Blencowe Families’ Association Newsletter Vol. 18 No. 3 September 2003

The Receipt Book of Lady Anne Blencowe

Christina Stapley

This picture of Christina Stapley on the cover is intended to raise your interest in the planned publication of a new edition of Lady Anne's cookbook. 'Tina' teaches courses on early cookery and is specially interested in herbal medicine (she is currently preparing a dissertation for a higher degree). She wrote me:

'I am really enjoying experimenting with Lady Anne's recipes and have a selection of goodies now successfully made. Some of the apricot and cherry preserves took a little extra trial and error to work out as the recipes were not easy to follow and gave me interesting insights into cookery of the period. They are all delicious, although with the jellies the sugar content makes them very sweet and nowadays they are best added a little at a time as a flavouring for other dishes.

I have especially enjoyed making one of the surffet waters, the flavour and power of this is just amazing. I have also made sage wine without sugar and the fruit sugars from the raisins have it working nicely. It is a deep amber in colour. I will make one of the other wines later.

My idea of having a costume to wear for an illustration with the prepared dishes and later to help book sales has now involved the skills of several people. Ian consulted Barbara Painter, an expert on costume and she has obtained hand-woven pure silk from a weaver who copies actual fabrics of the period. The lighter coloured silk will have tiny clove gillyflowers as an all-over pattern and sounds really beautiful. Barbara Painter and a colleague are making the gown.'

Tina expects the book, with the inclusion of a foreword and the addition of her commentaries, to run to about 130 A5 pages (the size of this newsletter). It will have hard covers and an insert of colour pictures. Sue, her business partner, has been experimenting with some of the pickles and is also investigating costs; they could complete work by July but are aiming for a launch next September so that it can be promoted properly in the run up to Christmas. It looks like being a delightful present to give to family and friends; I hope to negotiate a special price for Association members and, if there is sufficient interest, could arrange bulk shipment to America or Australia.

updated: 6 February 2009