Since we announced the re-publication of All in the Cooking, we’ve had so many emails and tweets from people who still have have dog-eared, faded, scribbled-on copies of the original versions in their possession. The reason they say they’ve hung on to this 1930s cookbook is simply because the recipes are classic, methodical and easy to use.
Here in O’Brien Press we decided to put this to the test with an All in the Cooking bake-off!
Three brave souls stepped forward …
First up was Laura from Sales, who used the original book in school. In a nostalgic move, Laura baked Raspberry Buns, the first recipe she ever made in Home Economics class. Not only were they very photogenic buns, but they were delicious, slightly crumbly and perfect with a cup of tea. Top marks!
Next came the Queen of Puddings, courtesy of one of our editors, Nicola.
Nicola said: ‘All in the Cooking had been out of print for years and people regularly posted on message boards looking for old copies or individual recipes. One of the recipes most often mentioned was Queen of Puddings. I decided to see what all the fuss was about! Apparently this is a dessert you make when you’ve run out of groceries. It’s made with basic ingredients: sugar, eggs, jam, milk, butter and bread. It’s got a custardy breadcrumb base, a jammy layer, and meringue on top. Those with a sweet tooth (it’s a sugar bomb!) who like squidgy desserts like bread & butter pudding or crème caramel should give it a go.’
Finally, Geraldine from Marketing and Publicity attempted to make an Athassel Cake: a three-layered cake with flavours of cocoa, vanilla and almond.
Geraldine said: ‘The Athassel Cake, with its pink food colouring and a trio of flavours, stood out for me. I’d never heard of it and not even a Google search could enlighten me so I thought it was the perfect choice. Unfortunately it went a bit crumbly – although the crumbs tasted pretty good!’
‘For my second attempt, I went for something easier: Chocolate Biscuit Cake. This didn’t even require actual cooking, just melting, stirring and chilling in the fridge. It was delicious.’
Verdict: Most recipes in All in the Cooking are familiar. The great thing about this book is that it gives modern cooks a chance to try their hand at baking things they’ll never find in a Nigella cookbook!
Handy tip: Laura, Nicola and Geraldine recommended doubling your recipe to make a ‘normal sized’ Athassel Cake, Queen of Puddings or batch of Raspberry Buns.
All in the Cooking is available now in all good bookshops.