Novel recipes: coconut cake from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Basing it on a cake served to Gaskell’s heroine Margaret Hale, Kate Young adapts a recipe that might have been a little too flashy for sensible Mr Dixon

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Behind the door was another table, decked out for tea, with a white tablecloth, on which flourished the cocoa-nut cakes, and a basket piled with oranges and ruddy American apples, heaped on leaves.

It appeared to Mr Thornton that all these graceful cares were habitual to the family; and especially of a piece with Margaret.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

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Novel recipes: Crêpes Suzette from Madam, Will You Talk?

With the weather in the UK heating up, Kate Young cooks a dish from Mary Stewart’s 1954 novel, set in a sweltering Mediterranean summer

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The dinner I had dreamed up proved to be every bit as good as the dream. We began with iced melon, which was followed by the famous brandade truffee, a delicious concoction of fish cooked with truffles. We could quite contentedly have stopped there, but the next course - small bord like a quail, simmered in wine and served on a bed of green grapes - would have tempted an anchorite to break his penance. Then crêpes Suzette, and, finally, coffee and Armagnac.

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

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Novel recipes: Jam roly-poly from Diary of a Provincial Lady

While reading ‘the perfect book for spring’, Kate Young stumbles across a dish that horrifies the titular Provincial Lady – and bakes a better version

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Am horrified to see that supper, awaiting her on the table, consists of cheese, pickles, and slice of jam roly-poly, grouped on a single plate – (Would not this suggest to the artistic mind a Still-life Study in Modern Art?) – flanked by a colossal jug of water.

Diary of a Provincial Lady, EM Delafield

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Novel recipes: apple crumble from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾

A passing mention of apple crumble in Sue Townsend’s comic masterpiece is enough to send Kate Young in search of the ultimate comfort food

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Commonwealth Day

Cleaned toilet, washed basin and bath before doing my paper round. Came home, made breakfast, put washing in machine, went to school. Gave Barry Kent his menaces money, went to Bert Baxter’s, waited for social worker who didn’t come, had school dinner. Had Domestic Science – made apple crumble. Came home. Vacuumed hall, lounge, and breakfast room. Peeled potatoes, chopped up cabbage, cut finger, rinsed blood off cabbage. Put chops under grill, looked in cookery book for a recipe for gravy. Made gravy. Strained lumps out with a colander. Set table, served dinner, washed up. Put burnt saucepans in to soak. Got washing out of machine; everything blue, including white underwear and handkerchiefs. Hung washing on clothes-horse. Fed dog. ...

Novel recipes: eggs Benedict from Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

While reading Ng’s dramatic novel set in American suburbia, Kate Young is inspired by a mention of her favourite brunch meal – and has tips for those dreading making their own hollandaise

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Inside, the house was already full to overflowing. There were mimosas and an omelet station. There were caterers offering bite-sized quiches and poached eggs in puddles of velvety hollandaise.

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

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Novel recipes: eggnog from The Fir Tree by Tove Jansson

Moomins and eggnog: how better to enjoy Christmas? Avoid the supermarket imitations and make this rich and boozy festive treat at home, says Kate Young

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Moominmamma worked all afternoon. A little before dark she had the food cooked for Christmas, and served in small bowls around the fir tree. There was juice and yoghurt and blueberry pie and eggnog and other things the Moomin family liked.

The Fir Tree, Tove Jansson

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Novel recipes: currant jelly from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The March sisters may not be at home in the kitchen, but this vibrant fruit preserve is a fitting tribute for a catering partnership

Fired with a housewifely wish to see her storeroom stocked with homemade preserves, she undertook to put up her own currant jelly. John was requested to order home a dozen or so little pots and an extra quantity of sugar, for their own currants were ripe and were to be attended to at once.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Novel recipes: currant jelly from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The March sisters may not be at home in the kitchen, but this vibrant fruit preserve is a fitting tribute for a catering partnership

Fired with a housewifely wish to see her storeroom stocked with homemade preserves, she undertook to put up her own currant jelly. John was requested to order home a dozen or so little pots and an extra quantity of sugar, for their own currants were ripe and were to be attended to at once.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Novel recipes: apple charlotte from Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Still savouring the second novel in Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles, Kate Young makes a cosy apple and bread dessert, perfect for autumn

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Louise said truthfully that it was not at all bad. But that did not satisfy Stella, and by the time she had finished her apple charlotte, she had cross-examined Louise about everything and knew about there being four different categories of work - cooking, parlourmaiding, housemaiding and laundry - and that they changed their jobs every week, that two mistresses taught cooking...

Marking Time, Elizabeth Jane Howard

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Novel recipes: apple charlotte from Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Still savouring the second novel in Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles, Kate Young makes a cosy apple and bread dessert, perfect for autumn

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Louise said truthfully that it was not at all bad. But that did not satisfy Stella, and by the time she had finished her apple charlotte, she had cross-examined Louise about everything and knew about there being four different categories of work - cooking, parlourmaiding, housemaiding and laundry - and that they changed their jobs every week, that two mistresses taught cooking...

Marking Time, Elizabeth Jane Howard

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Novel recipes: robber steak from Dracula

The spooky season inspires Kate to create a dish from Bram Stoker’s novel – just remember to keep that meat slightly bloody

There are many odd things to put down, and, lest who reads them may fancy that I dined too well before I left Bistritz, let me put down my dinner exactly. I dined on what they called “robber steak”- bits of bacon, onion, and beef, seasoned with red pepper, and strung on sticks, and roasted over the fire, in simple style of the London cat’s meat!

Dracula, Bram Stoker

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Novel recipes: cream puffs from The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield

Mansfield’s 1922 short story, set around the wealthy Sheridan family’s shindig, inspires Kate to make a dessert from their elegant spread

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That meant the cream puffs had come. Godber’s were famous for their cream puffs. Nobody ever thought of making them at home. ‘Bring them in and put them on the table, my girl,’ ordered cook. The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield Continue reading...

Novel recipes: roast chicken and artichokes from The Talented Mr Ripley

While chicken is a Sunday tradition according to the doomed Dickie Greenleaf, this easy but tasty dish is one for any day of the week, says Kate Young

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“I just realised today’s Sunday,” Dickie said. “Marge went to church. You’d better come up and have lunch with us. We always have chicken on Sunday. You know it’s an old American custom, chicken on Sunday.” The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith Continue reading...

Novel recipes: Rock cakes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

With the 20th anniversary of JK Rowling’s first book looming, Kate Young bakes a batch of rock cakes – hopefully better than the ones Hagrid feeds to Harry...

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‘This is Ron,’ Harry told Hagrid, who was pouring boiling water into a large teapot and putting rock cakes onto a plate. ‘Another Weasley, eh?’ said Hagrid, glancing at Ron’s freckles. ‘I spent half me life chasin’ your brothers away from the Forest.’ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling Continue reading...