Golden Age

comments: 62


I finally took the time to putter in the kitchen a couple of afternoons ago. The lovely Mrs. Brocket had sent me her new book back in July, and though I'd read it cover to cover almost immediately, I hadn't made time to cook from it. But Wednesday's clear, crisp, cold afternoon required me to pull out my lovely rippled pudding pot and get busy.


I know Jane would probably approve that the mauve-y luster of  my pot matches the delightful cover of her book, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats. Cherry Cake is a collection of recipes for the old-fashioned treats featured in classic favorites from the golden age of British children's literature. It's the coolest book, and it is just so totally Jane.

As you probably know, Jane is a voracious reader and a champion baker (among her other many talents). I can totally picture her and daughter Phoebe (whose request to actually bake the macaroons she'd only read about in Enid Blyton inspired Jane to reserach and write this book) with a wooden spoon in one hand, and The Ragamuffin Mystery in the other, busy about the Cook's Special Sugar Biscuits. Organized in sections like "Off to a Good Start" (breakfasts before adventures), "Proper Elevenses" (for that little mid-morning sit-down), "School Food" (illicit supplements to dining-hall fare), and "Kind and Thoughtful Treats" (simple gestures for genuine and caring occasions), each recipe is introduced brilliantly, so that you not only understand its context within the book it comes from, but you now want to go to the library and get every single one of the children's books she references. (Which you can do, because Jane gives a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book.) I love it.


I'd made some rice pudding for Jane in celebration of her first book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity (the U.S. edition of which is now available), so naturally I had to try her version of this Edwardian supper-staple, Creamy Rice Pud. I fudged my way through the conversions from grams to ounces because my computer was rebooting itself for the fourteenth time and I couldn't get to a conversion chart (but here's one if you need it, and if you're in the U.S. you will, since the book is a British edition, but that's what makes it fun). I grated some nutmeg and added a pile of cinnamon in one spot (as usual — that cinnamon always comes out in a pile). The pudding cooks for three hours, and during that time it will fill your house with the most mellow, golden, comforting smell in the world.


I ate mine for dinner in the glow of my little lamp (since by the time the pud' came out of the ove' it was way dark outside), and couldn't help but feel that, with ever so much wrong with the world, my little corner of it was, if only at that moment, quite all right.

Now to the library for The Railway Children and Heidi, which I've never read. And I promise I will redo my booklist next!


Oh my I am so jealous, Heidi for the first time! And then there are several other books in the series, I loved them all but Heidi the best!

I have the book - I shall be cooking the rice pudding! Looks delicious! t.x

I am so looking forward to seeing this book. It's such a wonderful idea! I loved Ms. Brocket's first book too. It's beautiful and really different from the other books that are out there.

And you will love Heidi and the Railway Children! Try to get an illustrated version of Heidi if you can - it's a story that should have pictures!

Oh, I loved Heidi. I named one of my dogs Heidi because of the book. The recipe book sounds so cool.

mmmm rice pudding on a cold night (or morning!) was one of the many ways my mother told us she loved us.

I always feel this way, that things can't be so entirely wrong in my corner of the world, when I've something like this to curl up to. Happy weekend, Paulsons!!


OOOH that rice pudding looks sooo yummy! Brought back many sweet memories-thank you! My grandmother used to make that and I have not had it for many years-guess what I will be doing tomorrow. Look what you started! Lol! I am new to blogland and I absolutely love your blog-very nice! I have enjoyed following it. Come on over and visit my blogs sometime!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Looks delightful. Would love to try it in an old fashioned, wood cookstove. You said you fudged with the conversions. I would be trying to fudge with the temperatures. :o/

There is something so quaint and English about puddings. Great pictures. Did you give any to your doggy girl?

:) yum! rice pudding! oh, yum! i love your last comment...yes, a little corner of comfort and just-right-ness. :) jan

I so much love your writing. You make life look and feel so much better. Do you have any idea what a gift you are?
Your Christmas ornaments are lovely. Me and my elves will be working on them.
Jane Brocket's first book totally made me come to terms with my domesticity craving self. What special people I have come to meet thanks to blogging!

Alicia dear, you certainly can tell a good yarn:-)

Your photos are like candy. I absolutely love them.

....And now my mouth is watering for rice pudding! yum.

I think I need this recipe book! I grew up reading Enid Blyton and some of my favourite parts were the descriptions of the afternoon tea. It had quite an impact on a little girl in the Caribbean! lol

I love, love, love the pot!!! And well, the rice pudding would just be a bonus.

I love, love, love the pot!!! And well, the rice pudding would just be a bonus.

O. K. You may now update your booklist as I've added all of the titles to my own booklist. ;-)


The Railway Children is one of our very favorite DVD's we own. We have the book, this season would be a perfect time to read it aloud.
Heidi was one of my favorite books as a little girl too.
Enjoy your reading.

Yes, yes, I vote for Heidi!! (Giggle.) Or any other Johanna Spyri book - I have managed to amass quite a collection of those. But it all started with the first copies of my namesake books from my childhood.

You've never read Heidi? When I was a kid I used to eat the same meal as Heidi, toasted bread with cheese and cold milk. I think that's what it was, it's been ages since I read the book but it was one of my favorites. I wanted to be Heidi, living on the mountian with her and her grandfather.

The rice pudding looks so delicious! I read Heidi to the kids while camping on Cape Cod last Sept. It's a wonderful book. Enjoy!-Amy

Thought I'd let you know, I made your Sour Cream Apple Pie for a church contest...won 1st place!

Ooh ooh ooh! I didn't know this book was already out! I'm heading straight over to Powell's. . .

And rice pudding! I remarked recently, out of the blue, that it has been far too long since I have had rice pudding!

mmh, rice pudding... i saw delia make it yesterday, on tv, with loads of nutmeg on top!

Dear Alicia,
Your warm and comforting post took me back to the first time I read Heidi, when my sons were small.

We would take my mother's old copy and let our goats out of their paddock to browse in the woods and meadows near us while we read on a blanket at the edge of the hay field. Sometimes it was idyllic (the book and the setting), sometimes not (when the goats would leap over us as we reclined)...but I remember being amazed at the beauty of the Spyri's writing. We were completely pulled into the world she created.

I hope you will be, too!

Wow, I must have been psychically channeling this post as I just ordered that book last week! It looks great - thanks for the preview.

I absolutely love your pudding pot!
Can I ask what make it is? Never seen anything like that in the UK :o(

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at