Recipes from the Worstead Festival

Cakes, pies and pastries have long been a key element of the annual Worstead Festival. As a new festival recipe book is published in time for this year’s three-day celebration, Ed Foss spoke to Cynthia Clare, who co-ordinates the baking efforts for the event.

This Friday, July 27, the three-day Worstead Festival will kick into life, with music, old time machinery, traditional working heavy horses, entertainment and display ring antics taking the headlines.

But one of the central features of this festival for any visitor is the tea tent.

During the festival volunteers will help serve dozens of slices of large cakes, around 1,000 small cakes and around the same number of scones.

Every year there are plenty of people who want to take away the recipes of cakes they have particularly enjoyed - and those involved have always been happy to help, if and when possible.

But with an increasing number of these requests, it seemed only sensible to get it all written down and available to all, as the festival's catering manager Cynthia Clare explained. “There are several reasons for doing this, not least the chance to generate some more money for the festival charity, which gives money in funds and grants to so many worthy local causes,” said Mrs Clare.

“But there was also the fact that so many people, especially over the last two or three years, were asking for certain recipes. They would leave their names and addresses so I could post the recipes out to them, but it was all getting rather too much.

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“Now all the recipes are down on paper and available for people to have for good.”

There was another major and perhaps more emotive reason as well, said Mrs Clare, who was made an MBE in 2002 thanks to more than 30 years of feeding thousands of children and festival goers in Worstead - the former at the local primary school as dining assistant.

“To be honest I wanted to have a book like this. These recipes could be lost one day if we don't get them written down.

“Lots of them are mine and several go back to my mother, none of them are taken from other books, so in lots of ways it was important to me personally, as well as being very nice to get them down on paper and out there for the public to have.

“Every single one of the 27 recipes apart from the Christmas cake has been made for the festival over the years, so people will recognise lots of them.”

The recipes have been available before, but never in such a well designed and user friendly book, said Mrs Clare. “It is a proper job and looks wonderful - it is even wipe clean!”

As far as the annual effort in advance of the festival goes, Mrs Clare explained that work typically started in April and was taken on by a team of around half a dozen stalwart volunteers.

Cooking sessions could last up to three days at a time and both Manor Road School, in North Walsham, and Worstead Village Hall host cooking sessions.

Everything is then taken down to the local Heinz factory and frozen until it is needed for the festival.

The book includes recipes for various cakes including boiled fruit, coffee and walnut, banana, lemon, chocolate fudge, carrot and diabetic fruit. There are also recipes for scones, apple tea loaf, Norfolk shortcakes, chocolate buns and rich coconut tarts.t The recipe book - Festival Favourites - will be on sale priced at £3.50 during the festival or can be ordered, with a charge for postage and packing, by calling 01692 536721 or 407232.

t Worstead Festival runs from Friday until Sunday. Entry on Friday, a children's day including an all day football tournament, is £3 for adults and free for children. Saturday and Sunday are £5 and £1 respectively.

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