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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.


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Royal Sauce for Plum Pudding & a Kitchen Supper for 60 Persons



Plum Pudding, Christmas Pudding, call it what you will, we never eat it on Christmas Day, we simply don't have the stamina these days.   

There is, of course, the perennial question of what to serve with your Plum Pudding, our preference is for custard, but I know a lot of people prefer brandy butter, cream, or even rum sauce.     Rich and heavy pudding made even richer?  No thank you,  I'll stick to a well made custard sauce, our digestions can cope with that, but each to their own.

One of my old handwritten recipe books gives this recipe, dated December 1862, a note says that it was given by Lady Cagley's Cook.

Royal Sauce for Plum Pudding
Beat a 1/4 lb butter to a cream then add by degrees 3 oz of very fine loaf sugar.  When well beaten add 1 glass of wine and 1 of brandy.   It should be sent up in a boat and should look like thick whipped cream.

Sounds like a version of Brandy butter to me.




The same book gives a recipe for Christmas Puddings - vast quantities of them.

3 lbs flour
10 lbs currants
10 lbs raisins
3 lb bread crumbs (2 loaves)
4 lbs suet
1 oz candied peel   I wonder whether this was supposed to be 1 lb?
2 oz allspice
2 lbs sugar
1 1/2 dozen eggs
Milk to mix
1/2 pint Brandy

Boiled for 9 1/2 hours in basins.

Why such a large quantity?   Well this was a vicarage cook and my did they know how to feed large numbers of people.


Kitchen Christmas Tea and Supper - 60 persons present

Elder Wine
56 lbs Beef cooked for 9 hours - properly done(!)
1 Joint of Cold Pork
15 Puddings
2 Tarts
6 Loaves
3 lbs Butter
Plum Loaves
3 lbs Sugar
1/2 lb Tea
1 Pint Cream


Dining Room Tea - 25 Persons

Portion of above, plus
Cold Tongue
Eggs
Cakes
1 Pint Cream
1 lb Sugar
Bread and Butter

The above quantities were more than sufficient with regard to Meat and Pudding.   Bread, Tea, Sugar and Cream just about right.


The book was written by a cook at a vicarage.  Luckily for me, the name of the parish is mentioned once so, by the magic of internet and sheer curiosity I have  managed to find some photographs of the vicarage in question as it is presently up for sale.   It is a big old place with enormous rooms, Grade II listed.

It gave me quite a thrill to be able to look at photographs of the old kitchen and dining room where the writing, cooking and eating took place, way back in 1848!

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