The Kitchen Witch

A reminder of old recipes and household hints. Some of them very old.

Apple mincemeat for Christmas pies (1938)


Edited by “Chef”
Associated Newspapers Ltd


1 lb of beef suet
1 lb of apples (weighed after peeling and coring)
1 lb of currants
4 oz of raisins
4 oz of sultanas
1 lb Demerara sugar
4 oranges
2 lemons
1/2 teaspoonful of powdered mace
1/2 teaspoonful of allspice
1 wineglassful of brandy


1. Wash well and thoroughly dry the curants and sultanas and raisins

2. Pick over the fruit, and stone and chop the raisins, peel and core the apples finely, remove all skins and strings from the suet and chop it very finely.

3. Grate the rind of one orange and one lemon on to the sugar.

4. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then strain in the juice of the oranges and lemons and add the brandy

5. Mix together very well.

6. Cover thebasin and leave for 12 to 24 hours

7. Then stir well again and put into jars.

8. Cover the jars as for jam and keep in a cool place.


Mince Pies for Christmas (1934)


Edited by “Chef”
Associated Newspapers Ltd


1 lb of puff or rough puff pastry
Any type of mince meat (see various recipes tomorrow)


1. The pastry is rolled out to just under 1/4 inch thick.
2. Cut it into rounds with a plain or fluted cutter just a little larger than the patty pans.
3. Roll out the trimmings ad cut these also into rounds.
4. Line the patty pans with the pastry cut from the trimmings.
5. Fill them with mincemeat.
6. wet round the edges and cover with the pastry which was first cut out.
7. Press the edges well together, place the patty pans on a baking tin and bake in a fairly hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked.
8. Whip up the white of an egg to a stiff froth and brush it over the mince pies.
9. Sift on a little castor sugar and return them to the oven for a minute or two.
10. arrange the mince peis on lace paper (doily) on a suitable dish and serve either hot or cold.

NOTE: If desired, the pies may be brushed over with a little water instead of the egg. Plainer mince pies may be made using short crust pastry,.

Sufficient for about 12 pies.

Time: 25-30 minutes.

Dumplings for stew 1929


This was taken from an American book “Anyone can Bake” published in 1929 to promote Royal Baking Powder Co.

In Scotland, we call these dumplings “doughballs”

“Sift one cup of flour with one-half teaspoon salt and three teaspoons baking powder.

Mix to a soft dough with six tablespoons of milk.

Drop by spoonfuls into hot stew and steam, covered for ten minutes.”

Christmas Plum Pudding 1929


This was taken from an American book “Anyone can Bake” published in 1929 to promote Royal Baking Powder Co.


2 cups ground suet
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups seeded raisins
2 cups currants
1 cup finely cut citron
1 cup finely cut fig
1 tablespoon finely cut orange peel
1 tablespoon finely cut lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup grape or other fruit juice


1. Mix thoroughly all dry ingredients and add fruit
2. Stir in water and fruit juice and mix thoroughly
3. Add more water if necessary to make stiff dough
4. Fill greased moulds two-thirds full, and steam five or six hours.
5. This pudding should be prepared and cooked a week or more before used.
6. Before serving, seam one hour and serve with hard, lemon, or foamy sauce.

P.S I have no idea what is meant by hard, lemon or foamy sauce. And what is the difference between finely cut citron and lemon peel. Could citron be grapefruit?

© Photographer:Stanisław Kostrakiewicz | Agency:

Cherry Cake (1) 1920’s


“Any rich cake can be given a party finish with icing, cherries or citron peel. Wrapping with a ribbon, too, gives it a festive appearance.”
1920’s – From Aunt Kate’s Baking Book


1. 8 oz castor sugar
2. 5 eggs
3. 6 oz glace cherries
4. 8 oz butter
5. 16 oz flour
6. Vanilla essence

Cream the butter and sugar and to this add the eggs, one at a time, alternately with the flour.

Beat the mixture thoroughly and add the cherries and the vanilla essence. Flour the cherries before putting them in so that they will not sink to the foot of the cake.

Pour into a greased tin and bake for 1 hour in a quick oven

The inspiration to bake (1920’s)


1920’s – From Aunt Kate’s Baking Book

“There’s such a pleasant sound about the word ‘cake.’ It seems to promise something really good – probably because it is usually associated with afternoon tea and parties. And what better excuse could there be for making cakes and eating them, than birthdays and parties and cosy, informal afternoon teas?

Every housewife, I am sure is just as pleased to have the chance to show her skill as the members of her family are to enjoy her cakes! For all the fun isn’t in eating the cakes, as any experienced baker will tell you. Making them can be quite an exhilarating business, too. First there are the careful preparations, then the satisfaction of seeing the cake turn out well, and last but not least, the thrill of watching the appreciative appetites of the household.

Little wonder that we all aspire to be good cake-makers.

Now, cake-making, although it might seem difficult to the inexperienced, is really a very simple process. For although there are hundreds of cake recipes, all differing slightly actually, the basis is the same in every case. There are a few simple rules about cake making, and once you know these, you can bake any sort of cake at all. What is more, you can feel perfectly confident about the result.

So let me tell you about the rules that prevent scorched tops and sagging centres……..”

Christmas Cake (1934)



Edited by “Chef”
Associated Newspapers Ltd

1. 1 lb of flour
2. 1/2 lb castor sugar
3. 1 lb sultanas
4. 4 oz almonds
5. 1 lb currants
6. 1 teaspoonful mixed spice
7. a pinch of salt
8. 1/2 lb butter
9. 1/2 lb candied peel
10. about 5 or 6 eggs
11. 1 wine-glassful of brandy

Dry the flour and mix it well together with the salt and spices in a large basin.

Wash and dry the fruit well, and remove all stocks.

Stone the raisins and cut them in half.

Blanch and chop the almonds.

Shred the candied peel finely.

Put the butter into a warm basin. Soften it very sightly, but do not let it oil, then beat it well with the hands or with a very large wooden spoon.

Add the sugar, and continue to beat until the butter is quite creamy.

Add the eggs two at a time, beating well, and occasionally add a spoonful of flour to check the eggs from curdling.

Mix one or two tablespoonfuls of flour with the prepared fruit, then stir it in gradually beating it very well.

Add the almonds, and then, last of all, stir in the flour lightly, alternating with the brandy.


Grease a tin well and line it with three or four layers of of greased paper.

Three parts fill the cake tin with the mixture, and place it on a baking tin thickly covered with sand and put them into a moderate oven.

This quantity takes 3 and 1/2 hours to cook. The oven must be hot enough to keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake, but after the first 20 minutes, the heat should be lowered a little and a steady state maintained.

When the cake begins to brown, cover it with a double sheet of wet white paper.

The last hour the heat of the oven may be lowered considerably for the cake to finish cooking through.

When cooked, turn it on to a sieve to cool, and remove the paper. It may then be wrapped in white paper or a cloth and kept for at least 2-3 months in a tin box with a well fitting lid.

All heavy rich fruit cakes are better for keeping as the ingredients seem to mellow and blend better with each other.

A few days before Christmas it may be coated with almond paste and then iced with ROYAL ICING.

The brandy may be omitted from this cake and sherry or port substituted.


© Photographer:Paul Cowan | Agency: