Sunday, 29 August 2010

Bubble and Squeak

From Delia Smith's Frugal Food, 1976.

It's funny, writes Delia, how some very humble dishes like this one can be very special simply because of their rarity - so here's to a comeback for good old Bubble and Squeak!

Bubble and Squeak, rare? In 1976? Delia obviously never ate at her local greasy spoon (downmarket cafe, translator's note). "Bubble" is alive and well and living in London.

1 lb potatoes, peeled
1 small cabbage
1 heaped tablespoon flour
1 oz flour
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Some good beef dripping for frying

Put the potatoes on to cook in some salted boiling water, then half fill a medium-sized saucepan with some more salted water and bring it to the boil. Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the hard stalk and shred the rest. Wash it thoroughly, then plunge it into the fast-boiling water, put a lid on and let it boil for about 6 minutes. Now pour it into a colander, put a plate (one that fits inside the colander( on top of the cabbage, place a weight on top and leave it to drain very thoroughly. When the potatoes are cooked, add some pepper and a knob of butter. Mash them, until smooth - don't add any milk, though, because you don't want them to be too soft. Now mix the well-drained cabbage into the potatoes, and when it is cool take tablespoons of the mixture and shape them into round cakes, which should then be dusted in the flour. Fry them in hot dripping to a good, crisp golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately.

You can use lard or vegetable oil for the frying, and use spinach, kale, sprouts or any leftover greens.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Wartime Cheese Pasties

From Good Eating, Suggestions for Wartime Dishes, a new selection of Daily Telegraph Readers' Tested Recipes

Homes are now experimental kitchens from which dishes are being launched, many to retain a lasting place in our national fare.

Kentish Pasties

These pasties are most popular at the Pie Stations in Sevenoaks Rural District and can be served hot, or cold make excellent snacks or packed lunches.
1/4lb boiled rice
4 oz grated cheese
2 oz raw grated carrot
pepper and salt

Place a heaped tablespoonful of cheese mixture on centre of a round of pastry. Damp edges and fold as for Cornish pasties. Bake in hot oven 1/2 hour. G.M. Warner, School House, Brasted

Delia's Brown Rice Salad

This is from Delia Smith's Frugal Food, published in 1976, when we were in the depths of a recession... On my copy, the top cover line reads: "Bestselling author of ONE IS FUN!" Ha! Delia always used to insist on "freshly milled black pepper" – pepper mills and pepper corns were exciting novelties back in the olden days. She's right, of course, it is much tastier than ready ground pepper.

1 teacup or mug long-grain brown rice
3 or 4 tbsps vinaigrette dressing
3 spring onions, very finely chopped
2 inches cucumber, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1/2 red or green pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 red dessert apple, chopped but not peeled
1 oz currants
1 oz walnuts, finely chopped
Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Cook the rice, then empty it into a salad bowl, fluff it up with a fork and pour the dressin gover while it's still hot. Allow it to cool and then mix in all the other ingredients.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Exciting Ways with Cabbage

From Ethelind Fearon's The Reluctant Cook (1953)

One of the most gruesome memories of meals eaten in any but absolutely first-class English hotels and restaurants is the cabbage. The odour greets you as you enter and follows you as you leave. [The cabbage] is boiled in enough water to conduct a succcessful laundry ... moreover it is stewed so long with the lid on that it turns olive-colour. One then cuts it up and leaves it on the hot plate until the last one to dine has had his fill of it.

I wanted to quote that bit just to remember how ghastly it was. The smell of boiled cabbage followed one everywhere, sometimes mixed with the whiff of paraffin and Alsatians... Here is Ethelind's preferred cabbage method:

Choose a small green cabbage. Forget it until 10 minutes before the meal, then put on a pan with only just enough water to prevent it from burning. When the water boils, shred the washed cabbage into it, press down and boil as fast as you like for not more than 10 minutes, without a lid. Drain it, chop it and mix into it a bit of butter - you heard. I've told you before to put butter in the vegetables and use cream cheese on your bread. Eat it at once. You can even make a separate course of it, eaten with a fork.

In 1953, butter was in short supply and expensive. Those butterless vegetables - shudder! Now we shun butter because we think it's bad for us, but a little will do you no harm.

You can chop cabbage quite finely and stew it in butter with a few raisins and a sprinkling of salt. Or you can boil quickly as above and add butter and a dash of vinegar, or butter and a grating of nutmeg. (Thanks to my mother for the last two.)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Desserts from The Reluctant Cook

From The Reluctant Cook by Ethelind Fearon, 1953

Fresh pears stewed in grapefruit juice thickened with cornflour.

Red packet jelly made in half-grapefruit skins with the edges "nicked in a V pattern". When set, add a green glace cherry in each centre.

Chocolate Pudding
2 cups breadcrumbs
4 eggs
3/4 cup grated chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Separate eggs. Beat sugar and butter to a cream and beat in yolks. Dissolve chocolate in milk, add to crumbs, add this to the eggs and sugar. Whip the egg whites stiffly and fold them lightly into the mixture. Butter a mould and pour in the mixture. Cover and steam or bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Sauce for the Pudding
2 tbsp jam
2 tbsp sherry
4 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

Boil together and serve hot.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Vegetable Terrine

This is from Good Housekeeping's Easy Entertaining, from the mid-70s. It comes out green, orange and white, like the Irish flag. A little adjustment (and some tomatoes) makes it into the Italian flag.

2lb turnips
1lb carrots
1lb spinach
2oz butter or margarine
1 onion
12oz mushrooms
finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
4 eggs
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp nutmet
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tomatoes
1/2 pint vinaigrette

Peel turnips, cut into chunks, put in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 mins.

Peel and slice the carrots, put in a saucepan with water, bring to the boil and cook until tender.

Drain turnips and carrots.

Cook the spinach, chop the onion finely, peel and slice mushrooms.

Melt 1 1/2oz butter in a frying pan, add onion and fry gently until soft. Add mushrooms and fry, stirring constantly, for a further 5 mins. Stir in the lemon rind and juice.

Blend the mushroom mixture until smooth. Transfer to small, heavy-based pan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the puree is fairly thick and dry.

Puree and dry the turnips, carrots and spinach in the same way and place each puree in a separate bowl.

Add 1 egg to each puree and mix well. Stir the coriander into the carrot puree, the grated nutmeg into the spinach and the chopped parsley into the mushroom.

Oil a terrine or loaf tin. Put a layer of turnip puree at the bottom, cover with a layer of carrot, followed by the spinach and finally the mushroom. Cover with foil and bake in a 180C/350F for 1 hour 20 mins. Remove and allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a plate.

Skin and seed the tomatoes. Blend them with the vinaigrette and serve with the terrine.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Wholemeal Pancakes with Ratatouille

Another from Entertaining with Cranks. The illustrations show food on artisanal pottery plates with brown specks (like the wholemeal flour). Such crockery was very fashionable, and made a horrible grating noise when you put a soup bowl on a plate, or a cup on a saucer. The glasses are cylindrical and Swedish, with heavy bottoms and look quite 2010.

8 oz 100% wholemeal flour
pinch salt
2 eggs
3/4 pint milk

Put the flour and salt into a basin, beat together the eggs and a little of the milk and add. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Gradually add the rest of the milk to make a smooth batter - add more milk if it it seems too thick. Let stand for 30 mins. Pour into a jub. Heat a pancake pan and grease it well. Pour about 3 tbsps of the batter into the pan, swirling it around evenly. Cook over medium heat until light golden brown. Turn and cook the other side. Repeat.

Ratatouille stuffing
1 aubergine
2 tbsps oil
1 sliced onion
1 deseeded and diced red pepper
3 sliced courgettes
2 fl oz water
1 veg stock cube
2 tbsps tomato puree
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
5 sliced tomatoes
8-10 wholemeal pancakes
2 oz grated cheddar cheese

Cut the aubergine into cubes and put in salted water for 30 mins. Drain, rinse and dry on kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the sliced onion and cook gently until transparent. Place the remaining veg on top of the onion in layers. First the aubergine, then the peppers, then the courgettes. Mix the water, stock cube, tomato puree, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and pour over the veg. Cover with the sliced tomatoes. Cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for 15-20 mins. Drain off the liquid and keep for soups and sauces. Divide the mixture between the pancakes. Roll up. Place in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in the over at 180C/350F for 20-30 mins. Serve with watercress.

Ratatouille was big in the 70s and 80s, as was tomato paste/puree. I'm not sure you need to go through that rigmarole with the aubergine. The trick with red peppers is to dice them small and cook them thoroughly - they should subtly flavour, not dominate.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Cranks' Chunky Tomato Broth

From Entertaining with Cranks, 1985

2 oz pot barley
1 oz butter/marge
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 oz shredded white cabbage
1 medium potato, diced
1 leek, sliced
1/2 lb chopped tomatoes
1 pt vegetable stock
1 veg stock cube
1/2 pint tomato juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground bayleaf
chopped parsley

Cover the barley with water and boil gentle for one hour until tender, adding extra water if necessary. Drain. melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until transparent. Add all the remaining ingredients except the parsley, and stir in the barley. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 mins until all the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cranks was a chain of vegetarian restaurants (quite an avant garde concept for the 70s and 80s). Their food was imaginative, but a bit heavy and lacking in spice.

If you use fresh, rather than tinned tomatoes, it would be better to skin and deseed them. Bring some water to the boil, put the tomatoes in the pan and let them boil for about one minute. Remove, and peel the skin off with a knife and fork.

And of course now fresh basil, thyme and bay leaves are easy to find in the supermarket, and hardly anybody uses dried herbs any more. If you use a fresh bayleaf, remove it before eating the soup. I would add a tsp of curry powder, a tsp of sugar and possibly a dash of vinegar.

The recipe doesn't tell you what to do with the veg stock and the stock cube - I imagine you use them for cooking the barley.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Jocasta Innes's Rice Salad

A salad from the Pauper's Cookbook for a sunny day.

Jocasta writes: It is astonishing how much disagreement reigns over the best way of boiling rice... a certain mystery still clings to its preparation.

My mum was taught how to cook rice by a Chinese man, and this is his method.

One cup rice
Two cups water (or 2 1/2 for brown rice)

Bring to the boil and boil for a minute, stirring. Cover almost completely (leave a crack for the steam to escape). Turn the heat down as low as possible, and leave. White basmati rice takes 5 mins, brown rice takes longer. When the water's all been absorbed, and there are little dents in the top of the rice, it's done. I like brown round grain rice – it's good in salads.

Back to Jocasta: Cold rice can be mixed with a great variety of bits and pieces and turned int o successful salads. Any of the following suggestions can be used in varying combinations: tinned or fresh crab, shrimps, cooked mussels, chopped cooked chicken, ham, garlic sausage, hard-boiled egg, diced cucumber, tomatoes (peeled), raw onion, cooked peas, spring onions, raw mushrooms, cubes of green pepper, diced green beans, beetroot, raisins, sultanas, capers, chopped raw apple, grated carrot, cubes of mild cheese. Balace crisp/soft, sharp/sweet. And dice or chop the ingredients quite small. Rice with large lumps of stuff buried in it looks sloppy and faintly sinister.

Season well with salt and pepper or paprika, moisten liberally with a mild vinaigrette or thin mayonnaise and sprinkle on some chopped fresh herbs or parsley.

Raw mushrooms were a strange 70s fad, as was paprika – which seems to have disappeared from supermarket shelves. It's powdered red pepper. Jocasta's suggestions are quite avant garde. In the 60s rice salads consisted of white rice, tinned sweetcorn, frozen peas, diced carrots and peanuts with no dressing.

Friday, 6 August 2010

French Onion Soup, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

These are the first two recipes in Jocasta Innes's The Pauper's Cookbook. Nobody makes them any more! French onion soup was big in the 80s, when a lot of people opened French onion soup bars (did they come before or after Belgian crepes?).

1 quart basic stock
4 large or 6 small onions
knob of butter
1/4 lb grated cheddar
4 slices toast
salt and pepper

Slice onions thickly, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and fry onions over moderate heat until golden brown - not burnt. Stir from time to time to prevent them sticking. Pour in stock and bring to boil. Simmer for 1/2-3/4 hour, covered. Taste and add salt and pepper. Toast four thick slices of bread. Grate cheese. Serve in individual bowls. Float a slice of toast on each serving and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.

Artichoke Soup
These are the Jerusalem artichokes, which look like small knobbly potatoes, not the leafy globe variety. Artichokes have a pronounced, though delicate flavour, which makes a particularly good soup.

1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, 1 oz butter, 1 1/2 pints water and 1 bouiloon cube or stock, a little cream or top of milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg

Peel the artichokes, slice them and heat them gently in the butter for a few minutes. Add water and bouillon cube, or basic stock, to cover by about an inch, also salt, pepepr and nutmeg, and simmer gently until tender - 45 minutes-1 hour. Sieve, return to pan and add a little cream or top of milk, or plain milk and butter.

Before all milk was homogenised, the cream used to float to the top - that's what "top of the milk" is. If you can find artichokes, they are a bore to peel. They may have a "delicate flavour", but they are, er... carminative. It's due to the inulin they contain, apparently. (And no, that's not a typo for insulin.)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Swedish Meat Balls

From Jocasta Innes's The Pauper's Cookbook, 1971

1/2 lb minced beef
2 tsps capers
2 tsps pickled beetroot
1 small onion
1 pinch dill
dash Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp grated stale white bread

Chop the capers and pickled beet together. Chop the onion very finely with a sharp knife. Soak the crumbs in a little water and squeeze dry. Combine all the ingredients, mixing well with a knife or your hands. Leave to stand for an hour or so if possible. Shape into small flat patties. you can either flour both sides and fry in a little oil over a moderate flame for 10-15 mins or put the rissoles in an ovenproof dish with a little butter and a piece of buttered paper over them and bake (400F, 205C) for 1/2-3/4 hour, until they are cooked through. Good with mashed potatoes and buttered greens or spinach.

In 1971 we were in a deep recession and wages were low (especially if you were in your early 20s). The Paupers' recipes are very unlike the garish boom-time food of the 60s (prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce and paprika). They have the dull brown tone and dull flavour of the austerity 70s. They are very puritanical, Quakerish and good for you – morally.

The recipes also use ingredients that were common and cheap then, but almost unobtainable now, except at an upmarket butchers: chops, cutlets, kidneys, heart.

Back then (in the Dark Ages), meals were supposed to consist of meat and two veg. Meat was a chicken, or a joint of pork/beef/mutton. All these were beyond our budgets. So offal was suggested as a substitute. We hadn't moved on to sausages, bacon, tinned tuna and mince - the staples of student cookery.

The index lists: brain fritters, braised hearts, hand of pork, gingered pork balls with peas...

We never cooked them! I wonder who did?

She also includes this handy conversion table:

1 level tsp 5 ml
1 level tbsp 15 ml
1 glass 175 ml, 6 fl oz
1 teacup 150 ml, 1/4 pint
1 cup breadcrumbs 5 oz
1 cup grated cheese 5 oz
1 cup honey or syrup 15 oz
1 cup oatmeal 8 oz
1 cup nuts 5 oz
1 cup dried fruit 8 oz

And here are some more:

1 cup Flour = 5 oz (140 g)
1/4 cup Flour = 4 tablespoons = 1 1/4 oz (35 g)
100 g Flour = 3 1/2 oz = 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups Flour = 8 oz (225 g)
1 cup Flour = 4 oz (115 g)
1 pound Flour = 450 g = 4 cups
1 oz (30 g) Flour = 3 tablespoons
25 g Flour = 3 scant tablespoons
275 g Flour = 10 oz = 2 cups
1/4 pound Butter = 4 oz = 115 g = 1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
8 oz Butter = 225 g = 1 cup
1 (450 g) pound Butter = 2 cups
1 oz Butter = 30 g = 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon of butter = 1/2 oz = 15 g

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Grilled Grapefruit

From More Easy Cooking for One or Two, 1979

Half a grapefruit
1-2 teaspoons golden syrup

Loosen the segments of the grapefruit with a sharp knife.
Spoon on the golden syrup, keeping it towards the centre.
Place under grill.
Heat gently for about five minutes.

This is a very 70s dish. Half a grapefruit with no embellishments was often served as a starter. Bracing! Or you can grill them with a sprinkling of sugar and a glacĂ© cherry. Sliced pineapple and star fruit are also delicious grilled – add a blob of strawberry jam to the middle.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Quick Pea Soup

From More Easy Cooking for One or Two by Louise Davies, 1979.

1 small potato
1 chicken stock cube
half a pint of hot water
1 small can garden peas

Peel and dice the potato. Put in saucepan with chicken stock cube dissolved in half a pint of hot water. Bring to the boil, stirring. Cover and simmer for about 10 mins. Stir in the peas, mash with potato masher (optional), and reheat.


From Marguerite Patten's Post-war Kitchen.

1 level tablespoon syrup
1 1/2 oz cooking fat or margarine
1 oz sugar
4 oz barley flakes or oatmeal

Melt the fat and syrup in a pan. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Press into a thin layer (about 1/4 in) in an oblong tin and bake in a moderate oven for 30 mins. Mark into squares while hot and break into biscuits when cold.

Wonder if it would work with rye or millet?