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.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dinner at Uffington House, November 1883

This morning was taken up with boring, but essential, shopping.  A quick snack for lunch and then we spent a couple of hours working on the hen prison,

We decided that as they still have at least three more weeks of  enforced confinement we would add some extra roofing to their compound to try to improve things for them.    Poor hens, they are used to roaming around the Owl Wood with occasional forays into our gardens. 

Their compound is large enough but because the soil around here is heavy clay, with poor drainage, it soon becomes something akin to how I imagine the terrible conditions of the Somme.

We have done our best, I hope they will be a little happier and a lot less muddy.

Chores done, I managed to sneak in a tea break, time to indulge in reading one of my old recipe books, the large black one.  

The page I opened it up at today, contained a gold edged card.

It is headed "Uffington House"
"Diner du 8 Novembre 1883"

Potage aux profiteroles
Merlans Guilles  tartare"
Riz de veau en cassis
Quenelles de Volaille fareau
Gigot de Sept heures
Celeris a la Creme
Perdreaux rotis
Gateaux Gunois a la Creme
Oeufs en Sardines
Glace aux Ratafias

They certainly didn't stint themselves.   The kitchens must have been busy that night.

Uffington House, which was in Lincolnshire,  was designed in 1675.   Building work started in 1681 and was completed in 1688.

Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1904, with only the Ballroom, Orangery and outbuildings surviving.   These were eventually demolished in 1978 so that the materials could be used to repair the estate walls.

So once again my lovely old book has thrown up an interesting little thing for me to ponder.   

I must dig and delve a little more.  Perhaps one day I'll find out a little more about the woman who gathered the recipes, perhaps not.  Somehow it doesn't really matter.  I have her book and I get great pleasure from reading it and preserving it, sharing it with blogging friends.


  1. I like the sound of Gigot de Sept Heures; I imagine the seven hours was cooking time. Slow, long, cooked Lamb is wonderful. I would have eaten just that.

  2. Hello Cro, Yes, no recipes for these dishes, but I think you are right about the cooking time. I'd settle for the celery.