I love vintage recipe books. It’s a fascinating tour through our culinary history and is often a reminder of the thrift and resourcefulness of our mothers and grandmothers.
Tui Flower was the Food Editor of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly from 1965 to 1984 and this 1976 Edition of the NZ Woman’s Weekly Favourite Recipes was authored by her. She was interviewed by the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly in May where she is described as being “Still as sharp as her knives.” at age 84.
Reading through the cookbook, (purchased originally at Kernohan’s Books Ltd in Warkworth) I am reminded how far we’ve come with the most ‘exotic’ dishes in this recipe book having French names; a proliferation of soufflés, patés and things ‘en croute’. Tui’s no nonsense introductory paragraph to each section brings to mind my schoolgirl Home Ec. classes with their authoratitive and instructive tone:
“The renewal of interest in the whole field of preservation comes as most housewives have discovered the value of a deep freeze. Knowing what they freeze for their family’s use and how it acts as their food store, they can turn their provisioning talents to making the harvest into jam, pickles and preserves to provide the tasty variety known for generations. Particularly for those who have a garden and orchard, the turning of excess crops into sweet or savoury preserves for later use is important. Doing so adds variety and interest to the diet and goes a long way towards economical housekeeping. As with so many branches of cookery, learn the techniques well, then apply them to whatever preserving you are doing.”
Noticeable also in the recipes is the almost complete absence of the herbs and spices that we use in cooking nowadays, nothing more exotic than a green pepper, onion and some parsley – maybe some chives. But necessity being the mother of invention you get gems like this recipe here:
- 6 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish sauce
- shredded lettuce
- 16 firm, fresh mushrooms
Combine tomato sauce, vinegar and horesradish sauce. Chill. Line 8 cocktail glasses with finely shredded lettuce. Wash and slice mushrooms thinly. Pile mushroom slices into glasses and when ready to serve, coat with tomato sauce mixture. Serves 8.
Here are other suggestions for party fare:
Clockwise from top left:” Mocha Gateau for party occasions, Outdoor eating around the barbecue, Bunny Cake is a quickly prepared child’s birthday cake, a fish goulash lends variety to meal planning, this colourful clown will please any child, Salad Nicoise is a celebration salad, Summer eating, Crabmeat Salad and Devilled Eggs, Normande en croute is an easy and stylish sausage presentation, Things to go with drinks include Cheese Tartlets and Curry Scones.”
Centre from left to right: “A cheese ball to start a party, Cheesy Loaf goes well for party entertaining.”
The baking section is of course, utterly charming with plenty of favourites, including Melting Moments, Refrigerator Bran Biscuits and Thumb Print Biscuits with more unusual things to try such as the Cucumber and Banana Cake which is similar to a normal banana cake recipe but with the inclusion of a 1/4 cup of minced cucumber added at the same time as the mashed banana. I will definitely make some of these more wonderful things and blog about them to share them with you, but to finish I thought I would share this recipe with you – one of the more ‘out of the box’ recipes from this fascinating cook book.
Cheese Pepper Rings.
- 4 teaspoons gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped spring onion
- salt and pepper
- few drops of chilli sauce
- 3 green peppers
Soak the gelatin in cold water until it has swollen, then add it to the boiling water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Mix together the milk and the two cheeses, mashing and stirring to form a smooth blend. Add the finely chopped parsley and spring onion and season with salt, pepper and chilli sauce. Combine the cheese mixture and the gelatin mixture thoroughly. Prepare the peppers by carefully cutting out the stalk end and removing all the seeds. Fill the peppers with the jelly-cheese mixture and stand them in a container so they stand upright and will not spill. It may be necessary to improvise something as a stand, for example, egg cups or an egg carton. Chill for several hours or until the mixture is quite firm. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into thick slices. Serve as part of a salad place or as an accompaniment to cold meats. Serves 6.