Thursday, 30 December 2010


Nobody eats junket any more. I wonder why? This is from the Woman's Own Book of the Home, 1932

1/2 pint milk
1 tsp rennet
2 tsps brandy
2 tsps sugar
a little cream
nutmeg and cinnamon

Warm the milk, add the sugar, brandy and pinch of cinnamon, mix in the rennet and pour into a glass dish or into custard cups. Leave until cold, pour a little cream on top and grate with nutmeg.

It turns into a kind of milk jelly. It was a standard dessert that would get dished up every so often. But familiarity never made people like it. (Actually it is rather delicious.) You can buy rennet at Tesco's and Sainsbury's.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mrs Beeton's Melted Butter

Mrs B's "melted butter" was really more of a butter sauce. (Add chopped capers for fish.)

I. INGREDIENTS - 1/4 lb. of butter, a dessertspoonful of flour, 1 wineglassful of water, salt to taste.
Mode.—Cut the butter up into small pieces, put it in a saucepan, dredge over the flour, and add the water and a seasoning of salt; stir it one way constantly till the whole of the ingredients are melted and thoroughly blended. Let it just boil, when it is ready to serve. If the butter is to be melted with cream, use the same quantity as of water, but omit the flour; keep stirring it, but do not allow it to boil.
Time.—1 minute to simmer.
Average cost for this quantity, 4d.

II. (More Economical.) INGREDIENTS - 2 oz. of butter, 1 dessertspoonful of flour, salt to taste, 1/2 pint of water.
Mode.—Mix the flour and water to a smooth batter, which put into a saucepan. Add the butter and a seasoning of salt, keep stirring one way till all the ingredients are melted and perfectly smooth; let the whole boil for a minute or two, and serve.
Time.—2 minutes to simmer.
Average cost for this quantity, 2d.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Red Cabbage Casserole

from Ration Book Cookery

1 small red cabbbage
a small onion, or chopped spring onion
8 oz apples
1 oz dripping
2 tsp flour
1/2pt water or stock
1/2 bay leaf

Wash and halve the cabbage, remove the centre tough stalk and shred or slice the leaves finely. Chop onion finely and peel and quarter apples. Place cabbage, onion and apples into the melted dripping in a a casserole and saute for a few mins. Stir in flour and add the water or stock. Add the bay leaf, then simmer gently until the cabbage is tender, adding vinegar to taste.

Serve on its own or with sausages. Or fry bacon until crips, chop and add just before serving. These days we'd leave out the flour and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Hannah Glasse's Mince Pies

To make mince-pies the best way.
Original Recipe From Hannah Glasse
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1740

Take three pounds of suet shred very fine, and chopped as small as possible; two pounds of raisins stoned, and chopped as fine as possible; two pounds of currants nicely picked, washed, rubbed, and dried at the fire; half a hundred of fine pipins, pared, cored and chopped small; half a pound of sugar pounded fine; a quarter an ounce, of mace, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, two large nutmegs, all beat fine; put all together into a great pan, and mix it well together with half a pint of brandy, and half a pint of sack [wine]; put it down close in a stone pot, and it will keep good for four months.

When you make your pies, take a little dish, something bigger than a soup plate, lay a very thin crust all over it, lay a thin layer of meat, and then a thin layer of citron cut very thin, then a layer of mince meat, and a layer of orange-peel cut thin, over that a little meat, squeeze half the juice of a fine Seville orange or lemon, lay on your crust and bake it nicely.*

These pies eat finely cold. If you make them in little patties, mix your meat and sweetmeats accordingly. If you chuse meat in your pies, parboil a neat’s tongue, peel it, and chop the meat as fine as possible, and mix with the rest; or two pounds of the inside of a sirloin of beef boiled. But you must double the quantity of fruit when you use meat.

*Mince-pies must be baked in tin patties, because taking them out, and puff-paste is best for them.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Bread Pudding

This fine old English dish is from the Woman's Own Book of the Home, 1932

1/2 lb stale bread
1 oz suet or dripping (or lard)
1/2 oz sugar
1/4 pint milk
1 egg

Soak the bread in cold water, squeeze dry, put a layer in a greased pie-dish, then a little chopped suet and some sugar and a few currants. Repeat this until the dish is nearly full, grate on a little nutmeg, beat the egg, mix with the milk and pour over the bread. Bake for about 3/4 hour.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Potato Rissoles

From The Women's Institute Book of Home Cooking

12 oz smooth mashed potato
1 tsp chopped parsley
2 oz chopped cooked ham
beaten egg

Mix the parsley and ham into the mashed potato. Shape the mixture into balls and flatten slightly.
Coat with egg, then with breadcrumbs. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.
Drain on kitchen paper, and serve hot.

I think you could add more parsley than that. Early cook books instructed you to egg and breadcrumb everything twice, but maybe cooks couldn't be bothered.

Polish Broad Beans

From the Women's Institute Book of Home Cooking, c. 1975.

1-1.5 lb broad beans, shelled
water of stock
2 tsps clear honey
1 tsp French mustard
1/4 pint soured cream or yoghourt

Cook beans in a little boiling water or stock until just tender (15-30 mins). Drain.
Mix honey and hustard with the cream/yoghurt and add to the beans.
Stir over low heat until heated through.

They are also delicious drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated cheese.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Khaki Scones

From WWI's The Best Way Book. I don't know what makes them khaki - perhaps the writer was just being patriotic.

Into a basin put six tablespoonfuls of flour, half a teaspoonful of baking soda, and a quarter of a teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Beat all well together with a little buttermilk, then add a large tablespoonful of treacle and beat again, and add more buttermilk if required. Drop onto a hot, greased griddle in teaspoonfuls. Turn when air bubbles burst, and do not let them burn. (Just made them - delicious.)

You could used skimmed milk instead of "buttermilk", which is what's left over when you've made milk into butter. They're what we call drop scones, girdle scones or griddle scones. You could eat them with the lemon sauce from the next recipe.

Lemon Pie

More of a lemon rice mould, really. From The Best Way Book (c. 1914)

Boil rice in milk with sugar. Put it into a basin to get cold.

Put the juice and zest of one lemon, with a little water and sugar, into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and let simmer for two hours so that it turns into syrup.

Turn out the rice mould and pour over the lemon sauce.