Friday, January 28, 2011

Paying the Price

During wartime rationing cooks made the most of what was available, and farmers wives lucky in that they had more variety I suppose. Here are a few recipes from that time that are good enough to make today.
Apple Jelly: (use this as a base for herb jellies etc)
Having saved the peels and cores from apples (you could freeze these to collect enough to use), put them in a large saucepan and just cover with water, then cook until pulpy. Strain through a jelly bag and measure. To every pint of juice add 1 lb sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil fast until it sets. This jelly is equal to that made with whole apples.

Carrot Jam:
flaked almonds
cooking brandy
Scrub and trim the carrots and cut into small pieces. Cook until tender in as little water as possible (steaming would be best) then rub through a sieve (or blitz in a food processor). Measure the carrot puree, put into the preserving pan and to each pint add 1 lb sugar, zest and juice of 1 lemon. Heat gently until the sugar has melted then boil until setting point is reached. Roughly chop the almonds, add them to the jam with a tablespoon of brandy. Then bottle in hot, sterilized jars. Seal in the usual way.
Note: this jam will not keep without the brandy.

Here is a recipe for fruit cake, the original name being: 'Christmas Cake without Eggs', and possibly this or a slight variation could be used to make a fruit cake for any time of the year. Not quite sure what temperature 'a good oven' would be, so best to use the temperature for a rich fruit cake of this type - around 170C, 325F, gas 3, maybe even less.
Eggless Fruit Cake:
8 oz (225g) plain flour
8 oz (225g) ground rice
8 oz (225g) granulated sugar
8 oz (225g) currants or raisins
8 oz (225g) sultanas
4 oz (100g) mixed candied peel
12 oz (350g) butter or good margarine
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp almond essence
half pint (300ml) boiling milk
Mix the flour, ground rice, sugar dried fruits and peel together, then cream the butter and mix well. Put the bicarb into a tablespoon of cold milk, add the almond essence to the boiling milk, then gradually blend the milk into the cake mixture while it is still very hot. Beat everything well together, put into a fairly large tin (presumably greased and lined) and bake in a good oven for 4 hours.
This cake will keep for months and will improve.

This next recipe is for a very economical 'lemon curd'.
Mock Lemon Curd:
1 lemon
1 teacupful of water
1 teacupful of granulated sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 small knob of butter or marg.
Grate the lemon zest into a saucepan and add the water, sugar and butter. Heat gently and when sugar has dissolved, simmer gently for a few minutes. Mix the cornflour with the juice from the lemon and stir this into the pan. Simmer for a few minutes and then remove from heat and then stir in the beaten egg. Do not reheat to boiling as this will cause the egg to curdle. "This is a nice change from jam".

We are all used to buying our sauces and chutneys from the supermarkets, but maybe worth considering making one or two from time to time. Try these for size:
Home-made Hot Sauce:
1 pint spiced 'pickling' vinegar
2 tblsp plain flour
3 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tblsp black treacle
1 tblsp mustard powder
Mix all together and boil for 20 minutes, then put through a strainer. When cold, bottle and cork. This is very tasty.

This next chutney methinks could end up tasting a bit like Branston Pickle. Those of you who make goodies later in the year to include in 'Christmas Hampers' take note of the last sentence.
Indian Chutney:
3 lbs apples, peeled and quartered
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 pints malt vinegar
2 lbs Barbados sugar
1 lb raisins, chopped if large
8 oz (225g) crystallized ginger, chopped finely
1 tsp chilli powder
1 dessertspoon dry mustard
1 tsp salt
Boil the apples and onions to a pulp in the malt vinegar, the add the rest of the ingredients . Mix well together, and boil for a further half hour, stirring often. Pot into hot, sterilized jars and seal. A little of this chutney, added to stews and hashes before dishing up, is delicious. It also makes a welcome Christmas present if put into small fancy jars.

Any recipe that makes a cake without using eggs is worth knowing about, and the last for today might be able to be cooked in a tin using a slow cooker, or even in a bread machine (are you up for trying it Cheespare?).
Steamed (eggless) Chocolate Cake:
2 cupfuls plain flour
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tblsp sugar
1 1/2 tblsp cocoa
2 oz (50g) fat (butter, marg or lard)
2 tblsp golden syrup
milk or yogurt to mix
Sift together the flour, bicarb and cocoa and stir in the sugar. Rub in the fat and mix in the syrup and enough milk/yogurt to make a stiff batter.
Have ready a well greased cake tin, put in the mixture, cover top with greased paper, then place in a steamer and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. Then remove and place in a warm oven for 10 minutes to dry off the top. Not to be cut until the following day.