FOODIE TIP OF THE DAY…

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes

VINTAGE COOKERY BOOKS…

Before 1800, housekeeping books tended to be handwritten collections of recipes and instructions tried and tested by the household cook. By the 1850’s they were developed into books for ‘adult women’, in particular for your brides who were setting up home.

They were intended as work manuals, they were without lavish photography or even set in fine bindings but if you can get hold of one from a book shops they will amaze you. They tell us about the lives of the women in the past from where you can see social change and the disappearance of domestic servants.

Mrs Breton’s Book of Household Management, which was published in 1861 was a huge success and sold 60,000 copes in its first year and two million by 1868. Of course with no television at that time these books were inspirational.

By the time Helen Simpson wrote ‘The Happy Housewife’ in 1934 modern appliances were starting to pop up everywhere, not only helping with the housework but also removing the servants of that time.

In ‘Keeping House’ with Elizabeth Craig (Collins 1936) she said ‘ I have no use for elaborately decorated or furnished homes or for elaborate meals. The simpler the home, the simpler the housekeeping.

Some of these vintage home books can now fetch a lot of money at auction. A book published in 1687 ‘The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closit of Rarities’, by John Shirley sold at Sothebys for £1,625. So, if your great aunt or grandma are still alive and have some old cookery books make sure they don’t end up at the tip.

Even the National Trust ‘Manual of Housekeeping of 2006’ sold 10,000 copies in 2006 and is now being reprinted !!!

BREW MONDAY 2020…

Brew Monday 2020 is run by the Samaritans.

When it’s cold and grey outside, getting people together to connect over a warming cuppa and a good conversation helps to make us feel better and manage the ups and downs of life.

Have a Brew Monday any Monday this January or February, or a day that’s good for you.

And by using your get-together to raise money for Samaritans, you’ll help give people having a tough time somewhere to turn when they need to talk.

Kick start the New Year with a morale boosting workplace get together. Having a Brew Monday helps pick people up, let’s colleagues get to know each other, and is a lovely way for employers to show they care about wellbeing.

Keep it small or make it big. A Brew Monday is a good excuse to invite over neighbours, or parents after the morning school run. Or just to get friends together you haven’t seen for a while, for a really good chat.

At school. At the gym or the rugby club. In the village hall or the church. Introduce people to each other, make new friends, feel your community enjoying itself. On a Monday, or another day. Whatever works.

It costs just £5 for Samaritans to be able to answer a call for help from someone struggling to cope with big, difficult feelings, who may feel so alone.

A donation to Samaritans for a lovely cuppa and a piece of cake – or two – can bring warmth to someone at the toughest time of their life.

It can even save their life.

Imagine what a Brew could do.

UK’s PRIME MINISTER’S RECIPE FOR CHEESE ON TOAST…

With so many celebrity chefs in the UK, you would not expect the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to come up with his recipe for the typically British favourite of ‘Cheese on Toast’, but apparently where he was the Major of London he came up with this recipe.

Well he did and his method is quite simple, ‘Cover toast with slabs of cheese. Grill until it gets all nice’.

I think I can make that one Boris…

THE VERY BRITISH FISH AND CHIPS…

 

Did you know that according to Wikepedia fish and chips first appeared in the 1860’s and by 1910 there were more than 25,000 fish and chip shops across the UK, and by the 1930’s there were over 35,000. The National Federation of Fish Friers say that there are now 8,500 fish and chip shops across the UK.

Historic UK site says that the potato is though to have been brought into England from the New World of the 17th century by Sir Walter Raleigh although it is believed that it was the French who invented the fried potato chip.

In 1839 Charles Dickens referred to a ‘fried fish warehouse‘ in his novel, ‘Oliver Twist‘. The first fish and chip shop is believed to have been in Mossely, Lancashire in the North of England. It was sold from a wooden hut in the market and then later transferred to a permanent shop which had an inscription on its window which said ‘ this is the first fish and chip shop in the world’.

Towards the latter part of the 19th century and well into the next century, the fish and chip trade expanded satisfying the needs of the growing industrial population of the UK. Then the steam trawler brought fish from all over the North Atlantic, Iceland and Greenland and the steam railways meant the fish was distributed easily around the country.

Apparently in 1931 fish and chips became so essential in the British diet that one shop in Bradford had to employ a doorman to control the queue at busy times. Even the Territorial Army enjoyed it with special catering tents erected at training camps in order to give them fish and chips before battle.

The National Federation of Fish Friers said that in 1999, the British consumed nearly 300 million servings of fish and chips which equates to six servings to every man, woman and child in the country. The British Fish and Chips is by far the nation’s favourite take-away.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CAMOMILE TEA?…

What’s your favourite Camomile tea? With so many to choose from it’s difficult to decide. Here are some of the most popular ones on the market.

Dorset Tea Cool Camomile Tea 20 Bags (great for summer) £2.49 

Heath & Heather Organic Camomile Tea 20 Bags £2.19 / Camomile & Manuka Honey Tea 20 Bags £2.19 / 

 

Floradix Organic Camomile Herbal Tea 15 Bags £1.69

 

 

THE SECRET TO COOKING GREAT FOOD WITH LIMITED INGREDIENTS…

When you get home after a hard day at work, open the fridge and realise that there’s basically nothing in there, you’ve got two choices. You could go back out again and buy some ingredients or you can try to make do with what you’ve got. You can cook some pretty incredible meals with just a couple of ingredients but there is a certain art to it. Use these three simple tricks to master cooking with limited ingredients.

1. KNOW YOUR FLAVOUR PAIRINGS…

Strawberries and cream, cheese and tomato, lemon and garlic. Some flavours just go well together and they create such a delicious combination that you don’t need much else in your meal. Identifying the food pairings made in heaven is the key to cooking well with a small number of ingredients. You’re going to be experimenting with flavours a lot which is always a good thing, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you can end up with some disasters. If you just start throwing things together without some idea of whether they’ll taste good, you’re probably not going to end up with a nice meal. But if you find those flavour combinations, they’ll stand you in good stead.

2. MAKE USE OF SPICES…

Often, if you don’t have a lot of fresh ingredients to use, you need to rely on flavourings. If, for example, you’ve got a load of beans and pulses in the cupboard and not much else, you can still make a delicious meal out of them if you know how to use herbs and spices properly. The correct combination of a couple of spices can really elevate even the most boring of dishes. The staples that you need in your cupboard are cumin, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, oregano, parsley and paprika. You can create all sorts of different flavours using different combinations of those. You should also keep a tub of curry powder in the cupboard, it’s a great shortcut that you can use to make a delicious curry in no time at all. You’ll also need to learn when spices should be added to the pot because some need to go in right at the start while others only need to be cooked for a few minutes to release their flavour. Over or under cooking spices can completely ruin the flavour.

3. BUY VERSATILE INGREDIENTS…

When you’re only working with a couple of ingredients, you want things that you can create lots of different flavours and textures. Buying these versatile ingredients and keeping them in the cupboard will allow you to create a meal out of anything. Eggs are a great one; you can put a boiled or poached egg on top of a meal to add extra protein and nutrients, you can use them in baking or make a sauce with them. Chickpeas are another great ingredient; they make a good substitute for meat in a curry or chilli, you can make them into hummus or you can drizzle them in a bit of oil and bake them for half an hour for a delicious crispy snack. Knowing how to use versatile ingredients will make life so much easier for you.

Follow these 3 tips and you’ll be able to cook amazing food with just a few ingredients.