Occasional FAQ: Gail Carriger’s Favorite Recipes

I consider myself an experimental eater and I love all food, so long as it is well prepared. So Gentle Reader, when this question came I knew it had to have a whole blog post.

Do you think a cook book might be in order down the trail?

I would love to write a cookbook, or help out with one. The food blog, Tentacle & Treacle was a hope to lean in that direction. Unfortunately, the force behind the blog kind of disappeared onto other things, the blog is no more, and I don’t have the time to do it alone. (I won’t partner like that again, I’m now quite gun shy.) So it’s unlikely.

 Some of the food sounds quite yummy.  Others, do not.

That’s pretty much the story of Victorian cuisine if you ask me.

Where did you find the interesting Victorian food examples for the books?

Mostly in my 1870s copy of Things a Lady Would Like to Know Concerning Domestic Management and Expenditure, Arranged for Daily Reference With Hints Regarding the Intellectual As Well As the Physical Life by Henry Southgate. You can buy actually buy a physical copy for $13. But it has been digitally cataloged and is in the public domain.

I’d love some of your favorite recipes or food/restaurant recommendations or reviews. 

Restaurant recommendations:

I post restaurant reviews to my Yelp (you can find me as Gail C. “Retro Rack” since I review lots of clothing stores too). And since eating out is location specific, you are probably better off going there, to see if I’ve loved something in your area. I do try to update it after I’ve visted a city.

“Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth-brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.”
~ Frederic Raphael


Book related:

Some Perennial Favorites

The only thing you really need to know…

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake (the original UK recipe)

Without a doubt the best recipe I tried in 2012. I loved this cake. LOVED IT! I made it four more times, including as my Thanksgiving Offering. Interesting to note the AB, who is the chocoholic in the family, is a tad sniffy about this cake as he finds it almost too orangey, and prefers a more honest chocolate and nut with flour combination, like a brownie. I, and my gluten intolerant friends, adore it.

2 small thin-skinned oranges, c. 3/4lb total weight (or 1 large)
6 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup heaped almond meal
1 cup fine sugar, or slightly less
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
orange peel, for decoration

1 Put the whole oranges in pan + cold water, bring to the boil, cover, cook for 20 minutes until squishy to touch
2 Drain, and when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove big pips + green ends.
3 Pulp everything gently – pith, peel and all – in food processor.
4 Preheat the oven to 350. Line bottom with wax paper then butter a 9 inch spring-form tin.
5 Add eggs, baking powder, baking soda, almond, sugar, and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but slightly knobbly with the flecks of puréed orange.
6 Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 min, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty clean.
7 Leave the cake to cool in tin, on cooling rack. When cake is cold, remove from tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if want, but is darkly beautiful in its plain, unadorned state.

This recipe is magic. It works for everything. You can leave out the chocolate for orange almond. You can substitute the boiled oranges for any number of wet ingredients of a similar weight: we have made an apple spice version using applesauce & cinnamon, a lemon curd version, and a strawberries and cream version. Adjust sugar to compensate for sweetness of the wet ingredient (do not use fresh citrus juice or whole lemons/limes). It will also work for cupcakes, even mini ones. Use liners and lower cooking time. 18 for regular cupcakes, 15 for minis. I have one friend who will make half the batter with chocolate the other half without and then swirl the two into beautiful patterns. This is, as far as I am concerned, the only cake you need in life.

“My soul is dark with stormy riot,
Directly traceable to diet.”
~ Samuel Hoffenstein

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Bon Ton Friday, June 1, 1860 Item ID-  v. 41, plate 29

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Those Tiny 1890s Waists & What Adorned Them

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
One Woman’s Stunning Collection: Lesbians of the past 150 years

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Adding Humor to Your Writing is as Easy as 1-2-3: The Rule of Three to Be Exact


  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. In production. Releases July 19, 2016 in print & eBook to US.
  • Poison or Protect ~ A Delightfully Deadly Novella.
    Status: Release date to come, almost there.
    Gail’s first foray into hybrid land, romance featuring a several-times widowed Preshea and the gentle Scottish captain who could change everything.
  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella.
    Status: Awaiting first pass edit. Cover art photo acquired!
    Gail’s second foray into hybrid land, LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor whose too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

Gail Carriger’s Scribbles! 

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (July 19, 2016)

 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;
The Curious Case (featuring Alessandro Tarabotti)

Book News:
Tea & Manners: A Short Interview with Author Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:
“Soup and fish explain half the emotions of human life.”
~ Sydney Smith

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Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

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