Rhubarb and Banana Fool

Rhubarb and Banana Fool

One evening recently, I found myself driving home from visiting my Mom with a small harvest of fresh rhubarb from her garden in the passenger seat. Basically as soon as I set foot in my door, I searched for a historic rhubarb recipe that wasn’t Rhubarb Jam, Stewed Rhubarb or Rhubarb Pie (the things I do for fun!). Rhubarb and Banana Fool, from the 1900 cookbook Mrs. Beeton’s Cold Sweets, was the most intriguing to me.

A good description of this recipe in today’s terms would be a low-sugar banana and rhubarb smoothie, with a suggested whipped cream topping. Discovering the Rhubarb and Banana Fool recipe made me wonder: “When did people start eating bananas in North America?”, so I delve into answering that question by having a look at American and Canadian cookbooks and the establishment of the Boston Fruit Company. You’ll also find a bit of bonus info about Cochineal, an insect used as a red dye.

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Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Besides the fact that Apple Butter is very delicious, I had an ulterior motive for making this recipe. I made Apple Butter because I wanted to make use of the discarded apples from the historic cooking classes that I taught at Nelles Manor Museum this fall, so you'll find a bonus Apple Water recipe in this blog post.

Our Apple Butter recipe is found in Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery, published in Philedelphia in 1851. Making Apple Butter is much, much easier in our era because we're able to cook down our apples in a slow cooker, without having to stir the apples " nearly all the time with a stick" in a kettle suspended over a fire!

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Orange Drops

Orange Drops

I wanted to make a candy recipe in honour of Halloween this year, so I did a search on my favourite place to discover new old cookbooks, the Internet Archive, and found the 1788 gem A new collection of receipts in confectionary.

Orange Drops are a candy made of a dehydrated purée containing orange peel, white sugar and a bit of orange juice. Depending on how you dehydrate them, Orange Drops can be crispy or soft like a jujube. If you love Candied Orange Peel, you'll probably enjoy these Orange Drops! They’re less sweet than Candied Orange Peel (probably because they don't have the white sugar coating found on candied peels), so expect a balanced sweet & sour citrus flavour.

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Tuna Sandwiches

Tuna Sandwiches

This Tuna Sandwich recipe comes from the Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook (1974), which is a cookbook that was in our house when I was growing up. I don't remember anyone ever making a recipe from this cookbook when I was a kid, but I remember flipping through this book to read the Peanuts comics that are nestled amongst the recipes. About 6 months ago, I found this book in an antiques market...and all the memories flooded back.

In this sandwich filling, you'll find flaked tuna, crushed pineapple and chopped water chestnuts. When I selected this recipe, my hunch was that it would either be delicious or disgusting and I had no idea which way it would go! I'm happy to report that it was delicious. The pineapple is very subtle. You can taste something a little bit sweet in there but you aren't quite sure what that is, and the water chestnuts add a nice crunch to the sandwich filling. The pineapple and water chestnuts cut the fishiness of the tuna, so you end up with a low-key tuna flavour (and smell), so this recipe would make tunafish sandwiches more palatable for someone who isn't a fan.

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Apple Frazes

Apple Frazes

Apple Frazes are a tasty apple pancake from the 18th-century classic: The art of cookery made plain and easy by Hannah Glasse. Through making this recipe, I've learned that adding little bit of sherry to your pancake batter is a very good idea!

I had the pleasure of frying my Apple Frazes over an open hearth built in the 1780s at Nelles Manor Museum, where I'll be teaching Open Hearth Cooking Classes. The September Classes have sold out, but we've added a third class on November 4th at 1:00. At this class we'll be making the same Autumn recipes as the classes in September, only at the end of the Fall season rather than the beginning.

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Apple Bread

Apple Bread

In my backyard is a giant apple tree, so for as long as I call this house my home, you'll find apple recipes on Cloud 9 Cookery this time of year. Apple Bread is surprisingly not sweet. This bread is very flavourful thanks to a longer prefermentation process and the apples add a little je ne sais quoi to the complex flavour of this moist bread. I took both the very large loaves this recipe yielded to a gathering along with some butter. I thought that there would be leftovers and there most definitely were not!

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