Monday, October 13, 2008

The Way Things Are....

Having just picked up an cookbook at random (an old one I hasten to say), and opening it on page 153 as though it matters, see a recipe for a salad dressing that uses no oil. Oil is becoming more expensive, so perhaps one worth trying. Ingredients and method as the recipe (brackets and metrics I have added).
Salad Dressing (without oil):
2 small dessertspoons of flour
1 slice of margarine, bit more than 1 oz (25g)
breakfastcupful of milk (possibly 8fl oz/225ml)
2 tsp mustard (powder)
2 tsp sugar
half tsp salt
half teacupful vinegar (a teacup is around 6 fl oz but check)
Melt margarine in a saucepan. Mix flour and other dry ingredients with it. Add milk and cook until mixture thickens. Add vinegar last. Beat well.

Another interesting recipe from the book uses both rose-hips and apples, so perhaps one you may with to try and it should be full of vitamin C. Not sure how long it is supposed to last, but it comes in the chapter dealing with preserves. Recipe has not been adapted and appears to be more a jelly than a 'honey'.
Rose-Hip Honey:
In making preserve use a wooden spoon, or the jam will darken in colour.
Take 1 lb (450g) of hips and cover with water and boil until tender. Strain through a jelly-bag one night. Next day pulp 3/4 lb (threequarters of a pound) of cooking apples in a little water. Add to hip juice and measure. Return to pan and add 1 lb (450g) sugar to 1 pint (450ml) of fruit juice. Cook until it sets when tested. Put into hot jars and tie down.

Here is a recipe for a cake, quite suitable for Christmas, that in the old days was pruned down to fit into households when finances were a bit tight, hence the name. But it still makes a good cake that, although not keeping as long as the more luscious ones, will still keep for 2 months, and can be frozen, wrapped tightly in foil, to keep for 3 months.
Half-Pay Fruit Cake: 8" square /or 9" round cake (F).
8 oz (225g) prunes, stoned and chopped
8 oz (225g) currants
2 oz (50g) chopped candied peel
2 oz (50g) glace cherries, quartered
2 oz (50g) dates, chopped
half pint (300ml) cold tea
4 oz (100g) soft brown sugar
2 oz (50g) chopped nuts
10 oz (275g) self-raising flour
2 oz (50g) ground rice
1 tsp mixed spice
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
Put the prunes, currants, peel, cherries and dates into a bowl with the tea, cover and leave to soak overnight. Next day stir in the sugar and the nuts. Sift together the ground rice, flour and spice and stir into the mixture. Pour in the butter and eggs and mix well.
Turn the mixtureinto a cake tin that has been greased and lined with a double thickness of baking parchment or greaseproof, and level the surface. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 150/300/2
and cook for a further 2 hours, tenting with foil if browning too quickly. Turn out, remove paper when cool and wrap in foil. Store in a cool, dry place. If deciding to freeze, allow to thaw out overnight at room temperature and if wishing to decorate with marzipan or icing, do this after the cake has thawed.

This is a more economical way of making the Christmas Pud and worth remembering that if the main course fills the tums as it usually does, we hardly need a pudding of any size to finish off the meal so as this amount makes 2 x 2lb (900g) puds, we can either reduce the amounts or divide into four bowls and once cooked, give three away and keep just one for yourselves. The cooking time is not reduced when making smaller quantities - normally using 1lb basins, the initial steaming of 6 hours remains the same. The second steaming can be reduced to just 2 hours.
Paupers Pudding: (F)
8 oz (225g) prunes
half pint (300ml) water
8 oz (225g) currants
2 oz (50g) chopped peel
4 oz (50g) chopped dates
4 tblsp orange marmalade
2 tblsp black treacle
6 oz (150g) fresh breadcrumbs
4 oz (100g) carrot, grated
8 oz (225g) cooking apples, cored and grated
1 lb (450g) dark brown sugar
8 oz (225g) shredded suet
4 oz (100g) self-raising flour
1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg
good pinch salt
2 large eggs
few drops almond essence
2 tblsp rum
Soak the prunes overnight in the water, then drain, remove stones and chop. Then put these with the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well together.
Put into two buttered 3 pint (1.7ltr) basins, cover with buttered greasproof, then foil or a pudding cloth tied on securely. Place basin in pan with boiling water coming two thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Boil steadily for six hours adding more boiling water as necessary.
Leave to get cold then remove all coverings and replace using fresh buttered greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool dry place.
To serve, boil/steam for 2 1/2 hours topping up with boiling water as necessary.
If wishing to freeze this, remove the cold pudding from the basin after the initial steaming, wrap seal and label. This will keep up to four months in the freezer. This pudding needs replacing into the original buttered basin, left to thaw overnight then cover and steam on as in above recipe.