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.