It all started on Twitter (as usual.) @danrandow tweeted a link to the online version of the Edmonds Cookbook 1914 edition and suddenly a whole bunch of us were cooking one recipe from 1914 and the equivalent from a modern Edmonds cookbook. Thanks to ringleader @vavroom for the inspiration!
I chose to make the Vegetarian Roast from 1914.Here is the Vegetarian Roast recipe. It’s basically fancy stuffing. Although it looks fiddly – toast the bread, crumb the bread, crush the peanuts etc – it’s easy to make. I thought it would come out as a solid thing that I could slice but either it’s not supposed to do that or I didn’t put enough milk in because it crumbled all over the plate. I faithfully ate it for lunch with some steamed vegetables on the side. Okay, if a little bland. For round two I added a bit more milk, and baked it in a ramekin. Then I ate it with roast chicken. It. Was. DELICIOUS. Vegetarian fail, recipe win. Would definitely make it again to eat with roast chicken. I assumed (incorrectly) that there would be a Vegetarian Roast in the later editions. Instead I made Rice Pilaf. (It was that or lasagne.) Once again I thought I’d be able to slice it but no. It starts off sort of like a risotto but then you stop with the oven-top stirring and pop it in to bake. Even with inadequate and inferior ingredients it tasted great. I think I’ll leave out the second lot of butter next time though. It was interesting to compare the way the two recipes were written. In 1914 the ingredients are listed but the amounts needed are in the recipe. I guess that’s why you should always read the recipe before you start. It also says to “bake slowly”. What the heck does that mean? Actually, I probably could have asked a colleague. She is a great baker. When she had her first house it only had a wood stove. She used to put her hand in and feel the temperature (still does it now sometimes.) The Pilaf recipe is much clearer with the amounts stated up front. It also says the rice should be “quite dry” after 20 mins of baking at 220C which is a good pointer for someone who has never made it before. Recommended reading: “First catch your weka” by David Veart. History of New Zealand cooking/baking/eating habits. Excellent. While making the Vegetarian Roast watched “Downton Abbey”. While making Rice Pilaf (PILAF) I watched “Green Wing.” Thanks to the makers of both those shows.