Honey cake is an ancient cake but it came back into fashion during Victorian times because it goes incredibly well with a cup of tea. The following recipe is adapted from a Victorian Tea book.
For the cake
For the icing
pre heat oven to 180C/350F/gasmark 3 and line and butter a 7 inch cake tin
Put the honey, butter and sugar into a pan. Add a spoonful of water and heat until melted
remove from the heat and add the eggs and flour.
Spoon the cake into the tin and bake for approximately 45 mins.
Cool slightly in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack.
While the Cake is still warm, make the icing by mixing the honey, icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot water, Drizzle over the cake.
At the start of the Victorian era mincemeat actually contained meat. It wasn't until towards the middle and end of Victorian times that the more well off of society started to just have fruit.
Fruit with meat is not a new thing. Throughout history it was quite normal to to mix them together in dishes and in fact there were warning during the early medieval era to not eat fruit raw!
Whilst most households would try to preserve some fruit during the summer and autumn for use in the winter months, you had to try and make your fruit and meat go as far as it could.
Victorians could purchase dried and glace fruits of course but again it all came down to cost. We are going for the posh recipe - with fruit and no meat!
a wee note on the ingredients: we didn't have any dried figs and we prefer glace cherries and mixed fruit, so we just adjusted the amounts of both to take the place of the dried figs. Mincemeat was about what you could get and what your personal choice was, so feel free to make up the fruit mix to your taste.
Mix together all your dried fruit, except cherries, and then take out a cup of the fruit mix and put to one side.Peel your apples and chop, pour over the lemon juice and mix.
If you were Victorian you would now mince down your fruit, cherries and apple together. This could be done with a mincer or by passing through a sieve. Some people just finely chopped all the ingredients though.I cheated and put my fruit in a fruit processor and gave it a quick blast.
Empty the mix into a big bowl and add the cup of reserved fruit.
Add the suet and sugar and mix well.
Add your spices and rum or brandy and mix well
Put this mix in large sterilised jars. This mix will last for about 6 weeks thanks to the sugar and alcohol.
There are recipes from the Victorian era that call for 1 pint of brandy! Feel free to add that amount if you wish, but you will have to drain before use!
Have you got a spare tea cup ready?
Victorians would have lots of veg around their Turkey or Ham on Christmas day, just like we do now, and of course they had potatoes.
But true to Victorian style, they done them a wee bit differently.
They would take mashed potato ( mashed with only a small amount of butter and milk), season with salt and pepper, and then put that mix into a tea cup.
The top of the potato would be brushed with beaten egg yolk and then browned next to the fire...or you could brown them under a grill the way we did for the photo!
Another way was to roll the mashed potato into small balls and then roll them in flour.
They would then be deep fried until they were brown.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
They were also very fond of adding other things to their mash such as onion, cabbage or cheese.
Sometimes they would add all that together along with chopped ham.
Victorians ate some puddings according to what month it is. February called for Ginger Dough Balls.
This was a simple pudding and would be made and eaten by the working class rather than high society, although they wouldn't be out of place in a high class Victorian nursery.
8ozs shred beef suet
2 tsp of ground ginger
Mix the suet and flour together
Add the ginger and mix
Add the water a wee bit at a time until the mix forms a soft dough
Divide into equal balls
Cook in simmering water for 30 mins
Just before the dough balls are cooked, heat 3 tablespoons of jam with 1 tablespoon of water.
Place Dough Balls in bowl and drizzle over the jam sauce.
From silver to copper, and lead pewter to enamelled, coffee and tea pots came in a variety of shapes and sizes through history.
Afternoon Tea was very popular during the Victorian times but drinks we're not restricted to just tea, coffee was offered too. Below is a Victorian recipe for coffee (yes they produced recipes to ensure it was done correctly!)
It was recommended that the coffee should be home roasted and ground just before use!
1. Place kettle of soft water on the fire to boil. 2. Grind the coffee and allow and ounce for each person 3.place a thick calico bag in the percolator,pour the ground coffee into it and the pour the water very slowly over the grounds.
On no account pour the water fast as you will lose the brightness and clearness of the coffee.
To serve- add boiling milk to 3/4 of cup, add coffee to fill.