The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

Recipes from the Land Between the Lakes

The Tale of Castle Cottage (#8)

The Tale of Castle Cottage (#8)
(click for pdf [printable] version)

These are the recipes that are included in The Tale of Castle Cottage (#8). Authentic Lake District foods are usually calorie-rich and based on locally grown meat, poultry, vegetables, garden-grown fruit and berries, and dairy. Mutton and lamb are favorite meats (cattle are mostly kept for their milk, rather than meat).

Parsley's Egg Mayonnaise, Cucumber, and Cress Sandwiches / Primrose's Carrot Cake /
Cumbrian Beef and Ale Stew with Herb Dumplings / Sticky Toffee Pudding /
Mrs. Beeton's Sage and Onion Stuffing

Parsley's Egg Mayonnaise, Cucumber, and Cress Sandwiches

4 eggs, hardboiled, finely chopped and mashed
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mild mustard
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh baby mustard cress or garden cress
16 thin slices of firm white or whole wheat bread, crusts removed

Mix the finely eggs, mayonnaise, and mustard together and season to taste. Spread half of the slices of bread with the egg mixture and layer fresh mustard or garden cress on top of each one, reserving some cress for garnishing. Place the remaining slices of bread on top, and cut each sandwich, diagonally, into 4 triangles. Arrange the sandwiches on a platter and garnish with the remaining mustard and cress.

Primrose's Carrot Cake

Badgers love carrots in all forms, but especially in cakes.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots
½ cup nuts

Mix together all dry ingredients. Beat eggs and stir in the oil. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add carrots and nuts. Pour into three greased 9" layer pans. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.

½ cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk

Combine all ingredients and beat with an egg beater until of spreading consistency. (Modern cooks will be glad to use an electric mixer.)

Cumbrian Beef and Ale Stew with Herb Dumplings

A favorite in the Lake District, especially on a gray and rainy day. Serve with a hearty salad for a one-dish dinner. And please don't leave out the parsnips.

2 pounds flank steak, chopped into chunks
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 red onions, chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
5 cups Newcastle Brown ale or other dark ale
1 cup water
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

Season the beef with salt and pepper and toss with flour until coated. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the beef. Transfer to a large kettle, along with the rest of the flour. Place over medium heat, add the onions and bacon, and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer while you make the dumplings.

Work the flour, baking powder, butter, salt, pepper, and rosemary together until they are crumbly, then add just enough water to make a dough that is not sticky. Form golf-ball sized dumplings and drop these into the stew, pushing them under the liquid. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours. Serves six.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
sticky toffee pudding

This North Country dessert is said to have been developed in 1907 at The Gait Inn in Millington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, although the Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire claims to be the pudding's birthplace. Like other English puddings, it is a moist, fruity cake topped with a sauce instead of a frosting.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1¼ cups boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Toffee Sauce:
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10" round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a small bowl. Place the chopped dates in a small bowl; add the boiling water and baking soda and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture in two or three additions. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the greased baking dish. Bake until set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Cool in the baking dish.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine butter, cream, and brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 7-8 minutes. Set aside.

Just before serving, preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding, spreading evenly. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Spoon into dessert dishes and serve immediately, drizzled with remaining toffee sauce and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Mrs. Beeton's Sage and Onion Stuffing (for geese, ducks, and pork)

It was Millie Warne who gave the new Mrs. Heelis her copy of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, a classic of domestic literature that every proper British bride longed to possess. It included a table of wages for domestics, instructions on "How to Bleed," and a remedy for toothache that used a shilling and a piece of zinc. But while some of Mrs. Beeton's instructions may be dated, her recipes for such traditional British foods as sage and onion stuffing are truly timeless, whether or not you dispense with the egg.

4 large onions
10 sage leaves
¼ lb of bread crumbs
1½ oz butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg

Peel the onions, put them into boiling water, let them simmer for 5 minutes or rather longer, and, just before they are taken out, put in the sage leaves for a minute or two to take off their rawness. Chop both these very fine, add the bread, seasoning, and butter and work the whole together with the yolk of an egg, when the stuffing will be ready for use. It should be rather highly seasoned, and the sage leaves should be very finely chopped. Where economy is studied, the egg may be dispensed with.

(click for pdf [printable] version)

Check out some other Cottage Tales recipes:
The Tale of Oak Cake Crag (#7) / recipe index