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Miss Scarlett’s guide to Suffolk life

PUBLISHED: 14:13 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 19:30 04 April 2017

A beautiful and changeable afternoon walking by the river at Iken, Suffolk.

A beautiful and changeable afternoon walking by the river at Iken, Suffolk.

(c) copyright citizenside.com

The musings of Miss Scarlett (aka Sandy Ruddock), imperfect wife, ex-wife, mother, step-mother, godmother, aunt, daughter, sibling, daughter-in-law, friend, boss and entrepreneur

rabbit pierabbit pie

Hands up all those who have a copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management. First published in 1861. Is it an heirloom? Have you read it? Used it? As a doorstop?

Apparently Isabella Beeton didn’t like cooking. One of her first recipes was for a “Good Sponge Cake”, but she forgot to include flour in the ingredients list and had to write an apology in her next column. Isabelle was one of 21 children and most of her domestic experience centred around childcare, not cooking. She spent part of her childhood living in the grandstand at Epsom Racecourse – a challenging kitchen!


Mrs Beeton feature

Isabella Beeton


EADT 7 10 05EADT FEATURES DON BLACK Mrs Beeton feature Isabella Beeton PICTURE CONTRIBUTED EADT 7 10 05

She died aged 28, otherwise the book might have been double its size, taking it to a whopping 3,212 pages – a coffee table, rather than a coffee table book.

Walk, talk and fork

WALK: From Snape Maltings to Iken Church (and back) https://snapemaltings.co.uk/nature/walks/

Miss ScarlettMiss Scarlett

TALK: I can feel the rage starting behind my eyes and swiftly flowing through my veins to suffuse my whole body. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, and there are more important things to use up your anger on, but ‘mumpreneur’? I mean, really, the word is wrong on so many levels. It isn’t actually a word, it’s an offence, to everyone – women, mothers, men, fathers, children. Who dreams up these things? Call me new wave, but where’s the Dadpreneur of the Year Award? The Unclepreneur, the Sonpreneur, the Thinpreneur, the Fatpreneur. You get my drift. So, no thank you, I definitely won’t be entering. And if anyone rings me up and asks me if I’m having a nice day, the answer is ‘no’.

FORK: The Common Room in Framlingham. Fish finger sandwiches with tartare sauce – what’s not to love?

Miss Scarlett’s Recipe

Miss ScarlettMiss Scarlett

My thoughts turn to Easter food, but not Easter eggs or Easter cakes. I’m thinking of something a rather more alternative because I’ve come across a fantastic recipe for rabbit pie.

Miss Scarlett’s Rabbit Pie (no boiled eggs, unlike Mrs Beeton)

Serves 4-5


Meat from one rabbit, cut into one-inch pieces, 1 level tablespoon flour, 1 level tablespoon mustard powder, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 25g/1oz butter, 1 large onion, peeled and diced, 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced, 150ml light ale, 150ml stock, salt & pepper, 2 level tablespoons Demerara sugar, 1 level tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 pack short crust pastry, 1 egg, beaten


Pat the rabbit meat dry all over with some kitchen paper, then toss in a mixture of the flour and the dry mustard. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the pieces of rabbit until browned all over. Remove the rabbit from the pan and put aside. Add the butter to the pan and fry the onions and red pepper until soft. Stir in the rabbit and any remaining mustard powder and flour, and cook for a minute or so. Gradually add the stock and the light ale and bring to the boil. Season well, adding vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard to taste. Transfer the pie contents into a suitable pie dish. Roll out your pastry and shape to fit the top of your dish. Use a fork to crimp the edges, and decorate with any remaining pastry. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg and place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes.

Miss Scarlett’s foodie tip: Because it’s Easter, add a dollop of lemon curd to your Easter muffins.

Miss Scarlett’s journal

The Suffolk Sunrise

Taking part in the Suffolk Sunrise among the LOPIL (Lots of People in Lycra) crowd was a highlight of 2015 for me. Never having cycled before (apart from the bike with wicker basket type cycling) I borrowed a bike and in January started riding every weekend. After getting over the initial aches and pains (a girlie saddle is an essential investment, believe me) it has become part of my weekend routine, and I absolutely love it. Fresh air, beautiful lanes, friendly souls also on their bikes/walking their dogs/riding their horses/feeding their ostriches (yes, really) typified this friendly county. Friends, family, work colleagues and many people I didn’t know were kind enough to sponsor me for the 60 mile route around the thankfully flat lanes of Suffolk, and incredibly I was the very lucky winner of an amazing road bike courtesy of Chain Reaction Cycles for raising the most money for the amazing Action Medical Research Charity.

So the pressure is on, and yes, I have taken the hint from on high that now I have a super duper professional steed through absolutely no fault of my own, I have to complete the 101 mile course this year. So, more lanes I didn’t know existed, and I might have to become a FYOPIL (Fifty Year Old Person in Lycra).

So come on, get off the sofa and join me and many others – lots of whom are in normal clothing if you’re worried about that sort of thing – on this fantastic ride round our wonderful county. You don’t have to go far – choose the 36 mile course if you’re feeling lardy – and you’ll be having fun and raising money for a great charity. Or you could just sponsor me and remain a CPOTHO so I can do the hard work for you. A Scarlett & Mustard hamper goes to whoever can tell me what a CPOTHO is. Hints on my shiny, new Twitter @MissScarlettGas; tweet, or email your answers to MissScarlett@scarlettmustard.co.uk

Sponsor me at www.action.org.uk/sponsor/sandy

Miss Scarlett’s Top April Tip:

Spring flowers

Daffodils and tulips in the same vase will kill each other. Keep them separate to keep them alive. Put a block of ice in your vase every day and they will last twice as long!


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