I have always loved books and learned early in my life that books were entertaining, explanatory, trustworthy, and a dependable companion both in my home and when travelling around. Books are where I go to for my information, even now in the age of the internet, my first port of call when I want to learn something is the library. I used to buy all the books I read but now that I have reduced the amount I spend, books are a shared experience with others using my local library. Sometimes though, I'm lucky enough to gather enough points on my Amazon widget to buy a few books, and that is exactly what I did just after Christmas. Of the three books I bought then, I want to write about A Well-Kept Home by Laura Fronty and Yves Duronsoy.
This is a book that will serve to give you those hints, tips and recipes that you'll never find in a modern magazine or most books on household tips. This is a gentle look at how we can use old-fashioned methods in our modern homes.
Click to enlarge.
This book is familiar to me, it's how I am living. Some recipes and hints are old favourites, some are totally new to me. There are little treasures in the book like these:
If only a few drops are required, prick the lemon with a toothpick, press it, then put the toothpick back like a cork! To extract all of its juice without a lemon squeezer, cut in half, push in a fork and turn it vigorously around in the pulp. If you only use half, the other half can be kept under a glass turned upside down on a saucer.
RETURNING THE SHINE TO GLASSES, BOTTLES AND PITCHERS
6 egg shells
Juice of two lemons or ½ glass of vinegar.
- Break the egg shells in tiny pieces and put them in the glass items that require cleaning.
- Pour in the lemon juice or vinegar and shake.
- Leave overnight, so the shell dissolve, If necessary, use a bottle brush to clean the dirtiest areas. Empty out the solution.
- Rinse in very hot water.
If onions sprout, do not throw away the green stalk as they can be used in salads or other dishes. You will be positively glad of sprouting onions in winter, when chives are rare and expensive. In order to make an onion sprout, put one atop a flared neck jug, filled with water. In less than ten days, you will have many fresh and delicious green sprouts.
This onion tip will also work by piercing the onion with two toothpicks on either side of the onion. That will allow you to suspend the onion over a glass of water.
And here is a lovely old fashioned recipe from my CWA (Country Women's Association) cook book:
Take tomatoes not quite ripe, the green ones are best; wipe with a cloth and take off the stems. Put into a preserving kettle, allowing ½ lb (250 grams) white sugar for every pound of fruit. Add a little water for syrup. Slice 1 lemon for every 2 lbs fruit, and add. Boil until thoroughly done, and the syrup is thick. Do not put much water in at first, as it may be added easily.
CWA cookbooks are available from most CWA branches. Mine is about 40 years old but it says inside the cover it's available from The Secretary, Soldier's Memorial Hall Committee, Tandunda SA 5352. If it's still available, it's a fine book. There are no photographs in it, which was the custom in those days, just old-fashioned recipes.
BUTTERMILK APPLE CAKE
And finally today, the recipe for my Buttermilk Apple Cake that a few people have asked for.
- Make the topping first, then set to one side.
- 1/3 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped nuts - walnuts or pecans would do nicely
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup soft butter
- Mix all the ingredients together.
2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup butter
½ cup white or raw sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk (or plain yoghurt)
2 apples - cored, peeled and sliced finely
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Turn on your oven 190 C (375F). Grease a 9 inch baking tin/pan.
- Cream the butter and both sugars, when it's light and fluffy, add the egg and mix in.
- In another bowl, mix together the sifted plain flour and baking powder.
- Add buttermilk and flour mixture alternately, mixing as you go. Add lemon zest.
- Add half the batter to the baking tin and spread on a layer of the thinly slices apples. Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples. Add the other half of the batter.
- Sprinkle on the topping.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
- This is a moist cake suitable for a lunch box, morning tea or dessert, with custard or a little cream.