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.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Village Show

On Sunday our tiny village hall came to life for the Annual Village Show.  After months of meetings and trying to generate some interest, it finally all came together and the tables were filled with fruit, vegetables, cakes, jam, pickles, craft works, photography and fabulous flower displays.

What a relief.

It is one of those quintessentially English events where outwardly calm facades hide those deeply competitive streaks.    Many of the village people have nothing to do with the event, so thank goodness we have some fabulous people who do take the time and trouble to grow, make, bake, jam, pickle and create things for the show.

One year we had the infamous 'Sconegate' incident... involving a judge firmly rooted in WI standards and our fabulous local foodblogger, Dom of belleaukitchen.com, who had baked the most sumptuous and beautiful scones - alas, he had baked them man-sized - and they were therefore demoted because of this.  This led to murmurings of witchcraft and/or skulduggery of some kind and there has never since been a 'Scone' class...

How much poorer our village would be without his wonderful support and participation.

This year it was especially difficult to keep things going because our committee numbers are so depleted.   Fortunately, on the day, several people who had not been able to help with the preparations turned out to help with the general work of selling tickets, filling in forms and helping with the refreshments.  Phew!

The doors were closed at 11am, the judges had arrived and they took their work very seriously indeed.   Jams and pickles were tasted, salad dressings, ditto.  Cakes were cut and nibbled, notes made.  Bread was sawn open and prodded, poked and sampled.  Judgement made, the certificates were filled in and best of category selected.

By 2pm the work of judging had been completed, so had the paperwork, and the doors were opened.  In rushed the crowd to scan for prizes, assess the judging, cakes and tea were consumed and raffle tickets drawn.

It was fun!

Without events like this, which do take a lot of work, but which draw a community together, the village would be a much duller place.     People come together and have fun, they sit and drink tea, chat and wait for the awards and raffle.

They turned out and they participated and the hall was buzzing with conversation and fun.

The tradition of the Village Show has been maintained.


  1. Hello Elaine, I'm glad to hear that your Village Show was a success. The produce and the cakes look first class. Shame about Sconegate! I personally love a big scone!!
    Have a wonderful new week :)

    1. Hello Prunella, I think it is time the Scone Class was reinstated, it should add another little frisson of excitement to the show. At least our show went ahead, I just heard that the local market town had to cancel their show because of disagreement among the committee. Awful for all those people who had been growing things especially for the show, all that frustrated competitiveness!
      I hope your week is filled with happiness and beauty.

  2. Sounds like a great show! look at that cake with the frog and person!!! and the basket of veggies! that is great! Glad to see you back. I hope you are well

    1. Hi Sol, Isn't that cake exceptional! We all thought it was sure to win a first and were shocked to find it placed second. I am glad to say that the woman who made it did win best in Cookery, and well deserved, too.
      It was so much fun, but I am whacked. I won't be doing much housework today as my body is rebelling after all the long hours and stress. The sofa is calling, I can feel a snooze time, probably with Toby curled up behind my knees..zzzzz!

    2. awww a lovely rest. So pleased you are back! I love how you write.