THE Country Women's Association knows a thing or two about food. The Victorian state branch has been running since 1928 in order to improve the conditions for women and children, especially those living in rural and regional areas.
Over the years, those women shared some delicious recipes with one another. Now a selection of the best are published in special new book From Our Kitchen To Yours.
The 185 tested and true recipes in this book have been shared countless times between friends and published as community cookbooks to raise funds for cash-strapped good causes.
Food tastes may have changed and evolved, but these recipes stand the test of time - Tex Mex Fish with Crispy Potato Slices to feed a hungry family, Lamb, Lentil and Rosemary Soup to give as a gift to a neighbour who might need a helping hand, or Orange Poppyseed and Cardamon Biscuits to share with a friend with a strong cup of tea.
There are recipes for breakfasts, morning teas, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes,main meals, jams, chutneys and preserves, updated with additional tips and hints to ensure success for the most inexperienced modern cook.
Here is their recipe for a never-fail sponge cake.
Makes two 20 cm cakes
- 4 eggs, separated
- small pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
- 3/4 cup (90 g) cornflour
- 1 large tablespoon custard powder
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Beat well until very thick, stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg yolks and vanilla.
Add twice-sifted dry ingredients, then gently fold them through the egg mixture until combined.
Turn evenly into two well-greased sandwich tins, 21 cm x 6 cm deep.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sides of the cake have shrunk a little from the side of the tins.
Turn out to cool, then slice through and fill with cream and jam, to make two individual layered cakes, or one big cake with four layers.
Ice or decorate the top as required; in the photo the cake is topped with strawberry halves and dusted with icing sugar.
For a Chocolate Sponge, add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to dry ingredients.
Images and text from From Our Kitchen to Yours by The Country Women's Association of Victoria, photography by Cath Muscat. Murdoch Books RRP $36.99.