One of the lovely things about old cookery books (and other old books too, I guess) is the thought that other people have owned, used and loved them. As I mentioned yesterday, I was given a lovely birthday present of an old 1956 Constance Spry cookery book; it was pre-owned and pre-loved, and in the back are a dozen or so blank pages with the words ‘Additional Recipes’ written at the top.
There are only a few recipes, mostly in the same hand, but as I go through the book I may find some more – or at least, helpful comments. One one of these blank pages it says ‘Biscuits p786’ and nothing more; when I turn to page 786 it is as I expected the section for biscuits and against the recipe for Orford’s Water-Biscuits, it says ‘make double quantity’ – so I guess they must be good!
- ½ lb flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 oz fat
- a little water
- ground rock salt
- sift dry ingredients together
- rub in fat
- add only enough water to make a firm dough
- roll out thinly, prick all over and stamp into large rounds
- bake in a slow to moderate oven until a pale golden colour (140–160°C, 300–325°F, gas mark 1-3)
Also on the page are Thin Biscuits, and opposite with a couple of pencil comments are Watford Wafer Biscuits and Sweet Biscuits.
Back to the ‘Additional Recipes’, and beneath the mention of biscuits are instructions on salmon trout, otherwise known as sea-trout, lake trout or Australian trout. If you have such a fine thing, here is what the anonymous note-maker suggests:
Poaching fillets of salmon trout:
one minute per ounce is about enough…
…and that’s it. Maybe its brevity is justified as Constance in her instruction for ‘salmon, saumon, salmon trout or truite soumonée’, doesn’t make it sound very pleasant ‘salmon cooked straight out of the water has a thick creamy curd between the flakes of fish‘ and says that to avoid it some people keep the fish for two to three days before cooking it. She has a little story of friends of hers who, in 1916 were incarcerated in Dublin Castle during the rebellion and had only salmon to eat for a week’. ‘Their close friends were prayed to avoid salmon when entertaining them for long months afterwards.‘