Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pooh's Fireside Recipes: Comfort food for kids of all ages with Potato Pancakes & Honey Cake

Vintage Cookbook: Pooh's Fireside Recipes, Katie Stewart
Publication Details: Methuen Children's Books, 1985

Inspired by A. A. Milne's classics Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner the truly charming cookbook, Pooh's Fireside Recipes was published in the UK in 1985.

A rather small book, at only 32 pages, it was aimed at children and getting them involved in and interested in cooking, but it is a joy for adults as well with 14 classic comfort food dishes as well as four ideas for making toast (i.e French toast or cinnamon toast). It is illustrated throughout with lovely little sketches of all the Pooh characters by Ernest H. Shepard and is appropriately shaped like an old fashioned honey jar. There was a companion volume, Pooh's Picnic Recipes that was published contemporaneously.

The author, Katie Stewart was the cooking editor for Woman's Journal at the time.

While technically not a seasonal cookbook, I have always associated it with fall, and its recipe for potato pancakes with bacon is one of my family's favourites for a cool October or November afternoon or evening.

As always we are sharing two recipes, as they originally appeared.

Potato pancakes with bacon

[Editor's note: When I have made these I like to serve them with sour cream for the pancakes, and I generally simply fry some good smoked bacon slices to accompany them as opposed to the grill method outlined below]

Serves 4

400 gr/ 1 lb. potatoes
1 onion
2 eggs
25g (2 oz. or two rounded tablespoons) plain flour
1 level teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
8 bacon rashers
2-3 tablespoons oil for frying

Find a potato peeler a grater, a large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon for mixing and a tablespoon. Chose a large frying pan and find a pair of scissors for trimming the bacon rashers.

Peel the potatoes and the onion. Grate the potatoes and the onion, through the coarse side of a grater, into a large mixing basin.  Take care not to grate your fingers! Add the eggs, the flour, salt and pepper and using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients thoroughly. 

Using a pair of scissors, trim the rinds from the bacon rashers. Arrange the rashers neatly in the grill pan (remove the grid first). Place the fat part of each rasher overlapping the lean of the next and set aside ready for grilling.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the potato mixture in tablespoons at a time. Fry only 3-4 pancakes at a time as you spoon the mixture in flatten them slightly.

Fry the pancakes over a moderate heat until brown on the underside-it should take about 5 minutes. Then turn over and brown the second side.

As the pancakes are cooked, lift from the pan and place on a hot serving plate. Keep the prepared ones warm, while cooking the remainder. You should get about 12 pancakes.

When they are almost all ready, turn on the grill. Place the bacon rashers under the grill, about 7.5 cm (3") from the heat, and grill for about 3-5 minutes.

These are something to have when your friends come round for high tea. Get them to help you make them and serve straight away, together with the grilled bacon rashers.

Honey Cake

Makes 24 squares

175g (7 oz.) (or 7 rounded tablespoons) self raising flour
125g (5 oz.) butter or margarine
100g (4 oz.) (or 4 rounded tablespoons) soft brown sugar
150g (6 oz.) (or 6 rounded tablespoons) honey
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water

Find a sieve, a square of foil or greaseproof paper, a saucepan and a wooden spoon. Take an oblong cake tin of about 27.5 x 17.5 x 2.5 cm. (11"x7"x1") or a small roasting tin, grease the tin and line with a strip of greaseproof paper. Turn the oven heat on to moderate 180C (350F or Gas No. 4) and find a pair of oven gloves.

Sift the flour on to a square of greaseproof paper or foil and set aside.

Measure the butter or margarine and the sugar, honey and water into a saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the fat has melted. Do not allow to boil. Draw the pan off the heat and allow to cool for about ten minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, beat the eggs into the honey mixture one at a time. Tip in the flour mixture all at once. Stir until it has blended and then beat thoroughly.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and spread evenly. Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is well risen.

Remove the cake from the oven using oven gloves. Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife and turn out. Allow to cool and then cut in squares.

Honey cake keeps well in a tin so you can take a piece out anytime your tummy rumbles.

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