Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Sausage Cobbler (1947)

It seems like most of my Vintage Kitchen recipes so far have been from 1947 - I'm not sure particularly why, since I've consulted my entire collection of magazines for recipes.


This week I served up "sausage cobbler", which is in fact actually Toad in the Hole by a slightly more country-cottage-chic name.


I made it exactly as directed, using spicy beef sausages from the local butcher instead of pork. And obviously not in a Yorkshire pudding tin. And do you know what? It was delicious. I'm actually slightly surprised how good all the recipes I've tried so far have turned out to be - most of them are great storecupboard stand-bys, and in fact I've already made the fishcakes again since (using smoked mackerel fillets - worked great). This recipe is another that's headed onto the to-make-again list - it's dead easy, requires almost no preparation and makes great winter comfort food - the only thing I'd do differently is to caramelise the onions a bit first to add a little more flavour.

Friday, February 22, 2013

London Town


A while back I was contacted by Swagger & Swoom to ask if I would be interested in one of their bow ties or cravats. They sell a vast selection of silk and cotton bow ties in both self-tie and pre-tied, and a wide variety of cravats in traditional silk paisleys, wool tartans and more - as well as other gentlemen's accessories including braces, handkerchiefs, cummerbunds, cufflinks, and some rather snazzy socks.

With so much choice I found it difficult to narrow down my selection, but eventually opted for the London Icons design.


I didn't think I could carry off the Marlene Dietrich androgynous look, so rather than wear it the traditional way I lengthened the adjustable straps and wore the bow tie as a headband. I like repurposing items and finding new ways to wear them. I mean, I know it's hardly revolutionary, but it's good to remind oneself to think outside the box when accessorising - whether it's a scarf for a belt, a brooch as a buckle, or a bow tie as a headband.


Printed cotton bow tie (worn as headband), Swagger & Swoon; Wool cardigan, estate of a family friend; vintage cashmere sweater, charity shop; 90s skirt, charity shop; Belt, can't remember (car boot or charity shop); Gloves, Tesco; Shoes, from my own shop stock (some sizes still available - enquire if interested).


Do you have a top tip for outside-the-box accesorising?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Think Pink


Oh yeah, so I have pink hair now. I had actually envisaged a more pastel pink shade, but I wanted it done for the Vintage Mafia Valentine party at the weekend and didn't have time to order online, so I thought I'd give this shocking pink a whirl since it was what was available on the high street. I confess I'm not altogether convinced on the wisdom of the idea - I think I may have gone a bit overboard on the size of the section. I suppose I had hoped it would give me an instant effortless cool. It hasn't. But I think I like it all the same.


This is one of my very favourite dresses, and I've shown it here a few times. Sadly the delicate rayon fabric is starting to show strain at the shoulders. I've reinforced it with iron-on interfacing and darned over, but I try not to wear it too much - tough when it's so damn adorable! Unfortunately it's one of the major problems with vintage clothing, and aficionadoes are faced with a dilemma, our loyalty divided between a duty of care to preserve vintage and antique clothing, weighing against a desire to wear them and enjoy them and bring life to them.


1940s dress, ebay; Sash, made by me; Necklace, car boot sale; Gloves, Spitalfields vintage fair; Crochet tights, New Look; Shoes, Clarks via charity shop.


So... what do you think of the hair? (another outfit post coming soon)

And how do you feel about wearing delicate vintage clothing?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Fish Pancakes (1947)

Today's recipe is in honour of shrove Tuesday, pancake day! I promise it tastes a whole lot nicer than it looks - unfortunately my food photography skills could do with some work. The recipe came from a 1947 magazine, which also helpfully provided instructions for pancake making.



I used tinned red salmon (which made it all a pretty pink colour) and added peas. I didn't have any prawns. Not much else to add except it was very yummy!


Because I'm basically a total novice in the kitchen (I know, how bad is that? I can bake, but actual food is a bit beyond me - hence this series) and don't even know how to make a white sauce, I consulted another magazine - this one from 1942 - for instructions.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

{Style Inspiration} Eastern Promise

In honour of Chinese New Year, here are some beautiful vintage Chinese adverts and posters dating from the 1930s to 1950s - I love that in some the girls are dressed in traditional style Chinese clothing, and in others western fashions.












Thursday, February 7, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Famous for your teas (1947)


It really isn't difficult to become tea famous and tea can be made quite a delicious meal with very little trouble. Tea-time baking is one of the most enjoyable forms of cookery, too. Nothing gives a cook a greater sense of satisfaction than to take a batch of golden scones or a perfect cake from the oven, and every housewife knows the glow of pride she has when her visitors round the tea-table exclaim, "Nobody has teas like yours!"

So here are some recipes to help you become famous for your teas.


Bear in mind that this is not long post-war and food rationing is still very much in force, so these cake recipes are light on sugar and fat, and heavy on cheap flour (although flour rationing had just been introduced the previous year due to Britain's disastrous wheat harvest) - compare the proportions to a classic Victoria sponge which uses equal measures of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Also note: NO CUPCAKES. Despite their acquired reputation as a 'vintage' tea-time treat, cupcakes were rarely seen on tea tables in the 40s and 50s - if they were made at all, it was for children's parties and they were called fairy cakes.





I put it to a vote, and the ginger cake won out. I used double the amount of ground ginger in the recipe, adding two generous teaspoons - and it could even do with another one for a richer ginger taste. I used wholemeal self-raising for about a quarter of the flour, and also replaced some of the caster sugar with soft light brown sugar for a more molasses-y flavour. Other than that I made the usual substitutions - real butter instead of margarine, and real eggs instead of dried. Oh, and I forgot to add sultanas - oops.


The result was more of a tea-loaf than a cake - as you might expect the proportionally low sugar and fat content leaves it somewhat drier than a classic sticky ginger cake (adding sultanas would probably help combat this), but goes very nicely with a cup of tea.

Oh, and in case you're wondering (I had to google it), a "gill" is a quarter of a pint - 5 fluid oz or 142ml.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

{Style Inspiration} Colourful Winter Dresses

I love bright colours all year round, but I feel it's especially important in the grey days of winter - a splash of colour helps to lift one's outfit and one's mood. And who could help but be lifted by these wonderful war-era dresses?


Beautiful bright dresses in Sears, 1939 - love the green one!


Sears, 1940


Everywoman magazine, 1943


Everywoman magazine, 1943


Everywoman magazine, 1945 - I love the slimming contrast panel on the brown suit jacket.

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