Having a little look over at UK Food Bloggers Association last week I saw a post about a British Food Fortnight Challenge. I'll admit that until this point I knew nothing of British Food Fortnight (or Antonia's Food Glorious Food blog) but I'm not one to turn down the opportunity to cook something I might not normally cook. I decided to go for something from where I grew up but as Milton Keynes hasn't got any history, let alone food history, I hopped over the country border to Bedfordshire. Both sets of my grandparents lived there anyway so it's probably a better representation of my heritage.
Bedfordshire is the home of the Bedfordshire Clanger, a dish I'd always been intrigued by. The Clanger is a combined sweet and savoury dish cooked up by wives for their husbands to take to the fields with them when working the farm. From what I'd heard one end was a meat filling and then at the other fruit resided so you could have a main course and dessert all in one.
It's a hard one to track down a definitive recipe for but by piecing a few things together it seems to have started life as suet roly poly with meat (bacon for the poor, beef for the rich) between the layers, in this first form the fruit was raisins which studded the suet pastry rather than being in one end. In then seemingly went through a second stage, still a suet pastry rolled like a swiss roll but now with meat at one end and the fruit at the other. More recent incarnations are like a Cornish pasty in form, a suet pastry still but now in a pasty shape, with meat at one end and fruit in the other - baked rather than giving a couple of hours simmering. Out of the three the second was the one I fancied the most.