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, 27 November 2016

Mince Pie Tasting and Diana's Secret!

The Christmas Bazaar was a resounding success - the hall was packed to the gunnels with people having a good time and showing their support.

I'll write more about the event on my other blog.   This post is simply about the Mince Pie Tasting Competition.

This was a fun, and free, event where mince pies were presented (in tiny anonymous pieces) for the public to taste test and judge. 

The seven bakers who produced the goods, did us proud.       The public took it very seriously as they nibbled and munched their way through the offerings, some coming back for seconds.

Notes were taken, decisions made, then votes were posted in the small wooden post box which has long been a favourite toy of all my grandchildren.    It was perfect for the job.

There was a clear winner.    Diana, a local farmer's wife.   She was shocked and surprised as she had only entered to make up the numbers.

Diana's Secret?   Orange juice!   In place of water, she used orange juice in the pastry.   It worked brilliantly.    The pastry didn't taste of orange, but had a zing which enhanced the filling.    Well worth a try.

She got my vote, too.


  1. Oh makes me feel homesick. I make my own mincemeat sometimes and make mince pies. No-one here but me is crazy about them. I may make a few and give some to an english friend. Orange juice. I'll definitely try that.

  2. Hello Linda, Home made mincemeat is so much nicer than the commercial stuff. I made a big batch and shared it with Poppy - she came second, by the way! The addition of orange juice added some magic to the pastry, much nicer than the addition of grated orange zest. I read a recipe somewhere which called for ice cold vodka to replace the usual water, but that could be going a step too far!

  3. Lady Magnon is in London as I write, buying Suet (amongst other things) for her mincemeat. I should add that her mince pies are fantastic. I'll tell her about the Orange Juice.

  4. Hello Cro, I use coconut oil in my mincemeat, it works wonderfully and keeps it vegan-friendly. Home made mincemeat is definitely the best. Enjoy your mince pies, in due course!