Betty and her delicious Derbyshire Tart

posted by Jessica February 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm Baking, Profile, WI Archive 3 comments , , , , , ,

betty_shelmerdene-3114betty_shelmerdene-3056 betty_shelmerdene-3065 betty_shelmerdene-3164 betty_shelmerdene-3178Betty. We kind of fell in love with Betty. It was hard not to, really. Pulling into her drive in Derbyshire, we were first met by her ducks swimming around the pond out front and a couple of ponies grazing in a field. Out she came to greet us, a warm, kind face all at once ushering us into her stone farmhouse kitchen and warming us up with coffee by the AGA.
We’d been informed that Betty was an extremely competent cook. As a WImember for about 50 years, she has served half of those on the Federation’s Catering Committee, which traditionally provides homemade suppers, cakes and refreshments for WI members at larger county events.Betty began to tell us the story of life as a farmer’s wife when she’d cook up huge plates of dinners for the hungry men thrashing the corn at harvest time.

She spoke of her love for the WI, revealing cherished old photos showing the camaraderie between her fellow WI cooks at county shows. Her signature bake, The Derbyshire Tart was specifically created for the Royal Show in 1980; it quickly became a mainstay for many of the local shows alongside classics such as the Victoria Sandwich and slabs of homemade fruit cake.
Betty was nominated for Kitchen Stories by a member of the Derbyshire Federation who clearly held her culinary abilities in high esteem. Yet she was as unassuming as they come. She describes herself feeling more comfortable ‘behind the scenes of an event’ which, for us, made her talents and quiet capabilities all the more admirable.
The sparkle in her eye is, we think, testament to her unfailing love of life’s pleasures; cinema outings, football matches with the ‘lads’ to see her beloved Derby County and great big Sunday roasts, enjoyed round the kitchen table with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. And her Derbyshire Tart? The most perfect pastry to pass our lips.
Betty, thank you for welcoming us into your home.

3 Responses to “Betty and her delicious Derbyshire Tart”

  • What a lovely story ~ don’t know if I have ever met Betty ~ but we only live at Turnditch ~ but her Special Derbyshire Tart sounds amazing Thank you so very much for inserting this very Special story

  • Betty is a most unassuming and lovely lady on our Catering Committee at Derbyshire Federation
    She IS our very own Mary Berry!

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