I don’t normally stir much Bible into my cooking, but today I found a recipe which intrigued me. The ingredients are given by chapter and verse of the Bible so that, for example, Isaiah 10:14 (‘And my hand has found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathers eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth’) is eggs. It turns out that I don’t have a Bible in my house but a bit of googling of the references found me not only eggs but spices, figs, almonds and – of course – honey (Exodus 16:31).
It’s a fun treasure hunt, and I realised it could be done with any book that has a wide enough frame of reference. I could call this same cake ‘Shakespeare cake’ and make it with:
6 x As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 2, line 34 (‘Truly, thou art damned like an ill roasted egg, all on one side’),
2 cups of Othello Act 1, scene 3, line 319 (‘Virtue? A fig! ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus’)
1 cup of Troilus and Cressida Act 5, scene 2, line 230 (‘the parrot will not do more for an almond than he for a commodious drab’)
1 tbsp Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 6, line 11 (‘The sweetest honey Is loathsome in his own deliciousness’)
adding A Winter’s Tale Act 4 Scene 3 line 106 (‘I must go buy spices for our sheep-shearing’) to taste
Hey, I could even use my own Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo and (rush for your copy now…) and give the recipe’s ingredients as
6 x p. 228, line 9 (where bees’ egg-laying is discussed)
1 cup of p.208, line 11 (where the almonds‘ oil is described, as used by the beekeeping women at the shelter I visited, for making facecream)
seasoned to taste with p.201 line 36 (where the possibilities of spices for colouring Orthodox Easter eggs are set out).
Here’s the recipe (with helpful information in brackets for those who didn’t go to Bible camp), amended from what is fast becoming my favourite quirky recipe book, Honey I’m Homemade. It makes a handsome cake and I used up additional mixture in muffin tins and they went down just as well.
1 cup Judges 5:25 (butter)
2 cups Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)
1 tablespoon Exodus 16:31 (honey)
6 x Isaiah 10:14 (eggs)
3.5 cups x 1 Kings 4:22 (flour)
to taste: 1 Kings 10:2 (spices; I used allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger)
1 cup Genesis 24:17 (water)
2 cups x 1 Samuel 30:12 (raisins)
2 cups x 1 Samuel 30:12 (dried figs, chopped)
1 cup Genesis 43:11 (sliced almonds)
Cream butter and sugar, add honey and then beat in eggs one at a time. Sift in the flour and spices, adding water as you go. Fold in raisins, figs and almonds and stir until blended.Place in greased cake tin or muffin tins. Bake at 160 degrees until toothpick comes out clean
My Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo was published last year by Signal Books