Gail’s Favorite Recipes to Cook & Bake

I consider myself an experimental eater and I love all food, so long as it is well prepared. So Gentle Reader, when asked a question about the food in my books, I knew it had to have a whole blog post to answer.

Some of the food in your books sounds quite yummy. Others, not so much.

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

Where did you find the interesting Victorian food examples in your 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 actually buy a physical copy. But it has been digitally cataloged and is in the public domain.

Do you think a Parasolverse 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 into that idea. Unfortunately, the force behind the blog disappeared on me. Now the blog is no more and I don’t have the time of necessary expertise to do it alone. (I won’t partner like that again, I’m now quite gun shy.) So it’s unlikely to happen.


Book related:

Some Perennial Favorite Recipes

  • Pressure Cooker Indian Curry Lamb Probably one of the AB’s favorite dishes of all time (we just add whole baby carrots and potatoes to the pot, and then a mess of sautéed veg like peas, onions, zucchini, cauliflower before serving) . I’ve adapted it to a pork green chili as well.
  • Magic Coconut Custard Pie (the crust makes itself!)

And now, the only thing you really need to know from this blog post… my go to desert.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

(the original UK recipe)

I love this cake. LOVE IT!

The AB, who is the chocoholic in the family, is a tad sniffy about this cake, finding it “almost too orangey,” and preferring a more honest chocolate and nut with flour combination, like a brownie.

I, and my gluten intolerant friends, adore it.

Gail’s Favorite Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

  • 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.

This recipe is magic. It works for everything.

  • You can leave out the chocolate for an orange & almond cake.
  • You can substitute for the boiled oranges with 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 boiled 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

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). Since eating out is location specific, you are probably better off going there, to see if I’ve loved something in your area.

I try to update it after I’ve visited 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 most related to this post?


Soulless All Covers PP1 foreign covers gail carriger soulless free


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

Quote of the Day:

“Soup and fish explain half the emotions of human life.”

~ Sydney Smith

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