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Sweet saints

24 July 2015

by Simon Walsh


HAD you been in Spain last month, you might have encountered the Poor Clares in Cordoba, who dole out 5000 bread rolls on the feast of St Anthony of Padua (13 June). Custom has it that the “Pan de San Antonio” should be kept and used the next year to make Gazpacho on his feast day. You do not have to wait that long; the bread should be hard enough by now.


1kg (2 lb) ripe tomatoes

1 large bread roll (hard) or approx.

100g (4 oz) stale breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves

1 stick celery

6 spring onions, trimmed

10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon paprika

pinch of sugar, sea salt, black pepper


1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

4 slices Spanish ham, chopped

handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley


Wash the tomatoes, halve them, and liquidise in a large bowl or blender. (If there are many seeds, sieve them out.) Add the bread and blend together.

Peel and crush the garlic, wash and chop the celery and onions, add these also, and blend. Slowly pour in the olive oil, a spoonful at a time, then judiciously add the vinegar, paprika, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Play around a little, because it depends on the ripeness and sweetness of the tomatoes. It should be as thick as a purée; so thin out with some water if required. Chill, then just before serving add the garnish.


Coconut ice is as welcome on fête days as it is at picnics, barbecues, and day trips to the seaside. This is the “no-cook” type that requires no sugar test or other fiddle, with the added bonus that this taste of childhood is back in fashion.


250g (9 oz) mascarpone cheese

300g (11 oz) icing sugar

250g (9 oz) desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

few drops of pink/red food colouring


Take a 15cm (6-inch) tin and line it with baking parchment. Beat the mascarpone with half the sugar to the consistency of a thin paste. Stir in the coconut and the rest of the sugar, and add the vanilla essence, making sure that everything is well blended forming a thick paste — similar to fresh marzipan.

Divide it, and place one half into the waiting tin, smoothing it down flat across the whole base and packing it in firmly. With half of the mixture still in the bowl, add the food colouring to give a good colour-shock, stir through thoroughly, then press and smooth this on top of the white mixture in the tin.

Make a loose cover with some kitchen foil, leaving space for the air to get to the surface, and place the tin in a cool place overnight to harden and set. The next day, remove by pulling out the paper, and cut the coconut ice into cubes.

You can vary this recipe. Some caster sugar can be used to give a bit more bite. Likewise, how the coconut absorbs moisture can depend on its shred, processing, and even age. If you feel that the mixture needs to be thicker, just add extra coconut.

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