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

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.

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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.

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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!