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‘All in the Cooking’

Niamh Wingate grew up in Ireland as the baker of her family, perfecting her Madeira sponge from the age of just seven. The inspiration came from her mother’s home economics school book, the only cookbook in the house for years. It’s definitely a product of its time - made in the early 60's, it has some dated recipes along with plenty of kitchen classics. One of the most unusual sections of the book is a list of advice for feeding those who are under the weather, making sure their diet doesn’t suffer! Advice includes ‘serve food punctually’ and ‘glass, china and silver should be sparkling.’

That same Irish cookbook was published unchanged for kitchens all over the world, under the title ‘All in the Cooking.’ In a true traditional style, the recipes aren’t complicated - just four or five ingredients in a pot, and many of them are seasonal to allow for the limited availability of exotic produce.

Niamh wasn’t allowed to bring her mum’s treasured copy when she moved to New Zealand but she was gifted a reprinted version. A new driver for GBB in the Wairarapa, Niamh still bakes occasionally and this week she made rock buns using a recipe from that same cookbook - check them out in the picture! As Niamh says, they don’t have to be fancy or pretty, you can just make the mixture and pop it on the tray. Is there an equivalent in New Zealand for rock buns? We’re not sure but here’s the recipe if you want to make them in your own kitchen!


½ lb flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp mixed spice

3 oz sugar

1 oz mixed peel, chopped

Pinch of salt

3 oz butter

A little nutmeg

1 egg

A little milk

3oz currants

  1. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.

  2. Rub in the butter. Add sugar, chopped peel, mixed spice,, grated nutmeg and currants. Mix well.

  3. Mix to a fairly stiff consistency with a beaten egg, using a little milk if required.

  4. Take a piece of the mixture between two forks and pile on a greased tin. Continue until all the mixture is used.

  5. Bake in a fairly hot oven for about 20 minutes.

Have you got a treasured family recipe that you’d love to share? Contact

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