Happy New Year!
I’m thrilled to present my great great Grandma Georgina’s Cold Winter Pudding!
So, darlings, it’s time to fasten your apron strings, pull up your sleeves, grab ya mixing bowl and wooden spoon, then join Miss Windsor for a gay ol’ time down memory lane where together we’ll recreate a delicious slice of food history!
I say this frightfully British suet pud will certainly raise one’s body temperature during those rather inclement days or evenings – How spiffing! And I dare say, if you’re a fan of bread pudding, although this recipe contains no bread at all, I’m sure you’ll fall head over heels with Grandma Georgina’s creation!
Oh, and I must admit grandma's original recipe lacked a bit of winter flair! So, I ‘jazzed’ it up a tad with the addition of mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and lemon/orange zest – How inventive, Miss Windsor!
patate di agnello in fuga,patate di agnello fuggito, patate di agnello vagante
Welcome back to Mrs Simkins and Miss Windsor’s Italian Escapades.
I had planned to bring you pasta carbonara for my second recipe, based on the gorgeous one we had in that lovely restaurant in Venice earlier this year (see intro). We were only there for 3 days and I never got the chance to order my own but the forkfuls I blatantly stole from my husband’s plate were absolutely wonderful.
Anyway, as I was saying to Miss Windsor the other day, I shall have to put that on hold as our hens, now sadly depleted from 5 to 4, have gone off lay for a while and we are lucky if we get one or two eggs a day. A series of family birthdays and other events has meant eggs have been whipped away from under the hens for cakes almost as soon as they are laid.
Fancy something a tad sweet, rather creamy, extremely boozy, laced with coffee, rich and velvety, a touch spicy, intensely Italian, a teensy nutty, with a brush of British (namely Bristol City) – NOW BREATH! - then Miss Windsor’s Festive Sherry & Spice Tiramisu is the perfect dessert for you – How spiffing!
Of course, if you haven’t a clue what I’m going on about, I simply created this recipe with Amaretto Morbido (translation: Italian soft almond macaroons) or one may use the customary ingredient of ladyfingers (Savoiardi) dipped in booze enriched with espresso coffee and layered with a mascarpone cheese mouse like filling.
I'm thrilled to present Miss Windsor's Quick & Easy Victorian Boiled Fruitcake - a delightful addition to your afternoon tea pageantry of goodies; or a rather toothsome, time-saving alternative to the traditional Christmas cake.
Oh, and I'm proud to say that my version is 'loosely' based on my beloved grandmother Josie's recipe. You see, ever since she sadly waltzed through the Pearly Gates in 2013, I've tirelessly strived to resurrect her scrumptious culinary creation. I say, but Grandmother Josie is quite a hard act to follow, plus she left no written record of her recipe.
Miss Windsor excitedly presents Mrs Beeton’s Traditional British Christmas Pudding recipe - a frightfully fruity, remarkably rich, temptingly moist, and abundantly boozy classic festive dessert, which I discovered buried deep within my culinary bible - my 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - page 939, to be exact - How spiffing!
And I must say, what thrill it was, although rather laborious, to step back in time to the late 1800's and recreate an age-old recipe following traditional methods. And so, with a whole day set aside, and with my great great grandmother Georgina in mind, I wished to experience the joys of a Victorian 19th-century cook, slogging away in the kitchen as one prepares for the Christmas Day feast - well, so far, just the Christmas pudding!
Okey dokey - let’s crack on and make some pumpkin puree from scratch! Perfect for pumpkin pie or as a tasty, seasonal, healthful alternative to our beloved starch ladened mashed potato!
I say, if you're keen on creating the latter, then Miss Windsor recommends to ‘jazz’ it up with a dollop of butter, followed by a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked black pepper – Oh, how spiffing!
I excitedly present Fannie Merritt Farmer’s good old-fashioned American pumpkin pie!
You see, I discovered this frightfully fabulous and easy recipe in my 1909 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book - How Spiffing!
Yet rather interestingly, the origins of pumpkin pie tumble all the way back to the 1500’s, where Medieval cooks served stewed pumpkin, sweetened with sugar, livened up with spice, and enwreathed with pastry – mouth-drooling scrumptious!
Also, there are many early recorded recipes of pumpkin pie, one of which has a French connection - Ooh la la! - Tourte of Pompion - created by Francois Pierre La Varenne in 1653. Then of course, as the years zoomed by, during 1796 a recipe for pumpkin pie appeared in the first known American cookbook by Amelia Simmons, which is very similar to Fannie’s version, although it requires scalded milk, eight eggs, and one may add grated lemon-peel instead of spices.
I say, troops! – stand to attention, grab your spade, grow your own fruit and vegetables, Dig for Victory, and Eat for Victory – By Jove! chaps, now that’s the wartime spirit!
Oh, how exciting darlings, Miss Windsor’s back again with yet another seasonal, allotment inspired, palate-pleasing culinary treat, based on a rather spiffing wartime recipe from my Eating for Victory cookery book.
So please give a warm welcome to something a trifle different, frightfully British, and exceedingly healthful – Miss Windsor’s Beetroot & Green Bean Fritters!
Two Tiramisu for You
Miss Windsor and I love tiramisu and have both noticed how actual Italian tiramisu in Italy isn’t terribly alcoholic, if at all.
We decided we’d bring you our own special versions, mine based on my Venice one and Miss Windsor’s made with one of her favourite tipples, Harvey’s Bristol Cream, which I think is an inspired British alternative to the customary Italian marsala or vin santo.
We love them both equally gorgeous and we hope you will too.
Miss Windsor’s Italian Inspired Cherry Tomato Pasta is just the tonic for the hungry-hearted – Mamma mia!
You see, my vegetarian recipe is splendidly quick and easy to re-create – using the very best of Whimsical Winnie’s harvest. Namely, her titillating good (Oh, I say!) allotment grown tomatoes from her plot at Fulham Palace Meadows (London). I say, Winnie’s such a dear heart for donating her little red balls of goodness to my ‘Eatalian’ culinary cause!
Miss Windsor and I have come to the end of our summer garden party collaboration, and hope you’ve very much enjoyed it as much as we have. We’re taking a bit of a break now but will be back before too long with a special quartet of recipes inspired by our respective Italian travels earlier in the year.
Until then, we leave you with Miss Windsor’s sparking summer beverages: a fabulous fizzy lemonade which she also uses to make a gorgeous summery cocktail with Pimm’s number 6 cup, a special edition one with elderflower and blackberry. It sounds so nice I can’t wait to try it. I really must get out more as I’d never even heard of this Pimm’s until Miss Windsor told me about it!
And, finally, from me a classic Victoria sponge. Every garden party needs a nice simple Victoria sponge so here you are; complete with tips and a brief cake history.
(You may be wondering why our garden party has suddenly morphed into a bit of a Teddy Bear's Picnic as well, but all will become clear as you read on.)
I excitedly present Miss Windsor’s Blackberry & Elderberry Breakfast Muffins – a simple, subtlety sweet, yet a rather healthful bundle of fruitiness – hence created with very little sugar; and naturally sweetened by British foraged fruits.
Oh, and funnily enough, one mustn’t forget to add that these rather toothsome darlings feel remarkably soft – just like a stroke of an alpaca’s furry mane – Ok, I admit that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’m sure you catch my drift!
Mini quiches are always a great savoury favourite for parties and picnics and a must for garden parties. Add some cooked diced bacon or lardons if you prefer but the simple cheese and onion flavour is delicious and also suitable for non-meat eaters.
Easy to make and assemble: particularly if you whiz up your pastry in the food processor and make an all in one filling rather than faffing about adding cheese and onions and what have you separately, plus, unlike full size quiches, you don’t have to bake the pastry cases blind first either.
Please join Miss Windsor for a jolly good go at re-creating this refreshingly zingy beverage of Mrs Beeton’s Quick-Fire Fizz Lemonade - ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’!
Oh, and it’s just what the doctor ordered to reduce one’s body temperature whilst enduring such an unusual spell of sweltering hot weather – I dare say, it’s definitely a one-off for Great Britain that’s notoriously known for its mediocre summers – My word, wonders never cease!
Anyone for tennis? Oh, dearie me, last shout for The Championships Wimbledon was on Sunday 15th of July. But not to worry, Miss Windsor’s here to console you with a sup or two of her frightfully fruity Pimm’s cocktail - which is just the tonic to soothe one’s post-tennis blues. Or why not join Mrs Simkins (my culinary collaborator) and I for a jolly good quaff at our summer garden party!
So, move over Mr Original Gin Sling, and make way for Miss Windsor’s intensely vibrant vodka-based tipple – Toot sweet! which oozes a luxurious touch of Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur.
Miss Windsor and I love a cream tea and are in complete accord when it comes to three pressing matters of scone etiquette.
First of all, do you say scone to rhyme with ‘gone’ or ‘phone’?
‘Gone’. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Secondly, do you pull your scone apart gently at its ‘waist’ or cut it? Miss Windsor and I prefer to pull ours apart and happily; this is the correct scone etiquette!
Thirdly, should you spread your jam on first followed by a spoonful of cream or the other way round?
I hereby present my delightful sweet offering to Mrs Simkins and Miss Windsor’s summer garden party – my Seriously Scrumptious Lemon & Coconut Cake. I say what an adorable addition to your very own garden party, or afternoon tea pageantry of exquisite cakes and bakes. Oh, yes, and please do enjoy a slice or two with a cup of your favourite brew!
Darlings, just as it says ‘on the tin’ – it’s seriously scrumptious, very lemony, with a saucy taste of paradise. Oh, dearie me! I fear I’m sounding off like an advert for a Bounty chocolate bar! But nevertheless, I’m certain my glorious cake will send you into a hedonistic state of ‘coconutty’ heaven – How spiffing!
Lovely as cakes are, you can’t have a tea party without a savoury element to begin with, including some delicate little sandwiches: “Sandwiches before cake,” as my mum used to say and I know Miss Windsor agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment!
Here are some sandwich suggestions to start you off: several based around cucumber (essential for keeping your cool in summer) and some tips for the perfect egg mayonnaise filling.
Don’t forget to cut the crusts off all your sandwiches and cut into dainty fingers or triangles.
They are called finger sandwiches, by the way, as you eat them with your fingers.
Well, I say, thank you for popping by – it’s always a pleasure!
So, whilst you’re here I wish to titillate your taste buds with my splendidly gratifying little meaty balls of deliciousness – By Jove, that’s quite a mouthful Miss Windsor!
Darlings, I guarantee my recipe created with quails’ eggs and butchers best sausage meat - ‘jazzed up’ with spring onion, a smattering of parsley, plus a dash of wholegrain and Dijon mustard - will satisfy all carnivore palates and will certainly give Fortnum & Mason a ‘run for their money! In fact, they proclaimed the delightful Scotch Egg was invented in 1738 at their Piccadilly, London store – Miss Windsor’s favourite!
Miss Windsor and I can scarcely believe our Queen has now been on the throne for 65 years. It’s a whole lifetime! She is our longest reigning monarch, Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years, seven months and two days, in case you are wondering!
The Queen loves afternoon tea and there are several cakes she particularly enjoys: Dundee cake, ginger cake, sponge cake filled with jam and maybe cream, possibly Battenberg, but her favourite cake of all is chocolate biscuit cake.
I say, my royal counterparts are really putting on a jolly good show this year – Bravo!
Not only were we treated to a beautiful wedding as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Oh, how spiffing! Then on Saturday 2nd June, we joined the gaiety as HM Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 65 glorious years on the throne – Well done your grace!
You see, to commemorate the anniversary of the coronation, my darling Mrs Simkins and fellow collaborator rustled up Her Majesty’s most favourite teatime dessert - Chocolate Biscuit Cake.
I say, so following such merriment we now prepare for our next royal ‘knees-up’ – the Queen’s official birthday of Trooping the Colour which takes place on June 9th (2018)
Miss Windsor and I send our very best wishes to newly married royals Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And what a fabulous wedding they had, so very moving and full of wonderful and lovely surprises.
Well, I say, hip hip hooray - ‘summertide’ is surely on its merry way! And upon its arrival, will offer a glorious, palate quenching cocktail, concocted using the very best Somerset produce, plus a smattering of Indian fizz – How spiffing!
So, if you’re caught in a ‘fuddle’ or just gagging for a tipple, then please do try my delectable summertime bounty - Miss Windsor’s recipe for Mr Miles Gin Berry Cocktail.
Eat cake, sip champagne, and be merry!
Come and join the revelry, as I crank up the volume to ‘Congratulations’ by pop sensation - Sir Cliff! One, two, three - now altogether, “Congratulations, and jubilations, I want the world to know I’m happy as can be!” – Oh, what a classic!
Darlings, I excitedly present Fannie Merritt Farmer’s recipe for GENUINE Sponge Cake – a flavour from the ‘old school’. Well, in this case, The Boston Cooking-School, Massachusetts, USA!
I say, Miss Merritt Farmer is an American culinary goddess from yesteryear, known as an advocate of ‘scientific’ cookery and household management. Thus, following her graduation in 1889 from The Boston Cooking-School, she served as assistant director and teacher; becoming school principal during the 1890's.
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