Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: Jo Wake, Victorian Cooking

Today it's my pleasure to introduce to you another guest poster, A-Z participant Jo Wake whose blog is: JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE.  
Please sample her unique point of view: we need to slow down and cook the old-fashioned way for great results worthy of the guest we entertain.


Through Bob Scotney of Bob’s Home for Writing, I have discovered a wonderful series of videos. Bob was primarily writing about Victorian kitchens, but I was more interested in the cooking as well as the reason for the existence of cookery books such as Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery published in 1935 which I have mentioned many times in my blog. Today when anyone makes something which requires stock, they use a can or a packet of bouillon, most home cooks these days have no idea of how the stock is made in the first place. I too have fallen into this practice, I use age as my excuse, but I suppose time constraints are the principle reason this practice has fallen out of use. The ollowing video makes me want to go back to basics, although I probably wouldn’t go so far as using a tammy cloth. This is a link to a fascinating video which is the first of a series on Victorian Kitchens: 

I found this video very exciting and will watch the whole series. My mother was just such a cook as Mrs. Mott although she never worked in the big houses nor did she ever use an old range as featured in the video (as far as I am aware). I had never heard of tammying, which looks like a lot of hard work, I thought using a sieve was bad enough. But this is what the art of cookery is all about. Not just defrosting something and shoving it in the microwave. We have lost so much of the art of producing good food and so much is done for us anyway. Because of that, we lose the pride of achievement which comes from producing a good meal as well as the ability to produce food which tastes so much better than this package stuff. Wise Geek has an article on the tammy cloth. This is why Matt and I love to entertain, it allows us to stretch our cookery skills to produce really excellent meals which we generally don’t eat every day.

I am having a day of stealing, this recipe was from Viveca’s My Guilty Pleasures and I asked her if I could use it. Very different recipe, and one I shall certainly try.

Baked Root Layer Cake, serve 6-8

350g/12oz carrots
350g/12oz parsnips
350g/12oz celeriac
30ml (2tbsp) clear honey
30ml (2tbsp) lemon juice
85g/3oz butter
fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 200C/ 390F/Gas 6. Peel and coarsely grate the carrots, parsnip and celeriac, keeping each vegetable separate bowls.
2. Warm honey, lemon juice and butter on low heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper add some picked thyme leafs. Pour a third of the honey butter mixture over each vegetable and coat well.
3. Line a shallow 20cm/8in spring form cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Spoon carrots into the tin, spread evenly and press down, repeat with parsnips and finish off with celeriac the same way.
4. Cover with buttered foil and bake for 35 min, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 min until brown on top.
5. Leave to stand for 10 min then turn out – cut in wedges and garnish with picked thyme sprigs.

Have a great day
Labels: Baked Root Layer Cake, Tammy Cloth, Victorian Cooking


Unknown said...

Amen to cooking the old fashioned way. All of our processed foods and frozen foods really take that taste and nutrients out of food. Nothing is as good as whole, fresh, natural, healthy, homemade food! I'll definitely check out the blog!

Jo said...

I've been cooking the old fashioned way, with a few exceptions, all my life. I confess to using a few short cuts these days however.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I have tried to cook a Victorian but the problem was finding a fresh one. Most of them are either very chewy or all bone. Someone suggested I modified my recipe and made a Victoria Bake-um for Saint David's day.

Whatever you do don't eat the Queen Anne leg, far too woody

Jo said...

Giggle. I would think most Victorians would be well past their sell by date by now. Have you tried the Regency stuff, generally more tender.

Lynn Proctor said...

sounds yummy and fascinating!

Arlee Bird said...

From the ingredients this sounds interesting--like carrot cake I suppose?--but from a marketing standpoint maybe we should rethink the name of the cake.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Jo said...

I haven't tried the recipe yet. I am sorry the picture didn't get included, it looks so much better than it sounds. Its certainly more of a side dish than a dessert cake like carrot cake (one of my favourites). Don't be fooled by the honey. The picture looks gorgeous. I will post it on my blog for tomorrow.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I try and cook clean (very limited processed foods). It surprised me how I recently reacted to eating a meal with lots of processed foods. It really upset my stomach. Sometimes plain is better. :)

Jo said...

I don't cook plain food - I like lots of flavours in things I eat, but I do avoid anything which has been prepared for sale, they often taste OK until you look at the ingredients which may contain lashings of salt, or pounds of sugar. LOL

Unknown said...

Love root veggies! This recipe sounds like something that I'd like to try.

I think that doing things the old fashioned way, makes sense if time allows and just plain tastes better don't you think?! I know my family does.

Thanks Jo, enjoyed this!

Jo said...

Unfortunately Jennifer, you just hit the nail on the head with one word "time". Nobody has any, any more. Well other than me that is, but then I am retired. If one does have time to make the old recipes it can be very rewarding taste wise, although if you read my blog tomorrow, I am talking about a couple of instance where I was severely disappointed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee and Jo .. Bob Scotney has been doing some wonderful blogs about past times .. the kitchen one is here ..

Mrs Beeton is great and very interesting to look things up in - large quantities ..

Your recipes are great reads Jo - I enjoy looking. I could well and use as many fresh ingredients as I can - and plain food can be delicious, though I usually add a few herbs ..

Cheers Lee - great guest poster you have in Jo - happy rest of the week - Hilary

Jo said...

Thanks for visiting Hilary, interesting that your comment showed up on this blog OK. I wonder why they never do on my blog?

Satima Flavell said...

Jo, I am not at all interested in cookery but your posts always make me wish I were!

Jo said...

Thanks Satima, I wish I could inspire you to be interested. So many people tell me that because they live alone they can't be bothered. But then I don't think you ever were that interested were you?

loverofwords said...

This recipe is a good one for all those gardeners out there. I like to cook and have too many cookbooks. Have you seen the food show, "French Cooking at Home?" Inspiring--I think Laura Caldwell is from Nova Scotia. And congratulations for being a guest blogger.

Jo said...

These days, I rarely use cookbooks, unless its for a favourite. I frequently go on Google and look for what I want. Hubby has to use cookbooks as he is no good on the PC. Not seen that programme, must look out for it.

Thanks for the congrats.

Jarm Del Boccio said...

I just love your blogpost...I've just connected with you through google reader! I love the Victorian Era, and the history that goes alongside. The root cake is perfect for a gluten-intolerant person like me...thanks!

Jo said...

I hadn't thought about gluten intolerance, but yes it would be good to use for that. Nice to see you Jarm, hope I will see you again.