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Sunday, 1 July 2012

IVY AND ME


Good Morning to you,

Today I want to share with you  Ivy's  cookery book. I think I have mentioned before that she was an award winning home baker and look what I found..... this beautiful photograph.

The cups and certificates were awarded to Ivy by The Women's Own Magazine.  I searched for a date, but unfortunately I have not been able to find one.



 My first cookery book was bought in 1970 and I proudly displayed it on my kitchen shelf. Since then  my collection of cookery books have grown and grown and my book shelves are groaning from the weight. Each time we move I take a few to  the Charity Shop and if I'm honest, I really don't want them to leave my bookshelves to find another home, as they are a history of my culinary experiences, but I console myself with the fact that whoever buys my cookery books, will enjoy them as much as I did.

 I am one of those people who love reading cookery books.  I feel it is wonderful that, with the turn of a page, I am able to learn about food from different countries and to integrate the ingredients into creating recipes for my family and friends to enjoy.

The other day I was reading my  first cookery book and it got me thinking about Ivy, my grandmother.  I wondered what sort of ingredients were available to her as a young wife, although I was never able to ask Ivy, I have formed an idea of the ingredients available, by looking at the recipes in Ivy's cookery book. 

Ivy passed away when I was 16 years old, but my memories of her are still very strong as she influenced me so very much.

BREAD, BUTTER AND JAM !



When I was 6 years old, our family were visiting Ivy and Gramps and I remember having a conversation with her about bread and jam.  I loved thickly cut bread, spread with butter and then smothered in home made jam, which Ivy made.  Ivy cut the bread for me and allowed me to spread the butter and jam.  Witnessing me making this messy sandwich, she said in a kind voice, "Do you know, when I was a little girl, my mother would ask which sandwich I would like.  I could choose  bread and jam or bread and butter."  She said that her mother couldn't afford for Ivy to have both, so Ivy always chose bread and butter, because the thought of bread and jam really didn't appeal to her, she preferred the taste of the creamy butter.  As a little girl, I thought this was very odd, as Ivy had plenty of bread, butter and jam..... well it  seemed  that way to me, so why didn't her mother have the same.  Even though Ivy explained to me why her mother could not allow her to have both, I still wondered, why would you have to make a choice of one or the other when both the butter and jam married beautifully on a slice of bread.  Of course I was very young, as Ivy was, when she had to make her choice of sandwiches.  I was very lucky that I could choose both.  Ivy was talking about being a little girl in the early 1900's when times were very different.

Guess what I did.......I ate the bread, butter and homemade jam and loved it!

 IVY'S COOKERY BOOK

When Ivy passed away in 1968, I wrote to ask Gramps if I could have one of Ivy's cookery books to keep as a memory of her.  Gramps replied, telling me that he had searched for Ivy's cookery books but could only find one, plus a few hand written recipes given to Ivy by her friends from the Church and a recipe leaflet which came free with purchases of Frenlite Flour.  He said most of Ivy's recipes were in her head.  I was so surprised as she cooked and baked so much, but obviously because she did, her recipes were memorised. I was very grateful that there was at least one cookery book to remember her by.......

and here it is.....as you can see the cookery book has a very plain cover, but it has been a well used and well loved cookery book.



In comparison, my cookery books are like "peacocks", they have beautiful coloured jackets and are full of the most gorgeous photographs, enticing me to recreate the recipes inside.  We have vast amounts of ingredients available to us today.    Ivy and Phyllis did not have the range that we now call "everyday " ingredients available to them.  Ivy's recipes are quite short and with very few ingredients and the Method suggests that the cookery book was for women who were experienced cooks.

There are four photographs in the book and here is the one which shows cakes and biscuits.  I want to show you the four full plate colour photographs so you can see how our cookery books have changed. Do you know out of 295 pages of recipes and information these are the only four photographs.


"FANCIES"



"Fancies"  don't you just love that name for a collection of small cakes.  Can you see the little cake on the left hand side between the two chocolate cakes?  Those beautiful little cakes are called Butterfly Cakes.  I can't remember how many of these I made when our girls were small....over the years I would say hundreds!  Both the girls loved them, filled with butter cream and jam (double cream and strawberries or raspberries in later years!)  When both the girls were small, they loved to help me make them and could not wait for the cakes to be taken from the oven. The minute they were put on a tray to cool, the question asked was "Can we start decorating them" and the answer was always "Girls, you'll have to wait for them to cool".  The question was asked over and over again until the cakes had cooled! I tried the diversion tactic, but it never worked!

The Brandy Snaps are still eaten and enjoyed today.... the meringue is still a favourite in our house, although we love blueberries, raspberries and strawberries on top whilst Ivy used strawberry jam and apricot jam.

The biscuits look quite beautiful and the detail on each has been created with a lot of patience and then there's one of our favourites .... Dundee Cake with lots of mixed dried fruit. This I tend to make in the winter.

So although this is an old cookery book, these cakes are continuing to live on, albeit in a slightly different form.


THE EXOTIC INGREDIENTS
(as worded in the cookery book)

HOR D'EUVRES

Sardines, Anchovy Eggs, Potato Salad, Olives on ice,
Beetroot and Onion, Mixed Vegetables,
Tomatoes stuffed with vegetables




ANCHOVIES.  "These are preserved in brine and therefore require well washing (yes it did say well washing) to remove the brine.  Rub with a cloth to remove scales, then fillet and trim at ends and sides.  Place in a dish and pour a little salad oil over them."

Wow..... all I do is open a tin, drain the oil and use.

SARDINES. "May be served in the tin, if freshly opened. " Was this a new style of serving idea.... knowing Ivy I really don't think she would have succumbed to this style, as her table was always beautifully laid, with gorgeous tablecloths which she embroidered and lovely tableware.  I think she would have dismissed this as a "new fangled idea" to be ignored as a passing fad!

I was so surprised to see,

STUFFED OLIVES.  "Stone the olives.  Beat the butter to a cream and flavour with the anchovy essence or paste.  Fill the olives with some of this mixture, and spread the remainder on biscuits.  Place an olive on each biscuit.  Decorate with chopped gherkins, capers and aspic jelly."

By today's standards this would be a very salty dish.


BELGIAN STEW AND PORK CHOPS

I don't know how authentic this stew was, perhaps someone
in Belgium can tell me.




The pork chops in the background are a separate item to the Belgian Stew.  This stew does include one pork chop, cut into small pieces (and this was for a family) or 2 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces. This recipe includes peas. If Ivy used dried peas she would  have soaked them overnight, but if fresh green peas were in season, then they would have come from Gramps allotment.  No easy frozen peas for Ivy I'm afraid.  Can you guess what the stew has been put into, I bet you can't..... do you know it's mashed potato, which has been layered thickly  in the bottom of a cake tin and then  more mash potato around the sides of the cake tin. It is then baked to create this crispy crust, which looks like pie crust.

These are very simple ingredients, but used in a creative way.


ROAST CHICKEN

.



Roast chicken is still cooked today and is a staple of the English Sunday Roast.  The chicken was stuffed with sage and onion stuffing, which was made by slicing onions, adding 1 teaspoonful of crushed sage and 1/4 lb of breadcrumbs, plus salt and pepper.

I love the description of cooking this roast dinner:

"The whole dinner is placed in the hot oven, is cooked without any attention, and is withdrawn at the end of the specified time, ready for serving, with the exception of the sweet or savoury, which may be left in the oven with the Regulo setting lowered to finish cooking or to keep hot as necessary."

I love a Sunday Roast Dinner, but my experience is that it is not the relaxed cooking experience the description describes.....or maybe it's my organisational skills for this meal which is the problem!

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Ivy's Cookery Book.  For myself it has made me realise how different it was for Ivy to prepare a meal.  She had to carefully plan her meals and be creative with the food available to her.....and without a doubt she succeeded.

Just a thought:  I had mentioned last week that I would share with you all three cookery books, but to do each one justice, I felt each book should be discussed on different occasions.  So you have Phyllis and My cookery books to look forward to.

NEXT WEEK

...... and now for something completely different.  I am going to share with you my version of houmous or hummus as I believe it is known in America.  This is especially for ELIZABETH who is living with her husband in Chennai, India.  When we visited our eldest daughter I had promised to show Elizabeth how to make houmous, but time ran out (as it does) and I didn't manage to show her.  Now I know Elizabeth has a new "hand whizzer" ready and waiting, so Elizabeth, get your new "hand whizzer" out of the drawer, get your bowls ready and I will show you how to make houmous. JUST A THOUGHT,  on Saturday evening weigh 200g (7oz) of dried chickpeas,  place in a large bowl and fill the bowl 2/3rds with water and soak overnight.  Then you will be ready to make houmous on Sunday morning.....or Sunday afternoon because of the time difference between England and India.

Have a lovely week and I will see you next Sunday.


Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

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