Exciting plans are falling into place for Victoria Price’s visit to London in November, to launch the 50th anniversary edition of her parents’ wonderful book; A Treasury of Great Recipes. 

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I’ve been helping to organize a couple of events for Victoria and her VIP guests, and it’s going to be just fabulous. The lovely Bruce Langlands, Director of Foods and Restaurants at Harrods, will be giving us a private tour of the food halls before the store opens on Saturday 6th November, followed by a special breakfast in the Georgian Restaurant.

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A dinner is planned at The Ivy Private Members Club with reference to the recipes Vincent and Mary presented in the Treasury.  

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We will also be having a Treasury themed lunch at the wonderful Grim’s Dyke Hotel…

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which was a location in the Vincent Price film Cry of the Banshee (1970).

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There will be more food, movies and spooky stuff going on organised by Peter Fuller, renowned Vincent Price expert.  It will be so much fun.  If you are interested in being part of the merry band, all the information is here on Peter’s Vincent Price UK Legacy site – VIP tickets are on sale now.

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Oh, and there will be a COOKALONG – organised by yours truly, so let me know if you’d like to participate in the virtual reality book launch party for the 50th Anniversary edition of the Treasury.  In short, you cook something from the Treasury (recipes provided if you don’t have a copy) and have a party!  Just get in touch via the Contact page for a spot on our party guest list.

Here’s some bread I made to Mary and Vincent’s recipe in the Treasury a few weeks ago.  I am trying to shrink my flour mountain as I can barely cram a tiny thimbleful more of flour into my baking cupboard.  Motto for the next couple of months “use it up and wear it out”. 

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This bread always turns out perfectly for me, and is really good toasted.  As Battenburg Belle taught me to do, after I’d scoffed a few fresh slices I sliced the rest and THEN froze it.  Then you can just bust a slice or two off when you need it.  Toasts perfectly straight from the freezer.  Recipe follows.

Talking of my freezer, it is so full now that two of the drawers won’t open.  Um, not sure what I’m going to do about that.  Observing this at the weekend when trying to find a little spot for a piece of chicken to be frozen Mr R said, “The freezers are out of control.  I think you need to stop cooking for a minute…” 

Maybe!

French Bread – recipe from Mary and Vincent Price’s A Treasury of Great Recipes (1965).  This looks LOOOOONG but it’s pretty straightforward really.  I use French Bread Flour from Wessex Mill (always makes me think of Thomas Hardy…)

frenchbreadThis makes 4 loaves but is easy enough to halve if you just want to make two – that’s what I usually do and either give one away (I get a lot of LOVE back for this) or put one in the freezer, sliced.

2 packages active dry yeast

2 cups milk

4 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons shortening (I use TREX)

12 cups flour (divided use)

Egg white

Soften the yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.  Scald the milk and pour into large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, salt, shortening and 1 & 1/2 cups lukewarm water.  Cool to lukewarm.

Stir in 2 cups flour.  Add the softened yeast.  Then add 4 cups flour and beat with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth and elastic.

Add more flour (about 6 cups) to make a dough that is light but does not stick to the hands, beating it in until the beating gets rough, then working it in with the hands. 

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board, cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead until dough is smooth.  Shape dough into a ball and put it in a lightly greased bowl.  Brush surface of the dough with melted shortening, cover, and let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch dough down and divide into 4 portions [or two if you have done half the recipe].  Shape the dough into long thin loaves.  With kitchen scissors make gashes on top of the loaves about 3 inches apart and 1.5 inches deep.  Place loaves several inches apart on a greased baking sheet and let rise until double in bulk.

Brush tops with slightly beaten egg white and bake in a preheated 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 40 minutes.  If desired, brush again with egg white and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes longer, or until seeds are brown.

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