Today I rediscovered an old treasure - in the form of a cookery book. Don't you just love it when that happens. You are browsing your shelves, looking for something else entirely and you come across something that makes you exclaim: "How could I have forgotten I had this!"
My 'this' in question is a copy of 'The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cook Book', which I have had for at least 20 years and not properly looked at for at least 5, I would say. The book was published to tie in with a television series of the same name, which I dimly remember from childhood. I do know that it was in the days before television cooks became glamorous; the ladies who presented it looked comfortingly like real farmers' wives. I had forgotten until I read the blurb on the back of the book that most of the recipes were actually sent in by farmers' wives around the country. The result is a book that contains some very old and very regional recipes. I wonder whether some are ever cooked anywhere any more. They have wonderful titles: Sussex Heavies (which I think are pronounced as in heaving up a weight rather than 'heavy' as in the weight itself), Lemon Dainty, Shearing Cake, God's Kitchel Cake, How D'You Do Cake, Huffed Chicken.
A great proportion of the recipes embody the very essence of thrift, using produce that would have been easily available to the farmer's wife and making a small amount of meat go a long and satisfying way. One dish that took my eye is baking in the oven now: Cheshire Fidget Pie, made with layers of apple, onion and chopped bacon covered with a pastry crust. Why 'fidget' I wonder? We'll try it later today and I'll post the recipe if it is worth sharing.