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Corn Chowder

Today we welcome another guest post by Cluedo – find her others here and here

As readers of my last post may have already twigged, I’m not a big fan of domestic goddess style cooking, so the She Quickie Cookbook with its faux feminist agenda is a bit of a red rag to me. Be a career woman AND a fabulous cook, and do it all in 15 mins to make your man happy. Hand me the vomit bowl.

But maybe I should not be so unkind, after all, working married women in the 60s were a bit of a novelty*. On the other hand, taking the mickey out of the cookbook is fun, so I thought I’d do it again. This time, I chose the Corn Chowder (cost: 3/9, calories: about 550 each). I had most of the ingredients, so I didn’t check on the pricing, although 3/9 would be £2.85 in today’s prices – I somehow doubt you could get all the necessary stuff for that money nowadays

Now for the cooking:

The recipe is nice and easy as you can see from the images below. I did actually try and be more organised this time, i.e. put all the stuff that I needed near me rather than what I usually do, which is run around frantically, pulling stuff from the fridge and the pantry like I only just realised now that the onions should go in with the minced meat rather than sitting unchopped at the back of my food box while the mince is nearly done. So I was quietly confident that my timing would be not too far off this time, after it took me more than double the time to make the Tomato Rarebit – bad Cluedo.

But again, no such luck.
She Quickie cookbook corn chowder recipe

She Quickie cookbook corn chowder recipe pt 2

Of course, I blame the cookbook: despite their near-anal description of things to collect and plates to warm up before you start, they completely omit that you would need a chopping board and that you need to peel the potato**. Also, I defy anyone but Antony Bourdain on coke to peel and slice an onion, dice 4 rashers and cut up 2 potatoes and 2 tomatoes in 3 minutes, especially if you need to peel the potatoes first. Or did they have pre-peeled potatoes back then? It also doesn’t help that Sainsbury’s fancy bacon comes fanned out in the pack rather than just stacked as it does with their cheap “I-Can’t Believe-This-Has-Pork-In-It”-water bacon. So you lose valuable time stacking them up to dice them in one go. Time is money, honey, especially if you’re working against the She-Quickie-Cookbook-Clock! Also, in which universe do potatoes cook in 10 minutes in not very much water, even when sliced?

Anyway, trying not to be too panicked by the quarter hour deadline, I proceeded apace, and it was all very straight-forward. I did start frying the onions, bacon, potatoes and tomatoes in the frying pan rather than as indicated in the sauce pan, which I always find weird. But that’s probably just me. I transferred the mix over when it was time to put in the sweetcorn & water. The fritters scared me a little bit, as I have a similar success rate with nice-looking fritters as with fried eggs, but surprisingly, they turned out ok. And were very yummy. I altered very little of the recipe – no cooking fat but sunflower oil for the fritters as I was out of Stork and prefer oil over fat anyway. I also used quite a lot more cheese than indicated, but that was because I was trying out lacto-free cheese for the first time and pigged out. Note: lacto-free cheese is bland, but works quite well as glue-cheese required for this dish. I halved the ingredients, and ate the lot alone, when I realised that it’s meant for four – which will go some way to explaining why I felt quite so full afterwards *burp*. But who quarters a tin of corn, and one rasher is never enough, in any circumstance.

It is nice and yummy, so if you’re looking for something quick and easy and comforting, it’s your ticket. It took me 27 minutes to prepare it, which is slightly better than last time. And the potato was still undercooked, albeit edible.

Err, and I do have to apologise for the lack of a picture – I was so hungry by the time I was finished that I simply forgot. Trust me, it looked nice, like the picture in the cookbook, just in colour.

*(not really, women have always worked, but that’s a yarn to be unspun somewhere else at another time…)

**they give you 2 minutes to collect all the stuff together. Hah, I laugh in your face Quickie Cookbook, I live in a house with 7 other people, my tin opener cannot be found that quickly. And cleanly.

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Food as presents - P H White cover

We are delighted to wake this blog from a few restorative weeks of hibernation with a guest post from Salada. Her other posts can be enjoyed here and here.

No muffin recipes appear in the VCBT list. Honestly, I checked.  Patricia H White is, assuming she’s still with us, an American who moved to England in the 1960’s.  This book was first published in 1975, and encourages the tradition of taking a bit of trouble with your gifts, or DIY as it’s known.  The recipes are divided into eight categories such as preserves, potted foods, sweetmeats and baked goods.  Ms White gives advice on packaging and storage, and how long the produce will last.

This recipe looks like a standard muffin mixture.  Commercial muffins nowadays have expanded to massive proportions, but these seem to come from a more frugal era.  Apple and cinnamon is a classic flavour match.
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Oeufs Mollet or Soft Boiled Eggs Mornay

Another book bought on last year’s Highland trip was Lady Barnett’s Cookbook Lady Barnett's Cookbook front coverby 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).

Lady Barnett's Cookbook back cover CVThis 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.)

soft eggs oeufs mollet recipe 1soft eggs oeufs mollet recipe 2

soft eggs mornay oeufs mollet bechamel spinach recipe

(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.

soft eggs oeufs mollet mornay

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.

soft eggs oeufs mollet mornay with bechamel sauce

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!

Peach cream

E Phyllis Clark  is described as “Former lecturer in Domestic Science, Government Training College for Teachers, Trinidad and Tobago, and Department of Education, Uganda”. This book was published for The Government of Trinidad and Tobago by Thomas Nelson, with the first edition out in  1945, (my copy is the 6th reprint from 1964). The price on the slip cover is 7/6 and is stamped in blue ink “Bought from The Voice Bookshop, St Lucia” – the kind of detail that sets the mind wandering.

There is a preface by R Patrick, Director of Education “No pains were spared in making the book essentially West Indian and practical, and much valuable advice was received from local medical officers, dieticians, and teachers and other in the various West Indian Islands. To all of these ladies and gentlemen, the Compiler would desire to tender her grateful thanks”

Clark authored several books and I assume they’re all written like this one – clipped tones and with an emphasis on nutrition, food storage and cooking techniques. This reader describes it well as providing “instructions on how to build a meat safe and how to construct a protected hanging basket for dry goods, as well as how to clean fish, pick fresh vegetables, identify vitamin deficiencies, and more”.

More being recipes for pregnant and nursing mothers, toddlers, invalids, ‘East Indian’ and Chinese dishes. The majority of recipes are divided method of cooking – frying, grilling, steaming. Irish potatoes are recommended throughout.

Writing up this recipe now is making me a little sad, I actually cooked this nearly three  months ago, on a beautful summer evening, warm enough to buy fresh peaches jammed full of flavour and then sit on the terrace drinking Pimms (n.b. not my terrace or Pimms), while the milk set in the fridge beyond what was recommended and then had to be whipped up before adding the sweet, sweet peach juice. Our pudding ended up a little less homogenously textured and a little less firmly set, more of a fool, less of a cream.

Results
Despite lax timing,  it was a success – very simple, light and refreshing without being spartan and as the recipe states, you can vary the fruits and the sugar content (we skipped the sugar entirely).

Is it dark at 4 o’clock where you are? I’m 95% sure my next post will be a stew.

Peached 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.

Dark Treacle Pudding

Today’s recipe (actually made on Sunday night) is from a collection of Edwardian pudding recipes published by Copper Beech books who do several of this sort of thing. This volume was edited by one of their regulars, one Julie Lessels, about whom the internet refuses to give me any more information. Many of the puddings in this book are steamed, although there are a few tarts and some fritters.

Initially, I was going to make ‘half-pay pudding’, but you have been spared this flippant nod to the horror-story that is the current socio-economic situation, when I realised it would be more expensive to make than the first pudding in the book.
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Crusted Cheese Pie

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:

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