Another book bought on last year’s Highland trip was Lady Barnett’s Cookbook by Isobel Barnett, a successful, educated middle class woman who married a successful middle class, educated man who was knighted and whose title was used by his spouse to further her career. Yes, this is a celebrity cookbook, 1960s-style.While the airbrushed version of her life appears on the dust jacket in CV form (click on image to enlarge). The internet tells a story which induced my co-bloggeuse to exclaim ‘Oh, she’s tragic!’ (though far more sympathetic than Premiership footballer who pinch supermarket doughnuts).
This book is something of a mixed bag. It’s a guide to entertaining for people who already have a large encyclopedia-type cookbook and are now seeking to bless others with their efforts. I wonder how much it owes to the personal tastes of its author and her guests? Some dishes seem like a genuine treat, others are more along jelly, cream and bananas lines. (Actually, what am I talking about? If someone served me jelly, cream and bananas, I would probably kiss them.)
(The ‘more out-of-the-ordinary’ way of using them ‘a l’Indienne’ i.e with curry sauce. No.)
According to my (admittedly limp) grasp of food hygiene, eggs should either be hot or cold, so please don’t keep them in warm, salted water. Salmonella is a real downer, or so I’ve heard.
This dish may seem like something one might put together from bits found at the back of the fridge (a couple of eggs, a bit of bechamel, some greens where it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit old because they’re going to be wilted, chopped and covered in hot cheese) but it results in something filthily delicious and incredibly filling. I had it as was, but you might want a triangle or two of crisp toast on the side. Recommended now the nights are miserable.
Mollet’ed by Elly
ETA: I have just only just realised that I could see her in her prime – voila! A clip of What’s my Line from 1955. Enjoy!
Another guestpost by Cluedo (the first can be found here). Many thanks to her for attempting this dish. I bought both (yes, there are two) Quickie cookbooks in a charity shop in Crouch End for £1 each.
It’s been a while since I had an adventure in the land of brewis, fidget pie, singin’ hinges and other stuff I have no idea what it is. This is partially due to the fact that I’ve been a lazy bastard too busy with other stuff, and partially due to Elly’s inability to chose a recipe for me, so I had to do it after all. Pffft… if you don’t do it yourself… But alas, Elly provided me with the perfect choice of book: the She Quickie Cookbook from 1965, which suggests the kind of Martha-Stewart-cooking-goddess that makes me reach for the sick bag. Each of the photo-story recipes “gives a hot meal that can be prepared and cooked in 15 minutes”, as verified by “Good Housekeeping Institute”, who timed and tested each recipe (feeling nauseous already?).
This is from a pamphlet, of cheese cookery, probably seventies, that I picked up for 49p.
Look at their happy faces. The publican and his wife/ husband (they both look like men to me). Standing happily in front of their pumps and rack of tankards this pair look the right people to listen to when it comes to pie making. But wait! Look at the ingredients. Frozen mixed vegetables. Instant mashed potato. This is not a recipe for a publican from a quaint centuries-old Cotswold inn, with pie recipes running through their veins like, er, blood? Like blood? I’ve lost this metaphor somewhat. Never mind. No, this is no traditional recipe; this is a recipe for landlords who want to make a token effort to food, but don’t want to splash out on frivolities such as a chef, ingredients or a kitchen. It’s a few levels below Wetherspoons in the haute cuisine stakes. It’s perfect!
Well. It’s Pie Month again. Where better to find a suitable pie than in the classic Make A Meal Of Cheese? Yes, the recipe book that gave us the abject horror of the Hollow Cheese Loaf. Good idea. There’s no way that could go wrong. Here’s the instructions:
This Scottish dish is from Potato-wise Cookery, from 1965. It’s very simple and completely inappropriate for this warm weather. Wikipedia says it is Gordon Brown’s favourite food. That’s a factoid to remember for pub quizzes, eh?
In my neverending quest to find new ways to eat potatoes, I decided to try these potato scone-pancake hybrid from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book (6th Edition, 1958)
Cooked potato 1lb
Grated cheese 3 oz
Salt and cayenne
Walnuts 2 oz
Milk ½ teacup
This comes from my Marguerite Patten recipe cards. I don’t remember whether I’ve actually cooked any of these before, or whether I’ve merely mocked the weird dolls on them.
Despite warnings that it was not very good, I decided to give the BBC’s new series, The Great British Bake-Off a try and reader, my nearest and dearest (and The Telegraph telly reviewer) weren’t lying. While as a baking nerd, I wouldn’t expect lots of new (to me) information, none of the food historians featured seemed to be able to let their enthusiasm for their subject show, while the human drama of the contest was equally unsatisfyingly represented. (I felt the camera didn’t need to linger quite so long on the sobbing bus driver whose marmalade tea loaf sank in the middle.) I would also have liked to hear more technical stuff from Mary Berry – cooking is an art, baking is a science, as we all know. (‘We’, being those of us who have made something once perfectly, only to have a subsequent attempt collapse in a sticky mess.)
Hello! It’s Alix! It’s been months! Sorry about that! Enough exclamation marks now, on to the recipe! (!)