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    You are in: Home / Cookbooks / History in your Kitchen
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    History in your Kitchen

    A collection of recipes throughout the centuries.
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    A trip down Memory Lane! This is my mum's recipe for Coconut Ice, little coconut squares which are coloured pink and white, and used to be popular in old-fashioned British sweet (candy) shops. My mum used to make trays and trays of these for our Church fêtes, as well as for Christmas and for gifts. These lovely little coconut morsels are very popular in Scotland where I think my mum's recipe originated – either from my Scottish grandmother or an auntie. These are great fun to make with the children, as they are easy as well as being "no-cook". If you plan to make them for gifts or to sell, pack them into attractive cellophane bags, glass jars or boxes and add a pretty ribbon as well as a label of ingredients and storage details. This recipe is part of my Old Fashioned Sweet Shop collection of recipes, sweets, candies, fudges, sugar plums and chocolates!

    Recipe #401462

    I love the Nutcracker Ballet and the music that accompanies it, especially the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies! These fabulous little festive sweetmeats are based on a recipe that I adapted from Delia Smith's latest and BRILLIANT cookbook, "Happy Christmas". I have made these TWICE already - as a pre-Christmas dummy run, and they are SO easy as well as being extremely delicious! Sugar plums are mentioned in all forms of literature; most famously in “The Night Before Christmas”…………“The children were nestled, all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads". However, they are a VERY old kind of sweet/candy, and I have traced some recipes right back to the Middle Ages in one guise or another, usually with minced meat hence “sweet meat”. This recipe can be made as a boozy after dinner adult treat, or with orange juice so the children can dream of them dancing in their heads! NB: These are great fun to make with the children, as they are easy as well as being "no-cook". If you plan to make them for gifts or to sell, pack them into attractive cellophane bags, glass jars or boxes and add a pretty ribbon as well as a label of ingredients and storage details. This recipe is part of my Old Fashioned Sweet Shop collection of recipes, sweets, candies, fudges, sugar plums and chocolates!

    Recipe #402071

    A delectable holiday fudge, which is the ultimate treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. This buttery, crumbly fudge is enhanced and made more festive by studding it with rich, jewel-like fruit. If you do not have stem ginger handy, you can use crystallised ginger or glace ginger instead. Making fudge the proper way involves using a sugar, jam or candy thermometer - or you can use the "soft ball" method if you do not have a suitable thermometer. Drop a small spoonful of the fudge into cold water, if it forms a malleable soft ball, the setting temperature has been reached. If you plan to make this fudge for gifts or to sell, pack the squares into attractive cellophane bags, glass jars or boxes and add a pretty ribbon as well as a label of ingredients. This recipe is part of my Old Fashioned Sweet Shop collection of recipes, sweets, candies, fudges, sugar plums and chocolates!

    Recipe #402077

    Make your own brandy butter to smother over delicious, homemade Christmas Figgy or Plum pudding, and in only 5 minutes with this easy recipe,..........no Christmas table would be without this "naughty but nice" accompaniment! This is also wonderful when served with hot mince pies......prise open the pastry lids and dollop some brandy butter inside, preferably when they are warm, so the brandy butter runs through the pies! This makes a great gift - pack the brand butter into an attractive pot and add serving instructions. .

    Recipe #404338

    Freshly boiled eggs are encased in a herb flavoured sausage “jacket” and are then deep-fried until golden and crisp, delicious! Contrary to popular belief, Scotch eggs are not Scottish, and they were actually invented by the famous London department store “Fortnum & Mason” in 1738, where they are still available today. The word "Scotch" is an old English word meaning to chop or mince, and obviously, the eggs are covered with “chopped or minced” pork sausage meat, hence the name Scotch Eggs. They are traditional British picnic food but I also like to serve them as a light lunch or snack, and they make a wonderful addition to the buffet table. These tasty traditional English specialities have had bad press over the years; mainly down to commercial mass production, but if you make them at home with fresh, free-range eggs and the best quality sausage meat, they will taste divine, and they will always be the stars of the picnic hamper or family lunch table! PLEASE use high quality sausage meat or sausages, with at least 70% meat content.Historical Note: Founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason (F&M) stocks "food fit for a queen". The 300-year-old British department store, famous for its jams, teas, and sauces, provides the Queen with her annual supply of Christmas puddings and holds the "Royal Warrant. NB: You can use quail's eggs with great results too - perfect for an elegant appetiser or starter. (The optional mixed spice is for those who like a spicy meat coating, it is mentioned in some old recipes, but I don't always use it.)

    Recipe #408043

    An old-fashioned treat, this is a fabulous way to use up left over ham, although I have also put some freshly cooked ham aside especially for this when I have baked a ham for Christmas, Easter or another special occasion. The ham is finely minced and mixed through with old-fashioned spices and butter, and it keeps for several weeks in a cool place. Another name for this recipe is Potted Meat, and it was VERY popular in Victorian times, although recipes for potted meats (preserved under butter) goes back even further than that historically. Wonderful in sandwiches for the teatime table or for picnics, lunch boxes and festive buffets. This is an adapted recipe from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, where she suggests that this is a nice addition for the “Breakfast or Luncheon table”. Serve with sliced breads of all types, oatcakes, toast, bread rolls, and crackers or with salad, chutneys, mustard and pickles. NB: Use a good cooked ham on the bone for this recipe: the sort carved by hand at the deli and old-fashioned butchers. So called "cooking time" is chill time.

    Recipe #408287

    This is MY much adapted version of Jamie Oliver's Turkey and Sweet Leek Pie! I made this with left over Christmas turkey this year, and it was so delicious and went down a bomb with my family and friends! A new Jamie Oliver recipe that he showed on his Family Christmas show this year and one that is so clever, as this pie makes its own gravy! I have left out adding the chestnuts and sage to the pastry as he suggests, I will try it sometime in the future though, as it sounds a brilliant idea; I have added this option at the end of the recipe however, for those who want to try it that way. Serve this with mashed potatoes and the extra gravy in a gravy boat on the side. Here is what Jamie says about this pie: "This is dead simple, completely versatile and absolutely gorgeous. It’s not a pretty-boy pie; it’s a proper, old-school pie that everyone will be over the moon to see on the table. I’m putting leftover white turkey meat to good use here, but you could also mix brown meat in there too." I agree, all of my family and friends were over the moon to see this on the post Christmas table, I bet it tastes great with chicken and ham too. NB: he original recipe makes enough for 6 to 8 people, mine is perfect for 4 very hungry people!

    Recipe #407306

    I have lots of wonderful wild purslane growing in my garden, and apart from adding it to salads, it is extremely useful in keeping the weeds down! Although purslane is rarely seen on our own tables today, this pretty herb has a long and interesting history. English medieval cooks and gardeners loved purslane; in fact, it is often known as the “Elizabethan Salad Herb” in the UK, as it was extremely popular as a form of greenery during that era. I absolutely love it in salads and remember eating it in Cyprus when I lived there – my Turkish Cypriot friends picked it from wasteland where the local Turkish word is Semizotu. It is thought that the genus name, Portulaca, is from the Latin porto and laca meaning ‘milk carrier’ in reference to its milky sap. The species name oleracea is Latin and means ‘potherb’. Native to Persia and India, it was introduced into Europe by Arabs in the 15th century as a salad herb. Purslane makes an excellent edible ground cover and in many countries, it is cultivated as a vegetable, though many unknowingly consider it a weed. It was once believed to offer protection from evil spirits. Purslane is very nutritious and is rich in Vitamin C and alpha linolenic acid (one of the Omega-3 fatty acids).which the body converts into the essential fatty acids known as EPA: almost 3 percent of purslane by weight consists of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-carotene and lutein. Not only is it easy to grow purslane in your home garden, it is hard to keep it from overrunning other plants. When the plants are young, they make a tart but succulent addition to salads with just a little washing and dicing. After the plants are mature, they are best parboiled in salted water for 1-2 minutes before adding them to salads. In New Mexican cuisine, purslane is known as verdolagas, and is commonly fried with onions, added to pinto beans, or used as a herb in potato salads.

    Recipe #380139

    Borage is one of my favourite herbs, and I always find room for it in my herb garden; in fact, I grow it amongst my flowers in the herbaceous border. Its pretty vibrant blue star-shaped flowers (Borage is sometimes called the Star Herb) are wonderful when added to salads and drinks. The leaves, which taste of cucumber, are also an essential ingredient to soups, salads, drinks, creams and butters. I often add borage flowers when serving alcoholic drinks and fruit drinks. Borage is especially good with claret cup or wine cup, as in this recipe. You can also add borage leaves and flowers to hot or iced tea or lemonade. Borage is an excellent culinary herb and can be used in a variety of ways. Borage is far better when used fresh, as the flavour and colour deteriorate when it is dried and some essential oils are lost. Traditional recipes recommend borage leaves and seeds, together with fennel in salads for increasing the milk supply in nursing mothers. The leaves and flowers are also added for flavour and garnish to wine cups, Pimms and gin-based summer cocktails and the flowers are still candied for confectionary as cake and ice cream decorations.

    Recipe #381645

    A delightful old French salad recipe, which uses fresh aromatic herbs with fresh lettuce leaves and a simple dressing. Serve this with poached salmon or cold chicken for an elegant dinner party dish. Adapted from a 16th century French translation of a book originally written in Latin in 1474. NB: Borage is an excellent culinary herb and can be used in a variety of ways. Borage is far better used fresh, as the flavour and colour deteriorate when dried and some essential oils lost. Traditional recipes recommend borage leaves and seeds, together with fennel in salads for increasing the milk supply in nursing mothers. The leaves and flowers are still added for flavour and garnish to wine cups, Pimms and gin-based summer cocktails and the flowers are still candied for confectionary as cake and ice cream decorations.

    Recipe #381683

    A taste of my childhood, my grandmother made the most amazing Egg Custard, as we used to call it! In the absence of lard, or if you are vegetarian, use a white vegetable cooking fat, but NOT margarine, as the white fat gives the pastry its crispness. Serve this tart at room temperature with cream or just "naked"! You can buy these delectable little tarts in most British bakeries, but they always taste better when they have been made at home. This old-fashioned custard tart needs a thick, wobbly filling, so I've used a round tin with sloping sides and a rim, which gives a good depth. The nutmeg is very important to the flavour, so always use it freshly grated and grate it on to a piece of foil, which helps when you have to sprinkle it on quickly when it goes into the oven.

    Recipe #385917

    Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands.The island is usually the hottest place in the British Isles during the summer months, with the temperature averaging a few degrees higher than the mainland. As the island is neither part of the EU or the UK, it is a popular 'duty-free' destination. Jersey has a rich and varied history, with several wars and invasion attempts over many centuries.The island was part of the Duchy of Normandy in the 10th century and became part of the Anglo-Norman realm in 1066. The island's history is reflected in the French road names and typical Jersey surnames, as well as in the many historical French artefacts and monuments that can be found around the island. This is a traditional recipe, and no self-respecting Jersey woman would be without her earthenware bean crock, or casserole, in which to cook one of the most filling and tasty of all the island's recipes. So popular was this bean dish that every farmhouse had its bundles of drying French beans hanging from the rafters waiting to be shelled in the long winter evenings. Town folk used to hang their beans in the garage. For some Islanders this was a traditional supper dish; others had it for Sunday breakfast. Mr. Heinz is supposed to have taken the idea for his famous baked beans from the bean crock of Jersey emigrants in Canada. Prep time includes the overnight soaking for the beans. (This adapted recipe is originally from the Jersey Tourism Website.)

    Recipe #388262

    Delicate pink shrimps nestled in spiced butter that are packed into earthenware pots, and sealed with golden clarified butter - quintessential British fare that is tinged with timeless elegance of an old-fashioned Seaside teatime treat! Although Morecambe Bay in the North West of England is most famous for its potted shrimps, I remember these amazing Yorkshire Shrimp Teas from my childhood; you would see signs outside country cottages and farmhouses along the Yorkshire coastline near Scarborough and Whitby. Potted shrimps are traditionally served with hot toast and lashings of hot (preferably Yorkshire) tea! Serve these potted shrimp as appetisers, or for a real “Yorkshire Shrimp Tea” - with hot buttered toast, fresh lemon wedges and a pot of tea. This recipe is based on a 19th century recipe found in an old country cookbook, which I bought in an antique bookshop in England. (Prep time includes chilling time.)

    Recipe #388364

    Served warm and oozing with butter, these fabulous fruity griddlecakes make a great treat for breakfast or afternoon tea. I remember my grandmother making these when I was little; she lived in a very old stone cottage in Northumberland, and made these on a huge cast iron black griddle, or girdle as they were also called! We used to eat them hot from the griddle, with butter – in front of a roaring wood fire during the winter months. Singin' hinnies are a type of fried fruit scone or griddle cake, so called as they 'sing' and sizzle whilst cooking. 'Hinny' is a Northern term for endearment used especially to children - my grandmother used to call me "hinny". Similar to singin' hinnies are Northumbrian griddle cakes, also known as Gosforth gridies. If you are making them for a children’s party or at Christmas, put coins that have been briefly boiled, then wrapped in greaseproof paper, in the middle of some of the singin’ hinnies.

    Recipe #388389

    Wherever you go in Scotland you will come across Scottish Lorne Sausage, which are square and sliced. Whether you be in a Hotel, a Guest House or a Bed and Breakfast, you will be offered a Scottish cooked breakfast, that will usually include the slices of this Scottish Lorne sausage. It is nearly always on a breakfast menu, along with bacon, egg, and "tattie" (potato) scones, and many Scots will eat it in a bread roll for lunch or maybe serve it with potatoes and vegetables for dinner. This is an easy recipe - and the sausage can be frozen in slices for ease and convenience. Prep time includes chilling time. What's in a name? It is thought that the Lorne sausage, which also goes by the names of square sausage, sliced sausage or sausage slice, was an invention of the Scottish comedian Tommy Lorne who lived from 1890 and died in 1935. He was born in Kirkintilloch near Glasgow. His birth name was Hugh Gallagher Corcoran. Tommy Lorne performed in many Scottish theatres and often performed in Glasgow and Edinburgh and was much in demand for pantomime. In his own acts he would apply white make-up and wear a short kilt, a glengarry, boots that were far too big for him and a jacket that was short. He spoke in an hilarious high pitched voice. It is thought that Lorne sausages were named after Tommy Lorne because of one of his famous catchphrase: "sausages are the boys" - he loved his sausages! He often ate a sausage sandwich between his acts. It has even been suggested that not only were Lorne sausages named after Tommy Lorne and to give people an easy to make sausage sandwich, but that Tommy Lorne was the inventor of the Lorne sausage.

    Recipe #389024

    The very soup reputed to have built the British Empire and one that was oh-so-fashionable in Victorian and Edwardian times! This soup was served daily, until recently, in the dining cars of British Rail. This classic hearty soup was also very popular at the castle (Windsor) in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Queen Victoria was particularly fond of it, and it regularly appeared on state banquet menus. However, this recipe has not had very good press over recent years - drab tinned brands and indifferent, greasy soups served in some lower end restaurants have given it a bad culinary name! I hope to redress that with this authentic recipe from Windsor in Berkshire, England - home to the Royal Windsor Castle. A rich and hearty soup, this makes a meal in itself when served with crusty bread, scones or bread rolls.

    Recipe #391231

    Whether you have just come of the ski slopes or you are wandering around a French Marché de Noël, a Christmas Market, this is JUST the beverage to warm the cockles of your heart, as well as your frozen fingers and toes! Vin chaud is hot-spiced wine served the French way, with a slug of Cognac of course! It's a traditional welcome drink and is very popular where I live in the South West of France; especially at Christmas and New Year – and you’ll find it in all of the Christmas Markets at this time of year. Ladle this mulled wine into some heavy cut-glass punch cups; or for a real French feel, use an assortment of old wine glasses and to avoid them cracking, place a teaspoon in to the glasses beforehand - this takes the heat away from the glass. One word about the wine, please DO use a good wine, and not what is known as a "cooking wine" - I find that Beaujolais works well or a fruity Chinon.

    Recipe #401846

    Call it what you will, traditional British cheese on toast is a national institution, an iconic snack enjoyed by all, regardless of class or background! What can be simpler and tastier, hunks of homemade or crusty farmhouse style bread topped with mature Cheddar cheese, a smidge of mustard and Worcestershire sauce for those who desire an extra kick! This is NOT really a recipe; it is a basic method for making a super tasty and nutritious fast food dish. There is even a Cheese on Toast Day celebrated in the UK - mark your calendars now, the last Thursday in April has been set aside for this comforting supper treat. I lived on cheese on toast whilst I was a student, as I am sure most students do nowadays! You can use other British cheeses, but I find the best cheese without a doubt, is a good mature farmhouse cheddar. Make sure your bread is thickly sliced and you have your plates ready and waiting to receive the molten cheesy snack - pull up a chair by the fireside in the winter and enjoy your 5-minute culinary efforts! (This is an all year around snack I hasten to add.) An interesting historical note; toasted cheese was served as the final course to male diners during Edwardian times, in Gentleman's Clubs........the cheese was melted and served in a pot with the toast set around the edges - a sort of Gentleman's Club fondue!

    Recipe #349789

    The Victoria Sandwich is the quintessential English cake, conjuring up images of old England and afternoon tea. It's always been a favourite in cake baking competitions and is even used by manufacturers to test new cookers.This is one of the recipes that I use when I make my Victoria Sandwich sponge cake - the other method is posted at the end of the recipe; the ingredients are the same but the weight ratio is slightly different. This method is the original and more traditional way of weighing your ingredients, bearing in mind that the recipe is Victorian! A true Victoria Sandwich would only contain jam, usually raspberry, but as the cake became more popular and cooks became more affluent, cream was added as a delicious addition. I was always taught that caster sugar was sprinkled on top - again, icing sugar is often used nowadays. This recipe adaptation was taken from the WI website, a wonderful organisation in Great Britain for woman of all ages, backgrounds, race or creed - remember The Calendar Girls? They were all WI members! Historical note: Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, is credited as the creator of tea time. She invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms. The menu centred around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea.The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses. Queen Victoria adopted the new craze for afternoon tea time. By 1855, the Queen and her ladies were in formal dress for the Victorian tea time parties. This simple cake was one of the queen's favourites and was named in honour of the Queen as a mark of the cake's most devoted followers! (I used home made lemon curd for the cake in my photos, a tangy change from raspberry jam!)

    Recipe #352555

    The salad cream that most of us in the UK know, love and use was invented by Heinz in 1914 and was very popular with working classes; a truly socialist salad dressing if you will. However, its popularity waned in the latter part of the century, with the arrival of the decadent mayonnaise, flaunting its Continental French and Spanish roots and pushing the humble salad cream to one side. However, like any good socialist, salad cream would not go away and still remains a firm favourite in the UK with people who have refused to climb that social ladder to mayonnaise!! My recipe for homemade salad cream comes from Mrs Beeton's cookbook originally, but I have made some modifications. Mrs Beeton uses quite a lot of vinegar in my humble opinion, but the recipe is flexible so add more if you wish. I prefer salad cream when I am trying to cut back on fat - plus I rather like it's tangy flavour, and it is truly wonderful when spooned over hard boiled eggs or fresh lettuce leaves. Or, try it in sandwiches and dips, for a lighter taste to mayonnaise.

    Recipe #359598

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