VINTAGE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 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 shop 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 copies 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 Sotheby’s for £1,625. So, if your great aunt or grandma is still alive and has 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 !!!!!!!

10 TIPS ON BAKING THE BEST FRUIT CAKE…

1. For a really moist fruitcake, use marmalade instead of candied peel.

2. Always soak your dried fruit overnight and for extra flavour soak the fruit in apple or orange juice or marinate in your favourite liqueur (brandy) for three days, stirring it every 12 hours.

3. If you are adding dried fruit then it should be plump and soft, if it has gone horrible and hard, then soak in hot water for a few minutes before adding it to your mixture

4. For an extra rich, tasty fruitcake, use cold coffee instead of milk.

5. For a moist fruitcake with extra flavour, grate a cooking apple into the mixture.

6. For a moister fruitcake in electric ovens or Agars, place a dish of water on the floor of the oven when baking.

7. Always cool fruitcakes for 10 to 15 minutes on a rack in the dish in which they were baked. Then turn them onto the rack and carefully peel off the paper.

8. Fruitcakes freeze very well; however, they must be aged for at least a few weeks before freezing, as they do not mellow and ripen while they are frozen.

9. To keep the calories down grate an orange and only use half the sugar.

10. Completely dust the fruit and nuts with flour so they don’t fall to the bottom of the batter while baking. Shake off excess before incorporating into the recipe.

3 GREAT PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO DURING MAY…

With us all spending lots more time at home and indoors I’m sure I am not the only one who has listened to lots more Podcasts over the last six weeks. My top three choice for you to enjoy are.

1. Cook The Perfect available on BBC Sounds and Apple Stitcher is hosted by Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey in 10 minute Podcasts to inspire you. They have guests who are experts on the lowdown on making tasty dishes and one I loved was on Thursday 2nd April with Regula Ysewijn with Aunty Betty’s Gingerbread which is to absolutely die for.

2. On Player FM they have Flour Hour Baking Podcast a podcast completely dedicated to baking. Co-hosted by bakers Amanda Faber and Jeremiah Duarte Bills, Flour Hour features interviews with baking professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts. Topics cover all types of baking and the food stories that inspire culture, creativity and humanity. Episode 54 is Baking In The Time of Corona which is very apt. They discuss how they are coping with the new reality, resrouces, favorite books, substitutions and more. You can download the Player FM app free on App Store and Google Play.

3. Another great one on Player FM is Preheated which is full of kitchen wisdom and friendly chat from two friends who love to bake. Episode 174 is Donut Life and a bumper final episode of Sweet & Sour Month! The hosts are intrigued by a sour-cream pie crust, and Stefin’s finally tackled homemade milk kefir using freeze-dried starter (reminding Andrea of cowboy sourdough). In this week’s review, the duo dodge numerous frustrations to declare Shauna Sever’s Donut Loaf a huge, powdered-sugar-covered win. And who can resist the month’s final bake-along? Emma Christensen’s Buttermilk Quick Bread with an astonishing 10 variations, that uses your choice of fat, flour, and sweet or savory add-ins. Finally, the duo take a Dairy Deep Dive into the history behind some of this month’s tangy ingredients.

Bake along with Stefin and Andrea in their baking Facebook group, Preheated Baking Podcast Listeners. You can find links to recipes on their baking website www.preheatedpodcast.com, or follow the hosts on Twitter and Instagram, using handle preheatedpod.

7 HANDY BAKING TIPS FROM AFTERNOON TEA4TWO…

1.When baking shortbread cookies, substitute half of your plain flour with cornflour. It gives them a really nice taste.

2. Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.

3. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.

4. Don’t crowd the oven with Baking tins. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven or be placed over or under each other on the racks.

5. Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans, if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.

6. Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies or quick breads by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.

7. To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the centre. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging.

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.

10 SECRETS TO BETTER BAKING…

10 secrets to better baking –

  1. Leave your cake on a wire rack in the tin you have baked it in for 5 minutes before you turn it out.
  2. When making your cake, leave the eggs and fat our overnight so that they will be at the same temperature.
  3. For a really moist fruit cake, use marmalade instead of candied peel.
  4. For an extra rich, tasty fruit cake, use cold coffee instead of milk.
  5. Measure all your ingredients accurately.
  6. Bake your cake immediately once mixed as the baking powder begins to act as soon as its combined with liquid.
  7. Leave scones for a minute before you pop them into the oven as resting them allow the baking powder to become active.
  8. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
  9. When baking cakes, always sift the flour first as this will incorporate air and will create a light bake.
  10. NEVER open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time as the cold air will interfere with the rising of the cake.

THE PURPLE PUMPKIN BLOG AND 50 AFTERNOON TEA RECIPES…

The Purple Pumpkin Blog is a blog written by Michelle from London. Her blog is full of photographs, recipes, printables, seasonal inspiration, crafts and lots more.

Amongst her amazing array of recipes, I came across her 50 Afternoon Tea Recipes which caught my eye with the amazing picture above.

She starts off with a list of ten sandwiches explaining along the way the etiquette involved in a proper English afternoon tea. ” Cutting the crusts off is a must; cut into finger lengths or triangles. Dainty rolls are great to use, and turn flat breads into pinwheels for something different.”

Next is cupcakes and muffins which she says are “All the taste of a big cake, but in a perfect one-person portion.” and gives you a choice of six recipes to try from.

Sweet and savoury tarts are next on Michelle’s list with six recipes to choose from and her tip to “buy ready-made pastry to cut down on preparation time.”

Next is biscuits with five recipes to choose from another tip from Michelle is  “Instead of opening a packet, make a tray of them instead. Decorate plain sugar cookies any way you like.”

Not forgetting the gluten and dairy free recipes. Michelle has included three free from recipes so you don’t forget the guests with food intolerances.

There is a choice of 12 recipes for Cakes and Bakes which she suggests you “display on a pretty platter; pre-cut for portion control, or throw caution to the wind, and let guests cut a slice as big as they like!”

A choice of 3 scones is accompanied with a note to “not forget the clotted cream and jam for the sweet scones. Cream cheese for the savoury?”

Finally, pastries and patisserie finish her list with five to choose from in this category and a little note to anyone who wants to try them that “these recipes might require a bit more skill, but the end results are worth it.”

 

AMAZING APPS FOR COELIACS AND GLUTEN FREE SUFFERERS…

Coeliac in the City has some of the best mobile apps to give you the edge and make living gluten-free life to the full easier!

  • Seriously Good Gluten Free Living – Phil Vickery
    Free, Available on iPhone & iPad, (Lifestyle App) 3*s/ 5*s App Store
    Content: 50 Gluten Free recipes
    Review: useful for new Coeliacs & those looking for food inspiration
  • The Coeliac Society of Australia Ingredient List – Coeliac Australia
    Paid £5.49, Available on iPhone, iTouch & iPad, (Health & Fitness App) No rating
    Content: 800 ingredients & 300 Additives for foods within Australia & New Zealand Review: A little pricey for an app yet the money helps support the Coeliac Society
  • Gluten Free Restaurant Travel Cards – CeliacTravel.Com
    Free, Available on iPhone & iPad, (Health & Fitness App) 3*s/ 5*s App Store
    Content: Celiac Restaurant Cards in 40 languages  to explain Gluten Free diet
    Review: If you get one App get this, useful to explain GF needs abroad & at home
  • Coeliac Map, Gluten Free, UK & WorldWide
    Free, Available on Android Market, (Lifestyle) 4*s/ 5*s Market Place
    Content: User Submitted reviews of where to eat & drink in UK & beyond
    Review: Great for on the go advice especially as tips are from other Coeliacs
  • Taste Card UK
    Free, Available on Android & Apple App Store (Lifestyle), 3*s/ 5*s Market Place
    Content: 5000+ restaurant offers!
    Review: Great for offers & discounts on restaurants if you are a Taste Card Member
  • Poynt
    Free, Available on BlackBerry & Android
    Content: Information on restaurants, businesses, movies & weather near you
    Review: A useful free app to locate your nearest Gluten Free restaurant chain