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.

7 QUICK TIPS ON BAKING CAKES…

  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 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 center. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging to it.

For more great tips on baking check out my book on Amazon.

A Little Book On Tea, Cake and Chocolate: TEA pairings, TEA and chocolate, TEA and its health benefits plus over 100 tips on BAKING cakes.

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…

7 OF THE BEST WAYS TO STORE YOUR TEA…

  1. It’s best to transfer both loose tea and tea bags from a cardboard or paper packet or tub into an air-tight container.
  2. Tins and caddies with tight-fitting lids are good as they can keep out smells and humidity which can affect the tea.
  3. Storing the jars in a dark cupboard will mean the tea will keep well.
  4. You should never keep it in the fridge as there is always the chance that water will get into the packet.
  5. You should always be careful with flavoured teas, as the added flavourings can be very powerful and easily taint other teas nearby.
  6. For loose tea, it is essential that you check that the spoon or scoop that you use is completely dry.
  7. If there is even a drop of moisture on the spoon, the humidity introduced to the interior of the packet or caddy will have an effect on the quality of flavour.

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.