The smell of sweet spices is the smell of Christmas, is it not? And surely one of its top notes is that of ginger? There is gingerbread, of course, and there are many recipes for it in Through the Ages with Gingerbread, plus quite a number more buried in blog posts that I have still not gotten around to cutting and pasting into the archive itself. There are numerous recipes for ginger beer, ginger puddings, and ginger biscuits too, in the cyber-pages here at The Old Foodie. I am, as you can guess, a ginger fan. And besides, my home state of Queensland is famous for its ginger, so why should I not promote it?
So, here in honour of both Christmas and the Sunshine State, I give you a couple of gingery ideas:
Christmas Ginger Cake.
Ingredients: 1 ½lb. of flour, ½lb. ground rice, ½lb. castor sugar, 1lb. treacle, ½lb. lard or margarine, ¼ lb. butter, 3 eggs, a little lemon essence, 2 heaped teaspoonfuls of ground ginger, 2 teaspoonfuls baking powder (heaped) , ½ teaspoonful carbonate of soda, I gill milk, a little salt. Mix well together; beat the butter, lard, and sugar together, add the beaten eggs, then the flour, rice, and salt. Mix well, add the baking powder and soda, and mix again. Now add the ginger and lemon essence. Make a well in the centre, pour in the treacle, beat well for 10 minutes, mixed with the warm milk. Bake in a paper lined tin for 2½ hours in a moderate oven. This cake is better if made a fortnight before Christmas.
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld) December 1, 1927
Put seven pounds of Lisbon sugar into four galloons of spring water, boil them a quarter of an hour, and keep skimming all the time. When the liquor is cold, squeeze in the juice of two lemons, and then boil the peels with two ounces of ginger, in three pints of water, for an hour. When it is cold, put it all together into a barrel, with two spoonsful of yeast, a quarter of an ounce of isinglass beat very thin, and two pounds of jar raisins. Then close it up, let it stand seven weeks, then bottle it off.
Modern Domestic Cookery, and Useful Receipt Book (1847), by William Henderson.