Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 10:36 UK
A fresh look at Arlington's 19th century recipes
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

The cook's notebook
The cook's notebook from the 1870s - being put to good use

Recipes written down by the cook at one of Devon's most historic houses are being revived more than 130 years on.

The recipes are in an old notebook at the National Trusts's Arlington Court near Barnstaple and date back to 1876.

And the trust is now asking people to bake one of the cakes in the notebook as part of a competition.

The recipe is for an apple cake and you can get hold of it by emailing arlingtoncourt@nationaltrust.org.uk or from the box below.

Apple Cake recipe
Archive photo of the old kitchen
Rub into a lb of flour, 8 ozs of butter, lard or dripping, 1 dessertspoonful of baking powder, 4 tablespoonsful of powdered white sugar
Beat 2 eggs well, add 2 tablespoonfuls of milk
Mix the flour, butter and sugar with the eggs and milk into a soft paste
Line two well-greased cake tins or shallow pie dishes with the past
Cut into very thin slices some good cooking apples and between each layer strew sugar, enough to sweeten nicely - cover with the paste, pinching the edges firmly together leaving a hole for the juice to escape
Bake a light brown in a moderate oven for an hour
Turn it out of the tine or dish and strew white sugar over it
These cakes are very nice eaten hot or cold

"The recipe does not always make sense so we will be judging this competition on the best interpretation of the recipe rather than the usual standards of consistency, colour etc," said Michelle Fullard from Arlington.

Bring your cake along to the Country Skills Day at Arlington on Tuesday 1 June 2010 before 11.30 if you want to enter it in the competition.

Arlington was the home of the Chichester family when the notebook was written in 1876 and Arlington's new catering manager, Julie McKenzie, is using local produce - some grown in the court's own walled garden - to recreate the Victorian recipes.

"It's amazing how similar they are to the recipes we use today," said Julie, who worked at a trust property in Dorset before moving to Arlington this spring.

Among the traditional recipes in the notebook is for a Victorian sponge cake.

"It was named after Queen Victoria of course," said Julie. "Only then, it was called a Victoria Sandwich, not a cake.

"It wasn't round like it is now, it was baked in a square tin. They would then slice it down the middle to make a top and a bottom, and put jam in - but not cream.

"And they would cut them into fingers with a little sprinkling of caster sugar on the top. So this is how I am serving it."

Julie added: "They were made for the nursery for the children to eat because most cakes in those days were very heavy - such as fruit cakes - so this was made with the children in mind."

Julie McKenzie
Visitors have been asking for the old recipes being used by Julie

Julie is researching the Victorian recipes, and you can expect a selection to be on offer on occasions during the 2010 season.

"Our rhubarb is just coming into season so I'm going to look out some old recipes for that," she said.

Her 19th century dishes have gone down so well that visitors are asking to take the recipes home.

The notebook of recipes was put together by Arlington's cook in the 1870s, Mrs Hale Parker.

"All the recipes were handwritten and the house still has the book, which is in a fairly good condition - although I've had them typed up," said Julie.

With the help of her two cooks, Julie is also developing a range of 'local heroes' - foods using Arlington's own produce or ingredients sourced in the north Devon area.

A cheese and chive scone with gardeners relish is just one of the unique dishes on offer - the cheese is from a local farm and the chive comes from Arlington's garden, while the relish is made just down the road.

Arlington Court tearooms are open seven days a week until 31 October 2010, 10.30am to 5pm.

Chichester's round-the-world voyage
22 Jan 10 |  History
National Trust shows off Bolt Tail land
18 Feb 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Book collection is a mini marvel
10 Mar 10 |  History
Passing down old Devon dialect
05 Mar 10 |  History

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific