Welcome to blog in association with Ian Sutton. Over the last year, Ian and I have been involved with many historic culinary projects. We were first taken back in time by a former student of Westminster Kingsway College Sophie Wright who asked if we would like to help out in creating a vast amount of dishes from Queen Victoria and Alberts Wedding feast. So yes of course we did! Both Ian and I are classically trained professional chefs and have worked together as chef lecturers over a number of years. Ian is perfectly organised, very creative and I would say a little OCD. He is also very wary of social media. I am also very creative and artistic, perhaps a little haphazard, but always up for new challenges and embrace social media across lots of platforms. All in all, a very collaborative working partnership that aptly addresses our needs. Our love of cooking, flavours, fresh produce, tasting, kitchen banter and drive have given us both opportunities to work on some very rewarding ventures.
We are currently working with English Heritage recreating recipes from the 18th-century head cook of Audley End, Mrs Avis Crocombe. This project inspired us to look at other popular cooks in the Victorian era, such as Mrs Isabella Beeton. Many enthusiasts have written about Mrs Beeton and suggest that her recipes were plagiarised, untried and do not work. However, as a child, I was fed on many cakes and biscuits by my mother and grandmother, who both swore by her recipes. The recipes definitely worked for them … and me! By chance, Ian was given a leather-bound first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management by his late father many years ago, a prized feature in his library of cookery books. So we both have compelling motives and memories of this famous publisher. Our blog wants to explore Mrs Beeton’s baking recipes, test them out and decide for ourselves if they work or should be adapted in some way. We also want to look back at the fascinating history of the recipes and ingredients and see if we can unearth any thought-provoking tales.