19th Century

  1. Soda Cake (1835) MS4645, Wellcome Library Soda Cake - This was a spur-of-the-moment bake this week, and in just over 1 hour after reading the recipe, I was taking this picture. Not as fast as scones, admittedly, but made from store-cupboard ingredients and comes together in mere minutes. I found the recipe in a manuscript recipe book from The Wellcome Library, an impressively long-lived […]
  2. Malt Scones Malt Scones - My current lack of oven (for those interested the ETA is currently mid-February) has prompted me to delve into my small but eminently interesting collection of Victorian and Edwardian commercial bakery books in search of something to ‘bake’. Back in the day, there were numerous recipes that could be baked on a griddle, a far […]
  3. Staffordshire Oatcakes - Staffordshire Oatcakes are, quite possibly, the best regional speciality you’ve never heard of. In fact, that is much more of a generalisation than you may realise, because they’re specifically regional to North Staffordshire, centering on the area around Stoke-on-Trent. It’s historic origins are mixed, with some anecdotes suggesting they originated from soldiers returning from India […]
  4. Venison and Potato Pie Venison Pie - This is a great Deja Food way to transform the cooked venison from a joint into another meal. Since the filling has already been cooked, there is little shrinkage during baking, thus making it a fabulously sturdy picnic pie once cold. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, remember to serve with redcurrant jelly. Venison […]
  5. Christmas Pie Christmas Pie - Charles Elmé Francatelli, 1863 This is a version of the traditional raised pie that graced the sideboards of many a rich household going back centuries. With much time being devoted to celebrating the festive season, the amount of time spent waiting on the kitchen could be drastically reduced with a sideboard groaning under selection of […]
  6. Potted Shrimp Potted Prawn, Shrimp or Crayfish - This recipe was chosen for it’s multi-purposeness , because you can use this method for any of the above-mentioned seafood, or perhaps even a mixture of two or three. Potting used to be a means of preserving, the clarified butter being used to make the contents impervious to air-borne microbes, etc. Properly potted food could […]
  7. Fruit Charlotte Fruit Charlotte - This is a deliciously simple, autumnal dessert that, although it can be assembled from very few, ordinary ingredients, ends up tasting so much better than the sum of its parts – the crisp, golden outside, hot and sharp insides and cool cream or hot, rich custard make this a dish of delicious contrasts. It is […]
  8. Shrewsbury Pudding Tart Shrewsbury Pudding Tart - Georgiana Hill, 1862 Here is something a little different for the adventurous, an unusual dessert in the form of a gloriously vibrant beetroot tart: given an official Thumb’s Up™ by my daughter. I’ve tweaked this recipe slightly and baked it in a pastry case, for ease of serving. The original method was for a buttered-and-breadcrumbed […]
  9. Bara Briths, 1930s Bara Brith - This week it’s the classic Welsh speckled bread Bara Brith. Nowadays, this is usually made using baking powder as the leavener, but personally I prefer the more traditional yeast. And bonus! There’s two recipes for you to choose from! When looking at an old recipe, I usually study the range of recipes available and select […]
  10. Muffins, 1826 Fresh Yeast Muffins - Some of you might know that there’s already a muffin recipe on the blog. Nevertheless, I decided to revisit muffins in part because it is now ridiculously easy to get hold of fresh yeast, but also because a lot of muffin recipes and videos Out There™ are just plain wrong when it comes to the […]
  11. Dundee Cake Dundee Cake - This recipe is fabulous – and this recommendation is coming from an until-recently Dundee-Cake-Disliker. The crust is crisp but delicately thin, the insides delicately moist and buttery, rich with the sweetness of sultanas and the tang of candied orange peel. The modern Dundee Cake has an iconic appearance: the carefully laid-out pattern of whole, blanched […]
  12. Whitsun Cake Whitsun Cake - Wotchers! Time was, we used to mark the passing of the year with festivals and their associated foods. The list of celebrations that have continued into the 21st century is a lot shorter than it used to be: pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, Simnel Cake on Mothering Sunday, Cross Buns on Good Friday are about all […]
  13. Radnor Cranberry Tart Radnor Cranberry Tart - If you have an extended social life in the run-up to Christmas, and sample nothing but mince pies throughout December, by the time you get to the 25th, what with the Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding, you can be all mince-pied out. Also, sometimes you find yourself fancying something a little savoury at the end […]
  14. Mince Pies Royale from 1845 Mince Pies Royale - Here is a great recipe for stretching a small amount of mincemeat into 30+ rich and delicious seasonable bites. It is adapted from a recipe by Eliza Acton, and I’ve taken the opportunity to pair it with another of her recipes which she refers to as “Superlative Mincemeat”. Taking as an example my adaptation of […]
  15. Sheets and Blankets - This is an unusual and wonderfully quirky recipe. I’ve adapted it from a description found in John White’s “A Treatise on the Art of Baking” from 1828, free copy available here. It is made from a mixture of both wheat and rye doughs, but instead of the more usual marbling effect, the doughs are laid […]
  16. Apple Bread Apple Bread - This recipe was copied from the Ipswich Journal into the manuscript book from a Norfolk household in the early 19th century. The manuscript was eventually purchased by the Wellcome Library and its contents digitised and made available online, which is where I discovered it. It was the simplicity of the recipe that appealed – just […]
  17. Coconut Gingerbread Cakes Coconut Gingerbread Cakes - Gingerbread is such a classic teatime treat – and I’m a huge fan of classics – it’s just that I don’t usually feel very inspired when I hear the word ‘gingerbread’. I think of a treacle-dark cake, rich, sticky and aromatic with ginger – sounds delicious, no? – but the main thing that springs to […]