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, 26 June 2016


Earlier in the week, after my baking session, I found that I had a decent chunk of pastry leftover so I decided to rustle up a savoury flan/tart for lunch.    

The choice of a savoury filling was something of an experiment for me, because the potato pastry mixture was slightly sweetened with a little sugar.  (ie leftover from the Apricot, Raspberry and Potato Tart which I posted about previously.)

I hesitated for a moment, but then decided that if I added some sharp cheese to the custard mix, it could work, in the way which fruit cake and cheese work together.   I crossed my fingers.

I used a deep pie dish of about 7 inches  diameter, simply because that was to hand and I had enough pastry to cover it.   I baked it blind for 15 minutes while I prepared the filling.

Two field mushrooms were roughly chopped and sauted in butter, along with a couple of sliced spring onions and some snipped chives.  I set them aside to cool while I made the custard.

There are lots of 'rules' about what proportions of egg, cream and milk to use, what should and what should not be put in, none of which I follow.   I just made the custard in the way which my family like eating it.

I used 3 eggs, approx 12 fl oz of milk, a good handful of grated Wensleydale cheese and a generous pinch of good old English mustard powder.   (Max hates English mustard, so I keep that little secret to myself, but I think it adds a little extra to the taste.)   Just whisk them all together.

Place your sauteed vegetables into the pastry case, pour on the custard, sprinkle with a few more chopped chives  and bake  at 180C for about 40 minutes.

I could hardly wait to try this.   Would the pastry be too sweet and overwhelm the rest of the dish?

However, it turned out to be very flavoursome and the very slightly sweetened potato pastry worked really well with the savoury filling.  

I would definitely make this again, the mix of sharp cheese and ever-so-slightly sweet pastry worked well.


  1. cheese and eggs and mushrooms... oh and pastry... what better thing is there?

    1. Hi Dom, It was devoured in no time! I love easy food like that.

  2. Replies
    1. Hello Linda, Thank you! I must be honest, cooking is not my thing at all but delving into old books, doing little experiments with recipes and writing about it has helped to enliven my tired old repertoire. The hens get to enjoy the failures. ;)

  3. I love your recipes, old and new. This one is yet another I will try.. My cos lettuces always bolt but I don't think I'll make Jamaican ginger. Interesting ready about it though.

  4. I love your recipes, old and new. This one is yet another I will try.. My cos lettuces always bolt but I don't think I'll make Jamaican ginger. Interesting ready about it though.

    1. This one was totally scrumptious, I definitely recommend it. The cos lettuce recipe made me smile. I'm not sure as to how well it would mimic ginger, but I had to admire their willingness to put so much time and effort into it. I do love those old recipe books!


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