Friday, 18 September 2015

1942 Chocolate Cake (eggless) - Jennie On The Kitchen Front

Afternoon all!

I seem to be running out of spare time every day now, so I'm all behind like a duck's tail.

We'll get on to the cake now, rather than me blabbering on - That said, I've been busy knitting, just a trim to knit to finish off a new jumper. I have a huge pile to sew up too, I'll get round to it one day.

To cake!


1942 Chocolate Cake

8 ozs self-raising flour
4 ozs sugar
4 ozs margarine
1 level teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped dessertspoonful cocoa powder
vanilla essence

Sift together flour, bicarbonate and cocoa.

Put sugar, margarine and 1 gill (1/4 pint) water in a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, continue boiling for 1 minute.
Turn out into mixing basin, leave until lukewarm.

Gradually stir in flour mixture, add a little more lukewarm water, about 1/4 gill, to bring the consistency to that of sponge batter, add flavouring essence.

Bake in a greased 7-inch tin, about 1 hour.
Heat the oven at Gas 5, lower to Gas 4 when cake is put in, lower to Gas 3 about 20 minutes later.

Sprinkle with sugar for serving (optional); vary by running round with a teaspoon a narrow border of jam.

When I took mine from the oven it was cooked, the skewer came out clean three times, although when I was eating it I did think it could've done with an extra five minutes as it only just done. I think I have a problem with the oven though as everything is taking a little linger than expected. So just check it and maybe give it some more time.

But overall I like this cake, it tastes a little of cake batter, which probably has more to do with needing those extra few minutes. But it is a really nice moist sponge, and the lack of eggs isn't noticed.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I have. Hopefully I'll have another recipe for you next Friday, though if my oven packs in it may sandwich fillings!

Until we speak again


Friday, 11 September 2015

1942 Fruit Cake (no eggs or milk) - Jennie On The Kitchen Front

Good morning all!

I'm having a bit of "Disaster Day" today, so stand clear, if I go down, I'm taking you with me!

Words are escaping me today, so blogging isn't really a good idea is it? Never fear, a recipe is here!

Before setting off to your kitchen, I have to warn you, I did have an issue with this one. So although I'm putting the recipe up, I am going to remake and rewrite the recipe. Though this is perfectly edible!

1942 Fruit Cake (no eggs or milk)
"A moist, rich-tasting cake, the kind a man likes"

4 ozs national wheatmeal flour - I used plain wholemeal
4ozs self-raising flour
1 level teaspoonful baking powder
1 level teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoonfuls sugar
1 tablespoonful red jam - I used strawberry
4 ozs margarine or lard - I used margarine
2 teaspoonfuls mixed spice
4 to 6 ozs fruit, any kind or mixed - I used raisins, dates and a pinch of sultanas
1 gill water, short measure - 1/4 pint

Clean the fruit in flour; if raisins or dates are used, chop them.

Put the sugar, jam, fat, fruit and water into a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, continue boiling for 1 minute; stand aside until cool, but not cold.

Mix the two flours, baking powder, bicarbonate and spice in a basin, make a well, gradually add the lukewarm mixture and mix well.

Put into a greased 6-inch cake tin and bake for nearly 2 hours, moderately slow oven for 1 1/2 hours, then slow oven for about 25 minutes longer. After about 3/4 hour, when cake is nicely brown, cover with paper to prevent burning.


Right, this is where I went wrong. I put the cake in at Gas Mark 4 (180 C / 350 F) and turned it down to Gas Mark 2 (150 C / 300 F). It did catch on the top, so what I am going to do next time is either turn the oven down to Gas mark 3, turning down to Gas Mark 1. Also, after 1 1/2 hours, I will test to see if it's cooked.

The cake came out looking a little burnt, however, the actually cake inside is moist and really scrummy. So, just be careful with your temperature and timing... Everything you should normally do then! :) 

It is nice though, I've yet to test it on a man, so if you make this one, could you let us all know if a man does indeed like this?

So, I'm off for another slice and a cup of tea. I'll be back next week, I am trying to find the time to write between recipes, maybe I should write everything on Fridays and schedule them...

Anyway, till next time


Monday, 7 September 2015

Treasure In The Sewing Room

Good morning folks!

Well, just about, it's firmly heading towards midday and my to-do list is rather long, but I need a quick break between vacuuming and sorting out the washing.

As you may know, I sell vintage sewing patterns over on Etsy. In the whole process of getting the patterns online, they're checked, photographed, popped into little bags and labelled, before finally being listed in the shop.

I, as many stitchers do, have found little bits of joy inside the envelope alongside the actually pattern; a wartime pencil, pieces of fabric, an aerogramme even. But my favourites finds are newspaper, with juicy stories of runaway teens heading for Gretna being the best.

However, if the paper can be dated, it just adds to the joy of the pattern. My latest listing is one such joyous pattern. There are three pieces cut in newspaper, seemingly nothing to do with the pattern inside (which is complete).

I did a quick search online, to discover the stories are from 1943

These include the death of Mr John De Havilland, Colonel Graham West awaiting his "Bader legs" and my personal favourite; A mention of oranges!

There is also a crossword, completely unanswered! How anyone could pass a crossword by without having a go is beyond me.

I actually feel a little sad to let the pattern go, but alas, it's a size too big and I already have plenty of patterns I keep saying I'm going to adjust... It just doesn't happen :)

The pattern, should you be interested, is available here.

Well, that's all for now. I'm not sure I'll be posting before Friday. But I will be back on Friday for Jennie On The Kitchen Front. This week I'm trying to decide between biscuits and cake, ooh, the decisions!

Until then


Friday, 4 September 2015

1942 Ginger Cake - Jennie On The Kitchen Front

Is it already Friday? Well, if it is, then it's Kitchen Front day for us!

This week I've made a ginger cake, well, it's actually a tray bake by todays standards. Never mind what we'll call it, it's ginger and it's cakey.

Before we start, the recipe does say to use a Yorkshire pudding tin, measuring 8 1/2" by 5 3/4" - I don't have a tin this size, so instead used the smallest tin I could find, which is about 8" square. It still works, so no complaints from me.

This ginger cake has a subtle flavour, should you wish to update it, you could always drizzle the top with lime icing.


Ginger Cake - 1942

4 ozs Plain Flour
4ozs Self Raising Flour
2 ozs Lard - I use veggie Baking Fat
4 ozs Syrup
2 tablespoonfuls Sugar
1/2 teaspoonful Bicarbonate of Soda
1 teaspoonful Ground Ginger
1 teaspoonful Mixed Spice
1 Small Egg
1 gill Milk (1/4 pint)

Stir together lard (fat), syrup and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until melted.
Do not boil, wait until lukewarm before using.

Beat egg and mix in milk.

Mix dry ingredients, make a well.

Pour in syrup mixture, mix.

Gradually add the egg/milk mixture.

Stir until smooth.

Put into a greased tin.

Bake in slow oven, Gas Mark 3 (160 C / 325 F) for 45 minutes.

Cut into 18 squares for serving.


Well, that's the recipe. Of all the wartime recipes I use, this is one of my favourites, it turns out well and is a nice treat with some tea or cocoa.

So now I'm off for some lunch, then I might just find room for another piece of cake!

Till next week


Friday, 28 August 2015

Digestive Biscuits - Jennie On The Kitchen Front

Hello Biscuit Lovers!

First up, I'll give you the grim news that we lost 5 of our 6 hens to a fox on Monday. Bright, sunny afternoon too, foxes only usually turn up on grim days and at dawn around here. But this fox was different, he was the size of an Alsatian and quite aggressive with Ma, who stepped outside and found him in the garden - He got away, but he must've been been waiting around for us to step inside as we were later in for dinner than usual.
We're all devastated by the loss, they were all wonderful, cheeky, adorable girls, and will be very much missed - Rose, Ruby, Doris, Iris and Annie.
Mary somehow survived, she was found hiding in an overgrown patch of garden. She's alright, shaken and missing her sisters, but now she has a big brother in the form of our cat, Charlie. He's become very protective of her.

I could talk about the girls and boy for ages, but I shall get onto the recipe now.

This week I thought you might like some biscuits. So, are digestives alright for you? These aren't like the well known branded ones, more like a cross between those and oatcakes. Learn from my mistake though, I don't have any table salt, I only had rock salt, and I didn't pound it up very well. So use table salt if you can, rather than having lumps of salt in the occasional mouthful - Like salty roulette!

Digestive Biscuits - 1942

Makes about 24 if a 2 1/2 inch cutter is used (I rolled a little thin and came out with 28)

6 ozs Wholemeal Flour
1 oz White Flour (plain)
1 oz Oatmeal
3 ozs Fat - I used a veggie Baking Fat
1 Dessertspoonful Sugar
1/2 Teaspoonful Salt
1 Teaspoonful Cream of Tartar
1/2 Bicarbonate of Soda
A little Milk and Water to mix

Mix wholemeal and white flour, salt, cream of tartar and bicarbonate.

Rub in fat.

Add oatmeal and sugar, mix again.

Gradually stir in a little milk and water to make a stiff dough.

Knead well.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.

Stamp out rounds with a plain cutter.

Border the biscuits all round with small holes, making these with a skewer; similarly prick a small inner circle of holes.

Cook on a baking sheet in a moderate oven, Gas Mark 5 (190 C / 375 F) for about 20 minutes.


I hope you enjoy these, I'm trying to resist their charms until I put the kettle on next... About 5 more minutes then!
I'll leave you with a quote from Ma, when a couple of hours before making I said "I hope they're alright". Ma replies "Well, if they're not, chuck some chocolate on them" - Thanks Ma!

Any requests for next week?

Until I next post


Friday, 21 August 2015

Jennie On The Kitchen Front - Little Fruit Cakes

Hello all, I am indeed back with another recipe. I am intending some posts for other things beside baking, but as yet, I haven't gotten around to it.

This little recipe is from 1943. The cakes in question are not the light and airy ones you may be expecting, but are quite tasty, and not very sweet at all, indeed, I'm intending on splitting them and having them spread with butter and jam. I say that, but with half of them gone, I'm not sure it will happen :)

I've just realized what they remind me of, blueberry muffins... without the blueberries! Though you could use some more exotic dried fruits if you wish

Here's to it then readers:
Little Fruit Cakes (1943)

Makes one dozen cakes.

6 ozs flour (plain)
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoonful baking powder
2 ozs margarine or half and half margarine and lard (or baking fat) - I used all margarine
2 tablespoonfuls sugar
2 tablespoonfuls sultanas or small raisins - I used sultanas
1 reconstituted dried egg - I used 1 fresh egg
About 1 gill of milk (about 1/4 pint)

Halve sultanas or raisins.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder..

Rub in fat.

Add and mix in sugar and fruit.

Stir in beaten egg and enough milk to make a mixture of stiff drop-from-the-spoon consistency.

Fill into 12 greased queen cake tins or patty pans.

Brush with milk.

Bake in a moderate oven, gas mark 6 (200 C/400 F) for about 20 minutes.

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe, now I'm off to polish off another cake with some tea

Until next time


Friday, 14 August 2015

Jennie On The Kitchen Front - Chocolate Rocks


Welcome to the first installment of my new cookery feature, here on the old bloglette.
I'll be rummaging through my wartime magazines and testing the recipes, before writing them up here.
I won't be changing the sugar/fat quantities, but I will be providing suitable alternatives where it's needed - Such as using baking fat instead of lard for us veggies, and using fresh eggs when the original recipe calls for reconstituted dried egg, though I will say if dried egg is mentioned.

So let's get started. Here is the first recipe, 

Chocolate Rocks from 1943

Makes 16

1/2 lb Flour (plain)
Pinch of Salt
1 Heaped teaspoonful Baking Powder
3 ozs fat - half and half margarine and lard/baking fat
3 ozs Sugar
1 Tablespoonful Cocoa
1 egg (or one reconstituted dried egg)
A little milk
Vanilla Essence (optional)
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa.

Rub in fat.

Add sugar.

Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and a little milk, about 3 Tablespoonfuls. Add vanilla (if using).

Place mixture in 16 small heaps on the greased baking sheet (I use baking paper on a tray).

Bake in a quick oven, gas mark 7 (220 C / 425 F) for 15-20 minutes.

Personally I think these are a nice mid-morning treat with a cup of tea, and not too greedy on the fat and sugar ration. I hope you'd enjoyed the first recipe, do tell me if you try them out and also if there's anything in particular you'd like to see a recipe for.

Until next time,


P.S. Apologies for the photos, the big bad black cloud was coming over fast when I was making these!

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Great Eggscape


Oh dearie, I've been awful for keeping up to date with the blog. I'm just getting back into reading other blogs, but I'm not quite sorted when it comes to my own, but it will happen... One day!

Anyway, to some news!

When I was growing up, we couldn't have hens, which was a shame as my Ma had grown up with hens (I always picture the Larkins when I think of how Ma grew up) and my Gran had hens throughout her childhood and I think my Great-Gran did too... Anyway, Ma decided to put this right a few weeks ago and ordered a hen house and put her name down for four hens from the BHWT.

Well, last Sunday we went to collect four ex battery hens. They had some which were without a home to go to, so were offered more. Ma, suddenly struck by a bout of MoreHens disease, agreed to take another two.

It's been a week of worry and joy - Little Mary has been a worry, she just didn't want to do anything, and though we put it down to the shock of the change, it seems it may also be because she's suddenly sprouted a back and belly of feather spikes. But she's a bit brighter by the day, and is joining the others in discovering a free range life.

We had about 21 eggs in the first week... I've never eaten so much cake in all my life! And I'm about to make some biscuits or cake, I've yet to decide, as we has a soft-ish shelled egg this morning and I want to use it up before it gets broken. Ginger biscuits or  chocolate cake? Oh dear, what a life!

They are a little bare in places, though within a week of pellets, corn and roaming, the feathers are fluffing out everywhere. Though from some angles they are still a little "oven-ready" looking - Poor things.

I'll leave you with my favourite photo, taken on Saturday afternoon, when I should've been catching up on jobs, but was actually lounging on the swing seat, drinking tea, eating swiss roll, watching the cat and the hens and knitting... Tough life!

So, may I present to you... The Bare Bottom Girls - 

I'll be back shortly, I'm feeling the call of the blog now, so it shouldn't be too long before my next post :)

Until then

Jennie xxx

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Just a Bit of News

Hello you!

Yep, after all that hassle I didn't even bother with the blog! Though never fear, I am here now, so lets get going, yes?

Well, I set to work trying to take control of some of the hedging around the house, of which there is plenty. It gets cut on the top and on the field side, but as there's no room down the side of the house to get the tractor, it has to be done by Jennie Power!

Well, I was out there with loppers cutting at the blackthorn (nasty stuff), trying to avoid it coming down on my face (my face, my beautiful face!) and made room to show off some of the more delicate specimens, such as this pink thing (gardeners will be impressed with my naming, I'm sure):

I also found two new Oak trees in the making, so I'm going to cut around them and pop them behind the chicken fencing so they have something to lean against whilst they grow big and strong. To think, the Oaks I really admire are hundreds of years old, and I'm not going to get to see these in their prime. Quite sad really.

My pussy cat has made it into another year, it was touch-and-go. He was rushed into the kitty hospital at the end of November, operated on, and looked a very sad sight. The vet warned he might not make it through the operation, then when he did, he wasn't doing well and she seemed to think that was it for him.

But he's a little soldier, and pulled through. Though it was a worrying few months, but he got through a month of hospital food (better for cats than humans it seems!) and I picked myself up off the floor after seeing how much his bill was - Seriously, a second-hand car or the cat! Those vets know how to charge, and nope, before you ask, no insurance!

Anyway, here's my boy, all happy and off a-hunting for voles:

Any bit of sun and I've been out, not only doing the hedge (just the front to finish off, before starting again!), but also clearing the rubbish from the back (more on that when it's all done). Also, the bays are being planted up. The beans and peas were put in a few weeks back, these were the ones started in the tunnel. But I think they look rather lovely, all caned up - Before the storm pulled the canes down, and the slugs ate the beans!

That's the main news, that I can think of. I'm currently knitting a jumper which has been a nightmare. I'm starting to sew in the tails (grrr) and I'm hoping it will sew up alright, though I'm not expecting it to! I will be back to show it off if it's all good, believe me, it will be shown off!

Well, I'd best be off. I have work to do. I will be back, I actually will.

So take care, have fun, be good (ish)

Jennie xx

Monday, 4 May 2015

What A Numpty

Yes, it's me!
It really is!

I really cannot contain my excitement at being back, all proper like! I'll give you the quickest version of what happened:

Well, Blogger was playing up and wouldn't let me post properly. So I tried another blog, no luck. I thought all was lost and I'd just have to be a non-blogger once more.
However, I was on etsy and it was always telling me my browser was out of date... Wait for the penny to drop... Ooh, maybe if I update the browser I might get the blog to work.

Yes, for the sake of an out-of-date browser, I was without a blog! Numpty moment or what?!

So, this is me back for good - If you're hearing Take That right now, good on you!

Life has been it's usual unpredictable self since we last spoke. Though I'm still in my house (for now, it's still a waiting game!), my cat was very nearly a goner, but he's thankful pulled through and will now be on medication for life (a small price to pay). What else? Oh, my etsy shop was reopened to sell sewing patterns.

Gosh, I'm really stuck now, so much happens, yet remembering it seems a chore!
We had a lovely Easter, with cake!

Maybe, if I can't think of the past, I ought to tell you about my future plans?

A holiday coming up, only at home mind, I love having a holiday at home, exploring the delights within an hour or two of home and then being able to curl up at the end of the night in your own bed... Bliss.
I have a huge list of places to visit this year, but I fear a week won't cut it, so I think a whole week, plus many days dotted about throughout the year. Hopefully I'll be able to tempt into holidaying in Wales this year?

I'm really sorry, I'm so giddy about my blog working that I just don't know what to say... Maybe I should just leave it there and not say much more at all?

Alright, until next time (which will be when I remember half of what I want to say!)
I should be back soon though, a regular post just to make up for the missing ones.


Jennie xx