Tags: Agnes Jekyll, chocolate mould, Five Fall into Adventure, homemade orangeade, jam tarts
I’ve been desperate to make a chocolate mould for some time, since reading about the ‘smasher of a supper’ served up in Five Fall Into Adventure. After George gets kidnapped – yes, this does happen more than once – the rest of the Kirrins and Joan the Cook receive a ransom note (Uncle Q and Aunt F are gallivanting around in Spain somewhere). They are told to leave one of Uncle Quentin’s notebooks (he’s a top notch scientist) under the crazy paving the garden; once this happens George will be returned to the bosom of the family. The Kirrins are a daring lot though and decide to spy on the kidnappers when they come for the book. But how? They know Kirrin Cottage is being watched so they snatch Sid the paperboy when he comes to deliver the evening news, and Dick makes off wearing Sid’s cap and bag. He then sneaks back after dark to see what happens…
To keep their unwitting kidnap victim entertained for the evening the others play snap and Joan serves up a meal of ‘ham and eggs and chip potatoes followed by jam tarts and a big chocolate mould, of which Sid ate about three-quarters’.
I couldn’t quite bring myself to re-create this rib sticker of a repast hence the slightly lighter stuffed tomatoes (from Five on a Secret Trail), but we did have the combo of jam tarts (strawberry and raspberry) with the chocolate mould for afters. I used a 1920s recipe from a brilliant publication called The Woman’s Book. It tells you all sorts of things, from how to cook and be a hostess, to how to lay linoleum, to how to open a bank account. Here is its recipe for chocolate mould.
(Fr. Moule au Chocolate)
3 gills of Milk [1 gill = 1/4 pint]
2 yolks of Eggs
1/2 oz Gelatine
1 or 2 oz sugar
A few drops of Vanilla
Method. – Break the chocolate in small pieces and put it into a lined saucepan with one gill of milk. Dissolve slowly over the fire and cook until smooth. Then remove the saucepan from the fire and add the remainder of the milk, the gelatine, sugar , and yolks of eggs. Stir again over the fire until almost boiling and until the gelatine is dissolved. Strain into a basin, add a few drops of vanilla and cool slightly. The pour into a wetted mould and set aside until firm. Turn out when wanted, and serve plain or with custard sauce.
This pudding may be made less rich by omitting the yolks of eggs.
And here is my chocolate mould. It doesn’t look too appetising, does it?! I faithfully followed the instructions and added 1/2 oz of gelatine but I think I needed half of that (I can only conclude modern gelatine is stronger). It was hypnotically shiny but a little too solid. Anne served it up for us and was able to cut it with a knife. We had to jiggle the plate hard to get even a hint of wobble. It was quite interesting but not my best pudding ever. I hate to waste things but had to throw the remains away – I really needed a young Sid to consume the remaining three-quarters.
Tags: Aunt Fanny, carbolic soap, Five Fall into Adventure, ginger beer scones, housekeeping, Joan the Cook, Kirrin Cottage, Pears soap, Ragamuffin Jo
Residual guilt over Christmas indulgence and a pathetic lack of cycling in recent weeks have prevented me attempting Dan Lepard’s recipe for ginger beer scones, published in the Saturday Guardian a couple of weeks ago. A non canonical recipe, no doubt, but given the Five’s penchant for unusual combinations of food, I suspect they might like the idea of getting their daily ginger beer and scone fix in one convenient package (washed down with yet more ginger beer?). So I’ll return to this one in the near future…
Meanwhile, in the spirit of detoxification that seems to be taking over now that January is finally over (who can give up comfort food during this long, dark month?), this post is about soap. I was given Five Fall into Adventure for Christmas. This is the novel in which the Five first meet ragamuffin Jo, one of the few child characters to recur across a number of the FF stories. I’ll leave aside some of less PC elements of this book but note that the rather dirty and smelly Jo receives a number of good scrubbings at the hands of Joan the Cook. Cleanliness is next to Godliness as they say, and once Jo samples Joan’s food, and dons some of George’s clean and well-worn old togs (to say nothing of developing a serious crush on Dick), she gives up a life of petty criminality and, to keep going with the bath metaphors, throws her towel in with the Kirrins.
For me, old fashioned soap means Pears. Invented by Andrew Pears in a factory in London’s Soho in 1789, this lovely amber tablet was purportedly the world’s first transparent soap. Mr Pears developed it as a gentle product that would stand in contrast to the lead and arsenic in other soaps of the time, and he gave it a traditional, yet subtly exotic, country fragrance by using rosemary, thyme and the all-important and mysterious ‘Pears Fragrance Essence’. I bought a bar of Pears recently and thought it seemed different to how I remembered it – little did I know there had a been a recent outcry over changes to its 200 year old recipe. The original contained just 8 natural ingredients; the new formula has over 20 chemical ones. Due to protests, including a facebook group no less, this new version will soon be withdrawn, with the traditional Pears back in the shops come March.
One company selling stocks of the old Pears is the super Carbolic Soap Company. Their product range includes these delightfully lurid pink carbolic soaps (left), as well as washboards, scrubbing brushes, wooden clothes pegs and Mitchell’s wool fat soap – in short, everything Aunt Fanny and Joan need to keep Kirrin Cottage and its inhabitants sparkling and clean.