This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Quick Cottage Loaves

We usually have a snack lunch, a sandwich, yogurt and fruit.   This morning I realised that I had forgotten to get a loaf out of the freezer.    No problem!     In fact it was the perfect excuse to try out a recipe which caught my eye a couple of weeks ago.

Baking Powder Rolls

1 lb flour
1 flat teaspoonful of salt
2 teaspoonfuls baking-powder
1 and a half gills of milk and water*

*  Eeeeek!  Way back in the dark ages, I remember learning about gills, think, brain, think...it turns out that a gill is 5 fluid ounces (of course) or approx 150 ml so I made it 225 mls for this recipe.

Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder, mix well together.   Add milk and water, mix to a soft consistency.    I found that I had to add almost another gill of milk and water to achieve what felt like a good dough.

Lightly knead for a few minutes, divide the dough into six portions and make six small cottage loaves bake in a quick oven.   I made a rather poor job of shaping the loaves, but hey-ho.

I had let the Rayburn get to the low end of roast - I suppose that is probably the equivalent of about 220 C.

They took about 25 minutes to bake, but that will vary according to your oven.

I lost 3 cottage loaves because I tripped over a little cat, Millie, as I was turning from the stove.   She didn't budge, even as small cottage loaves were raining down from on high.   She simply sat there looking at me as though I were to blame.

Of course I said "There, there, little cat.   Are you alright?".

The wild birds and the hens received their unexpected bounty with delight.    Mr Pheasant is getting stuck in there, too.  At least they didn't go to waste.

Back to the rolls, though.   The texture is definitely somewhere between scone and, perhaps, soda bread.   Very nice.  We had a slice of strong cheddar and some pickle in ours, but I'm sure they would be delicious with most things.

Considering that they are almost as quick and easy to make as scones, I would definitely make them again.

Thank you to whichever Victorian cook wrote down that particular recipe.

ps  I have already made a second batch of the cottage loaves - how can flour and water turn into something so good?   These are set to become something of a favourite in our household.

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