Tag Archives: sugar

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.

Lemon and Marrow Jam

Apologies for the sporadic posting over the last year; rest assured we continue to do many (mostly) well-intentioned,  (often) ill-advised things in the kitchen (and out of it). Today, however, I am delighted to share this guest-post from Salada. Her others (all advisable) can be found here, here and here.

marrowIt has been a productive summer in the vegetable plot for members of the marrow-squash family, hence an autumnal recipe that doesn’t involve apples (contenders nonetheless).  It comes from Patricia White’s “Food as Presents” (see Apple Muffins for details).  Finding house-room for many squashes is exercising my ingenuity.  I grew two types of winter squash and two sorts of courgette (yellow and green).  A squash weighing about 1.5kg, pictured, provided the main ingredient for the jam, augmented by a few courgettes.  I have made this jam but not for several years, and remember it as being better than lemon curd – lighter to eat and much easier to cook, there being no chance of curdling eggs.
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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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Spicy Apple Fritters

Elly and I were very kindly invited to talk about the blog and do some live cooking recently by the lovely A Playful Day for her podcast (naturally the whole thing is well worth a listen, but if you’re particularly eager to hear us we appear around 29 minutes in). We cooked Spicy Apple Fritters from the TREX cookbook (which doesn’t appear to have a date of publication). The fritters turned out to be surprisingly tasty and looked like this:

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Custard Sauce

Another part of Christmas dinner, I volunteered to make this  reasoning that being very proficient in cheese sauce and having had one successful attempt at crème pâtissière, I wouldn’t disgrace myself or annoy other people. I consulted the oracle (emailed my mother) and received this reply:

Are you making ‘proper’ eggy custard or just Bird’s outa the
packet?  Only two things to remember – eggy, don’t boil or it’ll curdle;
powder, boil or it’ll not thicken well (both – stir like mad!).

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Siphnopitta or Siphnos Pie

This is from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M Stubbs (1963). I chose an unseasonal Easter dessert to make.   To say this recipe went badly amiss would be an understatement. It almost all went in to the bin. Here’s the recipe:

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Pommes à la Crème

Yet another apple recipe. I’ve never fried fruit, nor have I flamed booze before. I was quite nervous about this, all the other times I’ve had fire in my kitchen, it’s been unintentional and thus rather panic-inducing. Still, I thoroughly dampened a tea-towel, put it in arm’s reach of the cooker and steeled myself. (I don’t have any pets or small children, but we should all practise safe flambé.)

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Norwegian Apple Pie

This blog is turning into a real life version of Apple Pigs. Still, I’m enjoying all the apple-y goodness, even if you’re getting bored and if you are getting bored, I apologise, but I was given 15 immense apples and have two more apple recipes planned. When I was pondering what next to do, I remembered that Scandinavian Cooking (Beryl Frank 1976) had several recipes for apple cake. (In fact it has three apple cakes and three apple puddings. The book was obviously written before Scandinavian governments decided to intervene in the health of their citizens by cutting beef and dairy subsidies and raising berry farming subsidies.) This one appealed to me because it’s simple, it includes lots of nuts (yum) and it doesn’t require butter, which is great for when you want to bake something, but don’t want to use up all your butter and then have to get properly dressed and go out and buy some more.

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Tea Napkin Shaped Sweet Potato Balls

Another from Practical Shoyu Cooking. I’m starting to doubt the accuracy of the title of this book, to be honest. This recipe neither contained shoyu and was not practical.

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Double Apple Salad

Cooking means carefulness, inventiveness, willingness and readiness of appliance. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness, French art, Arabian hospitality’ These are Ruskin’s words, as true and inspired today as they were when he wrote them eighty-five years ago.’

So begins The Blender Book by Gwen Robyns, first published by Hamish Hamilton for Thorn Domestic Appliances in 1971.

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