Saturday, 22 June 2019

Cook's in charge in the Great Kitchen


In Edwardian times, every large house had a Great Kitchen where the cook was in charge. At Cusworth Hall in 1901, the Great Kitchen was the domain of Eliza Haddrill, a 47 year old lady from Berkshire. She would meet her mistress, Lady Isabella every morning to decide the menus for the day and with the help of the kitchen maids, prepare meals for the family and servants.
On the recent Servants’ Day, I got dressed up as Eliza to bake some recipes for the visitors which the Servants might have eaten.  I made a Slab Cake. This is a light fruit cake which has no additional spices in the recipe so it retains a simplicity which the servants would have enjoyed. 
What you need to bake Slab Cake…
225g/8oz butter
225g/8oz sugar
5 eggs (beaten)
275g/10oz plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
110g/4oz ground almonds
225g/8oz sultanas
110g/4oz glace cherries
110g/4oz walnuts

How to bake …
Pre heat the oven Mark 2, 300F, 150C. Grease and line a 23 cm/9 inch square cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs gradually. Mix together the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, fruit and walnuts. Add these to the creamed mixture. Bake for 1½ - 2 hours.
 
Meryl says : This was one of Grandma Abson’s recipes which she would have made at Oakleigh when she was a cook in service in Edwardian times. This cake got the thumbs up with the visitors, alongside the Ground Rice CakeI hope you enjoy it too!


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