Noticed all the celebrity chef books are 70% off! Let’s face it it’s usually a mum in the kitchen doing her very best. This year it will be all hands on deck in my kitchen, with everyone interfering and getting in the way. Last year it was crisps and snacks in The Coach and Horses, next year who knows?
Eat your hearts out Jamie Oliver and Nigella, for joy upon joy I have just found Aunt Ethel’s handwritten cookery notes dated 1920 to 1922 and her Christmas Chestnut soup. Just the painstaking effort of all her writing is touching.
Chestnut Soup from Great Aunt Ethel’s notes 1920
1lb of chestnuts 1/2 pt milk One and half pts veg stock or water. 1 oz flour, small piece of celery, 1 onion, 1 oz marg, grated nutmeg.
Cut off end of chesnuts and boil or bake for 20 minutes. When nuts are quite tender, prepare white lined or aliminum saucepan – Melt margarine in it. Add onion, cut in small pieces and celery or seed in muslin bag, peeled chestnuts, stir over gas, season with salt. Add stock (she forgot to add that bit) bring to boiling paint and simmer for one and half hours. Pass though hair sieve and return to saucepan.
Mix flour and milk to smooth past, add pepper and little grated nutmeg. Add this to soup and cook for 5 minutes. Serve in hot tureen, with slice of toast or bread.
Word of warning not actually tried this yet, but looked interesting, thought it might be basis of a different kind of gravy for the turkey, but then I’m not a cooky person so not sure where one gets the ‘hair sieve’.
There is a recipe for Patriotic Pudding, could be good for next year’s Jubilee.
The recipe for peppermint creams in aunty’s book looked simple. We were still making these at Christmas in the post war years. This was the time when children were grateful for a nut, a tangerine and homemade gift in a Christmas stocking.
Not sure anyone would bother to make peppermint creams, when we can buy a box of After Eight mints for £2 or less.
Making the Christmas pudding at home was essential, how else could we take turns to stir it and make a wish? We loved Christmas Eve when I was a child, helping to ‘cross’ the base of the sprouts, pod the peas and peel the chestnuts. It was many years later that we had a turkey, before that chicken was the most likely option.
This year everyone in our family is going to make presents or buy really inexpensive things to avoid the totally unreal expense of it all.
One of my grandsons has already made the Christmas cake with his girlfriend. My younger son has taken up leatherwork so some of us might get a coaster! I’ve done some illustrations for desk calenders and started knitting scarves with my enormous ball of multi coloured wool. Well it’s the thought that counts!