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 By today’s standards this is an outdated perspective which assumes that women are responsible for home duties and it does not allow for the modern practice of ordering takeaway food!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.

The simple, but delicious scone

Who doesn’t enjoy a Devonshire tea, with warm scones fresh from the oven, topped with lashings of thick cream and jam?

The simple but delicious scone is loved around the world. In Patisserie : an encyclopedia of cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, chocolates, confectionery and desserts, celebrated pastry chef Aaron Maree writes that scones come in many flavours and varieties. In America, scones are known as biscuits or soda biscuits and they can be served with both savoury dishes and sweet toppings. The scone is a cousin of the Scottish bannock, a flat disk baked on a hot griddle plate, which is then marked into triangles.

“A good scone should be of uniform colour and size, lightly golden brown on the base and top, but with white sides. The interior should be light, soft and white.” He stresses that in order to ensure that your scones are soft and well risen, you must always rub the butter into the dry ingredients lightly. Never overwork the dough and do not knead it at all.”

Next door to the Library is our cherished cafe Bake and Brew, who bake delicious scones daily. And! We have secured the recipe from Sue the pastry chef.

Scones

Oh sweet scones, how graceful you sit. Your fluffy, subtly sweet texture melts in our mouths on these days we toil. We honour and give thanks to you, heavenly light beings.

 

Here it is:

World’s Best Scone Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g butter
  • 500mL milk
  • 1 dessertspoon cream

Method:

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder.

In a microwaveable jug add butter, milk and cream and microwave for three minutes on low.

Add this liquid mix to the bowl.

Mix gently and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently and pat like a baby’s bottom.

Use a scone cutter or glass to make round scone shapes and put them onto a greased oven tray. Ensure the scones are placed close together, as they give each other support as they cook.

Cook in a 180° oven for 15 minutes.

You can also borrow Patisserie : an encyclopedia of cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, chocolates, confectionery and desserts from the Tea Tree Gully Library.

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.

An evening with Alice

Presented by Catlin Langford, enthusiast and collector.

1book28 White rabbit

Illustrations by Sir John Tenniel from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, 1865: The Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit.

ingpenAlicecvr   Alice-In-Wonderland-1972-Movie

Illustrated by Robert Ingpen, 2009          Film, Alice In Wonderland, 1972.

When:  Wednesday 8 July from 6.30 – 7.30pm.

Where:  Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost:  Free.  Bookings are essential.

2015 marks 150 years since the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, considered as one of the most famous works of children’s literature. An Evening with Alice will investigate the numerous ideas, people, food, and paintings that inspired Carroll’s celebrated work of literature, providing an insight into topics as diverse as the Pre- Raphaelite group, to the not-so-beautiful turtle soup, to poisonous hats, and pet wombats.

You can book for An Evening with Alice here or telephone the Library on 8397 7333.

If you are of a crafty disposition, enjoy a sweet treat and are interested in everything ‘Alice’, READ ME.

Hidden Treasures

Festival Foods coverIf you enjoy browsing through the Library’s cooking section, why not investigate the books in our Children’s collection? You never know what you might find. Discover a new world of recipes that are suitable for all chefs.

I borrowed Festival Foods by Jenny Vaughan and Penny Beauchamp, which features recipes from many different cultures, cooked for celebrations and feast days.

honey-cake1I created a delicious Israeli honey cake and also found some great recipes including a hearty Ramadan soup and savoury dumplings from China.

 

Children’s cookbooks are colourful and often include fascinating information on the cultural background of different recipes and the ingredients they use.

aww-kids-cooking-for-health

Other titles that impressed me are The Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Cooking for Health, The Usborne Healthy Cookbook by Fiona Patchett, Kids’ Cooking,  I Can Cook Middle Eastern Food by Wendy Blaxland and the series A World of Recipes by Sue Townsend.

You can search the Library’s online catalogue or enquire about children’s cookbooks next time you visit the Library.

Looking for some new recipes?

Well the Library has a fantastic collection of cookbooks for you to choose from. Come and browse in  Adult Non Fiction starting at 641.5 for inspiration to cook up a storm.
One book we found recently while reshelving that doesn’t quite offer that inspiration is “Food for the road” by Laraine Leyland of Leyland brothers fame.

This unique publication has lots of tips for campfire cooking, food and equipment checklists and an amazing array of tempting recipes from chapters entitled Toasted Temptations, Super Snacks and Marvellous Mince.

Some “favourites” chosen by Library staff  include; Saveloy Sandwich, Curried Eggs, Rissoles, Baked Beans and Frankfurts, Curried Savoury Mince and Devilled Wine Chops, not to forget a favourite from the seventies, Chicken a la king!

We’ll let the pictures tell the story. Just let me say food styling has certainly moved on since the Seventies!

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Do you think we should keep this book or send it to the library book graveyard, aka the Booksale shelf?

Also love to know if you’ve found any other “amazing” titles in our collection that you’d like to share!

Blast from the past with Mrs Beeton

Having an interest and love of books goes with the territory of working in a library. One staff member was given an antique copy of Mrs. Beeton’s Shilling Cookery Book, also known as The Englishwoman’s Cookery Book by Isabella Beeton. It was given as a wedding present to a neighbours’ parents in 1900.

There are many pearls of wisdom and practical hints covering topics such as hints to prevent kitchen waste, modes of preparing meat and home butchery plus serviette folding techniques. The class system of the time is evident with lists of kitchen utensils and cookware being necessary and ‘suitable for any mansion’, ‘Suitable for good class houses’, ‘suitable for small houses’ and ‘suitable for the smallest house.’

Advertisements in the front and back pages of the book include those for Bumstead’s Table Salt, Savory and Moore’s Best Food for Infants, and Freeman’s Syrup of Phosphorus – ‘for the most delicately constituted.’

Some of the recipes of note include: conger eel soup which included 2lbs of conger eel and 2 marigolds, how to dress a sheep’s head, calf’s feet jelly and gooseberry trifle. There is also a section on invalid cookery that includes such gastronomic delights as barley gruel, egg wine and mutton broth.

Useful handbooks advertised in the back of the book include:
The Manners of Polite Society, or Etiquette for All
All about Etiquette – for Ladies, Gentlemen and Families
Profitable and economical poultry keeping by Mrs. Eliot James – (author of Indian Household Management)
The manners of the aristocracy by One of Themselves
Our Servants: their duties to us and ours to them including the boarding-out question by Mrs. Eliot James.

The book is an interesting and nostalgic reflection on how times have changed. Although the Library doesn’t own this particular book we do have The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton and a massive range of modern cook books.

What antique books have you come across?