Cream of Onion Soup – The Dairy book of Family Cookery

Cream of Onion Soup

I remember making this soup recipe many years ago from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery and enjoying it but then forgot all about it until I decided to make onion soup today. I’d been thinking of making a French onion soup until I came across this recipe, the French onion soup will have to be for another day. This is a creamy onion soup, comfort food for cold days. I suggest you cut the onions in half before thinly slicing as rings of onion make the soup harder to eat, it also makes it easier to cut the last few slices.


  • 25g/1 oz butter
  • 450g/1 lb onions (approx 4 medium onions), skinned cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 550ml/1 pt milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp (20ml) cornflour
  • 45ml/3 tbsps single cream (optional)
  • sprig of parsley (optional)


  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the onions, cover and cook gently until softened, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent browning. (This is known as sweating).
    Onions for Cream of Onion Soup
  2. Add the milk, 300ml (1/2 pt) water and seasoning and bring to the boil stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 5minutes until the onion is tender
  3. Blend the cornflower with 45ml (3 tbsps) water, stir into the soup and bring to the boil. Cook gently for a few minutes until slightly thickened, stirring.
  4. Add the fresh cream, check seasoning and reheat without boiling.

Spaghetti Carbonara – Dairy Family Cookery

Spaghetti Carbonara

Store cupboard supper last night and since we keep our own chickens we always have fresh eggs (at least from spring to early winter). There was also some leftover cream and a pack of streaky bacon in the fridge and I was feeling very lazy so spaghetti carbonara was the obvious choice. The first time I ever made this was using the recipe below from my original copy of The Dairy Book of Family Cookery. Nowadays I do from memory and have adapted a little. I use parmesan instead of cheddar for example, but when this book was published the only parmesan you could get in England was little tubs of finely grated dust that lasted for ever and smelt of old socks. I also used double cream since that was what I had to use up but if you have a choice single cream would be better. I also heat the pasta a minute or two whilst stirring after I add the egg/cream mixture.

My  boys were very happy with this meal. Quantities below serve 4 even if two of them are teen boys.


  • 4 very fresh eggs
  • 150ml/5fl oz single cream
  • 25g/1 oz butter
  • 225g/8oz streaky bacon
  • 350g/12oz spaghetti
  • 175g/6oz grated cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 30ml/2 tbsp chopped parsley


  1. In a bowl beat together the eggs and cream. Heat butter in a frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a saucepan of fast boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes until tender but not soft. Drain and add to the bacon in the frying pan
  3. Cook for 1 minute stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and add the egg/cream mixture. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs
  4. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining cheese and parsley.

Italian Liver – The Dairy Food of Family Cooking

I feel like I’m rediscovered an old friend as I browse through The Dairy Book of Home Cookery picking out old favourite recipes and making them again. Jon loves liver but I didn’t like it as a child so this dish was a compromise. We stopped making it when the boys came along as it wasn’t really small child friendly but decided it was time to retry them. Semi-successful, eldest son decided he didn’t really like it, youngest was happy to eat it. I served this with rice, cabbage & bacon and green beans.


  • 350g/12oz lambs liver
  • 25g/1oz flour
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 40g/1.5oz butter
  • 450g/1lb onions skinned and thinly sliced
  • 150ml/0.25 pt beef or lamb stock
  • 300ml/0.5 pt milk
  • 30ml/2 level tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 garlic clove skinned and finely chopped
  • 0.25ml/0.25 tsp mixed herbs
  • 30ml/2 tbsp double cream
  • chopped fresh parsley


  1. Cut the liver into small pieces and coat in seasoned flour
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the liver, brown on all sides then remove from the pan and set aside
  3. In the butter remaining in the pan fry the onions slowly until tender. Gradually stir in the stock, milk, tomato puree, garlic and herbs. Bring the sauce to the boil stirring continuously
  4. Add the liver to the sauce. Cover pan and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until the liver is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Place liver and sauce on a hot serving plate. Trickle the cream over the sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Farmhouse Sultana Cake – Dairy Book of Family Cooking

Back when the The Dairy Book of Home Cookery was one of my only cookbooks I used to bake this cake a lot. Then we got a bit bored so I stopped making it and wIth newer more interesting cookbooks I didn’t go back to it. However it occurred to me it would make a good cake to put in lunch boxes. I realised when making it that it’s also a good cake for winter as it only uses one egg. (The chickens are already down to 3 eggs a day and that will reduce further as the days get shorter so I’ll need to adjust what I bake to reduce the numbers of eggs I use). It’s a very slightly worthy cake with it’s wholemeal flour, but that helps make it a very pleasant low guilt treat with a cup of tea and it keeps for a few days. I put crushed up sugar cubes on top because I had some in the cupboard (no idea why, I must have had a plan at the time) but you really don’t need them. I also used to make it in a round tin. Square is easier to cut for lunch boxes, I think it looks nicer as a round cake.


  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 10ml/ 2 tsps mixed spice
  • 5ml/1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g/8oz wholemeal flour
  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 225g/8oz soft brown sugar
  • 225g/8oz sultanas
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • About 300ml/0.5 pt milk
  • 10 sugar cubes (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas mark 3.
  2. Grease and base-line either a 20cm/8in square or a 23cm/9in round cake tin.
  3. Sift the plain flour, mixed spice and bi-carb of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the wholemeal flour and stir to mix.
  4. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar and sultanas.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg and the milk. Beat gently until well mixed and of a soft dropping consistency.
  6. Turn into the prepared tin.
  7. Roughly crush the sugar cubes and scatter over the cake.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 1hr 40mins until cooked (a cake skewer should come out clean). Turn out and cool on a wire rack.