Everyday Life

Pudding Time with Mrs Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book

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It was Sunday afternoon, the winter sun was low in the sky, bright and hopeful, casting long shadows across the room.

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One of the things that marks the passing of winter is when the chickens start laying again. With a bumper batch of eggs and a beautiful new recipe book, I set about making a decadent sounding pudding.

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Mrs Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book is a delight, full of an interesting array of Victorian recipes and accompanying annotations. It’s quite special to see her handwriting, I nearly made the Nesselrode Pudding purely because of this, but then Lady Skymarston’s won me over.

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It was a simple recipe to follow, involving just a few ingredients – sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla. Sounds like a kind of egg custard, yes? Good. But not as good as the name, Lady Skymaston’s Pudding, say it again!

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Emma Darwin’s original notebook is housed in Cambridge University Library, if you are interested you can see the whole manuscript here.

Being born of the Wedgwood family I bet Emma set a rather special table. I did my best to honour her with a bit of 1930’s Royal Paragon and some beautiful daffodils from my friend Fiona.

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Who was Lady Skymarston? I don’t know, but her pudding is a bit like an upside down creme brûlée gone wrong. Not decadent in any way, but interesting and very much of it’s era, very Victorian.

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Apparently February 12th is ‘Darwin Day’. Maybe you could knock up a Victorian pud and celebrate?

Mrs Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book by Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway is published by Glitterati Incorporated.

Thank you to the team at Glitterati for kindly sending me a copy of Mrs Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book, and to Sandra chicken for the egg input. Onwards, to the next pudding!