20 March 2014

Treacle


In virtually every British kitchen you will find a tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup. It is often called treacle. In our house we use it to sweeten porridge, spread on pancakes and it is in several flapjack recipes. Golden syrup was a by-product of the sugar refining business established by Abram Lyle and his three sons on the banks of the River Thames in 1881.

We have all grown up with that distinctive green and golden tin. It is a design that goes right back to the nineteenth century. In fact, Lyle's Golden Syrup is officially recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest brand. 

In the middle of the tin design there's a dead lion with a cloud of bees hovering over him. The design image comes from Abram Lyle’s religious beliefs: it’s a reference to a story in the Old Testament, in which Samson killed a lion, then saw that bees had formed a honeycomb in the lion’s carcass. The Bible references Samson’s words that also feature on the tin “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”

It wasn't until 1950 that Lyles (now Tate and Lyles) launched their black treacle - mimicking the timeless Golden Syrup tin design but with red as the predominant colour. This product is mainly used in some rich cake recipes and in treacle toffee.

I have had a spoonful of Lyle's golden syrup already today. In recent weeks, Shirley and I have switched our breakfasting preference to porridge. We make it in the microwave. A cup full of rolled oats in a medium sized mixing bowl. A little salt. Add hot water and cold milk. Stir. The mixture should be like wallpaper paste before it has set. Then stick in the microwave for three and a half minutes. I like my porridge to be quite stiff - not sloppy so getting the liquid content right involves some trial and error. When it's done the porridge is spooned into a breakfast bowl - spoonful of treacle and a little more milk and it's done. Into the strong goes forth sweetness - and fresh porridge of course.

28 comments:

  1. We don't put treacle (molasses?) on our oatmeal. We put milk, butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and raisins. A real treat for the taste buds, and it sticks to one's ribs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting RWP but I'll stick with treacle. It's how I had porridge when I was a lad.

      Delete
    2. Robert in the UK molasses (black strap molasses) is less refined than treacle. I know. I had to have a spoonful before breakfast when I was a lad "because it was good for you". It's one of the few foods I detest.

      Delete
    3. GB _ all those childhood nutrients turned you into the man you are today. We are what we eat so you are -not Mr Pastry but Mr Treacle!

      Delete
  2. You forgot to mention the slavery of which Tate and Lyle built their fortune. Makes that Lion symbolism all the more poignant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point comrade - perhaps the slogan should have been "Out of the labour of slaves comes forth profit"

      Delete
  3. Here treacle is darker and thicker than syrup. I am a honey girl myself on my porridge. My grandma would make steamed pudding with treacle bottoms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calling golden syrup treacle is probably as mistaken as calling all vacuum cleaners hoovers. I hope your grandma saw a doctor about her treacly bottom - not an easy condition to live with!

      Delete
  4. As a Yank who loves English novels and mysteries, I always wondered what treacle was. Here, of course, we're all about maple syrup on our pancakes, (the real thing, please, not the artificially flavored brown stuff) but I also grew up in the South where molasses figured largely as a sweetener.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marty - Mmm...yes, good quality maple syrup is delightful - shame it's so expensive over here. Golden syrup(what my family have always called treacle) is not the same as molasses - that's more like the black treacle. Golden syrup is lighter.

      Delete
  5. I too start my day on porridge I have to buy the crushed and not over milled oats. It is a matter of fourths for me. A quarter of oats, A quarter of milk and a half of water. No salt unless I'm not adding grapes or bits of apple or banana. My breakfast can look a bit grim but if it tastes sour I add a bit of Demerara. Billingtons unrefined suits me. I have never owned a tin of golden syrup. That is probably why I'm a bit sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and Mr Brague should get together to discuss your weird porridge toppings. And you've never owned a tin of golden syrup? Good God man - you haven't lived!

      Delete
  6. I love oats, but on a low carb diet they don't work for me. Luckily my hens do work for me...I make a nice big crustless quiche once a week and microwave a piece for breakfast. When I do make oatmeal, I cook a big pot of the the stuff that looks like horse food. It takes a long time to cook. Then I put single servings in the freezer and Bob has them for breakfast. The best, though, is a nice avocado and bacon omelet at Bert's Diner. Anyone who reads this blog and is driving near Sacramento, let me know and I'll take you to breakfast there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jan - how much is Bert paying you to promote his diner?

      Delete
    2. We just bought a second (tiny!) home near Sac to be closer to my daughter without leaving our beloved mountains of Colorado for more than a month at a time. Where is Bert's Diner?

      Delete
    3. Dear MT - Go to http://www.bertsdiner.com/ - it's in Sheldon in the suburbs of Sacramento. I have had several virtual meals there.

      Delete
    4. The all-knowing YP is correct about the location, though it's closer to Elk Grove than to Sacramento. Let me know when you're in the area and I'll meet you there.

      Delete
    5. "All knowing"...yes, I like that Jan. I wish I could join you and Mountain Thyme for breakfast.

      Delete
  7. My breakfast habits sound truly lame in comparison: no cooking, no microwaving, just a bowl of Aldi's crunchy nut & honey muesli with joghurt, and a mug of strong coffee with LOTS of sweetener (no milk).
    And although I spend some time in Yorkshire every summer, I have never tasted porridge in my life, or treacle for that matter. Can you believe it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good heavens Arian! Especially in the wintertime - porridge is a great morning food. It's filling and its goodness is slowly released - staving off mid-morning hunger pangs. Thanks for reminding me about sweeteners. I think I'll buy some as I am trying to reduce my calorie intake.

      Delete
  8. One of my favorite early childhood memories is hearing the sap go "pling, pling" into the buckets nailed to the trees in the northeast corridor of the US. Now it is all automated and never again will that sound be heard. Nowadays they stick a hose into a hole in a tree, connect it to an enormous barrel and off goes the sap to be made into Maple Syrup!! Which I love on homemade (starter homemade, of course) sourdough pancakes and waffels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those maple trees certainly must exude a lot of sap if they can now draw it out with a hose.

      Delete
  9. YP
    The tin always rusted a little when in my moms cupboards when I was a child
    She kept it for so long

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John - We're just finishing a big tin. I am going to keep it as a plant pot holder. I am pleased that this post aroused that little childhood memory.

      Delete
  10. I make my porridge in the microwave too although I use a mixture of oats and oatmeal and leave to soak overnight first. I like it fairly 'firm' too. No true Scot would put sugar or syrup on porridge. A true Scot uses salt. I tend to eat it unsalted and unsweetened but I would err on the side of raw (I can't spell demerara) sugar rather than salt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds as if you should join Adrian in fronting a new cooking programme - "The Hairy Bloggers".

      Delete
  11. The good old syrup! I always use it when making my Christmas cakes.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.