12 August 2012

A tattered old cookbook, and Louise Cake

Some of my favourite kitchen things were my Nana's. I have her rolling pin, several cake pans, a potato masher and a casserole dish. I also have her old Edmond's Cookbook. It has notes in Nana's scrawling old-fashioned handwriting next to some of the recipes: the Christmas Cake is 'very good', and Coconut Dreams are 'nice', according to her.

It drives Ian mad because it has no index. The cover and very first and last pages are missing, including the page that would tell me when this edition was published.

But it does have a recipe for Louise Cake, which Anna has been requesting and my more modern edition is lacking. For the baking section, go straight to the front. An unusual location, perhaps, but baking was the priority and culinary forte of the good New Zealand woman.

There are other funny old-fashioned things. There is a section for Invalids. The ingredients are capitalised: Chopped Almonds, Beaten Egg and of course Baking Powder. And some things, which presumably were assured to be in the pantry of every kiwi kitchen, didn't even appear in the ingredients list. See the Louise Cake recipe below for more on that.

I made Louise cake, and Coconut Dreams.

Both of these tins were Nana's. The one to the left holds the Louise Cake base. To the right is the Coconut Dream base.
Louise Cake

Louise Cake (from the Edmond's Cookbook, sometime pre-1970 edition) - but I do not recommend this version!
2 1/2 oz Butter
1 oz Sugar
2 Eggs
5 oz Flour
1 scant teaspoon Edmonds Baking Powder

Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks then sifted flour and baking powder. Roll out fairly thin, put on a greased tray and spread with raspberry jam*. Beat egg whites until quite stiff and add 4 oz sugar* and 2 oz coconut*. Mix and spread on top of jam. Bake 30 minutes at 350oF.

(*Why didn't it mention these in the ingredients list? It reminds me of when I was a teenager and asked Nana for her Christmas Cake recipe. She wrote it out and gave it to me. She had only written down the ingredients. But what do I DO with them, I asked? Well, she got quite flustered. How could I not know what to do with them? Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, add dry ingredients, of course!)

Lacking the fortitude of my ancestors, I wasn't about to get out the rolling pin for the base, so I kind of crumbled it into a lined swiss roll tin and then realised there was no way I could spread jam on such crumbly stuff. So I precooked it for 5 minutes to set it a bit. I still had to warm the jam to get it to spread evenly.

The result was fine, but instead I recommend the version I've made before from a little way down this page, in a past issue of the fabulous Good magazine. No rolling pin required, and it is a bit more generous with ingredients and subsequent thickness. Another reminder of the past: we don't have to be as frugal with food as our grandmothers did. Thank goodness for that - and they would be pleased for us.

Let's keep the baking tradition alive!

What happened to the lemon recipe I was hoping to share with you? It was horrible! I'm hoping the chickens will eat it tomorrow, but even they may turn their noses (beaks) up at it. I liked the way it looked in my new op-shopped tea cups, though:

I shared this post at the frugally sustainable blog.

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