Minimalist recipes

Here are some more recipes from over a hundred years ago, from almost one hundred and forty years ago, actually. These recipes are written for people who already know how to cook; the ingredients are given and the instructions are minimal – I can imagine especially with the lemon curd that not mentioning it needs stirring quite a lot, might end up with something resembling sweet lemon scrambled eggs!

RECIPES – by C.A.S.

Lemon Preserve

  • Take 1 lb. of fine white sugar
  • six eggs (leaving out two whites)
  • the juice of three lemons
  • the rinds of two grated and…
  • a ¼ lb. of butter
  1. Put the ingredients into a saucepan
  2. … and boil gently over a slow fire until they become thick and look like honey

… and that’s it! C.A.S. adds – It will keep good for twelve months in a jar… These days a recipe would warn about the sugar ‘catching’ on the bottom of the pan, the eggs curdling, the butter becoming oily, and as I mentioned, the necessity to stir a lot! I haven’t tried this but I have made lemon curd and it’s always made in a bowl over boiling water, melting the sugar in the lemon juice first with the butter, then adding the lightly beaten eggs to the mixture. However, I’m sure the housewives and housekeepers C.A.S. was addressing knew exactly what to do – and maybe, even if it went wrong it would still taste alright and the family would still eat it!

So another lemony recipe

To Make Lemon Syrup

  • Take 4 lbs of white sugar
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 1½ oz. of citric acid
  • 90 (yes 90, ninety) drops of essence of lemon
  1. dissolve the citric acid in half a cup of water, keep it stirred till dissolved
  2. … then add it to the rest
  3. Strain all well together and bottle while warm

… and that is the recipe! No lemons have been used in the making of this syrup…!!! And now a recipe I am going to try because I love ginger biscuits – well, ginger anything, really!

Ginger Nuts

  • Flour 2 lbs (brown)
  • sugar ¾ lb.
  • butter (oiled) ¾ lb.
  • ginger 2 oz.
  • treacle 2 lbs.
  1. Mix all well together…
  2. set it aside for an hour or two
  3.  – then roll out, cut, and place them on a tin
  4. bake them in not too slow an oven

 

… oh wait!! Am I going to try it? Actually no!! Look at the quantity of treacle! Equal amounts of flour and treacle, that can’t possibly be right – and then sugar as well! it would never set into a biscuit it would be more like a ginger pudding, a very sticky ginger pudding!

Here is a ginger biscuit recipe (or you can make gingerbread people if you prefer!)

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz soft brown  sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or zest of lemon)
  • 8 oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (I would add more!)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (again, I would add more)
  1. cream the first five ingredients together until light and as fluffy as the treacle allows
  2. add the dry ingredients sifted together
  3. pull the mixture and then knead to properly mix everything – just with the fingers (you’re not making bread!!)
  4. roll out thinly and cut into biscuits
  5. place on greased, floured baking tray (I would line mine – things seem to stick in my cooking world!)
  6. bake for about ten mins at 350° F, 180° C, gas mark 4 (cooking time depends on how thinly you’ve rolled them!)

You will find these, and much more, here:

https://trove.nla.gov.au

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