18 August 2014

Recipes from an Edwardian Country House

Recipes from an Edwardian Country House is a book that was repackaged from an earlier book.  Frankly, I hate it when publishers do this sort of thing, as I often have the first book and then end up with another copy of the same book -- different title!  Well, I don't have the original Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall book entitled, The Good Granny Cookbook.  One can only imagine that that title was a bit on the unfortunate side. 

The idea for the book was simple, to look at old recipes culled from many that were popular in the Edwardian era and present them to today's cook.  Recipes that Granny might have made.  The book was published before the great infatuation with the Edwardian era spawned by Downton Abbey.  Pre-Downton such a book was a quaint look back at granny's old cookbooks.  Post-Downton the book was transformed into recipes from an Edwardian Country House.

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (yes, Virginia, she is Hugh's mother) spent a lot of time in an old country house.  Her grandparents has a large, yet far from Downton, country house.  They managed with only 8 or 10 people to help them.  At the outbreak of World War II, the women and children of the family gathered together at the country house to ride out the war as husbands were away fighting and Jane spent her first six years there with her mother and grandparents. 

While many of the recipes are gleaned from old cookbooks that were known in the Edwardian era, a good many of the recipes are pulled from friends and family, making it neither Granny's nor Edward's cookbook.  Many of the recipes are pulled from and earlier era yet remain thoroughly modern like Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Cider.  At times the book seems positively southern as there are recipes for Cheese Straws, Pineapple Upside-Down Pudding and Stuffed Eggs with enough variations to keep one busy for days. 

This recipe came from Jane's godmother.  A lovely chocolate sauce and we would eat cardboard with a nice chocolate sauce.

Granny Ray's Chocolate Sauce

1 ½ ounces butter
9 tablespoons soft brown sugar
9 tablespoons best-quality cocoa
3 tablespoons black coffee

Melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the sugar, then the cocoa and black coffee. Mix well, stirring constantly. Serve the sauce immediately, while warm, over vanilla ice cream.

We are off to get the ice cream as we speak.

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