Friday, 23 October 2009

The nostalgia of baking

I should think that most people have a fond nostalgia for baking, usually family baking; the scent of fresh baking wafting through the house, or stopping you in your tracks as you enter the front door; the smell of fresh bread, sponge cakes, crisp shortbread, fresh scones, rich dark fruit cake...........
One of my fondest memories of my granny was her scones - small, floury and as light as air, baked in her range in the front room of her cottage; served with butter and bramble jelly or lemon curd, or a dollop of rhubarb and ginger jam. Brought up in Galloway, childhood memeries abound - drop scones straight off the girdle; Black Bun and shortbread at New Year;clootie cumpling; floury rolls and breads; Selkirk bannocks; Dundee cake;sticky gingerbread; scones of all types, my favourite being treacle.:)
This monring I wallowed in a little baking nostalgia, and made drop scones, ginger shortbread and two Dundee cakes.

One of the very best books on Scottish cookery is "Recipes from Scotland" by F.Marian McNeill; mine is priced on the front cover as 8s 6d.

Every aspect of Scottish cookery is covered, including a good selection of regional dishes. Who coudl resist dishes with anmes such as Urney pudding,Gillie's venison, partan bree,sillocks, sowans,Hattit Kit, kail bros eand crappit heids?
I quote here from the Scottish Educational Journal:
"I cannot imagine that there can be a single Scottish bosom in which its recipes will not stir a nostalgic pang. "

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Good Eating

I got this book yesterday from Amazon, a reprint of a wartime cookery book from The Daily Telegraph. It's got some really interesting and do-able recipes in ti I'm very keen to try, so shall give some of them a go and report back. Lovely little book.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Interesting link

I haven't delved into this yet, but thought I'd put up the link before I lost it LOL. Looks quite interesting.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

War time meat roll

Aha - a recipe that isn't a sweet one LOL. I mad this last night from this book:

8os mince
2oz bacon, minced
3 oz breadcrumbs
handful of parsley
1 egg
gravy or stock to bind
salt and pepper

Mix it all togehter and shape into a roll; can be steamed or roasted. I roasted mine in the oven for convenience, even managing the authentic dripping for the job!

Exceptionally tasty, this recipe, and well worth making, good for stretching a bit of mince. Would feed four adults with vegetables.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Wartime biscuits

I found this recipe in a book I got at the tip for a few pence - the WI book of 650 favourite recipes. Teh recipe is followed by this:

Note: This recipe was broadcast over BBC radio in teh early months of the war and was recommended by Mrs Neville Chamberlain (then the PM's wife) as a good sugar saver.

Golden Syrup biscuits

10z butter or margarine
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
4 oz self-raising flour

Put the fat and syrup into a heavy-based saucepan and warm until the fat has melted. Remove from teh heat and mix in the bicarbonate of soda and vanilla essence, then beat in the flour.
Roll out the mixture until safer thin and cut into shapes with biscuit cutters. Place on greased baking sheets and bake in a preheated cool oven (150C/300F/Gas mark2) for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 30

They're not bad little biscuits, and other flavourings could be added to ring the changes.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Zena Skinner

I remember watching her on TV many, many years ago; I was lucky to find this book down at the tip, and home it came. Very much of its time, the recipes were shown on Town and Around, the TV programme. issi was published in 1965.
Not sure about her dip recieps, made with powdered soup and soured cream.......... but I did try the refrigerator cake, which was good, but I had to put extra butter in to get it to hold together a bit better. Worth making if you can get cheapish biscuits. Would be nice iced, or with chocolate drizzled over, or with marshmallows added.............

1/2 lb semi-sweet biscuits (I used Co-op rich tea)
2 oz butter (I used about 3 1/2 oz)
1 oz caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp cocoa

Crush the biscuits - I used a potato masher in a deep sided bowl; melt butter, sugar, syrup and cocoa together, then mix well with biscuits. Turn into a greased tin or pan and regrigerte for a couple of hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

I'll be mkaing these again, as theys oon went, and were popular up at the village hall Fair Trade cafe too.
Didn;t get a picture of them as theyw ere eaten too fast...........LOL

Next one to try from this book is the old fashioned Maids of Honour.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Vintage cookery books

I love reading cookery books; not necessarily using them for recipes, but jsut reading them. I like all eras, and found these two yesterday at the tip/recycling centre. Teh covers just evoke their era, the 70s, when I was growing up. I got the German one as OH's mother was German, so I might have a go at some things in there. Teh other one, the baking one, is American, with more bread recipes than youc an shake a stick at LOL
The one from here I want to try first is Beatrice Trum Hunter's* famous no-knead wholewheat bread - wonder if it's like Doris Grant's famous recipe (which I ahven't tried either)? Will report back, successful or otherwise.

* fabulous name!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Carrageen pudding

Carrageen is a red seaweed, chondrus crispus, and has been used for hundreds of years as a thickener and setting agent. It is usually associated with Ireland, and in the village of Carraghen on the south coast of the island, flans were made using the seaweed to thicken the milk filling. This gave rise to the name carrageen or Irish moss.

I've never cooked with it before, but have a bag of dried carrageen in the cupboard. I want to try the Irish moss pudding, similar to a blancmange and made with milk, the carageen being used as the setting agent; I'll be making the plain version, which I suspect is pretty close to the original.

This recipe from "A Taste of Ireland in Food & Pictures" by Theodora Fitzgibbon (1968); in the book it has the rather romantic name of Ocean Swell Jelly, but turns out this is just a brand name of a prepared carrageen - bit disappointing!

This is what Ms Fitzgibbon has to say:

"Chondrus crispus is a branching mucilaginous seaweed, which grows on many coasts in Europe and North America. It is dark pruple or green when growing, but when dried it is bleached and called Irish Moss, or Sea-Moss. Owing to its gelatinous qualities, it is used as a vegetable gelatine and makes excellent jellies, aspics, beverages and even breads and pastries. Teh rich vitamin content makes it an ideal food substance and the prepared form is obtainable in most health food shops"

1/2 cup (packed tightly) carrageen

1 egg white

1/4 pt cream

2 oz sugar

1 pint water

peel of 1 lemon, or vanilla flavouring if preferred

Steep the carrageen in water to cover for 10 minutes, and then drain. Simmer for 25 - 30 minutes in 1 pt water with the sugar and lemon peel. Strain and let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, whip the egg white stiffly and combine witht eh cream, also whipped. Mix with the carrageen liquid and gently heat up to just under boiling point. Pour into a wetted mould and chill. Turn out mould to serve, and decorate with fresh fruit slices.

For blancmange, use milk insteadof water and moit the egg white. The soakde carrageen liquid is used for mixing pastry or dough.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a mothod for drying it in his "Cook on the Wild Side", and suggests adding it to thicken a vegetable soup. For puddings, he says that 1/2oz will set about 2 pints of milk, so a little goes a long way. It won't dissolve, so must be simmered in the liquid. The recipes I've seen in the past involve simmering the carrageen straight in the milk, so need to have another look at this.

Carrageen Moss Pudding from Belleville

7 g cleaned, well dried Carrageen925 ml Milk2 tablespoons Sugar1 Egg1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence or Vanilla Pod

Method of cooking:Soak the carrageen in tepid water for 10 minutes. Put in a saucepan with milk and a vanilla pod if used. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Pour through a strainer into a mixing bowl. The carrageen will now be swollen and exuding jelly. Rub all this jelly through the strainer and beat it into the milk with the sugar, egg yolk and vanilla essence if used. Test for a "set" as one would gelatine. Whisk the egg white stiffly and fold it in gently. It will rise to make a fluffy top. Serve chilled with a fruit compote, caramel or Irish coffee sauce.

I can't help thinking the very old recipes would hve been simpler, with less ingredients, but I may be wrong - just water and/or milk, thickened with the simmered seaweed. Will have a look for some older recipes and give them a go. Will report back later.
Another interesting link:
This sounds more like what I'm after:

Recipes from The Inglenook Cookbook by The Sisters of the Brethren Church (1906)


IRISH MOSS Buy 10 cents worth of Irish sea moss in the drug store, then take a piece the size of a dollar and wash it in cold water, and put it in 1/2 pint of sweet milk and boil it till it thickens like cream. Stir all the time. Then strain, and season with a little sugar. Serve while warm. As soon as it cools it gets stiff, but it can also be eaten cold with cream and sugar.Sister Fannie E. Light, Manheim, Pa.

Also turned up the information that it is/was used to clear beer in brewing, so more research on that required too.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Carrot cake

Many moons ago, circa 1974/5, our mother took us to visit a "hippy commune" near to where we lived. She was never at all hippy-like in thought or deed, so I think she was just curious and looking for somewhere for a trip out not too distant, and off we tootled along to their Open Day in our Mini Traveller! The commune (now would be called an intentional community) wasn't far from us, and was Laurieston Hall; one of the most successful and long-lived of the rash of hippy living experiments around those times.
Here it is :
I loved it there; lots of vibrant colour, craft work, gardens, interesting and colourful, vibrant people, lots going on. I think my mother was a bit more :0, but I enjoyed it. Teas were served in the communal kitchen, on big tables with seats all around, rather than individual tables. We had tea in hand ghrown mugs, and *carrot cake*...........a first for all of us! A cake made from carrots? How could this be? LOL I don't remember much about the actual taste, to be honest, but the concept of a cake made from vegetables stayed with me, although I don;t remember being allowed to try making one at home at all. When I got my first house, I bought a copy of the Cranks Recipe Book - and, tada, therein the best carrot cake recipe in the world.......... and up above is a picture of it! I've made it countless times now, and am on my second cranks Recipe book, the first one falling to bits through use, but both bought secondhand. Here's the recipe, and I can assure you you won't find a better one.
Cranks Carrot Cake
6 oz carrots
2 eggs
400z sugar
3 fl oz vegetable oil
4 oz flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teasp ground nutmeg
2 oz desiccated coconut
2oz raisins
Grease and line a loaf tin. Grate carrots finely. Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy, then gradually add the oil, still whisking. Then add remaining ingredients, mix throughly and pour into prepared tin. Bake in a hit oven for 30 - 35 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Ice with orange icing if you like.
The original recipe in the book usues raw brown sugar and wholemeal flour, but I use what I have on the cupboard.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Here's a good place to start - sweeties!

On February 1953, the rationing of sweets and chocolate was finally abolished, after more than ten years, and shops throughout the UK reported a brisk trade in everything from lollipops to liquorice. An earlier attempt to remove confectionery from the ration books, in 1949, had underestimated the nation's hunger for these itmes and ended in failure when demand outsripped supply. During teh latter half of WW2, teh weekly ration of sweets was a mere 2 oz per person, althought this was gradually increased to a more generous 6 oz in teh post-war years.

(Chambers Book of Days)When we were gorwing up, both (yes, we had 2!) village shops had seetie trays; the sweeties were arranged in little compartments in a big sectioned tray, according to price, starting with the two Blackjacks or Fruit Salads for 1/2d up to bigger more luxurious items for 3d LOL Highland toffee, Refresher chews, Blackjacks and Fruit Salad, spaceships, sweetie cigarettes., Swizzles, Parma Violets...............we tried them all! A whole Mars bar to yourself was pure puxury and happened very rarely.

I've just found this site - they might just be getting some custom from me soon, when the finances allow!

Life was sweet. :)