The Soul of Leigh On Sea

As November takes us forward to darker nights and the impending Christmas Festivities I recently took a sabbatical to my former residence Southend on Sea, in time for Halloween and All Saint’s Day.

The area of Leigh is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Legra”, a small fishing hamlet and many of the old buildings remain. I was particularly drawn to the emblems of Ships that were almost everywhere, but one in particular caught my attention.

A former sketch in an old Psychic Journal™ of a ‘metallic ship’ which was unbeknown to me the symbol of the Fisherman’s Mission in Old Leigh. The emblem adorns the gates of this fascinating place steeped in history.

I also decided to bake Soul Cakes, to celebrate All Soul’s Day, which follows Halloween (Hallowe’en), or All Hallow’s Eve as it is also known, and All Saint’s Day (All Hallow’s Day – Hallow being the old English word for Saint) which is on the 1st November a day observed as a Celtic festival called “Samhain” or “Feast of the Dead” a day with bonfires lit at night, in order to light the soul’s way to heaven.

And that’s where Soul-Cakes come in the British culinary tradition – “Souling” would take place the night before All Soul’s day, where “Soulers” would travel from door to door begging for soul-cakes and spiced ale in return for prayers and songs.

It seemed the perfect way to commemorate not only this important day, but also my return to a place where I felt my soul remained.

INGREDIENTS

  • 175g butter (6ozs)
  • 175g caster sugar (6ozs)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 450g plain flour (1lb)
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 100g currrants (4 ozs)

They are a cross between biscuit and a scone, bake them at around 180c/375F, Gas Mark 5 until slightly golden, around 10 – 12 minutes.