Old style tangy tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce recipe can be made either tangy or sweet, depending on your choice of vinegar.

Published in 2012 in “The Downstairs Cookbook. Recipes from a 1920’s Kitchen” (originally published as The Margaret Powell Cookery Book in 1970).


1 lb or 480gm of tomatoes – chopped

1 small onion – chopped

2oz or 60gm of diced ham

4 teaspoons of butter

1 bay leaf

cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

6 teaspoons vinegar (I used white wine vinegar for a tangy sauce but a sweet balsamic vinegar would also be very nice)

2 1/2 Australian/UK tablespoons or 3 US tablespoons of corn flour (known as corn starch in the US)


Put the tomatoes, onions, ham and seasonings in a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar and simmer until all the ingredients are completley softened.

Turn off the heat and either rub through a coarse seive or remove thebay leaf and blitz in a blender.

Return the mix to the saucepan if you removed it :)

Mix the corn flour to a paste with some water and add to the cooked mixture.

Stir over a low heat until thick.

Serve with meat or use in a recipe that calls for tomato sauce.

Lydia Pinkham's peanut butter fudge

Lydia Pinkham’s Peanut Butter Fudge

This recipe was originally published in “Fruits and Candies” around 1920, a publication printed by Lydia Pinkham’s company after her death in 1883.

Find out more about Lydia Estes Pinkham and the important part she played in Women’s health in the US in the late 1800’s.


2 cups white sugar (note to metric users, these are American 240ml cups so keep that in mind when measuring)

6 teaspoons of peanut butter (2 US tablespoons or 1 and 1/2 UK or Australian tablespoons)

1/2 cup or 120ml of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Butter or margarine to grease your dish

You’ll also need a candy thermometer or a cup of ice water


Cook together 2 cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1/2 cup of milk over a gentle heat until it reaches 235-245 degrees F/ 113 – 118 degrees C or forms a soft ball when dropped into ice water.

Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, pour into a clean bowl and beat until creamy.

Pour into a buttered dish and when nearly cold cut into small squares.