• 13Sep

    (It’s at this point I start wanting to beat the woman around the head with her own book!)

    THE DUTIES OF THE COOK, THE KITCHEN AND THE SCULLERY MAIDS, are so intimately associated, that they can hardly be treated of separately. The cook, however, is at the head of the kitchen; and in proportion to her possession of the qualities of cleanliness, neatness, order, regularity, and celerity of action, so will her influence appear in the conduct of those who are under her; as it is upon her that the whole responsibility of the business of the kitchen rests, whilst the others must lend her, both a ready and a willing assistance, and be especially tidy in their appearance, and active, in their movements.

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  • 06Sep

    Marrows Galore!

    It’s harvest time and it’s marrows galore and you know what we have also had a steady crop of courgettes! So now my mission will be to find numerous marrow recipes! This is what I have already got lined up:

    Stuffed Marrow
    Marrow Rum
    Marrow Chutney
    Marrow Stew
    Marrow and Cheese Pie

    I will probably hunt down a few more as well as giving at least one marrow to the schools harvest festival!

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  • 09Aug

    IT IS IN HER PREPARATION OF THE DINNER that the cook begins to feel the weight and responsibility of her situation, as she must take upon herself all the dressing and the serving of the principal dishes, which her skill and ingenuity have mostly prepared. Whilst these, however, are cooking, she must be busy with her pastry, soups, gravies, ragouts, &c. Stock, or what the French call consommé, being the basis of most made dishes, must be always at hand, in conjunction with her sweet herbs and spices for seasoning. “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” must be her rule, in order that time may not be wasted in looking for things when they are wanted, and in order that the whole apparatus of cooking may move with the regularity and precision of a well-adjusted machine;–all must go on simultaneously. The vegetables and sauces must be ready with the dishes they are to accompany, and in order that they may be suitable, the smallest oversight must not be made in their preparation. When the dinner-hour has arrived, it is the duty of the cook to dish-up such dishes as may, without injury, stand, for some time, covered on the hot plate or in the hot closet; but such as are of a more important or recherché kind, must be delayed until the order “to serve” is given from the drawing-room. Then comes haste; but there must be no hurry, all must work with order. The cook takes charge of the fish, soups, and poultry; and the kitchen-maid of the vegetables, sauces, and gravies. These she puts into their appropriate dishes, whilst the scullery-maid waits on and assists the cook. Everything must be timed so as to prevent its getting cold, whilst great care should be taken, that, between the first and second courses, no more time is allowed to elapse than is necessary, for fear that the company in the dining-room lose all relish for what has yet to come of the dinner. When the dinner has been served, the most important feature in the daily life of the cook is at an end. She must, however, now begin to look to the contents of her larder, taking care to keep everything sweet and clean, so that no disagreeable smells may arise from the gravies, milk, or meat that may be there. These are the principal duties of a cook in a first-rate establishment.

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  • 02Aug

    In the larger establishments of the middle ages, cooks, with the authority of feudal chiefs, gave their orders from a high chair in which they ensconced themselves, and commanded a view of all that was going on throughout their several domains. Each held a long wooden spoon, with which he tasted, without leaving his seat, the various comestibles that were cooking on the stoves, and which he frequently used as a rod of punishment on the backs of those whose idleness and gluttony too largely predominated over their diligence and temperance.

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  • 05Jul

    IN THOSE NUMEROUS HOUSEHOLDS where a cook and housemaid are only kept, the general custom is, that the cook should have the charge of the dining-room. The hall, the lamps and the doorstep are also committed to her care, and any other work there may be on the outside of the house. In establishments of this kind, the cook will, after having lighted her kitchen fire, carefully brushed the range, and cleaned the hearth, proceed to prepare for breakfast. She will thoroughly rinse the kettle, and, filling it with fresh water, will put it on the fire to boil. She will then go to the breakfast-room, or parlour, and there make all things ready for the breakfast of the family. Her attention will next be directed to the hall, which she will sweep and wipe; the kitchen stairs, if there be any, will now be swept; and the hall mats, which have been removed and shaken, will be again put in their places.

    The cleaning of the kitchen, pantry, passages, and kitchen
    stairs must always be over before breakfast, so that it may not
    interfere with the other business of the day. Everything should
    be ready, and the whole house should wear a comfortable aspect
    when the heads of the house and members of the family make their
    appearance. Nothing, it may be depended on, will so please the
    mistress of an establishment, as to notice that, although she
    has not been present to see that the work was done, attention to
    smaller matters has been carefully paid, with a view to giving
    her satisfaction and increasing her comfort.

    BY THE TIME THAT THE COOK has performed the duties mentioned above, and well swept, brushed, and dusted her kitchen, the breakfast-bell will most likely summon her to the parlour, to “bring in” the breakfast. It is the cook’s department, generally, in the smaller establishments, to wait at breakfast, as the housemaid, by this time, has gone up-stairs into the bedrooms, and has there applied herself to her various duties. The cook usually answers the bells and single knocks at the door in the early part of the morning, as the tradesmen, with whom it is her more special business to speak, call at these hours.

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  • 28Jun

    The Sweet Train 6th anniversary Sweet Train

    Me and my four year old made this pink cake train jointly for Fathers Day and for mine and my husbands 6th wedding anniversary. The theme for the anniversary was Sugar. We made it using our train cake tin – it is a basic sponge cake – the main issue we had was that I swapped cow butter for goat and it doesn’t appear to be as greasy which mean we had a hard time getting the cakes out of the tin 🙁

    We made pink butter icing to coat the tray and to glue cake toppers and marshmallows and the like onto the train. We then used some pink and white mottled sugared almonds to draw a number six in the icing. My little girl used edible glitter and hearts to decorate the pink icing the train was sitting on!

    Not the best looking cake ever but it did taste nice 🙂

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  • 21Jun

    We have been getting fruit and veg boxes from Cotswold Dairy delivered. We get them once a month because other wise we really do not get through all the veg (swedes and things like that – remember we grow alot of veg anyway). These have been working out great as there are things in them we wouldn’t normally by so it is varying our diets in a good way and making our home cooking a bit more structured than it was.

    I do however have two slight concerns – the first is that on two occasions some of the fruit has been moldy on arrival – which the diary where very good about and secondly it is not as locally sourced as I would like 🙁 I would prefer to see them group up with say ByLocal or Primrose Vale Farm Shop rather than getting Spanish fruit that the farm shop grows :/

    I can only hope that the fact that it reduces the number of shopping trips we have to do means it reduces our carbon footprint anyway!

    Over all I think the fruit and veg boxes are definatly a good idea and we’ll be keeping on with ours 🙂

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  • 14Jun

    Dino Sandwitch Jungle

    I got a dinosaur sandwitch cutter which I used on Jean’s cheese sandwitch – it wastes the crusts but then she doesn’t eat those anyway! I then made a landscape for the dinosaurs out of carrots which I cut into sticks, I made the ground out of ransom leaves (wild garlic) and some ice berg lettuce, then I got some sweet cisily leaves to represent trees along with the carrots.

    Jean loves these dino landscapes for lunch and it has stopped alot of ‘Oh no not sandwitches :/

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  • 07Jun

    Well I tend to get up at 7 in summer and winter and find the time taken up with getting a small person off to school personally so there is no time for breakfast roll dough making etc :/ And this is with me and my husband both pitching in.

    IF, AS WE HAVE SAID, THE QUALITY OF EARLY RISING be of the first importance to the mistress, what must it be to the servant! Let it, therefore, be taken as a long-proved truism, that without it, in every domestic, the effect of all things else, so far as work is concerned, may, in a great measure, be neutralized. In a cook, this quality is most essential; for an hour lost in the morning, will keep her toiling, absolutely toiling, all day, to overtake that which might otherwise have been achieved with ease. In large establishments, six is a good hour to rise in the summer, and seven in the winter.

    HER FIRST DUTY, in large establishments and where it is requisite, should be to set her dough for the breakfast rolls, provided this has not been done on the previous night, and then to engage herself with those numerous little preliminary occupations which may not inappropriately be termed laying out her duties for the day. This will bring in the breakfast hour of eight, after which, directions must be given, and preparations made, for the different dinners of the household and family.

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  • 03May

    In the luxurious ages of Grecian antiquity, Sicilian cooks were the most esteemed, and received high rewards for their services. Among them, one called Trimalcio was such an adept in his art, that he could impart to common fish both the form and flavour of the most esteemed of the piscatory tribes. A chief cook in the palmy days of Roman voluptuousness had about £800 a year, and Antony rewarded the one that cooked the supper which pleased Cleopatra, with the present of a city. With the fall of the empire, the culinary art sank into less consideration. In the middle ages, cooks laboured to acquire a reputation for their sauces, which they composed of strange combinations, for the sake of novelty, as well as singularity.

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