Monday, 28 May 2012

Old cook books come to the fore

Welcome to my new follower Erna from Holland, nice to meet you.

Does anyone remember these two cook books?

When I got married, 42 years ago my mum gave me this Dairy Book of Home Cookery, my first and only cook book at the time and certainly well used in those early days. Now of course, I have hoards of the things, so many in fact that I've run out of space in the kitchen and they have been relegated to a cupboard in the garage! Suffice it to say, I quite often go back to some of the tried and tested recipes that we've enjoyed over the years.

When I was growing up my parents always, without fail used their pressure cooker to cook just about everything. Just like the one on this cover - it was big and bulky and made an awful hissing sound when it was up to pressure. When I got married it was only natural that I followed suit and bought one myself  - well you do don't you?  I didn't really enjoy using it - preferring to cook more casseroles and meat rather than vegetables that always came out far too overcooked and soft.  I did have a few favourites though, and although I haven't a pressure cooker any more I've adapted many of the recipes for normal cooking. This one is a regular. Hope you like it.

Minced Beef and Pasta Casserole

1 onion peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
500g minced beef
300 ml hot beef stock - or adjust accordingly
400 g can baked beans
400g can tomatoes
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
2 teaspoons paprika
Worcestershire  sauce - about a tablespoon
75-100g dried pasta shapes (depending how hungry you are)
Salt and pepper
I sometimes throw in some chopped mushrooms to make it go further.

Fry the onions and garlic in a little oil in a large pan or wok until soft.

Add the minced beef

When the beef is brown add the tomatoes and beans (I used canned cherry tomatoes for a change)

Give it a good stir and add the dried herbs, paprika, stock and worcestershire sauce

Then add the pasta shapes

Cook for about 25-30 minutes -  add more water/stock if it starts to look too dry. It should come out slightly drier than the consistency of a bolognaise sauce - adjust the stock depending on how much pasta used

Serve with some grated parmesan cheese and a few sprigs of basil or parsley



  1. I loved reading your post this evening... I'm fascinated by cookery books. I especially love the way they reflect our eating habits and certain 'fads'. We used a pressure cooker like this in the trailer tent when I was little! Jx

  2. Hi Patricia.My mum has still got the first book I noticed it the other day when I was doing a bit of cleaning for her.I also saw it in a charity shop in the vintage section! I never liked pressure cookers, they terrified the life out of me.I ended up taking the lid off and just using the big pan for stews only!

  3. My Mum had the pressure cooker book and one of those big clunky pressure cookers. I think in the end it was used mostly for cooking beetroot out of the garden in order to pickle it. Like you when we married we were given a pressure cooker as a present and we did use it at first but we were also given an orange cast iron casserole and this took over from the pressure cooker in fact we still use it 33 years later:)

  4. I love my cook books, old and new! I've never used a pressure cooker but my sister uses one frequently which she's had for years n years. x

  5. We had a pressure cooker at home when I was young. It was dad that used it. I'm sure it must have been used at other times of the year but I always remember him cooking the bacon joint in it for Christmas.
    Lisa x

  6. I used to make something similar but topped it with mashed potatoes to make a form of Shepherd's Pie.

  7. My first cookbook was a Good Housekeeping one which advocated using lots of tinned stuff - people did in those days. I still have it (coverless and splattered) many of the recipes are very outdated now but it still comes in useful for basic stuff. As to the pressure cooker - it soon went out of favour - it frightened me to death - but I still used the pan part to boil handkerchiefs in (which I don't do anymore I might add)!

  8. I remember the Dairy book but I've always refused to have a pressure cooker - they terrify me! My personal 'bible' is the Reader's Digest Cookery Year. It's so dated - but the basics section at the end is perfect for things like scones and pastry. And I love the way it lists green peppers and aubergines as "exotic" vegetables!

  9. Thankyou so much for all your lovely comments. I would have answered them personally but I'm now heavily into revising for my exam in two weeks and my head is permanently in a book. I come up for air occasionally to sign in and have a nose around. P x

  10. I used to have that Dairy Book of Home Cooking, wish I'd held on to it now as well. Like you I have hundreds of the things and prune them occasionally. A pressure cooker is something I've never had nor did my mum. They've always scared me to death to be honest:) The pasta dish sounds good and quick and easy, I shall be making a copy of that.

  11. Hello Patricia, thanks for the warm welcome, and thanks for the recipe we're gonna try it tomorrow...

  12. I have that Dairy Book of Home Cooking and it's partner, the Dairy Book of Home Management! I was married a little bit before you but Youth Dew was very popular in the 1960s. My wedding perfume was Elizabeth Arden's Memoire Cherie, which was unusual and it's long been off the market, unfortunately.
    Margaret P


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