Cook books are a weakness of mine. Eldest son rolls his eyes and tells me I have too many and I can’t possibly need them all. What does he know? I NEED THEM! As much as I like new shiny ones with lots of pictures, there’s something about the vintage ones. A step back in time, a glimpse of the real day to day lives of ordinary people and a slice of social history that you can recreate and experience for yourself.
In an attempt to prove that I do use all of the books, week by week a book has been pulled out of the hat (yes, I assigned them all a number and category) and that has been the chosen one to provide family meals. Some are more successful than others, some have to be quietly put back on the shelf because of certain fussy eaters. Husband won’t eat fish, small boy won’t eat white sauces, potatoes or eggs, eldest son won’t eat onions, mushrooms and various other vegetables, so finding something to please everyone with minimal bits to pick out can be a trial!
Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share some of the highs and lows from my vintage collection, sometimes you find something really good that you go back to again and again.
Cookery in Colour, edited by Marguerite Patten (who at the time of going to press is still around at the ripe old age of 99) is a collection of recipes from various food councils, marketing boards and bureau’s, first published in 1960, easily recognizable by its bright blue cover. If you grew up any time between 1960-1980 the chances are that your mum or gran had a copy on the shelf. The pictures are mainly in a glorious technicolor so garish, that reading the book for any length of time is apt to give one a headache!
We tried sausage roly-poly and it was great! Served with veg and gravy one day and heated up with some baked beans the next. It felt like good honest nursery food. I adapted the recipe slightly for modern households.
8oz (240g) self raising flour
3.5oz (105g) beef suet
a pack of 6 good quality sausages
a pinch of salt
1 slice of bread, crust removed and whizzed into crumbs
milk for brushing
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over a baking tray.
Mix the flour, suet and salt with enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead briefly then roll out on a floured surface to make a rectangle roughly the size of the baking tray. Brush the upper surface with milk, lift the dough and put it MILK SIDE DOWN onto the crumbs.
Squeeze the filling out of the sausage skins and spread evenly over the dough, Starting at a short end, roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Bake in the oven for 40 mins. If it looks too brown before the end of the cooking time cover with a piece of baking paper.