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Singin Hinnies

Cakes and Scones

Scones, nowadays soda-raised, of white flour with fat, sugar and dried fruit mixed-in, baked on a griddle (on which they sizzle and 'sing') and served hot.

The name is known at least since 'A glossary of North country words' by John Trotter Brockett (1825); "My Grandy lik'd spice singin hinnies."

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Original Receipt in the 'Grantham Journal' - Saturday 14 July 1928

To the Editor of the Journal.
The “Singing Hinny” referred to in the letter which you published from Miss Brown, in your issue of June 30th, happens to one of the few dainties favourably mentioned in folk song. Thanks to Mr. John Goss and the “Week-end Book,” most of your readers will know “Billy Boy,” with the verse;

“Can she make Irish stew,
Billy Boy. Billy Boy?
Can she make an Irish stew, Billy Boy?”
“She can make Irish stew;
Ay, and Singin’ Hinnies’ too.
And my Nancy kittled fancy,
O charming Billy Boy !”

The recipe for this now famous tea dainty is: Ingredients : 1lb. flour, one pinch salt, 4oz. lard, 4oz. butter, one teaspoonful baking powder, sufficient milk to make a stiff paste. 6oz. currants. Method : Rub the lard and butter into the flour, add salt, baking powder, and currants. Mix to a stiff paste with milk. Roll into one large round rake about 1in. thick, place a girdle and cook slowly until the first side is well browned; slde a rake turner under and turn on to the other side, and cook it also till browned. The girdle usually requires frequent turning round. After the second side cooked, the cake should again be turned over and allowed to cook for few further minutes. When cooked place the cake on pastry board, cut into squares, split, and well butter. Serve hot.

Yours truly.
9, Beach-Avenue. Whitley Bay. July 7th, 1928.

They were earlier considered to be a distinctively pitman's food. The German Johann Kohl, in his 1844 study of England, Wales and Scotland, was surprised to discover that the northern colliers; "have even dishes and cakes of their own... singing hinnies are great favourites. They are very buttery, and must never be absent on a holiday from the table of a genuine pitman."

John Trotter Brockett's 'Northcountry Words' of 1825 finds several songs about them;

Ah hinnies! about us the lasses did lowp,
Thick as cur'ns in a spice singin hinnic.
from "Canny Newcassel"

Crossin the road, aw met wi' Bobby Swinney.-
Hing on the girdle, let's hev a singin hiany.
from "Muw Canny Hinny"

My Graudy lik'd spicc singin hinnies.
Maw comely: aw like thou as weel.
from "The Pitman's Courtship"

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