Mrs Beeton’s Adventure – Strawberry Drops

After a break from our regularly scheduled programme, I am back again with another adventure into the great Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. 😄

As a celebration for retaining our sanity through a very loooooooooong lockdown, I thought it was time for a special treat! I think we all deserve one, so here goes….

I guide you to the very sweet section of ‘Confectionery and Ices’ of this lovely old cookbook and very summery sounding (and smelling, it turns out) Sweet drop. Now this recipe is called Strawberry drops but the caption says that you could use any fruit you desire. Let your imagination run wild people!

I decided to stick to the original plan and make these with my family’s favourite summer fruit – Strawberries. 🍓

The recipe ingredients are pretty concise and you will only need 1/2lb of finely powdered sugar (icing sugar), 1/2 pint of the juice of your chosen fruit (pulp) and 2 egg whites. Should be a super quick treat right? Sounds perfect!

I started by whizzing my fresh strawbs in the food processor and straining then again through a sieve so that I had a smooth as silk ‘juice’. Then all you need to do is whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold the three ingredients together. If you are no stranger to cooking you may be taking a look at your mixture right now and thinking it’s pretty much like a flavoured meringue, right?!

It pretty much is, and the smell of the fresh fruit is divine! You may want to make these in all different flavours just to have this smell in your house 24/7. 😄

So I got my lovely piping bag out and fitted it with a pretty nozzle and spooned the mixture into my bag ready to pipe some teeny drops onto my baking tray. Making sure I had lined multiple baking trays with paper (cause it makes heeaps!) I went ahead and piped them out.

Now the recipe only says to ‘bake in a very cool oven’, so I needed to call on my previous meringue knowledge for this one. I set my oven to 120 degrees Celsius and baked them for around an hour, It ended up a very long dance party time today as it made 4 trays of mini ‘drops’

All that was left now was to plate up a dainty plate of drops and ration myself to a few at a time. 😄 These are great for decorating cakes and desserts and the natural fruit flavour is better than a processed sweet any day. Don’t be scared to try making homemade sweets and candies, they will be so much better for you than the store bought kind.

In my YouTube video I include an excerpt from Mrs Beeton encouraging you to do just this. 😁

I hope you enjoyed this quick bake, let me know below if you would like to read about more sweets from this cookbook. Check out my YouTube video below for a follow along tutorial.

Hope to see you back again with my next instalment. 💕

2021-11-10T08:55:03+13:006 October 2021|Bakes, History, Mrs Beeton's Cookbook|0 Comments

A different kind of vintage bake 💕

Hi all you lovely people, and welcome to my baking blog for those of you who are new 🙂

Having recently celebrated my *cough* (we won’t say exactly what number) birthday and getting the most exciting present of a stack of rather lovely vintage cookbooks, I decided to change tack for this blog post and segue into the 60’s.

The beautiful area of Devonport here in good old NZ is home to an extensively stocked 2ndhand/vintage bookshop called, funnily enough, Book-Mark. ❤️ They always come up trumps when we visit looking for goodies and this time was no exception! Among the stack my parents bought me was a cookbook which they recognised as one my Scottish grandmother had cooked from (hopefully she will get to read this). The Kenwood recipe book is the title and this one hails from 1960. I thought this was pretty darn cool and as I have a Kenwood mixer just like my Gran did, I thought it would be perfect to give the recipes a try.

I wanted something to impress the fam and this cookbook didn’t disappoint…with the rather grand title of (putting on a perfect French accent, not 😂) “Genoise” Gateau à la Vanille, I felt this bake was perfect! There is even a byline telling the reader that this recipe was published by kind permission of Mr Trompeto, of the Grosvenor Hotel in London. How posh is that!

Scanning through I saw that even though the recipe was two-thirds of the page instruction wise, it doesn’t contain too many ingredients. You will need eggs, castor sugar, flour, butter, milk and water. The recipe is divided into two sections, the cake and the icing, and it pays to read through before starting. There is a variation note which suggests you could make this up as one Gateau or multiple petite fours, I thought why not grease and flour a few more pans and go for the smaller cakes. If you’re going to put in the work why not go the whole hog. 😁

For both parts of this recipe, you are required to warm the bowl, so I went for the old fashioned way and filled it with warm water and let it sit for a bit before drying clean again to start.

The eggs and first measure of castor sugar go into the bowl and are vigorously beaten for a good 8-10 minutes, which is where a standing mixer is fantastic if you would like to keep the feeling in your arms. 😁 It ends up looking like a fluffy vanilla cloud in the bowl..very satisfying.

The next step is a very careful folding in of the flour and the first measure of butter (melted, but not hot). Pour this mixture into your tin or tins and into the oven it goes at a moderate 375F (190C). For……minutes, it doesn’t actually say here but my little cakes took 20 minutes cosily all in together.
And voila your cake part is done. 👏

Onwards and upwards to the icing and your warmed bowl. Now, this states that you need to attach the ‘Juice extractor & Oil dropper’ to your mixer, which is a pretty cool looking attachment. Sadly I did not own this myself so I Macgyvered it and stood slowly squeezing a dropper bottle into my mixing bowl. Tedious but not very taxing on the body. 😁 The Kenwood mixer, with attachment, shown below.

The second amount of softened butter gets popped into the mixer with the second lot of castor sugar and while mixing you need to drip in the combined water and milk into the bowl slowly, taking about 5 minutes in total. Don’t forget to flavour with your vanilla essence and you should get a mixture that looks pretty similar to a mock cream.

Then the fun part…we get to ice and decorate! Woop!

Cutting the cakes in half I sandwiched the two layers together with my icing and then spread the rest thinly around each cake (Top and sides). I like to pipe so added a few fancy do-dad’s to the top of each cake and some cute sprinkles. The recipe suggests toasted almonds, and chocolate powder added to the centre icing to pipe, but it’s really up to you to go where the creative juices take you. ❤️

Here is one of my finished creations….

I hope you have fun with this bake and if you are looking for a detailed ingredient list, please check out my YouTube video at Sweet Sensations NZ. I really look forward to hearing from you and seeing you back here soon. ❤️

YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/tdLSkLtBZWY

 

2021-11-10T08:55:03+13:0012 August 2021|Advice|0 Comments

Mrs Beeton’s Adventure – Common Cake

It was an easy decision to go with another bake again this time, as I loved the last recipe. So turning to the “Breads, Buns, Cakes” section I scanned through and found one that caught my eye…Common Cake 😃

Although this combination of spices does not make a ‘common cake‘ in today’s times, it was common for these to be used back when this cookbook was created “1906” when their bakes may have been done in a range something like this advertisement (featuring in the front of #MrsBeetons cookbook).

Caraway gives this bread a slightly anise or liquorice flavour and was a sought after flavour in British baking, dating back from the 1700s and through Victorian times.

Now that our mini history lesson is complete let’s get back to our recipe bake, shall we? 😃

The Common cake includes a note in its title mentioning that this bake is ‘suitable for sending to Children at school’, of which I have plenty, so it seemed right up my alley. 🤣 Here are the ingredients laid out on my benchtop ready to go.

We have flour, butter (or clarified dripping), caraway seeds, allspice, pounded sugar, currants, milk and yeast.

Now the recipe starts off like a scone mixture and quickly segue into a bread. After rubbing the butter into the flour with a little cheat I learned at High School cooking class (grating it in makes it easier to rub in smaller amounts – you’re welcome if you didn’t already have that titbit stored. 😉) Alternatively you can use one of these nifty little pastry blender thingmys.. (or your good old hands)

I warmed the milk in my super quick non-vintage Microwave and stirred in the yeast. It didn’t mention leaving the yeast to froth for 10 minutes but I did it anyway, as with other breads I’ve made in the past.

I then added the milk into the flour with the other dry ingredients and mixed to a dough with the dough hook on my Kenwood mixer (saving my tired arms, lol). Add in the currants and mix some more until it was nice and shiny.

I had to divide this into around a third (one larger tin) and then the remaining 2/3 I cut into 4 smaller ‘buns’ for my cute little #JamieOliver springform tins.
She says to line the cakes ‘with strips of buttered paper about 6 inches higher than the top of the tin’ and I then put the separated dough balls into the 5 tins.

Now we play the waiting game as I waited for them to rise for ‘more than an hour’ (dance party time 🥳).

The instructions for baking once again don’t give any specific temperature but do say I needed a ‘well-heated oven’ and ‘1 1/2 to 2 hours baking’ time.

I put mine onto good 180 degrees celsius again just to be on the safe side with my oven.

The smell filling the room was gorgeous and they rose a bit, maybe 6 inches brown paper lining was a bit of an overkill, but they rose above the tin edges nonetheless.

The resulting breads were pretty impressive and reminded me of panettone in looks. Those lovers of caraway had a wee taste of my mini buns and I had rave reviews.

Mrs Beeton mentions that the time taken to make the common cake is 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours. The average cost being 1s. 4d. and is sufficient to make 2 moderate-sized cakes.

I hope you enjoyed this bake as much as I did and remember there will be a YouTube video to watch at:

Thank you so much for coming back again to my blog and welcome to any new readers! Hope to see you here next time😁 Cheerio!

2021-11-10T08:55:03+13:0026 June 2021|Cakes, History, Mrs Beeton's Cookbook|0 Comments

Mrs Beeton’s Adventure – Folkestone Pudding Pies

I hope everyone is ready for an afternoon tea treat with this recipe, as my next adventure was in the ‘Pastry and Puddings’ section of my Mrs Beeton’s cookbook.

As you will know I love to bake, so this one was pretty exciting for me. I searched for a recipe which had an ‘olde worldly‘ feel to it and after poring through the recipe goodies I decided on ‘Folkestone Pudding Pies’. I know what you’re thinking – that sounds interesting!
I’ll keep you in suspense no longer, here we go…

The ingredients I gathered on my bench were; milk, ground rice (rice flour), butter, sugar (white), 6 eggs, puff-paste (puff pastry sheets – to save time), currants and my chosen flavouring. The recipe suggests lemon peel or bay leaves, you can use whichever one takes your fancy. 🙂

The most exciting part was having it all in pounds and ounces so that I got to use my very cool op shop buy of my brown retro salter scales. Groovy baby! 😄

The flavouring is used to infuse your pint of milk with and needs to sit in the milk for at least a half an hour, minimum, for this to happen, then we take these out of the milk and add the rice flour (3oz).

I then ‘set it on the fire’ (which is really just my stovetop, but the fire sounds so much cooler) for 1/4 hour. I had to really watch it and stir the whole time in order to not end up with a gluggy, lumpy mess.

You are really just making a super light custard by using the rice flour, and as an added bonus it is gluten-free if you have anyone in the household who is also gluten-free.

After my 15 minutes was up I took it off the heat and added my 3oz butter (chopped for easy melting), 1/4 lb sugar and my eggs (these need to be beaten well before adding). This mixture has to be left to cool, so again the need for a dance party for one while I was waiting. 😄 You could totally put it in your fridge to help speed up the process if you’re pushed for time or don’t feel like dancing.

I used a standard-sized ‘patty-pan’ tray to make my pudding pies in, but you could use any size you wanted, Go muffin size for a good-sized dessert or mini for some delicious bite-sized ones. I chose a circular cutter to cut out the bases for my pies and greased and floured the tray before placing the pastry in them. This was just to make sure that I could get them out easily without any brute strength involved.

Greasing and flouring creates a non-stick base if you don’t have any baking paper or the time to cut it out.

Each circle was placed in each patty mould and these were filled up to the top of the pastry with the cooled custard. I went wild sprinkling currants onto each one (cause I love them), and then put them on to bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. The recipe just states that the need to be cooked in ‘a moderate oven’, so I used my baking experience to determine how hot my oven needed to be.

Now I managed to fill 3 dozen patty pans with my mixture, as I chose the standard size, but this would change depending on the size of your trays. She does say ‘sufficient to fill a dozen patty pans’, so I’m thinking she went for the larger size. Back then, Mrs Beeton let us know, the average cost was 1s 6d.

Now I’m kind of glad that it made so many as they didn’t last long in my house, everyone that tried them loved them. I likened them to the flavour of a very light bread and butter pudding and would love to know if you try them too!


Every baking day is a happy day!

Don’t forget to subscribe for further updates everyone ❤️


Video link on You Tube for this bake at:

#vintagecooking, #vintagecookbook, #mrsbeeton, #cookingblog, #bakingblog, #vintagebaking, #retrobake, #retrobaking,

2021-11-10T09:03:50+13:0031 May 2021|Bakes, Cakes, History, Mrs Beeton's Cookbook|0 Comments

The Great Mrs Beetons Adventure

Anyone who knows me will know that I LOVE lists and coming up with new projects that I can sink my teeth into, so I thought why not combine these two with my love of baking and cooking! (Something that may come up to bite me in the butt a little later on but why not follow our passions).

I have a few lovely old books and this treasured one below is one of my favourites.

…so why not go through and try to recreate the recipes in it in my own kitchen.

Now given that this book has the grand old publishing date inside its pages of 1906 this may not be as straightforward as simply following a recipe and should throw up a few ‘translation problems’ as well as difficulty trying to source the same ingredients that were used 115 years ago. Despite all that I’m up for the challenge!

So if you are a fan of vintage cookery books, the great Mrs Beeton, or just need some light relief reading about someone else’s kitchen (mis)adventures, come along with me on my journey through a wonderful well known old book. You might find inspiration along the way!

2021-11-10T08:55:03+13:0023 March 2021|History, Mrs Beeton's Cookbook|0 Comments
Go to Top