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, 25 March 2017

Another Primrose Pudding Recipe

This recipe is taken from Florence White's "Flowers as Food"  Receipts and Lore from Many Sources which was published in 1934.

After the previous experiment in Primrose Pudding I really wanted to find another recipe for primroses, hopefully something which I would want to eat,  so I turned to Florence as she is normally quite reliable.  

She wrote "My own small collection of 'receipts' was begun as a literary hobby which proved full of unexpected interests."   

There is a recipe for Prymerose Potage, dating from the 15th century - I wanted to try that but, unfortunately, I didn't have the rice flour or saffron, though I could have supplied the honey, almonds and primroses, along with powdered ginger.

I didn't want to pick a peck of primroses to make several gallons of Primrose Vinegar, either.

So it had to be Primrose Pudding, again.        I reduced the quantity of ingredients down to a manageable level, so I divided everything by four until I came up with this:

Primrose Pudding

Dry cherries (I used crystalised strawberries as I had them in the cupboard)
Pistachios - didn't have any of these
Fine white breadcrumbs 2oz
Castor sugar 1 teaspoonful
Suet - 1oz
Boiling Milk 2 fluid ounces
Egg x 1
Primrose petals 1/2 cup

Butter a mould well and decorate it with the cherries, almonds and pistachios.  
Wash your primroses.

Nip off the white at the base of the primrose petals.
Put the breadcrumbs into a basin, stir in the sugar and pour the boiling milk over the mixture.
Stir in the suet and the primrose petals.
Whisk up the egg to a very light froth and whisk it into the mixture a little at a time, so that the pudding may be light.
Pour the mixture into the mould so as not to disturb the decorations.  Cover with buttered paper and steam for one hour and a quarter.
Serve with champagne or some other wine sauce - I'm afraid I only had some left-over custard to hand, so custard had to do.

The taste test:   It is a steamed suet pudding, not very sweet, a little stodgy.   Much more palatable than the previous recipe, but not really suited for the way we eat today.   I don't think that even the addition of champagne/wine sauce would have improved it a great deal.

The primroses are better left in the garden, they brought absolutely nothing to the party whatsoever.   Perhaps old-fashioned primroses had more flavour!

This definitely concludes my experiments with primroses.

Time to do some work with the wild garlic.   Owl Wood is full of it and it shouldn't be too long before the flowers begin to appear - they are beautiful, but they do herald the end of the season.   I need to make the most of them before that happens.

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