Tuesday, March 27, 2018

#anAWWyear - March 1948: Food

March has several themed food features, each with bright and attractive photographs, but the real winners this month were once again the reader recipes. 

It isn't simple or easy to transport picnic food, but it does look impressive.
Australian Women's Weekly, 27 March 1948, p 33
I was initially attracted to this picnic feature, as my four year old is extremely fond of picnics, but none of the recipes were going to work for me this month. I was intrigued by the 'salad croquettes' (more misuse of the word salad!) combining cold meat, veggies and mashed potato, but these are deep fried, and I don't have the set up for that. 

Australian Women's Weekly,  6 March 1948, p 33
Another feature is this one with a variety of chicken meals, none of which I tried as they were either salad/dainty style meals which my husband wouldn't eat, or were styles for which I already have favourite recipes.  But I do like the ramekin holder illustrated here holding individual serves of chicken a la king.

There was a reader recipe for carrot marmalade which sounded good
Four large carrots, 4 lemons, 4 pints water, 41b. sugar. Wash and scrub carrots, do not peel. Grate on coarse grater, place in large bowl. Wash and slice lemons thinly, remove seeds. Add to grated carrot. Cover with the water, stand overnight. Turn into preserving pan, cook quickly 1½ hours, or until lemons are quite tender. Add warmed sugar, cook quickly until it "jells" when tested on cold saucer - about 1 hour. Pour into hot, dry jars, seal and label when cold.
Sadly even if this turned out well, I knew I'd be the only one eating it!

In the end both recipes I made were from the same issue's reader recipes, one winning the first prize of £1 one a consolation price of 2/6.

I made the oatmeal gingerbread the first time when my son had a friend over, and they'd reached the not wanting to share toys stage and needed a distraction. As a result, a few  ingredients were skipped or substituted, a few things went awry, and while the end result wasn't amazing I felt it had the potential to be better if I made it again properly.
Two cups flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch salt, 2oz. margarine or butter, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 1 tablespoon treacle, 1 egg, good ½ cup milk.
Sift flour, ginger, spice, baking powder, and salt. Rub in margarine or butter, add oatmeal and lemon rind. Beat egg, add treacle, syrup, and milk, stir into dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour into greased slab tin. Bake in moderate oven (350 deg. F.) 40 to 50 minutes. Turn on to cake cooler, when cold top with vanilla-flavored warm icing. 
By a 'good' ½ cup milk, it means that plus another teaspoon or two to make it mix properly - I mixed the ½ cup in with the other wet ingredients, then added a tiny bit more at the end. It won't 'pour' into the tin - I ended up with a dough that I had to flatten out in the tin. I also found that I didn't need to bake it for as long as it suggested -mine only took 30 minutes to be cooked through.
I really like the texture given by the oatmeal, and I found that the children liked it. It isn't as heavy or spiced as proper gingerbread, and so is more of a "mild gingerbready slice". I used the lemon I'd grated the rind from to make a lemon icing which I thought went very well.
The second trial of the oatmeal gingerbread. 

The prize-winning recipe this month was Prune-stuffed steak, which I made for my husband and I. (The boy won't eat steak at all.)

Two pounds topside steak, cut in one thick piece with a pocket cut deeply into one side, 1¼ cups breadcrumbs, ¼ teaspoon mixed herbs, 1 egg, little margarine or butter, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, good pinch grated lemon rind, pinch nutmeg, 1 lb. prunes, three rashers bacon.
Trim steak and wipe with damp cloth. Place a layer of stoned prunes on bottom of pocket. Mix all seasoning ingredients with melted margarine or butter and beaten egg. Press a layer of stuffing on top of prunes, and then arrange another layer of prunes on top. Fasten together with skewers or sew with strong cotton. Place in baking dish with hot fat, cook in moderate oven (350deg. F.) 1 hour, turning meat several times. Place rashers of bacon on top, cook another half hour or until meat is tender. Serve piping hot with vegetables and brown gravy. 
I was not going to cook one giant two pound steak, so I made this with two smaller steaks instead.
I made up the same amount of stuffing, and just didn't use it all. I did not use anywhere near a whole pound of prunes, and I obviously adjusted the cooking times to allow for the smaller size of the steaks.

The prunes and stuffing in the pockets. Looks strangely like I've put oreos in the steak.

The final cooked steak. 
It was really nice and we enjoyed it, although we both decided that it needed some extra flavour in the stuffing.  We made it again the next week, adding some mustard to the stuffing mix, and trying this time with chicken breasts. I liked this version too, but somehow the prunes and chicken seem a more expected pairing? The prunes and the steak together are still the winner for me.

Friday, March 23, 2018

#anAWWyear - March 1948: Craft

At the end of my last post, I said that the fashion would be continuing this month, and that is because  March 13 1948 was a Special Knitting Issue. 

To start, let us look at the outfit on the cover of this issue, because I'm going to confess that 1940s would not have been my first guess for the decade of this outfit. This could easily pass for several later decades, and I love having the reminder of what really casual outfits could look like. This sweater is the 'Swagger Sport Shirt' by Pierre Balmain, who we are told is "famous in Paris for his casual sports clothes". 
Outfit on the cover
 Australian Women's Weekly, March 13 1948 
It is also a good example of how colour and styling can change one's opinion - the same sweater, styled differently, and in a black and white photograph, has far less impact and I would have passed straight by it. 
Believe it or not, the same sweater as above
Australian Women's Weekly, March 13 1948, p 37
There are instructions for about ten cardigans and sweaters in this issue, several of which are quite standard. I like this checkerboard design, although wouldn't wear it myself.  Of note, the 'New Yorker' twin set, shown here in the yellow top and rust coloured cardigan over it in the (the middle and lowest photos on the right hand side) is designed for the "not-so-slim" and has a bust measurement of 42", which while still terribly inadequate for me, is unusually large for the free patterns that tend to be in vintage magazines. 

Just some of the knit patterns in this issue
Australian Women's Weekly, March 13 1948, p 9

There was no craft I actually tried this month - partially because I've been having a renewed attack on unfinished projects in my stash, and partially because nothing really appealed. There was one crochet project, this unusual purse with a cord decoration, but said decoration was a little too snake like for me (I have a phobia) so I'd never include it in my collection.

Australian Women's Weekly, March 6 1948, p 37

There was also instructions for this embroidered cushion, but I suspect if I made another cushion my husband might complain. We have... quite a few already.

Australian Women's Weekly, March 20 1948, p 36
I've actually been surprised by how many issues don't have any craft projects. If I get the time, I might see if there is a seasonal pattern to when they have them. Or maybe the editors were well aware that their 1948 readers had a limited amount of time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#anAWWYear - March 1948: Fashion

As I'm typing this post, outside it is overcast and drizzly, reminding me that March is the start of autumn.  The Australian Women's Weekly has our back, with Mary Hordern offering up a beautifully illustrated two page feature of coats and other outerwear. Winter coats are an area I've struggled with, because so many long coats make me look very square. I'm rather partial to the hip-length coat - it is called a 'loose jacket' - and its interesting collar. 

Australian Women's Weekly, Mar 27 1948, p 8

This cap and muff in leopard print detail (from the same feature) is a smart set, and I know several people who would adore this!
Australian Women's Weekly, Mar 27 1948, p 9
 Being a plus-size woman, I'm always curious to see what is being offered in the more 'matronly' styles, which while ostensibly aimed at older women also tended to be illustrated as a more solid silhouette. I quite like the shaped yoke detail on the floral frock. Although I'm sad to see that even in 1948 they were putting pockets in the bodice of larger sizes. Please don't.

I'm paying attention to SHOES at the moment as I need more.  While these are rather nice, and I'd love a pair to wear with jeans, I do love the advertisement headline's attempt to appeal to everyone. 

 "Bedggood Mocassina"  advertisement.Australian Women's Weekly, Mar 13 1948, p 13.

This selection contains several I'd wear, particularly the blue ones! Not enough blue patent leather shoes around. I suspect they'd actually make me trip, though, as I'm out of practice wearing any kind of heel.
Australian Women's Weekly, Mar 6 1948, p 14.
One issue of the Women's Weekly from March 1948 is a knitting special, and so my craft post this month will also have fashion in the form of knitted sweaters, so keep an eye out for that next week.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

#anAWWyear - February 1948: Food

For a recipe to catch my eye in this process, I either think it sounds tasty or I'm thinking "WTF, 1940s?" I make mostly the former, and share information about the latter, as making recipes which I don't think will be nice strikes me as a waste of food.

This month, however, I present you with one of three "Ways with Carrots" which I did make, despite some serious doubts.  This is basically diced cooked carrots in the most bland "satay sauce" ever - peanut butter added to a white sauce.
"Creamed With Peanut Butter: Cut cooked carrots into dice. Add 1 tablespoon peanut butter to ½ pint white sauce, and pour over carrots. Top with crumbs, brown lightly in hot oven. Serve as an entree or supper dish."

It looked more appealing in person. Honest.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 7 1948, p 34.
 I didn't hate this, and the four-year old even ate a few pieces once told it was in peanut butter. My husband was not a fan. While this will never be repeated, it has inspired us make our satay stir fry this week, after a long hiatus, and gives us hope the boy will like it.

I'm trying to make at least one savoury and one sweet recipe, and the illustrated dessert from the 'Stay for Supper' feature in the same issue tempted me to try it - prunes and peach halves on a coconut meringue base.
The dessert I considered, top right.
The whole menu is " frankfurts with tomato-mustard sauce, potato cakes, shredded cabbage,
tomato wedges" and the dessert named "black-eyed susans".
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 7 1948, p 33
But I decided to make something from what I already had in the cupboard, as an activity on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and made the Fruited Scone-Ring  - which isn't even a full recipe, just a partial one with illustrations top and bottom of the reader recipe page of February 28th.
As in the magazine...
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 28 1948, p 34. 
And as made by me and a helpful preschooler., Feb 2018. 
"FRUITED SCONE-RING is simple to make. First step: Roll 8oz. scone dough thinly, spread over 1½ cups mixed dried fruit simmered 2 or 3 minutes with squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon marmalade, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and cooled. Moisten edges, roll to long, thin roll, press ends together to form a ring. Place on greased tray. Using floured scissors, snip nearly through at 1 in. intervals. Turn sections sideways, as illustrated. Bake in hot oven (475deg. F.) 12 to 15 minutes. When cold, top with lemon-flavored icing."
Now I suspect my scone dough (the basic simple scone recipe I've got written in my recipe book and I turn to on many an occasion) wasn't 8oz as there is no way, even had I been able to roll it to my desired thickness and not just to 'preschooler hasn't gotten bored yet' thickness, that my ring would have been as large as the illustrated one. But the basic premise is good. I've usually seen these rolled and then cut completely through, and the rolled sections baked flat, but I liked this better - it came out more scone-like still. The boy helped measure out sultanas and sugar, helped roll the scone dough, helped spread the fruit, and very much enjoyed moistening the dough with the pastry brush, so this gets the child-helper friendly recipe tick of approval. 

This page of reader recipes had a few interesting options actually - I may yet try the Boston Veal with Pineapple - so I think February is a definite win for reader recipes over the magazine's own features, which were largely uninspiring.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#anAWWyear - February 1948: Fashion

Firstly, an apology for the break in posting. I had a struggle getting ready for Christmas, so there went December. After Christmas I had a large work contract to squeeze in before mid-January, the computer was having major issues (and we have since bought a new one, a decision we should have made months ago), and I having a down patch with my health related to my chronic illness. So there went January.  

Jumping back into my #anAWWyear with February, I'm starting as usual with a look over the fashion shown this month.

I was having a conversation just this week with my sister about tartans and plaids and how much we liked them yet didn't have them in our wardrobes, so these two looks - one from an advertisement, one from a feature on film stars - naturally caught my eye. The pairing of the solid top with large-scale plaid skirt works very well, and I also like the slightly more muted brown/greens of these outfits than the stronger blues/blacks/reds of many such prints I see in reproduction vintage skirts.

An Australian Wool Board advertisement.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 14 1948, p 14. 

The lovely Rita Hayworth.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 21 1948, p 25.

I don't know who was doing the Vicars Wool fashion sketches in this era - they are signed with what appears to be the initials 'R H' -  but this is yet another one of their drawings which is making me sigh wistfully for the sort of life where I wear such chic outfits. 

That colour!
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 14 1948, p 6.

I don't usually include an entire page from the magazine, but this feature on the 'Versatile Skirt' was worth it. While I've read plenty of advice about combining pieces to make different outfits in vintage papers, they are rarely illustrated in this way. I particularly like that it isn't an obvious 'basic' skirt either, made up on this slightly green yellow colour - I feel that is more effective a display than a navy or black skirt would have been. 

One skirt in many different outfits.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 21 1948, p 11. 

 The final two selections I've chosen this month are embellishments.  A dress from the Fashion Pattern service has lace trimming its off-the-shoulder neckline, and while neither are ideas I usually like something about this is appealing to me right now. Possibly the squared off ends pinned in front?

This ballerina dress takes 7 yds of fabric for the full-length option.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 28 1948, p 39.

This feature on beaded embroidery as decoration on clothes has some very nice examples - the embellished over-sized cuffs on the green blouse in the background are striking.
Australian Women's Weekly, Feb 7 1948, p 11. 

A good leap back in, and I'm definitely adding a plaid or tartan skirt to my winter wardrobe wish list!

Friday, December 1, 2017

#anAWWyear - November 1947: Food

We've hit November and the weather is heating up, so naturally we have gelatine

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 45
I decided to try making one of these 'Ice-Box cakes' from a Davis Gelatine advertisement.
Look at those ivy leaves!
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 47 
There are two parts to this recipe - each of the variations starts with lining of the tin (I used a loaf tin as that was closest to the illustration) with a sugar, melted butter and crumb mix. I used the cornflakes suggested and my four year old had an awesome time crushing them in a bag.
"ICE BOX CAKE is made in a plain mould or cake tin. Cover the bottom and sides with a crusty mixture (see below), then fill with a delicious confection (see our recipes).Chill for 12-24 hours-do not freeze - unmould, cut and eat - enjoy.
CRUSTY COVERING: Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add 1½ cups brownsugar, cook for a few minutes till smooth, add 2 cups crushed cornflakes, biscuit or wafer crumbs. Mix well, press to the bottom and sides of the mould. Chill for 20 minutes or longer, then fill. Unmould by placing in warm water."  
The variation I tried used marshmallows and fruit - I used bananas, as I had them, and used both pink and white marshmallows. 
"3 teaspoons Davis Gelatine dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water, ¼ lb. marshmallows, ¾ pint milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla essence, 2 cups fruit such as sliced bananas, peaches, apricots, 1 cup cornflake crumbs or wafer biscuit crumbs (measurements level).
Cut marshmallows in quarters, place in saucepan with 3 tablespoons of milk. Let stand. Beat egg yolks and sugar, add to balance of milk, cook until thickening slightly. Cool. Add dissolved gelatine. Warm marshmallows, melt slightly. Beat egg whites, fold into the marshmallow and fold lightly into the custard mixture. Arrange in the prepared mould in alternate layers with fruit and wafer crumbs. Chill."
I'm not 100% sure the measurement is 3/4 pint of milk, because the font is small, italic and at an angle on the page, but less than that didn't seem right for the amount of egg yolk.
My IceBox Cake. No Ivy
The texture was a bit weird, honestly, and neither my husband or I really liked it. I then froze it to see if that improved it at all, and I did enjoy that a bit better. Still not something I will make again.

Another feature was on using tinned foods, and I experimented with their 'Meat and Potato Puff'.

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 15 1947, p 41
Two cups mashed potato, 2 eggs, good ½ cup milk,  1 teaspoon minced onion, 1 dessertspoon diced parboiled red pepper, salt and pepper to taste, 1 12oz. tin luncheon meat.
Add milk and egg-yolks gradually to mashed potatoes. Mix in onion, red pepper, salt and pepper, diced luncheon meat. Fold in stiffly beaten egg-whites. Turn into greased oven
ware dish, stand in tin of hot water, bake 40 to 45 minutes in moderate oven (375deg. F.) until lightly browned on top. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs and tomato slices. For four or five."
As it came out of the oven.

Served with parsley. 

While this was fairly tasty and I thought could be a comfort food type of dish, my husband didn't think it was so different from just mixing stuff into mashed potato - he thought the 'puff'-ness didn't come through.

Last recipe this month was a reader submitted one for Orange Gingernuts.
Half cup sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup. 2oz. margarine or butter, 1 egg, grated rind of 1 orange, 1½ cups self-raising flour, 1 dessertspoon ground ginger, pinch salt.
Warm sugar, golden syrup, and margarine or butter until melted, mix well. Cool, add beaten egg and orange rind. Fold in sifted flour, ginger, and salt. Roll into small balls, place well apart on greased tray, flatten with a fork. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in moderate oven (350 deg. F). Allow to cool on tray."
Orange gingernuts, with enthusiastic fork pressing from my four year old. 
My son also helped me make these, but sadly he refused to eat more than a bite because they were 'too spicy'. They are a strongly flavoured ginger nut and I adored them. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

#anAWWyear - November 1947: Fashion

Compared to October, where I was struggling to put together a whole blog post of fashion that appealed to me, November 1947 was full of whole outfits and tiny details that I want, want, want!!

One of the things that I'm really appreciating are the outfits which appear so very chic and sophisticated yet don't involve black. I'm in the process of eliminating black from my wardrobe where possible, so I welcome these inspirational images.
First is this amazing burgundy dress from a Berlei advertisement. I adore this colour and the neckline.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 6
This teal ensemble from a Vicars wool advertisement would also be welcome. Is it actually wool or just a convenient fashion sketch, I wondered, although at this stage who cares! Look at that adorable sleeve!
Who wouldn't want this chic ensemble?
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 6
Not only do I want the blue and white scarf, I enjoyed seeing the ways they recommend wearing these scarves in this one page feature on some new designs from Europe. 

Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 35

While the colours are absolutely not something I'd usually wear, I quite like this 'First night' fabric design and know plenty of people who could happily incorporate it into their wardrobe. 
A striking novelty print
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 8

The fashion pattern service supplied a few winners this month too. The square, low collared sundress in the selection shown below is my favourite, and I particularly like the off-centre line of the buttons. The sketch of the back view looks oddly like the top of the dress back comes above the collar though, which seems odd .

I also like the cute embroidery designs for the baby bibs.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 8 1947, p 27

This suit jacket with the striped cuffs, revers and matching fabric flower is amazing, and it almost makes me wish I had the sort of business life in which I needed to wear suits. I'm not as sold on the skirt, and I suppose there is nothing to stop one wearing a jacket like that with jeans and boots!
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 1 1947, p 51

The attentive may have noticed that my choices have all been drawn from the early half of the month. That is because the latter half of the month is dominated by the preparations and reportage of the Royal Wedding. I thought I'd include a photograph of Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, looking very smart in a blue dress with attractive shoulder details.

This was from a selection of the 'Latest Portraits' of the key figures in the wedding.
Australian Women's Weekly, Nov 22 1947, p 8