Monday, 17 March 2014

FARMHOUSE Date and Walnut

I posted this wonderfully milky, Farmhouse recipe, some time ago and this is my favourite adaptation of that basic recipe. This old recipe was given to me by an elderly lady living in Ponsanooth many decades ago and just lends itself to this fruit and the nuts.

You need a lightly oiled 2 lb loaf tin, that I line with parchment to ease lifting the cake out when baked.

In a large saucepan melt:

1 cup of milk [standard UK measurement. You can buy cups anywhere]
1 cup of caster sugar
4 oz butter - NEVER “orrible” marg
Dates and Walnuts to taste.

I use a fair amount and usually buy the ready chopped dates and use the whole packet, for double the quantity, making two cakes, one for the freezer.
Then about 4 oz walnuts. The halves cut in half again or buy a packet of pieces, if you can find it.

Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool for about 30 mins.

Add:  2 cups of SR flour and 2 beaten eggs. Incorporate quickly, making sure all the flour has been absorbed and pour into the prepared tin. Sprinkle generously with demerera sugar and bake for approx 1 hour at 160 Deg C

This cake freezes well and is a good keeper - at least a week. Yum.

I am having a 2 week break now and heading off to visit friends and relatives "up Country",  then driving to Germany for a special celebration and 18th birthday party. My next post will be around the 2nd April. See you then, when I have planned a special chocolate mini series!!! Nothing Cornish about those recipes!

Friday, 14 March 2014

APPLE AND SPICE PIE - 1920s style

[also Apple and Mutton Pie]

“Roll out some pastry the size of a dinner plate and put on a greased plate” I think they mean a baking tray or maybe one of those old enamel plates. It will have to be a baking sheet for me. 

 “cut up 1lb of apples, add 2 oz sugar, ½ lb currants, 1 heaped teaspoon of ground mixed spice and some finely chopped lemon peel”.

That sounds easy.
“Roll out another piece of pastry the size of a dessert plate, place on mixture, press the edges of the two pastries together and crimp them with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven”.

I used my regular Rough Puff pastry, as given many times on my Blog:- 12 oz Plain flour, salt, 3 oz hard block [stork] margarine, 3 oz lard, mixed with very cold water, then rested in the fridge for at least half an hour. [see Pasties for more details]

Modern notes:
I had a bowl of lemon juice and water handy when chopping the apple, to stop the fruit going brown.  Before crimping, I did brush the edge with some beaten egg, also the top of the crust before baking. I also crimped with my fingers, like a pasty rather than a fork. Then put a little slit in the centre to let out the steam. I bet it is just as scrummy using different sugars eg light muscovado.

Real easy - and VERY Cornish. Very delicious too!!!
Another winner from my 1920s Cornish Recipes [this pie was from the Truro area] but hang on….. don’t you see TV chefs, making flat pies with this method? What goes around comes around, they say!!

Apple and Mutton Pie.
As above but adding ¼ lb mutton and 1 finely chopped onion. Surely they leave out the sugar and spice? The Squab Pie was enough for me. I will leave this to your imaginations!

Monday, 10 March 2014


I start preparing to make the Dippie, knowing very little about the method.  It is another recipe from my old Cornish Recipes book of the 1920s and I will quote “ boil potatoes and pilchards [or herring] in thin cream” Are the fish filleted? How much is the cream thinned and with what? I set about trying to recreate this dish using a little common sense and my inbuilt Cornishness. The recipe originates from the Penzance area and was commonly made to use up all the cream before factories demanded it to make clotted cream. I would imagine most families had their own versions.

I am using herring. The weather is too rough for pilchards [same family] and I have a supply of herring in my freezer. I decide to fillet 3 of them.
I peel and quarter three medium potatoes and then parboil them until they are half cooked. I decide to add half a chopped shallot. Surely our ancestors would have aded some onion? Then what about parsley? They loved herbs - so would they have added some? If it was in the gardens then they would have!

I then thin the [¼pint + double] cream with half of a made up fish stock pot and pour it over the drained potatoes until they are just covered, then tucked the folded fillets in between the potatoes. Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and a dash of finely chopped parsley.

I simmered them for around 12 - 15 mins and the smell was delicious. Then spooned it into a bowl. My husband does not like fish so my guinea pig was Mike next door!  “absolutely beautiful” adding “but very rich, although the stock did balance the richness of the cream”.
He ate the whole lot!

I would think a very small portion of Dippie would make a great winter starter. You could even add a dash of something alcoholic? 

Our ancestors needed huge amounts of calories, working in the mines and fields and I visualise large caldrons of this bubbling over an open fire!!  After working hard all day I think they would have chopped the fish heads off, gutted them and throw them in the cream and potatoes!

Thursday, 6 March 2014


You know how great things happen by chance? I went to my veggie fridge box and there they were, side by side. Three of my favourite veggies - and I just love veggies and doing different things with them. So I had a mini brainwave and sliced them in a similar fashion and stir fried them together in a little olive oil. Wow. So as I type, it is the next day and I am doing it again, for lunch with my friend Jeny! And photographing it, of course. The flavours marry so well, each strong, nutty and with a bite! Being me, I added a little chilli as an extra kick. I love it and will be making this forever.

Equal portions [sort of, more or less]:

White Turnip

Sea Salt [flakes preferably] and Fresh ground Pepper
red chilli flakes [optional]
Olive Oil

Peel the celeriac and turnip, then slice them, in less than a ¼ of an inch wide slices, then cut once more, making large matchstick shapes. Chop the top off the fennel then halve it. Make an inverted V in the base to take out the root bit, then slice down. Place them all in a bowl along with a small glug of Olive Oil - for me, it has to be Filippo Berio Light and Mild, then toss.

Heat a large stir fry pan then tip in the veg when very hot. Keep tossing as per, letting the edges singe. The smell is absolutely wonderful - why have I never thought of this before….. Add plenty of fresh ground pepper and sea salt - flakes are best. I also added some red chilli flakes for the extra kick, but you don’t have to. 

Use as a side dish or whatever. I have just served it with smoked mackerel. Yum.

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Why is this dish called Russian, when it is Cornish??? Hey ho. I believe this was originally made and ate on special days, like Helston Flora. But I have spoken to many folk who regularly ate it, especially for Sunday tea. It was for an occasion.

I will admit now, that my first attempt was a bit of a disaster, but this later and adjusted version worked like a dream.

Scant pint of whole milk  [less the 2 egg yolks, ie 1 pint in total with yolks]
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 sachet of gelatine [or sheet equivalent] to set 1 pint of liquid
2 eggs, separated
vanilla - from a pod is by far the best, or bean paste, but essence will do.
Note: For flavour and taste invest in a jar of Vanilla Bean Paste. Yes, it is about £6 but goes a long way, will last and keeps for ages. You will not regret it.

Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Set aside for a mo. Get the dishes ready nearby [or a mould] you will use.

In a saucepan heat the milk, sugar, vanilla and gelatine and whisk until the sugar and gelatine are dissolved [on a low to medium heat] Then add the egg yolks and continue whisking until boiling. DO NOT STOP WHISKING. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the egg whites. Pour carefully into the dishes and leave to set, about 3 hours. Do not move them.

The bottom clears to make a creamy very thick set custardy jelly and the top stays frothy. I used a vanilla pod, hence the little black bits that you can see. This gives it an amazing flavour.  

Very nice. Clotted cream to serve? - you could, but it does not need it.