Thursday, 7 February 2013

It’s Snowdrops time!

Here we are already in February and the first flowers to herald the coming of spring – snowdrops - are out in abundance at Hodsock Priory. I’m doing talks about Grandma Abson’s Traditional Baking there every Wednesday during the Snowdrop season.  
Dorothy Spencer (nee Clay) was in service in the house until 1933 and she described her memories of life there. On ‘Entertaining at Hodsock’ she said “Summer tea parties on the terrace were most popular …The menu was always the same : cucumber sandwiches, plain sponge cakes, cut into small squares or diamond portions, some with coffee icing, others with chocolate icing and there was homemade ice-cream ... Best china was always used … (with) small linen napkins and silver tea pots.” We had a little peek into the private Hodsock family recipes with a lovely Chocolate Cake recipe from 1885 which I’m hoping to try before too long and tell you about another time.
Afternoon tea with sponge cakes cut into diamonds
As always, the visitors ask lots of questions. Jo asked me about a recipe her Grandma used to make called ‘Queen of Puddings’. I knew straightaway that this was a recipe Grandma Abson used to make. I did find several versions including one from her old recipe book from 1907, The Best Way.  Most of the ‘Queen of Puddings’ recipes use  jam as the base but both Jo and I remembered our Grandmas both used stewed apple, so it’s worth trying this and replacing the jam with stewed fruit to ring the changes.
Stewed Apple for the Queen of Puddings
I’m wondering what questions next Wednesday at Hodsock will bring.  Let me know if you try Queen of Puddings and what’s the verdict… 

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