The theme for our January event was Retro Recipes and we all enjoyed baking things we remembered from childhood, or looking through old school recipe books – laughing at the number of dishes using aspic. They look so unappealing to us now but were clearly the height of sophistication at the time!
Most of us opted for sweet bakes this month, but Jayne treated us to a true 1970s classic; a cheese fondue made with raspberry beer, accompanied by a parsnip, cheese and sage soda bread. It was truly delicious and a good social start to the evening with us all tucking in together, laughing at whoever dropped their bread off their fork into the fondue pot. Wasn’t there supposed to be some sort of forfeit for that?
After the glorious cheesiness of the fondue,
it was onto the sweet stuff – lemon curd tarts, a Battenberg cake (personally that always reminds me of cricket teas when my Dad used to play and my Mum used to do the sandwiches), a Bakewell Tart, Garibaldi biscuits, a Lemon Meringue Pie, a Seed Cake (using caraway, now that’s a flavour that takes me back), a Pineapple Upside Down cake and Fondant Fancies in a choice of lemon or lavender.
We all marvelled at the straightness of the Battenberg until Cat revealed she had help from a special tin, which has dividers so that you can make each section of the cake individually. I was reminded of the brief period of time when I worked at the factory making Mr Kipling cakes. Turning the sponge on the Battenberg to invert the top layer was the one thing they couldn’t automate. The machines used to squash the sponge, so it all had to be done by hand!
Our look through the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book revealed just how much recipe books and recipes themselves have changed over the years. Recipes written by giants such as Delia Smith and Mary Berry are simply presented alongside all the rest with no nod to their authorship. There was clearly no cult of the celebrity chef at that time! The index was virtually useless unless you knew the name of the dish you were looking for, and the ordering of the recipes was also strange – there is be a chapter on ‘Cooking with Cream’ for example, which features Salmon Mousse alongside Mocha Eclairs, and Pork chops with cider next to Chocolate Cream Gateaux!
We all enjoyed our walk down memory lane.
The full list of bakes for this event was:
Cat – Battenberg Cake
Vicky – Seed Cake and Garibaldi Biscuits
Jayne – Parsnip, Sage and Cheese loaf to accompany a Beery Cheese Fondue
Michelle – Bakewell Tart
Jan – Lemon Curd Tarts
Faye – Lemon Meringue Pie
Alison – Lemon and Lavender Fondant Fancies
Chelsea – Pineapple Upside Down Cake