Thursday, April 30, 2015

Australian Tested Recipes (1879)

I have been musing lately on the development of our national identity as expressed through the cookery columns of old newspapers, and thought I would share a few snippets with you over the next week or two. There are many stories about early settlers from Britain (the better-off ones, at least, who could afford to choose) resolutely resisting the concept of foods with any indigenous taint, and sticking imperiously to the food of “home,” to the extent of importing preserved salmon and meat to a colony rich in both.

My first dips into newspaper archives for “Australian Recipes” brought up the following article, from The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW) of  8th February 1879. I noted too late that it referred to Australian tested recipes, and included a Bengal-type chutney and an American bread. The search for the beginnings of the concept of Australian cuisine has clearly only just begun!

The Household.
We beg to remind our lady readers that we depend entirely upon their personal assistance to maintain this department useful and trustworthy, and have once or twice lately been without any recipes to publish. We are always thankful to receive even one or two proved recipes, and will publish them without fail for the benefit of all housewives. Besides the batch in this issue, we have in hand only one additional lot from ' Lassie,' who will please accept our best thanks. We are quite confident that a large proportion of the domesticated and sensible among our lady readers really appreciate the opportunity of getting practical common sense family recipes, suitable for Australian use and climate. It each would contribute one or two of her own which she has not seen in our columns, she will return the value received from others.

By C. A. S. (Tried and found satisfactory.)
Tomato Sauce. — Take 6 lbs. of ripe tomatoes, 1 lb. of onions, ½ oz. of garlic. Boil together until the skins are clear from the tomatoes, then strain through a colander. Add a pint of vinegar, 2 teaspoonfuls of cayenne pepper, ¼ lb. of common salt, ½ oz. of ground ginger, a few cloves; then boil again till thick, constantly stirring. When cold, bottle it close.
Bengal Recipe for Making Chutney (like Mango Chutney). — 1½ t lb. of moist sugar, ¾ lb. of salt, ¼ lb.of garlic, ¼ lb. of onions,  ¾ lb. of powdered ginger, ¼ lb. dried chillies, ¾ lb. of mustard seed (common mustard will do),  ¾ lb. of stoned raisins, 2 bottles of good vinegar, 30 large unripe sour apples or 60 green tomatoes. The sugar must be made into a syrup; the garlic, onions, and ginger be finely powdered in a mortar; the apples peeled, cored, sliced, and boiled in a bottle and a-half of the vinegar. When all this is done and the apples are quite cold, put them into a large pan, and gradually mix the whole of the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining half -bottle of vinegar. It must be well stirred until the whole is thoroughly blended, then bottle for use; cork it tight. Both this and the tomato sauce will keep for years.
American Cake. — Two cups of sugar, ½ cup of butter, 2 ½ cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 3 eggs, a few currants and some candied peel chopped very fine, 1 teaspoonful of soda, and 1 of acid; the two last to be mixed into the milk, but not till directly before using it. Beat the butter to a cream, then beat the sugar into it, then the eggs, then the flour and milk, the currants and peel; the last can be omitted.


Joe Hopkins said...

Any thoughts on why the cake would have been called American Cake? I don't recognize it as like any cake I've ever eaten or seen in America.

The Old Foodie said...

I have no idea, Joe. There is not a lot of logic attached to this sort of name! Maybe someone brought the recipe back from a visit to America, or from a relative there, and that's what they began to call it.