Blog - Curry Twist

Sticky Toffee Pudding In Stonehenge & Salisbury, UK

Stonehenge is a place of deep mystery. The people who erected these massive pillars of rock some 5000 years ago left incontrovertible proof of their presence, but no other clues about who they were, why they built this monument, or even how they managed to transport and raise these enormous stones.

We can only speculate about the origins and purposes of the Stonehenge circle, but it is clear that this is an area that has been considered sacred for millennia. The earliest signs of human habitation around it date back at least 10,000 years, and remains of  Neolithic, Celtic and Roman settlements have all been uncovered in the same area.

Stonehenge - 18.jpg

Close to Stonehenge is the fortress of Old Sarum, which was a fort in Roman times that changed hands as new waves of Saxons and Vikings swept across England. Under Norman rule a great new fortress and cathedral were erected, and the town became a centre for trade.

Sarum - 15.jpg

By the 13th century nearby Salisbury overtook Old Sarum in importance as a market town and the magnificent new Salisbury cathedral attracted crowds of pilgrims. Gradually the older castle and cathedral were abandoned and their stones removed to be used for rebuilding elsewhere, leaving only the ruined walls and foundations that we see today.

Salisbury - 111.jpg

Salisbury cathedral is still a spectacular sight, its enormous spire visible from miles around. The western facade glows gold when it is bathed by a setting sun, a sight that has inspired many paintings and photographs.

The interior of the cathedral holds the oldest working clock in the world, and you can see its mechanism on display. It also holds one of the last surviving copies of the Magna Carta.

Salisbury - 10.jpg

Salisbury can easily be explored on foot. The area within the ancient cathedral walls, known as The Close is a lovely place to start once you've visited the cathedral.

Salisbury - 19.jpg

This broad, green, tree lined expanse is surrounded by stately homes, some of which date back to medieval times when local clergy lived here. Some have now been turned into interesting museums well worth visiting.

Narrow cobbled streets lead out of The Close straight to the city centre where you will find lots of great shopping and food as well as an open air market in the town's central square.

Salisbury has been a popular market town ever since it's inception in the 13th century, attracting merchants and traders from surrounding areas. In 1361 it was decreed that the market would be held every Tuesday and saturday, a tradition that continues to this day.

This bustling market is one of the highlights of visiting Salisbury. Here you will find fresh produce as well as preserves, housewares and even a whole roasted pig (should you want one!). There is a fun, relaxed atmosphere here with street food stalls and picnic tables in the sun.

Salisbury - 143.jpg

And if you want a quiet moment away from it all, follow the picturesque River Avon as it meanders its way through town and find a shady spot along its banks.

Salisbury's historic pubs have a medieval charm, reflecting a heritage spanning centuries. Walk into any of them and you will feel like you have stepped back in time.
Our favourite, the Haunch Of Venison, dating back 700 years, still has the original oak beams, wood panelling and antique furniture, along with a fantastic menu centred around venison. Their venison shepherd's pie was a revelation!
The Chapter House, was a stone cutting place 800 years ago when the famed cathedral was being built. Now a popular pub with 'quirky', comfortable rooms above, it is a wonderful place to base yourself while exploring the area around. The food here is exceptional too, try their classic sticky toffee pudding - so good, you'll want more after every meal!


This might be the easiest, tastiest, softest cake you will ever make. The dates and brown sugar add rich flavour and a lovely colour, while the sticky sauce topping will have you licking your fingers! For more of great British baking, try Scones!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1 cup pitted soft dried dates, chopped

1 cup boiling water

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp each: baking powder, dried ground ginger

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Sticky Sauce:

1/4 cup each: butter, packed dark brown sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Combine dates and boiling water in small bowl. Allow to soften for 15 min to half an hour. Drain dates, reserving 1/2 cup of soaking water.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan (if that is unavailable, use an 8 inch square pan).

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and salt in large mixing bowl.

In a blender or food processor, combine soaked dates, 1/2 cup soaking water, butter, eggs and vanilla. Blend till almost smooth.

Combine date mixture with flour mixture, folding it in gently until just combined. Do not over mix.

Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 min until cake is cooked through and springy to the touch.

Meanwhile, prepare the sticky sauce - combine butter, sugar and cream in small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir continuously until smooth and bubbling gently, about 2 min.

Spoon half of the sticky sauce all over top of cake. Reserve remainder of the sauce for serving later with cake.

Place cake under broiler for 1 min for top to caramelize and become sticky.

Cool 10 min, then slice and serve with reserved sticky sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves four-six

Scones In Bath, UK

Bath - 91.jpg

"Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath?" wrote Jane Austen, and having recently spent three days visiting that lovely town we would have to say - not us! Jane lived in Bath for five years and featured it in many of her novels, making it a favourite pilgrimage site for her many fans. 

Bath - 21.jpg

You come across little reminders of Jane Austen where ever you walk in Bath, her favourite parks, the home where she lived, the Assembly Rooms and Pump Rooms where she socialized. It is easy to imagine what it must have been like in her time for it seems little has changed in Bath over the years. 

Bath - 42.jpg

Built upon layers of history, Bath was an important tourist destination long before Jane Austen got here. The Romans loved the natural hot springs, thought to have medicinal properties, and built a magnificent bath complex and temple to the goddess Sulis-Minerva. Known as the best preserved and oldest Roman spa in the world, this complex and museum is fascinating to visit. Time your visit for late afternoon when the crowds have thinned out and flaming torches are lit around the central Great Bath - it is an unforgettable sight!

Adjacent to the Roman Baths is Bath Abbey, a functioning parish church and former monastery founded in the 7th century. Remodelled in the 1820s with flying buttresses, pinnacles, fan vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, it is an oasis of calm and serenity. As you walk around soaking it all in, pause to read some of the tomb stones and plaques, poignant epitaphs to the lives of people buried here many centuries ago.

Bath - 4.jpg

Bath's elegant Georgian buildings, constructed with local Bath stone, glow a rich honey gold in the sun as you walk through its lively streets lined with shops and restaurants. One of Bath's most iconic sites, the famous Pulteney bridge,  straddles the river Avon and is a nice place to shop or have a bite to eat while taking in the view. 

Take a break from sightseeing and step into a delightful, quaint little teashop for a warm scone and a cup of tea. The scones are almost always baked in house, from a recipe handed down many generations (which will never ever be divulged to anyone!). We had cream tea at The Bath Bun, a charming, old world teashop steeped in history, with some of the best scones in town.

For a proper English tea with sandwiches, cakes, scones and even live classical music visit the elegant Pump Rooms, where they will provide you with all this and champagne too!
Built in 1795, overlooking the Roman Baths, the Pump Rooms were the social hub of Bath's fashionable elite. They would gather here in the mornings to take the waters, to see and be seen. It is easy to imagine Jane Austen being a frequent visitor here!

You too can have a taste of Bath's famous curative hot springs water right in the Pump Rooms. It is said to contain 43 minerals and an 'unusual taste'. We tried it and can tell you that the taste is definitely an acquired one!

Cakey, crumbly scones are not difficult to make if you follow some key rules: don't over work or handle the dough too much, use chilled butter and make sure the height or thickness of your dough circle is about one and a half inches before cutting out the scones. Scones taste best the day they are made, so eat them right out of the oven, loaded with clotted cream and jam! For more of delicious British baking, try Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Fruity Scones

2 cups all purpose flour + 2 tbsp for dusting

4 tbsp granulated white sugar

1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder

1/2  tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

6 tbsp cold butter, cut up into small pieces

1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried pitted apricots

1/2 cup each: milk, whipping cream

1 large egg

2 tbsp turbinado or demerara sugar

Clotted cream and strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment.

Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl. Pass through a fine sieve into another deep mixing bowl.

Add butter and gently but quickly work it into the flour mixture, rubbing it in with your finger tips until it resembles coarse sand.

Fold in the dried raisins or apricots.

Combine milk, cream and egg in small bowl, beating gently to mix. Reserve 2 tbsp of this mixture in separate small bowl for later use in the recipe.

Add remaining milk, cream and egg mixture to flour mixture, mixing it in gently. Knead lightly with your hands until mixture comes together in a sticky mass. Do not overwork the dough or knead it too much.

Dust clean counter top or work surface with 2 tbsp all purpose flour and turn out dough onto it. Roll gently to coat dough, then shape it into a 1 1/2 (one and a half) inch thick circle, patting it gently to even it out.

Using a 1 1/2 or 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out scones from dough, placing them on parchment lined tray. Push straight down, don't twist the cookie cutter through the dough to avoid over handling. Reshape the dough gently and cut out more scones from it, placing on tray. If desired, cut wedge shaped scones instead of using a cookie cutter.

Brush tops of scones with reserved milk, cream and egg mixture, then sprinkle evenly with turbinado or demerara sugar.

Let scones rise for 30 min on counter top. Bake for 18-20 min or until they are risen, increased in size and tops are golden.

Serve with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Makes about 6 scones

Bath - 54.jpg