Old-Fashioned Louise Slice

In 1879, a young man named John Edmonds set foot on the Northern Island Shores of New Zealand. At just 20 years of age, he made the long voyage to a land of promise, leaving behind the gloomy London skies for a new life with his young wife, Jane. Together, they opened a general grocery store and settled into an antipodean lifestyle. He began making his own baking powder to sell in store, and his first batch of 200 tins went on sale that same year.

In 1908, Thomas Edmonds took over his father’s company, offering a gift to loyal patrons with thanks for ongoing custom. It was a 50 page booklet of economical, everyday recipes and cooking hints. Every couple who announced their engagement in the newspaper received a free copy. For the already espoused, housewives could apply in writing to receive complimentary issue.

In 1955 the first Deluxe Edition of the cookbook went on sale. Currently 3.5  million copies of the Deluxe Edition have been printed over the past 50 years. Most New Zealand homes have more than one version.

I have but one.

It’s missing it’s cover and several pages. The remaining pages are well thumbed, dog eared and spattered. The baking section, in particular, has seen many a kitchen. The imperial measurements have hand written metric conversions noted by previous owners. I assume these notations show his or her favourites. One of which, is this, a humble slice.

The very first bite transports me to my childhood… jam slice and cold milk under the mulberry tree.


Old-Fashioned Louise Slice

Slice base
125 grams butter, softened
¾ cup castor sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup raspberry jam

Coconut topping
2 egg whites
¼ cup castor sugar
1 ¼ cups coconut
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 150c.
Grease and line a 30 cm x 20 cm baking tin.
Cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold through the mixture
Press an even layer into the tin.
Top with a layer of jam.
Whisk egg whites until stiff and add sugar gradually, a little at a time, continuously whisking.
Fold in coconut and vanilla essence.
Layer topping over the jam and sprinkle with additional coconut, if desired.

Bake  for 30 – 35 minutes and let cool in tin.

Serve with a milk moustache whilst sitting under a mulberry tree.

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of supermarket desiccated coconut, so I make my own dehydrated flakes, which is why, in my image, my topping is… well… rustic. If you use smaller flakes or packet coconut, your topping will be a lot more smooth – so be prepared. 


Date and Nut Loaf ~ Vintage Style

Alongside loving vintage cook books comes the love of vintage cookware. On a recent road trip, I came across a genuine vintage Willow nut loaf tin in a country second-hand store.


I have many vintage recipes that call for round loaf tin. Date loaf, nut loaf, or date and nut loaf in many guises. I have fond memories of my paternal grandmother, manual rotary whisk in hand, whizzing this up and serving  us rounds slathered in rich creamy butter for afternoon tea.  Her mother used to bake to the same recipe, using aluminium foil and empty food cans. Such luxury was the round nut loaf tin to those that could afford one.

The recipe I have chosen is from The Commonsense Cookery Book, this time, the 1959 release. .

One of the things I love finding in vintage recipes is the quirkiness of the measurements. In the absence of exact science and precise measurements bakers call for today, there’s often reference to a bit of this, a dash of that, or a splash of something else.  ‘Cooking by cups’ was very common through the depression, the recession and the post war years. Cup recipes were easy, easy to remember, easy to manage, and with utensils required kept to a few, easily accessible for most people. This recipe trusts you will understand the needs for a small cup of milk. Yes?  IMG_3495_Fotor

Date and Nut loaf using a loaf tin: 1959*

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Small cup of milk
1 tb butter
Pinch of salt

Beat butter and sugar to a cream.
Add a well beaten egg.
Add milk gradually.
Add chopped dates and chopped walnuts.
Stir in lightly the flour, baking powder and salt, sifted.
3/4 fill the greased loaf tin and secure both ends.
Stand upright and bake in moderate oven 3/4 hour.

This recipe makes enough for 2 loaf tins. Don’t try to fill in a single bake, your tin will explode.

Serve just as my Nan did – slathered in butter and with a nice cup of tea.

Don’t  mind if I do.