Tag Archives: vanilla

Herman the German Friendship Cake

Initially I had no plans to blog this as it’s not from a book, but after live-tweeting its assembly I thought I might as well. I remember my mother being given some of this starter about 25 years ago and I (who didn’t have to stir it daily or move it when doing other things in the kitchen), loved the resulting cake. The internet seems a little conflicted as to the origins – certainly Amish Friendship Bread is very similar.

Anyway, I was very pleased when a friend gave me some Herman starter in a yoghurt pot, in a Liberty’s bag, along with the strict advice that it was Day 3, and a piece of paper stating:

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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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Chocolate Chip Cookies

A recipe I decided to try while working at home on Friday and thus without access to the tin of ginger nuts and digestives which lurks in the office kitchen. (From  ‘Cookies and Biscuits’ in  the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery Compendium, Waverly 1955)

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Melon Copenhagen

This is a Marguerite Patten recipe card. I chose it for the Danish aspect of the Eurovision party and was attracted to how entirely disgusting it looked. It turned out to be the most labour intensive of all the dishes made that night, and early arrivals to the party were treated to the sight of me swearing at an assortment of fruit, muttering ‘I hate it already, this is the worse thing ever’.

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Butterscotch cookies

There has been a small amount of golden syrup crystallising in a jar at the back of my carb drawer for about a year now and this recipe seemed like a great way to use it up.   I’ve actually had the jar for so long that the ‘best before date’ has rubbed off the lid.  This recipe is from Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book (6th edition, 1958).

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Langue de chat (cat’s tongue biscuits)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person presented with a bowlful of ridiculous chocolate pudding must be in want of a tiny,  crispy biscuit. And so it was on the 23rd of September, when I cobbled together a chocolate and rum Bavarian cream (I had planned to flavour it with praline but I felt that the custard base alone was incredibly sweet). This was also from Ann Seranne, (1952, Faber and Faber for the Cookery Book Club) but won’t be blogged due to rampant deviation from the recipe.

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Custard Creams

Cream-filled biscuits seem to have dropped out of UK baking fashion in favour of American-style cookies, healthy things containing grated apple or dead easy things like flapjack (nice though all those can be).  The Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery Compendium (Waverly, 1955), however, is full of biscuits of every kind, from things like this (pretty much) and this to custard creams! I thought custard creams were dreamed up by some marketing person in, well, the past and I was basically right.  They were a late 19th century invention, probably by Huntley & Palmers of Reading, probably to capitalise on the new popularity of custard powder. (More info here.)
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