Sunday, May 20, 2012

Florentine Ring (Fish) - 1970s

It looks like a burnt curry, and its the latest card from that massive cardex that I acquired a few weeks ago.  Florentine is the name given to any dish that is paired with spinach, in this case its not obvious that this is a fish dish, but it is.

It has a cooking time of 1 hour, and will take 25 minutes to prepare.  Best to have an 8 inch ring tin handy and a sauce pan, and pre-heat your oven to 350f which is 180c.  Out of this recipe you'll get enough to serve three greedy gannets or six smallish portions.

2lb/1kg Fresh Spinach

White Sauce:
2 oz/50g butter
2 oz/50g flour
half a pint/275ml milk
3 egg yolks
good pinch of nutmeg

1lb/0.5kg fish fillets
half a pint/275ml milk
2 oz/50g butter
2 oz/50g flour
3-4 oz/75-100g grated cheese

1oz/25g grated cheese and tomatos

1. Cook spinach in a very little salted water.  Drain well and chop.

2. Make a thick white sauce in the usual way. (not sure how to make white sauce? see

3. Stir in the egg yolks and nutmeg.  Add the spinach, season well and blend thoroughly.

4. Pour in to greased ring tin.

5. Stand in a tin of water, bake until firm - 40 to 45 minutes.

6. Meanwhile simmer the fish in milk until cooked.  Drain and use liquid to make a white sauce with the butter and flour.

7. Season and stir in grated cheese.

8. When spinach ring is cooked, turn on to warm plate.

Fill centre of ring with flaked fish and pour over the cheese sauce.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with sliced tomatos.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Soup - 1960s

This evening I came across a set of recipe cards that my Aunt has had for, quite literally, years.  They are nearly all 1967 published and in mint condition.

I am, sadly, very very happy and intend to bring you some of the finest recipes from this massive collection which is going to take up half of my desk, as I have nowhere else to put it.

So the first recipe that I am going to bring from this monster box of goodies is Peanut Butter Soup, and it is filed in the 'Picnics' section.

The cooking time for this strange dish is 15 minutes, it should take 15 minutes to prepare and for this you'll need a frying pan and saucepan.  The recipe makes enough for four people.

1oz/25g butter
1oz/25g flour
half a pint / 275 ml milk
a bay leaf
2 - 3 oz / 50 - 75g peanut butter
1 pint/ generous half litre of chicken stock
OR water and stock cubes

To garnish: croutons.

1. Heat the butter in the pan, then stir in the flour and cook for several minutes, stirring well.
2. Remove from heat, stir in the milk then bring to the boil and cook until smooth and thick, again stirring to keep the sauce smooth. Add the bay leaf.
3.Put the peanut butter into a basin gradually blend in a little of the warm sauce, then return to the pan, adding the stock and seasoning.
4. Meanwhile prepare the croutons for this dice bread and fry in hot butter until crisp and golden brown.

To Carry: Pour the soup into a warmed vacuum flask.  Put the croutons into a screw topped jar, Take cups or soup bowls.

To Vary: Many other home made or canned soups are ideal for a picnic and by mixing various canned soups you have interesting flavours.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tollhouse Cookies - 1930s

So we made some Tollhouse Cookies from this recipe which is pretty well documented in nearly every single recipe book you could care to read that includes recipes for biscuits/cookies.  This recipe is pretty generic and very easy.

Here is an interesting thought.  Chocolate Chip Cookies come under the 1930s category because they were first developed at that point, only becoming popular during the war.  Well that is what the wikipedia article says.

180g/6.5 oz unsalted butter, cubed and softened
140g/5 oz soft brown sugar
110g 3.75 oz granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
280g/10oz plain all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
350g/12 oz dark chocolate bits
100g/3.5 oz pecans (or flaked almonds) roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line two large baking trays with baking paper/greaseproof paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugars with electric beaters until light and fluffy.
3. Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition.
4. Stir in the vanilla extract, then the sifted flour and bicarbonate until just combined.
5. Mix in the chocolate bits and pecans/almonds.
6. Drop table spoons of mixture onto the trays; leave room for spreading.
7. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  When completely cold, store in airtight container.

Irish Stew - 1970s

This is most probably an older recipe, but I am taking it from the newest addition to my collection.  The first edition of the 1000 Recipe Cook Book, editied by Isabel Barrett and Jane Harrop ISBN 0706405315
As with these sorts of books, the recipe itself is most probably older than 1970s but it appeared in 1976, not possibly the first time it appeared.  It is very much one of those timeless classics that has evolved as you can read on on their history of Irish Stew.  One thing that I love is that this recipe can be 'Boozy' if you want it to be.  Whack a bit of Guinness in why not?

You will need:

1kg/2lb of potatoes sliced
2 large onions sliced
salt and pepper
15ml/tablespoon dried thyme
1 kg/2 lb lamb chops

1. Put about half the potatoes on the bottom of a large casserole.  Cover with half the onions then sprinkle with salt and pepper and half the thyme.
2. Add the chops, then continue to make layers with the remaining Onions, salt and pepper, thyme and remaining potatoes.
3.  Add just enough water to cover.  Cover tightly and put into the oven pre-heated to warm (170 celsius/325 Farenheit/Gas Mark 3).
4. Cook for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the chops are cooked through.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apple Tansy (1950s)

Apples are my favourite fruit.  I am sorry but a banana doesn't hold it for me and there are so many varieties to choose from.  If you travel back fifty or sixty years ago however there were countless different varieties, even more than today but many have become extinct down to neglect and the commercial homogeneity of the cider industry in the eighties and nineties. has a whole bunch of information about Apples as I am more interested in what you do with them once you get them.

They feature quite heavily in vintage cooking given their ease of growth and availability.

So what is an Apple Tansy? It is essentially a sweet omlette.  As with most things, there are many different takes on this recipe, but this take is provided by Farmhouse Fare being contributed by Kathleen Thomas.

You will need:

3 large apples
Sugar to taste
1 pint of milk
3 eggs
A little mixed Spice
1 cupful of fine breadcrumbs

1. Peel and slice the apples, cook gently in a little butter until soft and pour into a greased fireproof dish.
2. Beat the eggs and add them to the milk, sweeten to taste and add a pinch of the mixed spice and the nutmeg.
3. Pour the mixture over the breadcrumbs and beat lightly then pour the mixture over the apples and bake very slowly till set.

There isn't any indication about what temperature you should cook it at so your guess will be the right one.

Vinegar Cake (pre 1950s)

So it has been a few months since I've posted a recipe, so I thought I would kick off with something really appetising.

For Vinegar Cake you'll need...

1lb Flour
1/2 pound Sugar
1/2 pound butter and dripping
1/2 pound of currants
1/4 pound of stoned raisins
3 tablespoons of vinegar
1 teaspoonful of Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 pint of milk

1. Rub fat well into the flour add fruit and sugar.
2. Put the milk into a large jug and add the vinegar.
3. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with a little milk and pour it into the milk and vinegar quickly taking care to hold the jug over the cake mixture as it will froth up.
4. Stir into the flour, fruit etc and put in to a well greased tin and bake in a hot oven for the first half hour, then a cooler one until cooked.