Saturday, 7 May 2011

A cookbook review, just for a change - The Cranks Recipe Book

At the moment I can go on and on about jewellery, but I have been know to do other things as well. Cooking is one of them - although I have to admit I don't read as many cookbooks as I used to these days.

My favourite cookbook, the one I have used more than any other, is 'The Cranks Recipe Book'.
I had a copy years ago when I was living outside the UK, and used to cook from it for a 'taste of England'. That copy eventually fell apart with use (shame, all my notes were on the pages) and I had to order a new one.

I know many of the recipes by heart, and have bought copies for friends and family.
It's a vegetarian cookbook, and I haven't been vegetarian for years - so why is it so good? I think it's because the recipes use simple, easy to find and inexpensive ingredients (great in these days of recession and ever rising food prices). And the recipes work! They are also healthy!

The recipes I cook regularly are: Tomato Sauce, Tomato Soup, Potage Malakoff, Cranks Nut Roast, Macaroni Cheese with Vegetables, and the delicious Walnut Bars. In fact, I made some earlier today!

Here's the recipe, in case you would like to try it - you will need powdered milk and wheatgerm - but if you don't have wheatgerm, you can use oats or a combination - the result is just as nice. I haven't found a substitute for the milk powder, but you should have some in the house (especially if you own a bread maker :-)
I have copied it exactly as it appears in the book:

Walnut Bars
Soft and chewy textured pieces of cake with roughly chopped walnuts added - quite delicious!

Oil 3 tbsp (45 ml)
Black treacle 1 tbsp (15 ml)
Raw brown sugar 4 oz (100g)
Shelled walnuts, chopped 4 oz (100g)
Free range eggs 2
Vanilla essence 2 tsp.
Wheatgerm 4 oz (100g)
Salt 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml)
Skimmed milk powder 2 oz (50g)
Baking Powder 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml)

Beat together the first 8 ingredients, then sift in the milk powder and baking powder. Beat well, then pour into a greased and base-lined 8 inch (20 cm) square shallow cake tin. Bake in the oven at 180c (350F/Mark 4) for 25-30 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Cut into 'bars' while still warm.

Makes about 16 bars

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