Sardine salad and Canton fruit mould

The recipe I’m looking at now is from a little booklet with no cover and it’s undated, but I guess it’s from the 1950’s or 60’s. It’s easy to be critical of cooking in the past, especially the post-war years, but there was less variety of foods available and cooks would try different combinations of ingredients to try and be imaginative, and would try to present what they had cooked or made to look enticing and attractive.

Sardine salad – made with tinned sardines sounds odd, perhaps, but I’m sure any guests fifty or sixty years ago would have enjoyed it… served with home-made salad cream.

Sardine salad

  • a tin of sardines, drained
  • yolk of 1 hard-boiled egg
  • lemon juice
  • crisp lettuce
  • cucumber, diced
  • peas, lightly cooked
  • seasoning
  • salad cream
  1. mix the sardines, egg yolk, lemon juice and seasoning
  2. put one crisp lettuce leaf on each plate and arrange spoonfuls of the sardine mixture
  3. garnish with peas and cucumber, and top with salad cream

Salad cream is not just a substitute mayonnaise – it is what it says, a salad cream – would it be more popular if it was called creamed salad dressing? A lot of people, including my husband actually prefer it to mayonnaise, they like it’s sweeter, sharper taste, and its texture.

Salad cream

  • yolk of 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 2 tbsp prepared evaporated milk (mix 1 tbsp evaporated milk with 1¼ tbsp water)
  • ½ tsp castor sugar
  • ½ mustard powder
  • ½ vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • seasoning
  1. blend the egg yolk, mustard, seasoning, sugar, with cold water and beat until very smooth
  2. add milk and whip until thick
  3. very carefully add vinegar or lemon, taking care the mixture doesn’t split

So after your sardine salad and home-made salad cream, a light dessert which might appeal is Canton fruit salad

Canton fruit mould

  • 1 pint ginger ale
  • 1 soft ripe apple, peeled cored, grated (just before adding to the jelly)
  • 1 soft ripe pear, peeled cored, grated (just before adding to the jelly)
  • 2 oranges, peeled, pith and membrane removed, cut into pieces
  • chopped dates
  • 1 tbsp orange squash
  • 1 tbsp lemon squash
  • 3 tsp gelatine
  1. dissolve gelatine according to instructions and add to ginger ale and fruit squashes, place in refrigerator
  2. when the jelly is partly set, fold in  fruit
  3. put into individual moulds to finish setting
  4. turn out and serve with ice-cream

Gelatine is spelled here with an ‘e’ on the end, and I think the little booklet must have been produced in the 1960’s when more people had refrigerators. his might seem a curious dessert to us, using soft apples and pears, using squash instead of juice, adding dates (not a popular ingredient now although they are so delicious) and yet this mixture of sweet, spicy and tart in a jelly and served with cream might actually be quite nice… I guess it had what seemed like an oriental flavour hence its name. I wonder if my family might like it?

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