Tag Archives: vanilla extract

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.

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Austrian Chestnut Cake

Today, a guest post by Martha (her others are here, here, here and here.)

This recipe comes from Robert Carrier’s Kitchen part 17 (series published by Marshall Cavendish 1980-81). I bought this gem from a market stall in Camden Passage, Islington, just metres from where its author opened his eponymous restaurant in 1959. The stall boasted several titles from the series and I have to confess it was hard to choose only one. My goodness, the pictures! The chicken apparently roasted in candle wax! The prawns as garnish! The tomato skin roses!

Celebrity chef and ‘bon viveur’* Robert Carrier OBE (1923-2006) was the first to print his recipes on practical wipe clean cards. So indirectly we have him to thank (?) for Alison Burt. Good work Bob!
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Chocolate cream cheese fudge

Recently I have made far too many tasteful, sensible recipes, the last (savoury) French dish I made was vegan, for pity’s sake. The time I fried macaroni cheese is so long ago, it’s moved from reality to pub anecdote. (Yes, I am very popular.) It’s time for something ridiculous, and what better to inspire me than the food industry itself, with the recent launch of chocolate-flavoured cream cheese, the thought of which makes me feel faintly nauseous, but this recipe… I was…intrigued.

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Praline Squares

I love a brownie, as recently discussed, so was excited to try this recipe.Hilariously, the Betty Crocker cookbook contains a mixture of  proper recipes made from ingredients and entries like ‘Angel Cake: One box of Betty Crocker Angel Cake Mix. Assemble according to instructions for a quick and easy dessert’. This is from the Southern menu (as is the illustration of the devil, above).

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Crème pâtissière

So, belatedly (in every way), this was my last effort for pie month. A birthday pie (6 months after the date), consisting of a tart paste case, filled with crème pastissiere and topped with raspberry sauce and whole raspberries and loganberries.  In order to increase the likelihood of a good result, I turned to The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year (1976)  and the method  included as part of the recipe for Quiche Reine-Claude, a flan case filled with crème patissiere and topped with sliced greengages, a recipe from the September  chapter by Elizabeth Pomeroy (which I will definitely attempt in the appropriate season).  There is a second  recipe for crème patissiere later in the book, which uses cornflour and no vanilla, but I didn’t see this until later and anyway, no vanilla?!

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Pirozhnoe Zavarnoye s Zavarnin Kremom (Russian Cream Puffs)

russian cream puffs Baked for the Vintage Cookbook Trials Canapé Party by Cis NS.

“I realised in the run-up to the canape party that while I had a lot of “vintage” cookbooks, the majority of them were by writers like Elizabeth David and Edouard de Pomiane and somehow… not quite right. Luckily I was saved by the discovery of my mother’s copy of Nina Nicolaieff and Nancy Phelan’s 1981 Russian Cookbook, which promises that “all the romance and variety of th[is] vast country is contained in [Russian] cooking – a fusion of the exotic tastes of the East and the more familiar flavours of the West”. And so it is with this recipe! — okay, okay, actually these are pretty straightforward choux-and-crème-pâtissière cream puffs, nothing in the least exotic about them. But the name’s in Russian and that’s got to count for something.

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