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.
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!
This book was a present (cheers Anna!) and is fitting for these straitened times, being divided into three sections according to budget – cheap, not so cheap and simply extravagant, each being sub-divided by starters, mains and puddings. There is a short section of salads and vegetable side dishes at the end.
Published by in 1979 by the New English Library, the introduction states that this is not intended to be a foundation for new cooks, but something to extend the repetoire of people who already know their way round a ladle. She begins ‘When I last wrote a book on the subject of ‘entertaining’, things were very different. It was still reasonable to recommend a bottle of Chateau Margaux with the grouse (it was still reasonsble to recommend grouse!) and I could assume that on special occasionals a helper could be hired or bullied into back stage duties‘.
Today, a guest post by Martha (her others are here and here).
I bought Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking sometime last year and we haven’t really had a summer since. So I hadn’t got around to making anything from this until a week ago when after a day of sun I remembered that it was June.
Ms David is of course famous for her cookery writing as much as her recipes, and for shocking post-war English palettes with her re-introduction of the long-lost concept of flavour. Her achievements also include persuading Le Creuset to increase the number of colours in which its cookware was available, pointing at a pack of Gauloises and stating “That’s the blue I want,” (source).
This is a vintage cookbook trial, error and rescue mission. After deciding to make rhubarb tart, I wondered if there was a suitable pastry recipe in the same book. I saw one which included rice flour, of which I’ve had a bag lying around for ages, being only a sporadic shortbread maker. I’ve already had a successful attempts at plain and enriched shortcrusts, tart paste and cream crust, and was optimistic about trying a new method:
Rice paste for sweets
A New System of Domestic Cookery by Mrs Rundell (first published 1806, reprinted by Persephone Books 2009)
Boil a quarter of a pound of ground rice in the smallest amount of water; strain from it all moisture as well as you can; beat it in the mortar with half an ounce of butter, and one egg well beaten, and it will make an excellent paste for tarts, &c.