Sunday, 23 August 2009

More flowers - and a recipe

Hmm, didn't realise I'd copied the Chicken Kebabs with Satay Sauce from the laptop and already posted what else?
This is my regular Swiss Roll recipe, which we often have at the weekends. I am afraid to say that the two of us can finish it off between us, with morning and afternoon coffee, breakfast on Sunday and maybe Sunday tea.
My recipe come from Alison Uttley's Recipes from an Old Farmhouse. My copy is an old hardback one (1966) which came from my grandmother's house. It was still in print as a paperback fairly recently, because not long after my mother gave me that copy, someone gave her a brand new paperback one. Mine is illustrated by Pauline Baynes, who did the illustrations for the Narnia books.
I loved the Little Grey Rabbit books by the same author (illustrated by Margaret Tempest) when I was little. I still have a little wooden Fuzzypeg hedgehog in a pram made out of three quarters of a coconut, which my dad made for my fifth birthday. I was in hospital having my tonsils out on the day, but when I came home, the cord for pulling the pram along was peeking out from behind the sofa, so that I would find it. Little Grey Rabbit was what I got on my star chart when I was being good and not too sulky - on those days I got a crab. They are one of the books I can remember going to the bookshops in Bray and Stillorgan to buy when I had money after my birthday and Christmas, and I still have them all. Some are more battered than others! She also wrote a very good book for older children about a traveller in time, who went back to the time of Elizabeth and Mary, and a plot by a landed Catholic family to get Mary back on the throne.
The cookery book harks back to her own childhood on a big farm, and is interesting to read, as well as having several recipes I often use.
So - for the Swiss Roll, at last. It's 4 eggs and six ounces (3/4 cup) castor sugar beaten till very thick. Then gently fold in 4 ounces sifted flour with 1 tsp baking powder (about 1/2 cup flour after sifting), and vanilla essence. Also lemon zest, if you like. Bake in a large swiss-roll tin lined with baking parchment in a hot oven. It takes about 8 minutes. Allow to cool for a minute after removing from the oven, then turn onto a clean damp tea towel sprinkled with castor sugar. Cover with the rest of the towel, and when cool spread with jam and whipped cream.
When she made it, they had to beat it over hot water, by hand, and it must have taken forever. I am very glad to have a mixer that only takes about five minutes! Especially when I remember Laura Ingalls Wilder's accounts of beating the eggs for her wedding cake, and how long that took.
More flowers from yesterday...pretty sure the third one is some species of Echinacea, just not the one I have in the garden.


  1. I managed to get internet service - at least today - while we're away. Sounds like a yummy recipe. Is castor sugar a powdered sugar?

    Your flower pictures are stunning. I can see the crispness of the petals on the strawflower.

  2. It looks like Echinacea to me too.
    Laura Ingalls, yes, I used to love reading her books, I am not sure I ever owned any, I borrowed them from my school's library.
    I remember one where she described the food they made for Christmas, don't remember reading about the wedding cake. Mind you, I preferred her earlier memories, when she was a child.