Monday, 22 May 2017


LARDY CAKES, circa early 1900s


As promised, here is my Lardy cake recipe! This recipe has evolved somewhat over the last hundred years or more and there are several versions out there. I like this one!! Extremely simple and just scrumptious. Yes, it does take about 4 hours, but there is very little hands on, mostly waiting for it to rise, where you can get on with something else. The dough is very soft, quite wet, so it is easier in a mixer with a dough hook. I kneaded it for 8 minutes, in a mixer. I gave up kneading by hand years ago. These cakes are just as good the next day, or maybe even better!

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C. Grease a large round tin with lard. I use a 10 inch, slight fluted.
More pics of each stage on my Blog. I do hope you have a go.

1 lb strong plain flour
4 oz lard
1/2 pint whole milk
2 eggs
a dessertspoon castor sugar
1 teaspoon dried yeast
Fruit - about 6 oz sultanas, 2 oz mixed peel, 
a few currants if you wish, or dried cranberries [not in the original recipe]
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
some more very soft, just melted lard for brushing
a little extra brown sugar of you choice - I used demerera 

Warm the milk slightly and melt the lard, then mix together. Stir in the sugar and beaten eggs. Place the flour and yeast in a medium mixing bowl [or in a mixer with a dough hook]. Pour in the liquid and knead to a dough. [7 or 8 mins]. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about two hours.  If kneading by hand you will need a well floured work surface.

Roll/stretch out the dough into a rectangle - about 10” x 20”, with the long side facing you, until it is about a quarter of an inch thick, brush with a little extra softened lard and spread your fruit and spice over evenly, then sprinkle over a tad more sugar. Roll it up, towards you, like a roly poly [as tight as you can] and with a sharp knife, cut into thick slices of just over 2 inches, making 9 pieces. Place these in your prepared round tin [make sure the end bits are underneath], cover and leave to rise again for another hour. I also sprinkle a little more cinnamon on the top of the cut dough rings.





Bake in a hot oven for about 30 mins, turning it down to 190C after 20 mins. While it is baking mix together equal quantities of melted lard and sugar and quickly remove the cakes from the oven after 25 mins and generously brush over the almost baked cakes. Pop back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Just wonderful. So easy, so delicious. Tear and share - enjoy.

NOTE - once you have the roly poly, you can coil it together and place in about a (9 or 10 inch tin and bake as a whole cake. I like the cut individual slices, but either way is good.








Thursday, 18 May 2017



SPONGE DROPS


A very simple recipe, so easy and baked in a few minutes, then filled with jam and cream. A change from scones or splits, light as a feather and yummy. Another recipe idea from the old pre war Be-Ro booklet, although it is a basic fatless sponge. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C and lightly grease a couple of baking sheets. This quantity makes about 8 or 9 filled drops, using a dessertspoon as the drop measure. [ie 16-18]

I decided to time myself from start to finish, including filling. It took me about 19 minutes.

3 oz Self Raising Flour
2 large eggs
3 oz caster sugar

Jam [I used my own Loganberry]
Clotted cream - of course! But you can use thick double cream if you are not lucky enough to live here In Cornwall!

Break your eggs into a medium bowl and whisk together, then add the sugar. Continue whisking until very thick and creamy. Fold in the flour, very lightly, which you have sieved, taking care to make sure it is well incorporated.

Drop rounded dessertspoonfuls onto your baking sheets keeping them well apart. Bake in your hot oven for about 7 mins. I gauged about the same mixture top as bottom. You can, of course, use teaspoonfuls for tiny sponges, but bake for 4-5 mins.

Cool on a rack, they take about 2 minutes to cool and when cold sandwich together with Jam and Cream. Dust with a little icing sugar if you wish. Jam first of course!!!!!!!

Yum Yum. A simple delicious afternoon treat. Made so quickly and demolished in seconds.


Note: for my own tastes I would add a few drops of vanilla extract.

Sunday, 14 May 2017



Cheese Turnovers


A super tea time/snack treat from the Modern Cookery, circa 1917. I adapted it very slightly, as I made them yesterday to tuck into while we watched the Eurovison Song Contest! What would they have made of that a hundred years ago? I added some dried mustard powder to the cheese cream and topped the finished turnovers with grated fresh parmesan and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

First, buy your all butter puff pastry or make some. I found a easy peasy recipe some years ago
using 8 oz plain flour, pinch salt, 4 oz lard, 4 oz butter, 5 fl of very cold water and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.  Cube [small] the fats and chill in the freezer, on a plate, for ten mins. Add to the salt and flour and coat well. Make a well and pour in the liquids. Mix, then roll out to about 8 x 14”, fold as usual, into the middle and seal both ends. Wrap then chill for ten mins. Repeat four times, rolling with a sealed end facing you That’s it. Dead simple and so flakey with no hassle. Chill for three hours at least before using.

Pre heat your fan oven to 220C and butter a baking sheet. The mixture below makes 9 - 4 inch turnovers.

2 eggs 
2 oz cheese [I presume cheddar or similar, [I had a bit of Gruyere left in the fridge]
1 oz butter
Salt and pepper
puff pastry
grated parmesan for the top
a little smoked paprika

Grate the cheese and place it in a thick bottomed saucepan and dissolve gently, then add the butter, seasoning and the well beaten eggs. Whisk continuously until it resembles a thick cream. Allow to cool. A most unusual method and at one point I thought it would not come together, but then it did! 

When the cheese mix is cold, roll out your puff pastry thinly and cut it into rounds, using a small saucer as a guide. [I have no small saucer so used my largest 4 inch plain cutter] Place a spoonful of the mixture on each round. Moisten the edges with a little beaten egg then fold in half and pinch the edges together. Brush the top with more beaten egg, add a sprinkling of the parmesan and paprika and bake in your hot oven for about 14-15 mins.




Eat warm. [or cold] Just lovely, incredibly scrummy in fact. The modern me would add a few pieces of caramelised onion too, I think!!
Note: I used the end of a teaspoon to notch and seal the edges.

Note: I wanted Greece to win. Not sure I like the song from Portugal. Great spectacle as usual though. What about the streaker!!!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


BELGIUM BOILED CAKE


I am returning to boiled cakes, always a favourite, especially with my husband, but I have no idea why this particular version would have such a strange name. I am baking it exactly as printed in the 1917 Modern Cookery book. Looking at the ingredients, I just know it will be good and moist.

I used a 7” spring form cake tin, lined. [8” would be OK too] No temperatures are given [of course] and from the charts I use, a moderate oven would be around 160C. Now, I think that is too hot, so will pop it in at 150C.

12 oz plain flour
8 oz dripping
6 oz demerara sugar
4 oz currants
4 oz raisins
pinch salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 pint warm water

Place the water, dripping, fruit and sugar into a large saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until it boils. Let it continue boiling for 5 minutes, then allow it to go cold. Mix in the flour, salt and spice. Stir then add the bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in a teaspoonful of warm water. Mix well.

Turn into your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour 45 minutes. I turned it down to 140C after one hour and covered the top. [the original recipe said 2 hours - far too long for today’s modern ovens]


The result? Just delicious with a wonderful flavour. Yes, I know it contains dripping, but it is a natural ingredient and research these days show it is not as evil as we were once told. Our ancestors knew what they were doing!! Trust me.

Saturday, 6 May 2017



OLD FASHIONED TREACLE GINGERBREAD


They do not make anything like this these days! From the 1917 Modern Cookery book, it was called “old fashioned” then! and the smell as it bakes it just wonderful.

Pre heat your fan oven to 150C. Butter and line the base of a shallow oblong tin - mine was 
7” x 11” and about an inch deep. Makes about 16-20 squares.

8 oz plain flour
2 oz butter or clarified dripping [I decide to use the butter]
2 oz sugar
3 oz treacle
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger [or a little more if you like]
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 gill warm milk [5 fl oz], this would be whole milk, although I used half buttermilk.
1 large egg
sugar to dust

I also added some chopped stem ginger and a small spoonful of the syrup, although this was not in the original recipe. I love ginger!!!

Warm the milk and treacle together slightly, beat the butter and sugar together, then add the egg followed by the milky treacle. Mix the baking powder and ginger into the flour, now sift it slowly into the milky mixture, beating thoroughly. Mix all together then pour into your prepared tin.

Bake in a slow oven for 40 mins. Cut into squares and sift over white sugar [icing sugar?]

Just lovely. So moist and soft with the most delicious flavour.





Tuesday, 2 May 2017



CHEESE AND POTATO PIE


A old traditional dish, and in olden times this would have been used as a main meal, but these days, it is great as a side dish, to serve with chops or chicken and suchlike. I intend to make it as printed in the Modern Cookery book of 1917, using fresh tomatoes as stated, [passata these days?]

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C and butter your dish of choice.

2 lb potatoes
Salt and Pepper
½ lb onions
1 lb tomatoes
2-3 oz grated cheese  [I am presuming cheddar]
2 eggs
1 gill milk, ie 5 fl oz [whole]
1 oz butter or dripping

Steam the potatoes until soft and pass through a sieve. [did they not have mashers in those days?]
Slice the onions finely and fry them in the butter. Stew the tomatoes until soft and rub them through a sieve. Mix together the potatoes, tomato puree and the onions in the butter or dripping in which they were fried. Add a good seasoning of salt and pepper, the well beaten eggs and the milk, made hot. Beat until thoroughly mixed then turn into a fireproof dish and sprinkle over the grated cheese.
Brown in a moderate oven for 45 mins and serve hot.

Well, I don’t know about you, but this sounds delish. It was!!!! I can guarantee you will love it, as we did. Stewing and serving the tomatoes was a bit of a bind but I used vine tomatoes and the flavour was incredible.

I will be making this again and again.

Note: Wasn't the old fashioned language different?!  A fireproof dish….