“ ..five or six pieces of Butcher’s Meat…. …a little Salt and Mustard upon the Side of a Plate, a Bottle of Beer and a Roll; and there is your whole Feast”
Written by ‘Monmouth’ actress and local writer Maya Pieris
This was Monsieur Misson’s view of an English meal which we would happily recognise today! Though not even a roastie! Vegetables were still viewed with suspicion in the 17th century. Knowledge about the body and diet was developing as were the skills of horticulture largely aided by our Dutch cousins and markets were increasingly sourcing new foods from the growing trade with the world including “verangenes” or aubergines, one of those products viewed as” very dangerous and hurtful”. John Evelyn, poet and foodie, was a veg enthusiast and wrote Acetaria, A Discourse of Sallets though his friend Samuel Pepys was very much a meat man and no veg man! He made very little mention of “greenstuffs” in his diary though that is not to say he didn’t eat them. Certainly exotic fruits were becoming a status symbol and the pineapple was to become the prime example of this over the coming centuries even featuring as a must have garden ornament. Vegetables did, however, appear on the menu and were often also cooked in a more sweet than savoury way. I have selected two of the least popular vegetables from my childhood, both cooked in a way even my mum never thought of doing! Both work as stand -alone meals or as accompaniments to meat and fish.
Roasted Turnip- for one
1 medium size turnip, large if you like
Approximately 10g unsalted butter
½ tsp dark brown sugar
Buttered foil squares big enough to wrap the turnip
Peel the turnip, cut the top off and gauge out some of the turnip, mix with the butter and sugar and replace as best you can! Wrap in the buttered foil and bake at 350F, Gas Mark 4 or 170 C for about 45 minutes or till cooked- use a knife to check if they are cooked through. I also do this by finely slicing the turnip using a food processor and placing in a buttered dish and melting the butter and sugar and pouring over the turnip slices, covering with foil and cooking for a similar time. This works well if doing several turnips.
Spinach Condiment suitable for “a Sick Man’s Diet”
225g fresh spinach, washed and chopped.
Juice of 2 oranges
Tblsp cider or white wine vinegar
25g unsalted butter
Cook the spinach gently with the orange juice and vinegar in a pan till almost a puree, “pult” in the original recipe, then stir in the butter and seasoning. I think it best served warm –goes well with salmon or with eggs baked in it for about 4/5 minutes and a Spinach Condiment to Accompany Fish
Written by local writer, playwright & ‘Monmouth’ actress Maya Pieris
“Sugar and spice and all things nice” were even more welcome in 1669 after Lent which was observed religiously and culinarily in a much more serious way. Many foods were banned with fish being popular on the menu. Spiced breads and cakes were the post Lent treat and have long been associated with festivals. Cakes, prior to the development of baking powder in the early 1800’s, were enriched bread doughs laden down with butter, sugar, eggs, spices and dried fruits especially currants whose name is a corruption of “Corinthe” as they were known as Raisins of Corinthe. Now not the most popular of the dried grapes they were heavily used in festive cakes from medieval times on. As was saffron- very popular in the West Country one theory being that it was brought in by Phoenician traders. Caraway was also a popular flavouring especially in breads called Wiggs, thought to derive from old English for wedge as these buns were often broken into large pieces. They continued to be popular into the 19th century but like Seed Cake have fallen from flavour! A recipe for them will go into the theatre’s website. The following recipe comes from a fascinating collection put together by the Sir Kenelm Digby, the ultimate Renaissance man- soldier, scholar, collector and married to one of the Stuart beauties, Venetia Digby painted on her death bead by Van Dyke. He is also an ancestor of the current Digby family long connected with Dorset. The cake uses lots of butter and I have made it rather as a lardy cake is made with the butter and fruit added to the dough by rolling and folding it in. And it needs eating within a day or two! Icing is optional but adds to it. And don’t expect this to be like your standard Hot X Bun!
10g fresh yeast or a sachet of dried –start fresh activate start off in a little warmed milk and a tsp sugar
6fl oz warmed milk, more if needed
1 egg beaten
250g unsalted butter
500g white bread flour
1 tsp caraway gently crushed if you have a pestle and mortar
Good pinch of ground cloves, mace and nutmeg
If using fresh yeast mix with a little milk and sugar and leave till it starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. Rub the butter into the flour, stir in the caraway seeds, spices, sugar and fresh or dried yeast and then add the milk and egg. Mix briefly together then cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to rise for a couple of hours. You can do this in a food processor. When risen knock back, form into 4 large rounds and place on a greased baking tray, cover and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at Gas Mark 6, 200 C or 400 F for about 30 minutes but check after 20 minutes. Great toasted and buttered.
560g white bread flour
225g unsalted butter
2fl oz sherry
5fl oz beer more if needed
¼ tsp ground cloves, nutmeg and mace
½ tsp cinnamon,
Good pinch of saffron
1 tblsp rosewater
15g dried or 25g fresh yeast
Heat the saffron in the sherry and beer, leave to infuse for a few minutes then strain. Sift the flour and spices together. Rub in 100g of butter. If using fresh yeast add to the liquid and leave for a few minutes to bubble. If using dried yeast stir into the flour. Pour the liquid including the rosewater into the flour, incorporate and then kneed for about 10 minutes till the dough forms a ball. Or put the flour and liquid into a food processor and follow the instructions for making bread. Leave the dough in a warm place, covered, till about double in size. Turn out onto a floured board, roll out to an oblong and dot 2/3rds of the dough with the remaining softened butter and currants. Fold one end into the middle and then the other end over that and roll out. Give the dough a ½ turn and repeat the process 2 or 3 times. Form into a circle and place in a greased 8” tin with a solid base not a spring clip tin and gently ease the dough to the sides, cover and leave for about 30 minutes. Bake at 180C, Mark 4 or 350 F for about 40 minutes checking it doesn’t catch.
225g granulated sugar
2 tblsp rosewater
Place in a pan and heat till the sugar has dissolved then heat for a few minutes till thickened taking care the mixture doesn’t “spit”. Pour over the cake and return to the oven on a low heat, 150 C, Gas Mark 2, 330 F, for about 15 minutes to “candy”.
Written by local writer and ‘Tempest of Lyme’ & ‘Monmouth’ actor David Ruffle
Monday 27th March saw the opening rehearsal for this year’s community play, Monmouth. Although the rebellion, led by the Duke of Monmouth, took place in 1685 and only lasted a few short weeks, it is commemorated to this day in Lyme. The ‘rebellious’ town of Lyme and its people suffered for their Protestant sympathies. It was an extraordinary time of bravery, fiery passions and ultimately grief. That is the story we hope to tell, perhaps as it has never been told before.
The scene that was worked on was the opening scene that involves disembodied voices that became more bodied as the evening wore on! It’s striking how what starts as a reading can become a performance in the course of an evening, how even the smallest of parts can offer so much in interpretation. To set the scene: There is a group of seemingly disparate women awaiting the arrival of an older woman. Who are they? Where are they? The woman they are expecting, they are in awe of, but jealous too even uncomfortable in her presence. This woman is Alice Hawkier (a fictional character) who has been in exile in France for many, many years. A woman whose whole life has been shaped by her association and indeed her love for the Duke of Monmouth. This will be her story, her epitaph for she is at the end of her life. Has she come here to die? To confess? For vengeance? Alice is played by Lyme stage stalwart, Anne King and for those of you familiar with Anne, a sterling local talent, you know you are going to see an excellent performance. In fact it is already a great performance! As the evening progressed not only did we discuss the motivation of each and every character, but we argued on the essence of history itself, how suffering and destruction resounds through the ages, how our lives are shaped by what has gone before. And you thought we just sat around reading lines and drinking tea! Okay, admittedly, we did have tea, but in an astonishing oversight, particularly for those of us involved in The Tempest of Lyme, the bourbons and custard creams were entirely absent. It may not seem a huge deal, but I think the Trustees should look closely at the whole issue of snack provisions at rehearsals.
The next rehearsal is a full read-through by the cast where very quickly things will begin falling into place. Watch this space. If anyone wants to be involved in the production please contact the theatre. There is still time to help financially to assist the production of this wonderful venture and who knows, the cast could end up with chocolate hob-nobs!
…and not just food!
Written by Maya Pieris
Plays and poetry, in playwright David Edgar’s opinion, are natural bedfellows and I would agree, as for this article I’m deserting my preferred area of poetry for plays, in particular the community play. And where I live we are not short of excellent examples.
Having just been at a NODA awards dinner, where the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, won a regional award for its 2016 community production of The Tempest of Lyme, I’d say the am-dram world is very much alive and high kicking! The community play owes a debt to Ann Jellicoe, actor, writer and director, who inspired the community play concept in London before moving to Lyme Regis with her artist husband Roger Mayne. For Jellicoe, the community play had to be the result of a long period of research with the chosen community in order to artistically embed the subject matter of the play, with the people who were to perform it and in the location. And the female perspective is often central, as in her play Western Women, which looked at the role of women in the Siege of Lyme during the Civil War.
At this very moment, cast members from Dorchester to Lyme taking in Bridport on the way are at some stage in production for three community plays, a scene no doubt repeated around the country. The Lyme Regis and Dorchester plays are using community histories as their starting points. For Lyme’s Marine Theatre this is to be the Monmouth Rebellion, a pivotal period in West Country history especially in Devon, Dorset and Somerset, and one which still lingers in folk memory and in place names. A lot of scene setting is being done beforehand, both for the theatre community and the potential audience through talks, workshops and other theatre-based events which allow funds to be raised as well as raising a wider awareness of the play. And the local press are helping to get the town in the “mood” by running a series of food related columns devoted to 17th century recipes! The Bridport play has taken as its story the idea of a flea circus led by Madame Celine and has ukuleles at the musical heart showing how varied the subject matter can be for a community play but all sharing community as the starting point.
For more information about these three community plays look on their websites. And come to all if you can!
Written by ‘Monmouth’ actress Maya Pieris
Samuel Pepys diary entry of November 12th, 1661 records going to “the Grayhound in Fleet Streete, and there drank some Raspbury Sack and eat some Sasages”.
So sausages, it seems, have been a firm favourite with the British for some time! And no doubt the soldiers in both armies at the Battle of Sedgemoor would have eaten one or two in their time possibly even cooking them in the camp fire stock pot. The battle was a pivotal moment in The Monmouth Rebellion which is the subject of the next Lyme Regis community play, “Monmouth”, following hard on the heels of last summer’s award winning The Tempest of Lyme. This play saw the community play idea revived in a town which had played a pivotal part in the development of this approach to theatre back in the 1970’s led by British playwright, theatre director and actress Ann Jellicoe. Monmouth will be performed on July 6th-8th and 13th-15th at the Marine Theatre and you can phone 01297 442394 or look at the Marine Theatre website for further details.
So to help us get into “the mood” the View From Lyme will be featuring a series of seventeenth century recipes over the coming weeks to give you a flavour of those times. We hope to highlight local producers and retailers who have “enlisted” in the project and will be “raising the colours” for the play. We start with a dish of sausages cooked in currants, wine and butter and served with buttered rice, not unlike Pilau Rice, curry being a newcomer to the British diet along with the potato which was beginning to feature on the dinner tables of the wealthy, yet to be mashed as a partner for the sausage or “sosige” as it was also spelt! Serve these sausages in a dish surrounded by “sippets”, little pieces of toast probably a memory of the bread trencher “plates” of the earlier medieval period.
To Stew Sausages for two people
- 6 good quality sausages preferably from a butcher
- 25g currants simmered in water till plumped up
- 10g unsalted butter
- 5g brown sugar
- 4 fl oz white wine- either sweet or dry
- Small piece of toast to decorate and mop up the sauce
Simmer the sausages in water for about 20 minutes till cooked, strain and put on a plate. Place the remaining ingredients in the same pan, heat gently till the butter and sugar are incorporated then add the sausages and cook further till the sauce is slightly reduced and season to taste. Serve with the toast as decoration on a bed of the following rice.
- 110g rice
- 25g unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
Place the rice in a pan, just cover with water and simmer for about 10 minutes till cooked adding more water if necessary. Strain and add remaining ingredients stirring in thoroughly and serve with the sausages.
words by Joe Sellman-Leava and Michael Woodman, Co-Artistic Directors, Worklight Theatre
We are proper excited to bring Labels to Lyme Regis! Joe, who wrote and performs in the show, was lucky enough to teach the Marine Theatre’s youth theatre group from 2012-2013, but this will be the first time we’ve performed a show here, so we can’t wait!
Since Edinburgh 2015, we’ve done over 180 performances of the show around the UK and Australia, and are soon heading off the USA and Singapore with it too. And there’s two things we’ve loved most:
The first is seeing so many places we might not otherwise get the chance to.
The second is the discussions we have with audiences after the show. It sparks conversation, stories, even debates. People are keen to share their own experiences of prejudice, labelling and family.
We thought 2015 would be the peak of bad news when it came to the refugee crisis and far-right politics, but 2016 has taken things to frightening new levels. Labels is a drop in the ocean and we won’t pretend for a second that a small theatre show alone can change the world.
But at a time when divisions are deeply felt by many of us, and deliberately exploited by a few of us, using storytelling, comedy and theatre to bring people together in dialogue seems like a good start.
– – – – – – – –
Thanks to WorkLight Theatre, we are looking forward to the show on Thursday night!
Blog by Sophia Moseley
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World we live in and if you were sitting in the audience at the Marine Theatre on Friday night, whilst there was no Jimmy Durante or Spencer Tracey, you still would have been in very good company as Spitz & Co took us into the Kungalunga Jungle to meet Mickey the rather dodgy looking gorilla.
But the evening kicked off with director and banjo playing Angus Barr,
“I’m the warm up act and I’m not just going to sing songs, I’m going to make the world a better place via Lyme Regis…I’m going to start with excessive car insurance premiums”
From which point the audience were in stitches as Angus sang his way through a multitude of politically incorrect and environmental issues including a parody of Petula Clark’s song ‘Downtown’.
So by the time Susie Donkin came on stage everyone was primed and ready for more hilarity and with her agitated portrayal of nervous tour manager, Josephine Cunningham, we soon got the measure of the more confident Gloria Delaneuf played by Pauline Morel who had no interest in promoting their sponsor, Clairol hair products!
From the rather dubious gorilla costume to the wind-up mice that scurried across the stage (until Mickey kicks one into orbit!), it is non-stop madness and mayhem with a rather saucy scene when Gloria strips down to a swimsuit for a quick wash and is then carried off into a small pop-up tent by a very dubious looking Tarzan-esque character and as for what goes on in the little tent, well that’s why the show is for 14+
“Mickey I can explain”
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Josephine as she rushed around like a lunatic doing all she could to help Gloria whilst at the same time shapeshifting from anxious tour manager to horny gorilla cum jungle man, with occasional overlaps of costumes that led to an uproarious reaction from the audience.
I don’t think I’ll look at Tarzan in quite the same way again!
Words and Image by Sophia Moseley
I met a retired prison officer, a therapist who works with brain injuries and an ME sufferer.
Such was the fascinating background of the stallholders who fashioned the Marine Theatre Vintage & Handmade Fair on Sunday.
Trudi Colley lives nearby and works with brain injury clients in Honiton and Axminster, but she has a lifetime of crafting interest,
“I worked at the Milton Keynes Bowl organising craft fairs so have a pretty good idea how it all comes together”.
With a collection of leather accessories, jewellery and children’s name plaques, Trudi has been creating her range for many years and is always looking to add a new skill to her portfolio,
“I don’t go on holidays, whilst everyone else goes to sunny Spain, I go on craft courses and my next one is on bronze casting and mould making.”
Which is when I met her colleague and friend Gillian Beckman-Findlay from Budleigh Salterton who has been crafting for six years,
“I developed ME and was feeling pretty depressed but Trudi bullied me into going to a craft hotel where we made wood plaques. I absolutely loved it and never looked back.”
Having worked as a payroll and accounts manager, Gillian crafts part-time and encourages anyone else to take it up,
“If anyone says they don’t know what to make, I can give them a long list. It’s very therapeutic and Trudi and I are going to craft all day tomorrow!”
And talking of therapy, how about ‘Get Felt’? No, not a Freudian slip but the saucily named business set up by Barbara Stanley and Nick Gomer from Weymouth.
Barbara and Nick are also musicians playing in the ‘Skint Imperials’ and after her retirement from the prison service, Barbara wanted to do something new,
“I teach crochet and really enjoy creating things”
With her warm waterproof felt hats and crocheted light jar covers I wondered where she gets her inspiration,
“God knows, the ideas just come. My hats evolve, this one started off as a bowler but it became a vintage hat with a brim”
With that philosophy being echoed by everyone; when it comes to vintage and crafting, there’s a passion for the profession and every piece is sold with that personal guarantee of TLC.
words and image by Sophia Moseley
I went to a Shakatak concert sometime in the late 1980s in a Bedfordshire village hall; I know, right, the cutting edge of pop music. So when I saw the tribute band Atomic Blondie were performing at the Marine Theatre, I dug out my American punk gear (jeans & T-shirt) to relive those heady disco days.
With an average age of 55 (with a few much younger exceptions) and everyone seated bar one couple and three men who stood in the dance area at the back, I knew I was in for a wild night!
The band kicked off with Losing my Mind, the wife of the standing couple immediately gets into the spirit of things and launches into an energetic dance whilst her husband stands by. The rest of the audience sits obediently.
With Sunday Girl the three men at the back start a few knee bends and gentle bouncing,
“Who remembers the 1980s?” shouts A B. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t.
But with Call Me the husband’s head starts nodding and his right knee bending.
The Tide is High saw a surge of girls and grannies getting up to dance but where were the handbags in the middle of the dance circle (remember that?) and just what is it about men dancing or should that be knee bending and arm swinging?
“If you’re not dancing then how about some clapping?” shouts A B. Some of those seated manage it for a few seconds but then it all gets too much and they stop.
Meanwhile the husband has progressed to some toe tapping.
There are a few dance moves I recognise and some lyrics to ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ come back to me so I do that thing of mouthing the ones I know.
My memory of Blondie aka Debbie Harry is of a thin almost gaunt woman with straw like dyed blond hair who hardly moved and that included her mouth; and her eyes had that slightly spaced-out look. So when the voluptuous and vivacious tributee came on stage, who I suspect was at best a baby in the 80s, it somehow didn’t quite gel for me.
I wonder if there’s a Shakatak tribute band, at least I know the words to their songs.