Tag Archives: coconut

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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 A guestpost by Miss South , a guest at our cocktail party

Being somewhat lacking in vintage cookbooks around the house and utterly terrified by the selection of vintage recipes online, I decided to revisit on an old family favourite and make Fifteens. No Northern Irish get-together was complete without these sweet, sticky and utterly moreish traybakes when I was growing up and I hoped that no one else would have brought dessert to the party…the fact that Fifteens are astoundingly easy to make was merely an added bonus!


15 digestive biscuits
15 glace cherries, chopped
15 large marshmallows, chopped
1 small tin condensed milk
dessicated coconut (if liked)

Crush your digestives, either using a food processor or a rolling pin. Chop your cherries and marshmallows and add to the biscuit crumbs and add the condensed milk gradually, mixing until sticky and hard to stir. You may need less than the whole tin (I used half of the smallest tin I could find in Tesco). Tip out onto a baking tray you have lined with greaseproof paper and shape into a log like shape. At this point I rolled it in the dessicated coconut which I had toasted lightly in the oven to add some texture and garnish, but if you prefer you could leave it au naturel. Refrigerate overnight and then slice as desired before serving.



I hadn’t eaten these in years and was delighted to discover they are as delicious as I remember from childhood. They are like a very sweet cheesecake base with little chewy nuggets of loveliness scattered throughout and are extremely moreish. In fact the plate seemed to empty very quickly making me wish I had made Thirties instead!

[These were indeed very popular – the recipe yielded 18 slices of which all were eaten promptly (only 3 by me). Ed]

Got an old recipe you’d like to try and then tell the internet about? Email us vintagecookbooktrials[AT]gmail[DOT]com