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.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A Simple Meal

Last night I began making a loaf of bread; I followed an old favourite recipe in my Dan Lepard 'Short and Sweet' book.   It was a very simple white loaf which required me to make a sponge starter and leave it in the fridge, overnight.

I woke up and knew that I wanted to change horses half-way through, I wanted to bake it using the Jim Lahey method, baking it in a cast iron pot in a very hot oven.   I've only done that once before and the result was a crusty and wonderful loaf.

I dithered and dathered, but in the end I decided that I was being ridiculous, if it didn't work it wouldn't be the end of the world, I would just have to get a loaf out of the freezer instead.

I baked it covered, for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 15 minutes.   The result was a very pleasing loaf with a very crisp crust and full of flavour.

We had a slice as soon as it was cool enough, but I had plans for the rest.  Toast!   Nothing beats toast made from real bread.   The better the bread, the better the toast.

Our six hens have been laying well, so that was teatime sorted.

Boiled eggs and soldiers.  Simple and delicious.  

Nursery food perhaps, but sometimes that is all that you need.


  1. How did you make the starter? Did it replace the yeast?

    1. Hello Cro, The starter was just flour 175g, water and a teaspoonful of fast action yeast. It was mixed, then covered and left in the fridge overnight, or you could mix it in the morning and use it in the evening when you would rub 1oz butter into a second 175 g flour and a little salt, mix all together and leave to rise, etc. etc.

      I do have a recipe for potato yeast (wouldn't you just know it) in one of my old books. I must try it some time!