Way back when, Wednesdays

Vintage baking

Here are recipes for two old fashioned baked treats: Rock cakes and Gingernut biscuits. They are easy to make and moreish to eat. I have taken the recipes from my mum’s venerable 1961 book of home cooking Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium, which was first published by the Good Housekeeping Institute in London in 1952. The book’s aim is to teach the inexperienced beginner or the more experienced cook how to produce the everyday dishes needed in an average home. Although it is produced to meet the needs of every member of the family, there is emphasis on demonstrating home cooking to the young housewife or daughter living at home, as was the custom of this era!

Rock cakes originated in Great Britain. If you have never eaten one, a rock cake or rock bun, is a small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. During the rationing of provisions in World War II, the British Ministry of Food promoted baking rock cakes, as they require fewer eggs and less sugar than ordinary cakes. Bakers would also use oatmeal in the recipe when white flour was unavailable.

This type of Gingernut biscuit is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and in many countries of the former British empire. It is believed that they were originally named Gingernuts because they were quite hard to break, like a nut. The amount of syrup that you use in the recipe influences the texture of the biscuit.

All measurements in these recipes are in the Imperial system so you will need to convert them if your scales are in metric.

Rock Cakes

 

Ingredients
12 ounces self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
6 ounces margarine
6 ounces sugar
3 ounces currents
1 ½ ounces chopped peel
1 egg
Milk to mix

Method
Sieve the flour, salt and spices.
Rub in the butter and add the sugar, fruit and peel.
Mix the beaten egg and just enough milk to bind.
Using a teaspoon and a fork, place mixture in rocky heaps on a greased baking sheet (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit or 232 degrees Celsius) for 15 – 20 minutes or until they slide about on the baking tray and are slightly brown underneath.

 

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Rock Cakes

 

Gingernuts

 

Ingredients
8 ounces flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 ounces butter
2 ounces sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
The above quantities should make 8 -12 biscuits.

Method
Warm the syrup in a small pan.
Rub butter into the sieved dry ingredients. Add sugar.
Mix with the warmed syrup to form a dough.
Knead dough lightly in the mixing bowl. Form small portions of dough into balls and put them on onto a greased baking tray, flattening them slightly and allowing room to spread (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius). Let them cool a little before removing the biscuits from the baking tray to a wire rack.

Gingernuts

#waybackwhenwednesdays

Lady Alice biscuit recipe

Lady Alice biscuits melt in your mouth.

These little golden beauties have no comparison. They are a divine accompaniment to a creamy latte or a hot chocolate, any time of year.

Library cafe Bake and Brew, always have a fresh batch on the go. Here’s their recipe.

Lady Alice biscuits

Fresh at Bake and Brew every day…perfect with coffee or hot chocolate

Sue’s Lady Alice biscuits

This recipe came to Sue from her great-aunt, who lived in Port Pirie.

Ingredients:

340gm butter, softened
115gm icing sugar
340gm plain flour
115gm custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

(Measurements have been converted to metric from imperial).

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl. Add flour and custard powder and mix until smooth.
  3. Roll teaspoons of biscuit mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray 2cm apart
  4. Gently flatten each ball with a fork. After flattening, place the tray in the fridge and let the balls chill (takes approximately 1 hour).
  5. Place the tray in oven and bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until just golden around the edges. Leave to cool on the trays for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Amazing cheesecake recipes

Cheesecake is one of the universal desserts, with thousands of versions across global food cultures.

Ancient Greece is believed to be the original home of cheesecake – historians have evidence to suggest cheesecake was served to athletes at the first Olympic Games in Athens 776 BC.

While the original cheesecake was a simple affair of flour, wheat, honey and cheese, those four ingredients are often the same core ingredients of any cheesecake made today.

Around the world, cheesecake recipes vary. Italians use ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use mizithra or feta. Germans prefer cottage cheese, while the Japanese tend to use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites.

Bake and Brew, next door to the library feature a fabulous baked and a set cheesecake on their menus, available for purchase with a tea or coffee for $8.

cheesecake

Baked and set cheesecakes available at Bake and Brew, next door to Tea Tree Gully Library

A quick straw poll of library staff revealed a preference for baked cheesecake – no doubt due to the cold weather this year? These were some of the comments:

 

‘Baked cheesecake is heavy and is a kind of winter food. But nicely presented.’

‘I think it goes perfectly with espresso, or if you’re a tea drinker, Darjeeling or Chai.’

‘Love the meaty base – it’s perfect for the sweet and mellow upper layer.’

cheesecake 3.JPG

Thoughts on the set (or mousse) style cheesecake:

‘Light and refreshing’

‘The texture swirls around your mouth – a nice light option’

‘It’s like cutting into soft butter, soft and delicate.’

cheesecake 2

Baked cheesecake on the left and set cheesecake on the right, plated up at Bake & Brew

No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time.

Sue, the head chef from Bake and Brew, has kindly provided the recipes for both her baked and set cheesecake.

Sue’s set cheesecake recipe (makes two cheesecakes)

Ingredients:

Base:
600g crushed sweet biscuits
200g melted butter

Top layer:
500g cream cheese
500g cream
250g caster sugar
100ml lemon juice (this can also be substituted for another fruit eg mango puree)
10g gelatine leaves (5 leaves)
42mL cold water
120mL hot water

Method:

  1. First, make the base. Mix the biscuit crumbs and butter until combined. Press into the base of a 20cm springform pan and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add sugar, then the lemon juice.
  3. Soak the gelatine leaves in the cold water. Once soft, gently heat the gel on the stove until fully dissolved.
  4. Whip cream until soft peaks form, then fold into the cream cheese mix and then add the warm gelatine.
  5. Pour mix over the base in the tin and refrigerate overnight for best results.

 

Sue’s baked cheesecake recipe

Ingredients:

Base:
600g crushed sweet biscuits
200g melted butter

Cheese layer:
250g cream cheese
250g ricotta
1 cup of cream
1.5 tbspn of plain flour
1.5 tbspn of cornflour
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
30g melted butter
vanilla
lemon juice

Method:

  1. First, make the base. Mix the biscuit crumbs and butter until combined. Press into the base of a 20cm springform pan and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Process cream cheese, ricotta and cream in a bowl until smooth. Gently fold through flour, cornflour and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, processing until just combined. Gently fold in butter, vanilla and lemon juice.
  4. Pour mix over the base in the tin and bake for 1 hour in a 150° oven.

Way back when, Wednesdays

Retro style at Myer

Did you used to enjoy eating at the restaurant in the Myer store at Tea Tree Plaza, Modbury? On page 22 of the edition dated 15 August 1973, the Leader Messenger promoted the Myer Restaurant in its regular feature Tea Tree Plaza News.

Myer restaurant

The Myer Restaurant was situated on Level 3 of Myer, in the area that is now Ladies Fashion. It offered patrons panoramic views of the Adelaide Hills from a large, rounded rectangular window. You can still see where the restaurant was located if you drive down Smart Road towards Reservoir Road and look for the window above the entrance to level 2 of the store, that faces the car park.

The Myer restaurant was self-service. Self-service was very much in vogue at the time. A customer at the Myer restaurant would line up, take a tray and push it along the guided rails as they proceeded along the servery and selected their meals, paying for their purchases when they reached the cash register.

The advertisement pictured says that the Myer Restaurant would appeal to families but it was a comfortable place for anybody to sit and relax during their time browsing the store. Dining there would transform your shopping trip into a special outing.

You could choose from a range of reasonably priced meals and beverages, including hot food, sandwiches and treats like cakes and colourful jellies. Part of the appeal was looking at the presentation of all of the different foods and choosing what you wanted. The décor was very fashionable for the time, with funky chairs and tables and burnt orange tiles on the walls.

My personal recollection of the Myer Restaurant in the 1990s is enjoying the huge square-cut scones, topped with jam and fresh cream and accompanied by a big mug of hot coffee on an icy winter’s morning. What are some of your memories of dining there?

Myer renovated the restaurant in the years preceding its closure and it introduced table service, which was what customers expected in more modern times.

Some readers might also remember that when the restaurant closed in approximately 2005, Myer donated several large photographic prints depicting our local history to the City of Tea Tree Gully Library. If you know when the Myer Restaurant ceased trading, please let us know.

Everything old is new again. Nowadays we have the IKEA restaurant which is also self-service and offers a range of interesting cuisine, cakes and on occasion that 70’s favourite, chocolate mousse. If it was still in operation, we might view the Myer restaurant as being retro and hip!

#waybackwhenwednesday

A beautiful cupcake in a world full of muffins

Move over cronuts. Witness the birth of the Lemon Curd Cupcake at the Bake & Brew café.

lemon curd cupcake

This luscious hybrid is indeed a cupcake but it is the size of a muffin! Experience delicious, tangy lemon curd embedded in a light, fluffy sponge base, topped with fresh cream and a cake hat. This beautiful creation is baked in-house. It is the ideal accompaniment to your favourite beverage. Bake & Brew café is situated next to the Tea Tree Gully Library in the Civic Centre. You can enjoy the lemon curd cupcake for $5.00.  The Bake & Brew café is open from 8.45am to 4.00pm from Monday to Friday.  Telephone:  (08) 8397 7383.

 

 

Way back when Wednesdays

Chocolate Marbled Cake

Chocolate Marbled Cake

Chocolate Marbled Cake

In celebration of Wednesday birthdays (including mine) why not try this vintage recipe for Chocolate Marbled Cake? It’s delicious and it works.

It comes from my mother’s cookery bible of 1961, A Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium. Compiled by The Good Housekeeping Institute, the book was first published in 1952. In the Forward on page 6, the book states that cookbooks “sometimes assume that their readers are already familiar with the very simple processes, it can still happen that a young housewife  –  or a daughter-at-home called upon to produce a meal in time of domestic crisis-finds embarrassing and unexpected gaps in her cookery knowledge.” By today’s standards this is an outdated perspective which assumes that women are responsible for home duties and it does not allow for the modern practice of ordering takeaway food!   In contrast to other books of its time, A Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium instructs the reader on everything you need to know about different techniques and how to prepare every type of meal, from cooking eggs, selecting different cuts of meat, preparing seafood, to making and decorating a wedding cake.

You could ice this cake with chocolate frosting or a ganache, drizzle melted chocolate over it or simply just sprinkle the top with icing sugar, as pictured.

Note: As this is an older recipe, you will need scales which can measure imperial weight.

6 oz. butter or margarine

6 oz. sugar

¾ cup warm milk

4 egg whites

9 oz. plain flour

2 tsps. baking powder

Vanilla essence

Milk to mix

1 ½ oz. block chocolate

Cream the fat and sugar very thoroughly and stir in the warmed milk and the stiffly beaten egg whites. Sieve the flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture, together with a few drops of vanilla essence, and if necessary a little milk. Divide the mixture into two, and add the chocolate (dissolved in a very little milk or water) to one part. Put alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures into a prepared tin and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees F, 190 degrees C, gas mark 4) for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours, until firm to the touch.  Enjoy!

Modern tips: Oven times may vary; if your oven is fan-forced, cooking time will be reduced. I use a ring tin for this recipe, which works well, but you could also use a round tin with a diameter of around 23cm. I lined the tin with baking paper. You may prefer to use silicone or non-stick cookware or grease and flour your tin. I interpreted ‘block chocolate’ as dark cooking chocolate.

Wow it’s Italian! Experience the essence of Italian Cooking

Come along to a delicious book launch on Monday 2 November, from 6.30pm.

Written by Yarra Valley cooks Hilda and Laurie, Wow! It’s Italian is full of recipes and tips to create the perfect rustic Italian meal, based on their time living in a tiny Italian village high up in the Apennine Mountains.

You’ll learn how to make classic dishes like traditional Italian meatballs and crusty bread and gain insights into growing and preserving food for the harsh long winter months – a la the Italians.

Book online or phone 8397 7333.