Treasure 12: Clara Palmer-Morewood’s Recipe Book

The Record Office has many household recipe books (or receipt books as they were known), dating back to the 17th Century.  Our twelfth treasure is the 1830s recipe book of Clara Palmer-Morewood of Alfreton Hall.

Recipe books of this time combine cookery recipes with medicinal and veterinary cures as well as beauty treatments.  Clara’s is a great example, with recipes for fashionable foreign dishes such as ‘fromage fondue’, ‘petty shoes’ (petit choux!) and ‘Spanish fritters’, but also ‘a cure for dogs who are troubled with the snort’, lip salve and a recipe to wash chintz amongst other delights.

Many of Clara’s recipes have been contributed by friends and relations, whose names are given beside each recipe, so the book also gives an insight into Clara’s social circle.  You can see a full list of recipes and their contributors on our online catalogue here, or read some of Becky’s transcriptions of the recipes for rabbit soup, lobster curry, sponge cake, gingerbread, pancakes, ginger beer, mince pies, and biscuit puddings on this blog.

What really makes Clara’s book a treasure, though, is that it has a recipe for Bakewell Pudding dated 1837.  It is a really delicious and easy recipe, which I’ve now made several times!  Legend has it that this local speciality was invented by accident in the 1860s.  Clara’s book shows that this local legend can’t be completely true – and Ivan Day’s excellent research into this question has revealed some even earlier Bakewell Pudding recipes.

D7555/1 Clara Palmer-Morewood recipe book, Alfreton Hall

If you’d like to make the pudding yourself, here’s how to do it:

Line a 7 inch (18cm) metal pie dish with puff pastry.  Spread a couple of tablespoons of jam over the bottom and scatter over some candied orange peel, if you like it, and flaked almonds to taste (about 50g).  As an alternative to jam you can use dried cherries or raisins, finely chopped.  Cherries are better as they are a bit more tart.

In a bowl put 4 egg yolks, 1 egg white, 4 oz (100g) melted better, cooled, and 4 oz (100g) sugar.  Beat for a couple of minutes with an electric whisk until fluffy, pour into the pie dish and bake in the middle of the oven at 180 degrees centigrade (gas mark 5) for 30-35 minutes.

If you give it a try, do leave a comment to let us know whether you enjoyed it!

Pancake recipe for Shrove Tuesday


Looking for a slightly different recipe for this year’s pancakes? Why not try this recipe from Clara’s friend Mrs Coke at Depdale.


Take three spoonfulls of fine flour, a pint of Cream, Six Eggs, three spoonfuls of sack or sweet wine, One of Orange flower Water, a little sugar, half a nutmeg grated, and half a pound of melted butter almost cold, mix all well together, and butter the pan for the first Pancake, let them run as thin as possible, and when they are first coloured, they will be enough, In this manner all the fine Pancakes should be fried

Mrs John Coke


Recipe for Biscuit Puddings

D7555/1Biscuit Puddings

Take six oz. of Sugar, six oz. of flour, 6 oz. of Butter, and the Yolks of six Eggs, beat the Butter to a cream, then beat the Yolks of the eggs and add them to the Butter, Stir the sugar and Flour in separately by degrees, beat these Ingredients well together before you bake them, they require a moderate Oven – when [?]sent up they should be ornamented with a little orange marmalade – Mrs Miller, Radway


Send us photos of your biscuit puddings and we will put them up on the blog – please email

Latest recipe from Clara: Lobster Curry

Lobster CurryD7555/1 Clara Palmer-Morewood recipe book p83

Get fresh boiled lobsters and take as much of the meat, spawn, and head as weill be about a pound. Melt a table spoonful of butter in a stew pan, and add to it the lobster and two table spoonfuls of fish curry paste to be had of the oilmen (not powder) and one and a half wine glass of cold water; stew gently for fifteen minutes and it is done.

Le Papier de Nouvelle [The Paper of New]

Recipe for Ginger Beer

Why not complete the Jubilee weekend with a homemade ginger beer?

D7555/1 page 35

To one ounce of ginger well bruised, one lemon peeled, and squeezed 3 lb of lump sugar, 1 gallon of boiling water to be poured over all, and to stand till nearly cold, then strain it over one spoonful of yeast added to it, bottle it immediately, when it is cold. In two days it is fit to drink – Mrs Provost

Clara’s recipe for a light sponge cake

And why not give this a go over the bank holiday weekend for your Jubilee celebrations

D7555/1 page 8To make a light sponge cake

Take seven eggs, leaving out three of the whites, three quarters of a pound of sugar, half a pound of flour, a quarter of a pint of water, which put to the sugar and make it scolding hot, then put in the eggs wisking them very quick for a full hour, then add the flour, a little lemon peel, rose or orange flower water may be added according to your taste.

We certainly want to hear from anyone who tries this recipe and whisks the mixture “very quick for a full hour” – pictures please (to

Recipes from Clara for the Jubilee

Why not try some of these recipes from Clara’s book to help you celebrate the Jubilee this weekend. Here is a recipe for marmalade, keep an eye out for a light sponge cake and ginger beer

D7555/1, page 4Orange Marmalade

Cut the oranges in two, not throught the poles, but across, then with a spoon scrape out all the pulp taking care not to take away of the white part of the rind. Cut the orange peel into slices rather thin, put them in to water, you must change the water every day, till you find it has lost all bitterness, When you take them out of the water, weigh them & to every pound put a pound of loaf sugar, boil the orange peel till it becomes so ternder that you may put a straw through. As soon as you have taken the pulp from the oranges, you must pick out all the skins and pips and close it up till the peel’s prepared as above directed is boiled tender; you must put the sugar to the juice and boil it up before you put the peel to it, skin it from the dross, then put in the peel and let it simmer gently over a slow fire till you find the sugar has entered the peel.

Don’t forget to let us know how you get on when making this dish, and send us your Jubilee pictures.