life is dotted with special occasions: weekends away, birthdays, family holidays, anniversaries; yet we take so many of them for granted. They become part of our patterns: noticed, remembered but not always experienced, in the truest sense. We’re so often distracted, checking our phones when out with friends, doing a little work while on holiday, sending emails instead of picking up the phone. It all stops us connecting and appreciating the moment, and it’s these ‘moments’, bound together that really make up our memories. These moments in our lives, however cyclical, secure us our bank of happy and rich reminiscences. Remember how connected we were when we were little, how ‘in the moment’ we would be? It’s because of this that childhood holidays take on such mystical qualities when seen through the fug of adulthood. They leave us always trying to recapture some of their essence if not in spirit, then in taste. Food plays an enormous role in our memories, the food you ate when you were little, the way in which you ate it and who you ate it with all influence your later food and indirectly, lifestyle choices. For me, the summertime flavour of egg and cress sandwiches, homemade jam and scones eaten on the green of a cricket pitch, the sun beaming down and the occasional roar of a cheer as accompaniment is something so innate to my childhood that I long to be transported there. Winter holds a different collection of scents, tastes and sounds; Vegetable Soup and freshly baked bread out of the oven, Chicken and Mushroom Pie with garden peas and Syrup Sponge hold an equal weight to the memory of running through snow with my sister and the dogs, while our gloves filled up with pats of snow and our feet got colder and colder. Syrup sponge was one of those dishes only ever made in the darkest and coldest of months and even then it was sparingly. Incredibly sweet and decadent it was a true treat and always came slathered in a generous amount of custard. Here, I’ve recreated a gluten free and vegan (dairy free, egg free) version that has all of the taste and indulgence of the original. I highly recommend it on a winter’s eve, treat yourself and be transported back to your childhood or make new food memories for your children to keep for themselves.
You will need a 1 litre baking dish for this recipe, I used a pudding bowl
100g dairy free margarine
100g caster sugar
2 heaped tsp Orgran Egg Replacer whisked together with 4 tbsp of water
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Lightly grease the baking dish. Pour the lemon juice and zest into the base of the dish, add the golden syrup and mix together. Place the margarine and sugar into a large mixing bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the egg replacer, bit by bit, then mix in the flour until just combined. Spoon the sponge mixture on top of the syrup and level the top.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until golden. Alternatively, you can cover the dish with cling film and microwave on medium for 8 minutes. Either way I recommend serving it with custard!