Day 51 – Cream Cheese

cheese 1

Jane Thomas and her recipe book

Sorting through some old books and papers I came across an old hand-written recipe book by one of my ancestors. On the inside cover it simply says Jane Thomas Oct 1885. She was my great-grandmother.

At some point in the future I plan to make all the recipes and blog about them. But for now, lick your lips as here’s an example of what to expect.

cheese 2

Cream Cheese
Put into a quart of cream one lump of salt tie it up in a thick muslin bag and bury it in the ground for 3 weeks.

That’s all there is to it.

I can imagine the cats around here are going to love it when I do that one.

Does anyone know how much salt makes a lump? Does the ground need to be prepared in any way? Consecrated perhaps.

Other recipes from Jane Thomas include Victoria Buns, Meat Patties and Baked Sole, all of which, you’d be glad to hear, don’t require interring.

I’ll let you know when the lockdown has finally driven me to start making some of these. In the meantime, stay well fed and stay safe.

Day 14 – Cooking away the blues


This made me sad

The day started on a low.

I got a reminder to pick up the tickets for our Paris holiday. The Paris holiday to mark a landmark birthday for me. The Paris holiday we’ve been planning for a while now. The Paris holiday we had to cancel. I am sad.

Something’s cooking

I had always planned for today to be a kitchen day, which worked out well really as I would have had difficulty not thinking about Paris while gardening.

So trying out two new recipes has been the perfect distraction.

Raised pork pie and a date and walnut loaf

Raised pork pie and a date and walnut loaf

It must be a good 45 years since I last made a raised pie. Hot water pastry we called it back then in Catering College. It’s an odd pastry to work with as it’s very soft and warm to handle. As the name suggests, you make it by melting lard in boiling water.

In college we had to raise it by hand i.e. not using a tin/mould, so it was a luxury to have one to hand today.

I went for a traditional pork filling. I’m rather pleased with the result. Although the proof of the pudding (or pie in this case) is in the eating, which will not be until tomorrow.

I also tried a new recipe and method for a date and walnut cake. Melting the butter in hot water with the dates seemed odd. But it work really well and the cake is lovely and moist. I used muscovado sugar, which has given the cake a lovely, warming treacly taste.

Tomorrow I will be back in the garden. My rhubarb plants have arrived and I just need to decide where to put them and prep the area with some well rotted manure. “Your dad always put manure on his rhubarb,” Mother used to say. “I prefer custard,” I would always reply.

When this virus thing is all over we will have a holiday. Paris? Maybe. Or just somewhere more local like Thetford Forest, I care not. I’ll just be ready to have a total change of scenery.

Stay home and stay safe.

Day 9 – Counting the days

I’m going to have to keep a chart on the wall of all these days.

It’s Day 9 of the Lockdown. Day 17 since we started self-isolation, (which technically ended after 14 days). Day 3 of the haircut. Day 1 of being furloughed and Day 1 of planting in the greenhouse.


Worst homemade bread ever

It’s also a day when the bread failed. (That sentence makes me think of The Wicker Man. Police Sergeant Neil Howie will arrive shortly and I will trick him into inspecting my pile of bamboo canes. The bread will not fail!).

Anyway, I was talking about the great bread disaster of 2020. I followed Delia’s recipe and method quite carefully. However, I can’t blame Delia as I fear the yeast we have is past its best. In fact I would go so far as to say dead.

Admittedly we have had it a while and it was supposed to be kept in the fridge. Instead it has spent the last twelve months basking in the warmth of the kitchen in a cupboard next to a tin of pineapple we’ve had since 1994.

If we fail to get yeast in the delivery this weekend I will have to have a go with the sourdough starter we have. It’s two years old, and unlike the yeast, that’s actually a good thing.

Let the planting begin!

Following on from yesterday’s Stop Press news, my first delivery of garden goodies arrived today. It mainly comprises of compost and plant trays to put the compost in. But I also got some peas, beetroot and salad leaves along with some herbs.

I’m starting the peas and beets in the greenhouse as we’ve had a couple of sharp frosts this week. As soon as they shoot, I’ll get them in the ground.

I’m also preparing the lefthand bed for potatoes and leeks, which I hope will arrive early next week.

Here’s a little look at how things are shaping up.

Remember, stay in and stay safe.