Tonbridge History

Tonbridge Recipes

Tonbridge Ginger Beer

An 1826 recipe from the Woodgate papers, quoted by Neve in The Tonbridge of Yesterday. Said to be ‘Sir Willm’s favorite Beveridge’:

"To two oz of cream of tartar add 1 oz of ginger bruised, 1 lb of sugar, and one lemon juice and peel, pour on them 8 pints of boiling water. When at a proper heat add two spoonfuls of yeast. When cold, strain it, bottle it in half-pint stone bottles and tie the corks down. It will be ready to drink in 12 hours."
[Don’t try this – it could explode.]

Kitchen Scales

Tonbridge Cakes

Also quoted by Neve, these rather plain cakes may have become popular among people taking the waters at Tunbridge Wells in the late seventeenth century.

1 lb flour, 6 oz sugar, 6 oz butter, 2 eggs

Rub butter well into flour, add sugar and mix thoroughly, make into stiff paste with the two eggs well beaten; roll out till thin and cut with the top of a tumbler into rounds; prick these with a fork and cover with caraways or brush with white of egg and dust over with a little white sugar, or, instead of either, place on each round a thin crescent or horseshoe-shaped slice of candied peel; place on a flat tin and bake in a moderate oven."

Kitchen Scales

Tonbridge Brawn

From Modern Cookery for Private Families, by Eliza Acton.

"Split open the head of a pig of middling size, remove the brain and all the bones, strew the inside rather thickly with fine salt, and let it drain until the following day.

Cleanse the ears and feet in the same manner : wipe them all from the brine, lay them into a large pan, and rub them well with an ounce and a half of saltpetre mixed with six ounces of sugar ; in twelve hours, add six ounces of salt ; the next day pour a quarter of a pint of good vinegar over them, and keep them turned in the pickle every twenty-four hours for a week ; then wash it off the ears and feet, and boil them for about an hour and a half ; bone the feet while they are warm, and trim the gristle from the large ends of the ears.

When these are ready, mix a large grated nutmeg with a teaspoonful and a half of mace, half a teaspoonful of cayenne, and as much of cloves. Wash, but do not soak the head; wipe and flatten it on a board ; cut some of the flesh from the thickest parts, and (when the whole of the meat has been seasoned equally with the spices) lay it on the thinnest; intermix it with that of the ears and feet, roll it up very tight, and bind it firmly with broad tape; fold a thin pudding-cloth quite closely round it, and tie it securely at both ends.

A braising-pan, from its form, is best adapted for boiling it, but if there be not one at hand, place the head in a vessel adapted to its size, with the bones and trimmings of the feet and ears, a large bunch of savoury herbs, two moderate-sized onions, a small head of celery, three or four carrots, a teaspoonful of peppercorns, and sufficient cold water to cover it well; boil it very gently for four hours, and leave it until two parts cold in the liquor in which it was boiled.

Take off the cloth, and put the brawn between two dishes or trenchers, with a heavy weight on the upper one. The next day take off the fillets of tape, and serve the head whole or sliced with the brawn sauce of Chapter VI [below]."

Oxford Brawn Sauce

"Mingle thoroughly a tablespoonful of brown sugar with a teaspoonful of made mustard, a third as much of salt, some pepper, from three to four tablespoonsful of very fine salad-oil, and two of strong vinegar; or apportion the same ingredients otherwise to the taste."

Kitchen Scales

Bordyke Bread

Also from Modern Cookery for Private Families, by Eliza Acton.

"Mix with a gallon of flour a large teaspoonful of fine salt, make a hollow in the centre, and pour in two tablespoonsful of solid, well purified yeast, gradually diluted with about two pints and a half of milk, and work it into a thick batter with the surrounding flour, strew a thick layer over and leave it to rise from an hour to an hour and a half; then knead it up with as much more warm skimmed milk, or half new milk and half water, as will render it quite firm and smooth without being very stiff; let it rise another hour, and divide it into three loaves ; put them into square tins slightly buttered, or into round baking pans, and bake them about an hour and a quarter in a well-heated oven. The dough can be formed into household loaves if preferred, and sent to the oven in the usual way. When a finer and more spongy kind of bread is required for immediate eating, substitute new milk for skimmed, dissolve in it about an ounce of butter, leave it more liquid when the sponge is set, and let the whole be lightly kneaded into a lithe dough : the bread thus made will be excellent when new, and for a day or so after it is baked, but it will become dry sooner then the other.

Flour, 1 gallon ; salt, 1 teaspoonful ; skimmed milk, 2½ pints, to rise from 1 to I½ hour. Additional milk, 1 to 2 pints : to rise 1 hour, 3 loaves, baked 1¼ hour.

Obs. 1.—A few spoonful of cream will wonderfully improve either of the above receipts, and sweet butter-milk, substituted for the other, will give to the bread the shortness of a cake : we would particularly recommend it for trial when it can be procured.

Obs. 2.—Shallow round earthen pans answer much better, we think, than tins for baking bread ; they should be slightly rubbed with butter before the dough is put into them."