Let your tastebuds step back in time with some North Yorkshire recipes from yesteryear

MALTON proudly declares itself to be the "food capital of Yorkshire" and a new cookbook certainly backs that up.

And what's more, the reputation pre-dates the modern day revival of all things culinary in the Ryedale town.

Malton Goes To Market, The Recipes, has been compiled by respected Yorkshire food historian Peter Brears, featuring contributions from local families, with the oldest dish dating back to 1751.

The recipe book has nine food and drink chapters, ranging from starters and meat dishes to fish, vegetables, puddings, cakes and pastries, pickles and preserves, and drinks.

As you would expect, there are some unusual inclusions. Jellied Rabbit anyone? Or how about Cabbage Pudding, where boiled cabbage is mixed with egg and milk then topped with breadcrumbs and cheese and baked in the oven. Fancy a Ham Cake? This was especially popular in the East Riding, where a large slice of gammon was enveloped in a pastry and baked in the oven, almost like a pasty. These cakes were apparently delicious because the gammon juices were absorbed into the pastry.

The book has been three years in the making, and follows an appeal to the people of Ryedale to share family recipes that have been passed on through the generations.

It has also led to an exhibition at the Malton Museum, which will be running until October 28.

Tom Naylor-Leyland, founder of the Malton Food Festival, said: "The recipes belong to a time when cooks mainly used was available from local farms and gardens. Now we can buy things from all over the world, but increasingly Malton's wonderful markets and shops are again full of excellent local produce and this book is full of the ideal recipes for them."

A lengthy and informed introduction by Peter Brears puts the recipes into their historical context.

Importantly, each chosen recipe was road-tested by the Malton Cookery School – so anyone trying one of the dishes should be able to do so with confidence.

Unlike today, when many homes have piles of recipes books - many from celebrity chefs - housewives of the past relied on their own notebooks, often crammed with much-loved dishes passed on through the generations.

Peter says: "As a result, these treasured recipe books record what families actually cooked for themselves rather than what professional writers thought they should be cooking."

He adds: "Taken together, these recipes present a full account of traditional home cooking around Malton in the days before fridges, freezers, microwaves, food processors and processed food became commonplace.

"A few may appear rather plan to modern tastes, but most have great flavours and textures and aromas, and are well worth reviving today. The housewives who developed and used them really knew what they were about when it came to feeding their families."

Malton Goes To Market, The Recipes, is available from Malton Museum, The Subscription Rooms, Yorkersgate, Malton, at £8.99 (add £2.25 for p&p). Find out more: enquiries.maltonmuseum@gmail.com

Malton Museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 10am-4pm until October 28, and from Easter 2018. Find out more at maltonmuseum.co.uk

Tried and tested

Having a sweet tooth, I made a beeline for the cakes and desserts section of the cookery book.

There were many tempting recipes, such as Baked Lemon Pudding, the heavenly sounding Paradise Pudding (a steamed pudding with currants, apple, lemon and brandy), and the intriguing Flummery, dated 1751 which is a set dessert featuring single cream, ground almonds, sugar, orange-flower water and gelatin.

There is a recipe for Burnt Cream, also from 1751, which sounds just like a creme brulee.

And Miss Bradley's Vinegar Bread is in fact a fruit bread, where bicarbonate of soda is used instead of yeast to bring about faster results.

Do you know your bible? The makers of Scripture Cake did. In this recipe from 1907, the ingredients all appear in the bible (butter - Judges v 25; mixed spice - II Chronicles IX.9).

The cake I decided to make also dates from 1907. This Chocolate Cake is credited to Mrs Russell and featured slightly different ingredients and a totally different method to how I would normally make a chocolate sponge (and featured much less sugar). I began by melting some dark Bourneville chocolate, then adding butter, then beating in the flour, baking powder, sugar and egg yolks. Next, I folded in ladles of stiff egg whites. The recipe suggests using a 15cm/6in tin and baking at 150C for 50 minutes, although I used a larger tin and baked it for 25 minutes - so my tip would be to keep your eye on it.

The end result was very good. I sliced it in half and jammed it together with a home-made strawberry and rhubarb jam. The cake was surprisingly moist with a decent chocolate flavour. It was more of a teatime treat than an indulgent one, and my family gave it the thumbs up.

Why not try it for yourself:

Chocolate Cake

Mrs Russell 1907

5oz/125g plain chocolate (Bourneville)

4oz/100g butter

3oz/75g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1oz/25g sugar

3 eggs, separated

Put the chocolate into a saucepan and stand in a larger pan of hot water until melted. Beat in the butter, allow to cool, then beat in the flour sifted with baking powder, the sugar and the beaten yolks. Fold in the stiffly-beaten egg whites, put into a greased and lined 6ins/15cm diameter cake tin and bake at 150C/300F/GM2 for 50 minutes.