Tag Archives: plain flour

Cobble Cakes

A new guest post from Cluedo! Find her others here, here , here and here.

I’d like to propose a new unit of time decay just like carbon dating, with at least the same level of accuracy, but with the added advantage that humans can release as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as they want without distorting the results.

I propose to call the time RHKD, short for “rate of Hussarenkrapferl  decay”, based on a German biscuit delicacy* that my grandmother used to bake**

This RHKD seems an adequate measure to guage the popularity of biscuits in my house. Preliminary empirical data gathering seems to suggest that 45 Hussarenkrapferl last circa 24 hours, among 5 flatmates here, which would be a formula of t/n/g, where t is the length of time in hours the portions last, n stands for the number of biscuits, and g for the number of greedy buggers who gobble them all up without leaving me some gourmands who have access to them.

On an inverse scale then, the closer RHKD is to zero, the more delicious the biscuit. The current RHKD for Hussarenkrapferl in my abode is therefore 0.10.

All of this highly scientific discussion of rates of decay is necessary to highlight one of the key problems with the recipe that I made from the very strange book that is the Kitchen Garden Cook Book by Audrey Ellis from 1972. I say strange because it seems to assume that people with allotments have beehives from which they can source plentiful honey that is required for the many honey-based recipes. It is also definitively a book for time- and real estate rich, because the diversity of recipes included suggests access to a big allotment and an even bigger amount of time to grow and source and nurse all those flowers, herbs, vegetables and bees required to prepare stuff from this book. A bit of a far cry from the She Quicky Cookbook .

Nevermind. After leafing through the book for the umpteenth time to find something that didn’t require me to cook cabbage roses in sugar or trying to figure out what the hell nasturtium is (Editor’s note: this), I chanced upon cobble cakes, a relatively simple affair of butter, sugar, flour and cornflour, baking powder, almonds, candid peel, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger and rum. As you can see from the pictures below, the recipe calls for icing, but as the whole thing was already quite a sweet affair, I didn’t bother with it. It is an easy recipe that shouldn’t present problems to anyone who knows their way around a food processor. 

Cobble Cakes recipe 1

Cobble cake recipe 2

There were a couple of substitutions: unfortunately, I made these cookies just before the start of the consumerismfest season lovely Christmas season, so I couldn’t find candied peel in any of the three supermarkets I came across that day, but I did manage to find a jar of minced meat. I put in a little less than the candied peel required to make up for the increased sweetness. I also had run out of cinnamon and cloves****, but did have ginger and rum.

The picture below shows c 25 of the cakes, and although grumpy timer cat seems to disagree, they looked and tasted really quite nice. Their RHKD of 0.6 however indicates that they are nowhere near as moreish as Hussarenkrapferl – they are just a bit too sweet, and you wouldn’t want to eat more than one with a nice cuppa.

cakes

It may be that the citric flavour of the candid peel makes a difference, so if anyone wants to have a go, let me know your results!

* Ok ok, they are just posh jammy dodgers

**  When she baked them, they looked like perfect little round darling donuts with a dollop of jam nestling in the little hollow that she had made with her dainty thumb. Mine look more like they’ve been steam-rollered by a very small troll living in my oven. Like jammy dodgers then.

***A variation of the formula is n/t/(g+bw), where b is brownness and w the number of weirdo flatmates who prefer darker/burnt cookies, which entices at least one w in my house to increase the rate of decay, but this may be a highly localised variation of the formula and shall therefore be disregarded for future reference.

**** AlthoughI think that the sock monster may have a herbal cousin who smokes all the stuff. We usually have at least 5 jars of flavourless cinnamon in the cupboard.

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!

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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Rhubarb tart

This recipe is from A New System of Domestic Cookery by Mrs Rundell, first published in 1806. A reprint was issued by Persephone books in 2009  and has an excellent introduction by Janet Morgan, but the short version is that Maria Eliza was born  in 1745 in Shropshire and died in 1828. She was a middle-aged woman who wrote the book initially for her children, refusing payment,  all the recipes having been tested countless times (i.e. the polar opposite of young,  childfree, business woman Isabella Beeton). As usual, the Telegraph food section loves her.

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Publican’s Pie

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!
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Gainsborough Tart

Today we are delighted to publish another guest post from commenter Salada! She knows her way round a pie.

With Pie Month in mind, I went in search of something savoury from yesteryear. At the same time and out of nowhere, I’d had a recollection of my mum’s coconut tart from long, long ago. I didn’t expect to find a recipe for it anywhere. I was so wrong.  In the Radiation Cookery Book, “compiled for the special benefit of the many thousand satisfied users of ‘Regulo’-controlled ‘New World’ cookers”, there it was, with a posh name I’d never heard before. The book is venerably old, being the January1935, 18th edition. This is a very comprehensive cook-book which includes menu planning and oven-cooked breakfasts.

It fell open at Invalid Cookery to reveal Raw Beef Tea, a concoction to give every food hygienist the vapours, being made of lean, raw beef soaked in cold water with a little salt for 2-3 hours (no mention of popping it into the fridge; who had one in 1935?) then, “Stir, strain and serve in a red glass.” What style!
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Pastelillos de queso

First pie of Pie Month and I decided to try one of the most delicious pastries of all - the small, deep-fried cheese-filled Latino Pastry. I have happy memories of scoffing the Argentinian version, empanadas, in Buenos Aires last year, along with plenty of beer.

Puerto-Rican Dishes was published in 1956 by Waverly Press (who also published the Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium). I bought it in Leakey’s in Inverness last summer and it’s obviously well-travelled, as there is a second price written on the inside cover – $3.50.
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Apple Pudding-Pie

Of course I made this. I have a ready supply of apples and LOOK AT THE NAME:

Apple or peach pudding-pie or pie-pudding, no. 2, Yankee style

Amazing.

Recipe
Sweet milk, 1 cup
1 egg
Butter, 1 tablespoon, heaping
Baking powder,  1 teaspoon
Flour 1 cup or sufficient to make a rather thick batter (‘batter’ means like cake, better to handle with a spoon or easy to pour  out)
A little salt
Tart juicy apples to fill half an earthen pudding dish

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Bacon Cornettes

Look at this wonderful thing! A friend liberated it from his grandmother’s bookshelves for me and I appreciate it so very much. If I had unlimited shelf space and an extra few hours in the week, I’d probably collect and blog about etiquette and entertaining manuals as well, but there’s only so much time a person should devote to horrified chuckling at kaleidoscopic interiors, conformist gender roles and devilled ham.

 

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