Category Archives: 1980s

Danish Cheese Loaf

This charming item was a gift from someone who knows my favourite kind of  vintage cookbook are those which contain both horrors for me to laugh at and things that might be OK to actually try and cook. Danish Dairy cookbook cover

I’m not an expert in Danish dairy, but luckily that canyon has been bridged, by this handy-dandy guide to the cheeses of Denmark. What more could a girl want?

Types of Danish Cheese

And I wasn’t joking about the range of recipes, either:

This is normal

This is normal

This is not.

This is not.

So what to choose?  When I realised ingredient list was basically a salad held together with dough (Walnuts! Blue cheese! Celery!), I knew I had to try it.

Danish cheese bread illustration

Danish Cheese loaf recipe

 

 

As I didn’t have any self-raising flour at home, I used plain and added some extra baking powder, but then fretted that I hadn’t added quite enough, also the dough felt rather heavy. I decided not to risk creating a flour-fat-seed brick and formed it into a round, flat loaf on a baking tray.

I also forgot about the celery – probably for the best.

Results
I enjoyed the amount of bits in this loaf greatly and would consider the proportions suitable for experimenting with any type of nut and crumble-able cheese. The black sesame seeds were overkill however, rendering the whole thing a bit fibrous and worthy.

If, like me, you have a mild fear of yeast, this is a fine recipe to keep in your arsenal.

Loafed by Elly

Basic White Sauce and Watercress Sauce

Another smashing guest post by Talia – find her first on here and why not peruse her blogs Teafull and The Gibson Girl’s Guide to Glamour?

This was another of my inherited cookbooks — Cooking For One by the team at Better Homes and Gardens.

My grandmother lived on her own from about 1985 when my grandfather died, till around 2010 when some cousins of mine came to dwell in her basement due to financial troubles. Not long after this, she needed professional nurses to come help as her health wasn’t keeping up with her. Family always lived nearby, but she seemed to like being independent; and I can imagine she probably used this cookbook a lot, since dining solo would have been her standard way of life.

This book came extra handy to me on a recent 3 week stay in Scotland. Due to the length of the trip, I made sure I was dwelling in a place with a kitchen so I could cook at “home.” Many inspirations came from this little work. See, while it includes plenty of actual recipes, it also has lots of general suggestions for easy things to eat alone. (Including perhaps some things you wouldn’t *want* anyone else to know you’re eating… there’s a few suggestions that amount to the kind of thing you eat when you’re trying to use up leftovers but you really don’t want to boast you’ve been feeding off of. Example: mushrooms in white sauce as a meal.)

Some suggestions include egg in a basket, croissant sandwiches, an ingredient heavy but still single-serving salad niçoise, the questionable sounding (but probably fashionable today) bacon and peanut butter tostada, and more.

There is one section on how to make (approximate) single-servings of various sauces, and this was one area I gave a try. I made some Basic White Sauce, which then with a few additions becomes Watercress Sauce. Here are both recipes:

Basic White Sauce
1 tbs butter or margarine
1 tbs all-purpose flour
dash salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk
In a small heavy saucepan, melt the margarine or butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper till blended. Add milk all at once, Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly, then cook and stir for 1 minute more. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes about 1 cup.

Watercress sauce
Using 1/4 cup Basic White Sauce, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh watercress, 1/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, and dash ground nutmeg.

I used the finished Watercress Sauce mixed with some canned tuna and some bacon, to make a pretty good little tuna salad. To do it this way, add the whole recipe of watercress sauce to 1 standard sized can of tuna and about 2 strips of bacon, finely crumbled or diced, and mix it all up well. Eat it on crackers or bread or a potato or whatever.

An interesting thing about this little watercress tuna salad recipe, was it ended up being a great lesson to me in how the quality of your ingredients really effect the flavor of your food. See, I made a batch of this one time in Scotland, and one time after I returned home to the US. US has crappy food; it’s all bred to be large, and hold up well to transportation, and to not taste like anything (I assume intentionally for the sake of consistency season to season.) Consequently, the white sauce made with Anchor butter and Scotmid watercress was way tastier than the stuff I had to use in the US. You can also get BRINED tuna in the UK which you pretty much cannot find in the US, so the fish tastes a lot better since it’s been salted through; adding more salt to the recipe just doesn’t get the same result.

All in all it is a pretty fun little cookbook, I hope I’ll get to try some more of the recipes in the future.

Rhubarb or Gooseberry Cake

This book was a present (cheers Anna!) and is fitting for these straitened times, being divided into three sections according to budget – cheap, not so cheap and simply extravagant, each being sub-divided by starters, mains and puddings. There is a short section of salads and vegetable side dishes at the end.

Published by in 1979 by the New English Library, the introduction states that this is not intended to be a foundation for new cooks, but something to extend the repetoire of people who already know their way round a ladle. She begins ‘When I last wrote a book on the subject of ‘entertaining’, things were very different. It was still reasonable to recommend a bottle of Chateau Margaux with the grouse (it was still reasonsble to recommend grouse!)  and I could assume that on special occasionals a helper could be hired or bullied into back stage duties‘.

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Austrian Chestnut Cake

Today, a guest post by Martha (her others are here, here, here and here.)

This recipe comes from Robert Carrier’s Kitchen part 17 (series published by Marshall Cavendish 1980-81). I bought this gem from a market stall in Camden Passage, Islington, just metres from where its author opened his eponymous restaurant in 1959. The stall boasted several titles from the series and I have to confess it was hard to choose only one. My goodness, the pictures! The chicken apparently roasted in candle wax! The prawns as garnish! The tomato skin roses!

Celebrity chef and ‘bon viveur’* Robert Carrier OBE (1923-2006) was the first to print his recipes on practical wipe clean cards. So indirectly we have him to thank (?) for Alison Burt. Good work Bob!
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Courgettes in red wine

First, let us praise the author for not ****ing about regarding the title of this book. Ms Elaine Hallgarten, freelance food and travel writer, is the creator of and contributor to many works, including the Jaffa Cookbook, Mince Matters, Cookery Do, The Yoghurt Cookbook, Gourmet’s Guide to London (1992 ed) and Reminiscences and Recipes of the Bakharian Jews of Samarkand. I’m not mocking her oeuvre  -  someone on Amazon has called Mince Matters an ‘excellent practical cookbook‘, something many, many cookbook writers fail to achieve (I should know).
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Crunchy Alphabet Burgers

Recently I was given a magical, amazing book, possibly one of the best in my collection. I can find no date of publication but I’d guess it’s eighties. It’s the Bird’s Eye Cooking from the Freezer book and my God, does it have some awesome recipes in it.

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Green Pea and Tomato Scramble

Although this book is one I’ve had since even before I started actively buying vintage cookbooks I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything from it (may not be true, can’t be bothered to check). This is because it’s horrendous. Every single image in it is a browny-yellow shade and it makes vegetarianism sound like a problem which they’ve come up with a few palliative measures to make the burden slightly more bearable rather than a perfectly reasonable culinary choice. I’m sure with a bit more enthusiasm and better food photography many of the recipes would be more appealing but as it is, I’ve never wanted to cook any of them. Why I suddenly decided to the other night remains a mystery.
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