To Make Vinegar

This recipe is from page seven of Althea’s book. As with To Preserve Pineapples it is attributed to her aunt, Jane Harrison, who lived at nearby Singleton Park. As such, it is likely to date to around 1868. Jane would have been in her late fifties and was clearly of a generation that had known the necessity of preserving and ‘making your own.’

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Tinned Tomato Soup

This recipe is from Maimie’s book and is dated from March 1896, a year before her marriage. If there is a theme to this post as a whole it is that I consistently underestimate the Victorians and how they lived, ate, travelled and innovated. As with a recent post about pineapples, it came as a surprise to me that tinned food was so readily available at this time. It also came as a surprise to find out that Maimie’s travels were not restricted to jaunts around the Lake District…

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Ginger Bread

This recipe is from pages six to seven of Harriet’s book. This is the third gingerbread recipe I have posted so far (if you include Parkin, which I do). It seems that, if they were united by little else, both Lancastrians and Yorkshire folk did love their gingerbread. I’ll be honest from the start though: it wasn’t nice. It has become a running theme of this blog that Harriet’s recipes do not always please modern tastes. Previously, I’ve speculated that perhaps she was learning to cook from relatives that were used to ‘making do’, as many of them had experienced acute poverty in their lives. Harriet did not have an easy start in life, as this post will sadly expand upon.

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To Preserve Pineapples

I have to admit, that when I set out to recreate Victorian recipes from a Lancashire cook book, tropical fruit were not at the top of my shopping list. But here we are, on page nine of Althea’s book, in 1868, preserving pineapples. Clearly, they were not being grown on the balmy shores of Lake Windermere in Victorian times but I had also assumed that such fruits would be difficult and expensive to obtain. It turns out I was wrong.

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Orange Marmalade

This recipe is from Maimie’s book. Because marmalade is seasonal I skipped several pages to find the recipe. I also tinkered with the quantities somewhat, as I’m the only one who eats marmalade in my house and it looked like it was going to produce industrial quantities! The recipe is neither dated nor attributed to anyone but I estimate it to be from the 1880s. Unlike some of the recipes in this book, which were copied out by her mother, Althea, this recipe is in Maimie’s handwriting.

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Corn Flour Cake

This recipe is from Harriet’s book, on page six. The photograph above, terrible as it is, fully does justice to the dry and inedible quality of this cake. At least, unlike Harriet’s Sponge Cake, this does have some fat in it but it only makes for a marginal improvement in taste and texture.

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Fig Pudding

This recipe is from Althea’s book. This week, I decided to deviate from my usual method of trying, more or less, to stick to the recipes in order. I thought I’d try and find something festive. Surprisingly, given that this book is by far the longest of the three, Christmas recipes were few and far between. Fig Pudding is on page 148 (which perhaps gives you some indication of just how long this book is!)

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Brandy Snaps

The pages in Maimie’s book are not numbered but this recipe features on what would be page five. Intriguingly, a number of pages before this one have been cut out and part of a recipe for ‘Rolls’ on the page opposite has been crossed out. Maimie’s recipe book can only be called slapdash when compared with that of her mother Althea’s, where the pages are numbered, there is an index at the back and the majority of recipes are dated, and even attributed. However, the hand of Althea is never far from this book too, as this recipe is in her handwriting and she has initialled it at the bottom: ‘ANH‘.

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Bachelor’s Pudding

After skipping forward a few pages to reach her Parkin recipe, this post takes us back to page three of Harriet’s recipe book, so it can likely be dated to around 1903. Here we find the first pudding recipe in the book. As ever, Harriet’s instructions are nothing if not concise!

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Simple Rissoles

Today’s recipe is from page three of Althea’s recipe book. It is dated ‘Queen, March 1880′ and so it is likely that Althea copied it from Queen magazine, which had been established by Samuel Beeton (Mrs Beeton’s husband) in 1861. I have to say, it was tempting to skip this one. There is nothing much appealing about rissoles, conjuring up as they do memories of cold, fatty school dinners. Even the name is unappealing. But I had already passed over the recipe for clarifying dripping, so it was time to face my fears.

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Finnan Haddock Squares

This recipe is from page three of Maimie’s book. Although I believe that some of the recipes in this book have been copied out by her mother Althea, this one is in Maimie’s handwriting. I estimate it to be from the late 1880s or early 1890s.

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Parkin

Strictly speaking, it should be the turn of Maimie’s book this week but, given that it’s the first week of November, it seemed only right to make Parkin. Traditionally a Yorkshire delicacy (although Lancashire and other Midlands and Northern counties make a version too), I turned to Harriet’s book and skipped a few pages to find her first Parkin recipe (oh yes, there’s more than one!)

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To Preserve (Bottle) Raspberry

This recipe is on page six of Althea’s recipe book. It is dated 1889, which is some twenty years after the recipes just a couple of pages back. There seems little doubt that Althea wrote up her recipes at a later date, as the times continue to jump about all over the place throughout the book.

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Potato Puffs

This recipe is on page three of Maimie’s recipe book (which also duplicates some of her mother Althea’s recipes). The recipes from this book tend to be undated but I would hazard a guess at the 1880s for this one. Indeed, a search of English newspapers finds a very similar recipe (almost word for word!) first occurring in 1862 and very much peaking in the 1880s.

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Transparent Pudding

This recipe is from Althea’s book. It is not dated but sandwiched between recipes from 1880 and 1889. Confusingly, Althea’s recipes jump about in time, as if she collected them and wrote them up at a later date. I confess that I’ve skipped a couple of recipes on page three; the first because no-one in my household will eat clarified dripping in a million years, and the second because, as is often the case with Althea’s recipes, it demands more thought, preparation and purchasing than appears at first glance! That one will follow in due course.

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Sponge Cake

Anyone who has been reading this blog so far will know that Harriet’s recipes are known for their brevity and this one doesn’t disappoint. Crammed on to the bottom of a page, it’s little more than a list of ingredients, although it is pleasingly splattered and singed, as if it’s been consulted many times.

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To Cook Pike or other white fish

At last, a savoury dish appears in the recipe books! (What a shame that my photography skills can’t do it justice…) This recipe is on the second page of Maimie’s book so, as ever, is difficult to date. The mid-1880s would be my best guess. Maimie is in her late teens or early twenties. Two of her younger brothers, Charles and James, are off at boarding school, leaving Maimie with her siblings Ethel and Edmund.

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Store Barm or Yeast

When I first looked through the recipe books, with starting a blog in mind, I thought that I would be making a lot of cakes and puddings. Certainly, the recipes from Harriet’s books have so far backed up this notion. However, Althea’s book in particular is proving to throw up some rather more fascinating and challenging recipes; first we had North Country Curds and then, turning to the next page, I found ‘Store Barm or Yeast.’ My first thought was ‘What on earth is this?’ and, on reading through the recipe, I was none the wiser. What was she making?

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North Country Curds

This is the first hand-written recipe in Althea’s book. It is dated to 1866 and credited to ‘M.N.’ in Liverpool. I presume that this is Mary Newton, Althea’s sister-in-law, as Althea and her husband appeared to spend the first few months of their marriage living with the Newtons in Catharine Street, Liverpool.

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