Darina Allen chooses her favourite recipes from the new edition of All In The Cooking

All In The Cooking is back by popular demand… I’ve just received a copy from O’Brien Press who had the foresight to reprint Part 1 which was originally published in 1946. 

Darina Allen chooses her favourite recipes from the new edition of All In The Cooking

It was written and compiled by Josephine Marnell, Nora Breathnach, Anne Martin and Mor Murnaghan for the students of Coláiste Mhuire Cookery School in Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin and it remained in use in schools and colleges throughout Ireland until the 1970’s.

In the press release to coincide with the launch, the O Brien Press, tell us that All In The Cooking has attained near legendary status in recent years as people search the internet for second hand copies but to little or no avail.

And, I can believe it, because almost 20 years ago I removed my copies of All In The Cooking Part 1 and 2 from the Ballymaloe Cookery School library of over 3,000 cookbooks to an inner sanctum of books that we regularly had to ‘trace’ when borrowed.

Mine are soft backs but the new edition is hardback, a reprint of the third edition of Book 1 complete with margarine in virtually every recipes – I respectfully suggest that you substitute good Irish butter but it’s your call!

There are many gems and timeless classics in this book as well as some ‘interesting’ recipes from bygone days.

The foreword to the new edition is written by 97 year old Anne A Browne nee Martin, a co–author of All In The Cooking.

It also includes the original preface by K M O’ Sullivan, former principal of Cathal Brugha Street.

She tells us that “neither time nor labour was spared in the compilation of the work.

The various recipes and explanations contained in it are the result of varied and scientific experience, and have been compiled with minute care and detail.

“The public have the further assurance that every recipe has been carefully tested and tried.

“Before the publication of this book the only cookery books available to students and to the public in Ireland were, with one or two exceptions, compiled abroad, and while these were quite suitable to the needs of the people for whom they were specially written, they could not be regarded as meeting full requirements and tastes of the Irish student or housewife.”

There was much to make me smile. I remember how posh I thought potato roses were – a little mashed potato nest with peas in the centre.

Cool trendy young chefs, acolytes of Fergus Henderson, will be delighted to find an authentic recipe for sheep’s head broth which starts by instructing us to “split the skull, lift the brains out – wash the head, pay particular attention to the tongue and parts around it, remove the eyes”.

That should separate the men from the boys and send them shuffling back to their well-thumbed catering catalogue where everything is neatly portioned and vacpacked.

Should they persevere, believe me the result will be delicious.

Liver soup, on page 29, I’m not so sure about but I’m very partial to kidney soup.

I’d forgotten about the section on invalid cooking which includes some unlikely temptations like steamed chop, gruel, invalid trifle and albumen water but several gems also, like chicken broth, blackcurrant tea and recipes for barley water.

Below are a few favourites from the baking section

Recipes taken from All In The Cooking; jointly published by the O’Brien Press and Edco, the Educational Company of Ireland.

Queen of Puddings

1½ ozs breadcrumbs

½ pint milk

½ oz butter or margarine

1 level tbsp sugar

1 yolk of egg

Grated rind of ½ lemon, or a few drops lemon essence


1 tbsp raspberry jam

1 white of egg

2 ozs castor sugar

Put butter, milk and lemon rind into a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.

Add and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly.

Beat the yolk of egg and pour the heated milk on to it, taking care not to let it curdle.

Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl, and pour the egg and milk over them. Pour into a well-greased pie-dish.

Place on a flat tin. Bake in a very moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until set.

Heat the jam slightly and spread on top of the pudding.

Beat the white of egg stiffly and fold in the castor sugar. Pile roughly on top of the jam.

Return to a very cool oven until the meringue is set and well dried out, about ½ hour. Allow to become lightly browned.


Instead of making breadcrumbs, cut the bread into pieces, soak in the egg and milk mixture until soft.

Beat well or put in the liquidiser at slow speed for a few seconds.

Tea Brack

1 lb mixed dried fruit

1 lb flour

½ pt cold tea

1 egg

6 ozs brown sugar

¼ tsp mixed spice

2 tsp baking powder

Clean the fruit and put to steep in the cold tea with the brown sugar. Leave overnight.

Add the flour, beaten egg, mixed spice and baking powder. Mix well together.

Put into a greased lined 8-inch tin. Place a piece of tinfoil on top. Bake in a moderate oven for about 2 hours.

Bakewell Tart

Short pastry:

4 ozs flour

Pinch of salt

2-3 ozs. butter or margarine

Cold water

2 tbsp jam


2 ozs. butter or margarine

2 ozs. castor sugar

1 egg

3 ozs. flour

A little grated lemon rind

A little water

¼ tsp baking powder

Jam Sauce:

½ pint water

Strip of lemon rind

2 tbsp jam

1 tsp cornflour

1 dstsp lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

To make the short pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.

Put in butter and cut it into small lumps with a knife, mixing lumps and flour in the process.

Rub the fat into the flour with the tips of the fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Lift the hands high so as to introduce as much cold air as possible into the flour.

Care must be taken not to let the fat melt or the pastry will be oily and heavy.

Add the water gradually and mix to a stiff paste with a knife. When paste is wet enough it should stick together, but not to the bowl or hands.

Turn out on a lightly-floured board and knead lightly with the tips of the fingers.

Press out a little with the rolling-pin, and then, with light, even strokes roll into the required shape.


If the pastry sticks to the rolling-pin or board, scrape off the part that has stuck with the back of a knife, wipe with a cloth, flour the rolling-pin and board and continue rolling. Avoid the use of too much flour when rolling pastry.

To make the tart filling:

Have the butter or margarine at room temperature.

Put it with the sugar into a bowl and beat until white and creamy using a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

Beat the egg and add gradually to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat well.

Fold in the flour and grated lemon rind using a metal spoon, adding a little water if necessary to make to a dropping consistency.

Add the baking powder mixed with the last addition of flour. Baking powder is not required when using an electric mixer.

Next line the tart plate. Grease a tart plate about 8 ins. in diameter. Roll the pastry into a round shape a little larger than the plate.

Cut a strip ½ inch wide off the pastry and put round the edge of the plate with the cut edge outwards.

Damp this strip of pastry and line the plate with the remainder of the pastry. Trim the edges, flake and decorate them. Prick pastry with a fork.

Spread the centre of the plate with 2 tablespoons of jam, having it about ¼ inch thick. Spread the cake mixture on top of the jam.

Roll out any trimmings of pastry, cut into strips about ½ inches wide. Put these trellis-wise across pudding.

Bake in a fairly moderate oven for about 30 minutes until brown and thoroughly cooked. Dredge with sugar and serve on a d’oyley on a plate.

Serve with Jam Sauce.

To make the Jam Sauce:

Put water, lemon rind and jam into a saucepan. Infuse for 15 minutes and then bring slowly to the boil, and boil for 5 minutes.

Strain and pour on to cornflour, which has been blended with a little water, stirring to prevent lumping.

Put back on the heat and bring to the boil, still stirring, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and sugar.


If red jam is used, a few drops of carmine may be required to improve the colour.

Blackcurrant Tea

½ pint freshly-boiled water

1 tbsp blackcurrant jam

Sugar, if liked

Put jam into a warm bowl, pour the boiling water over.

Leave at the side of the stove to infuse, or stand bowl with tea in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Strain through fine muslin, and serve in a warm glass. Stand glass on a small plate. Add sugar, if liked.

Chicken Broth

1½ pts. of chicken stock

½ oz pearl barley

Salt and pepper

2 ozs. chopped onion

2 ozs. chopped celery

1 tsp finely-chopped parsley

Make stock by simmering carcass and bones of chicken for 1 ½ hours in 1 quart of water.

Strain, cool and remove fat.

Add barley, cook for ½ hour. Add vegetables and cook for further hour. Season and add parsley.

Hot tips

Derryvilla Blueberry Farm ( www.derryvillablueberries.com ) in Co Offaly has a bumper crop again this year. The enterprise is owned by John Seager and managed by Nuala O’Donoghue.

No pesticides are used and most of their delicious, naturally grown berries and the products made from them — a tangy blueberry tonic and preserves — are supplied to selected retailers or sold at Farmleigh Food Market ( www.farmleigh.ie ).

But there is also a farm shop on site, and the popular “pick your own” option makes a great family day out during the summer months. Tel: 057-8642882.

Date for your diary: Gluten Free Food — for those who are coeliac, or cook for someone who has a gluten intolerance, and find it challenging to produce really delicious, balanced meals, help is at hand.

There is an intensive half day Gluten Free Cooking course on Saturday, October 3, at the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

You’ll learn a whole range of tasty and easy-to-prepare dishes including gluten-free sweet and savoury pastry, crackling salmon with coriander pesto and gluten free raspberry muffins.

Suddenly, cooking for coeliacs will become a real pleasure rather than a chore; www.cookingisfun.ie  for more information.

Food on the Edge in Galway promises to be the most exciting food gig this year. It’s a two day symposium for chefs and food enthusiasts. There is a thrilling line up of guests who will talk, debate.

The theme is ‘Future of Food’, it looks like an unmissable event for anyone who wants to keep on top of the Irish and international food scene; www.foodontheedge.ie

Celebrate the Honey Bee with Slow Food Northern Ireland on Saturday, September 26.

Hendrik Dennemeyer, urban beekeeper will talk about keeping bees and how to get started at ‘The Narrows’, Portaferry, Northern Ireland. Contact Celia Spouncer on 0044 7725646333 or email celia@spouncer.com  or www.slowfoodireland.com  for further information.

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