Food From My Childhood: Victorian Sandwich

OK, here’s a not so healthy recipe for once, the classic Victorian sandwich, that my mum would make almost on a weekly basis. It is also known as the pound cake (because traditionally, the main ingredients are all a pound in weight each).  I love it with lots of homemade strawberry jam and fresh cream.  Here’s the Victorian sandwich I baked for my friend – we had a slice of England in exotic Phuket.


4 free-range eggs
6oz caster sugar (I reduced this by 25%)
8oz self-raising flour (I use 50% rye and 50% self raising, though warning, it doesn’t taste that light anymore)
2 tsp baking powder
8oz soft butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins

To serve
good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
whipped double cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a sandwich tin.  Combine butter and sugar, and beat as vigorously as possible until light and fluffy. Then add in the rest of the ingredients until all are properly combined.  Pour into the greased sandwich tin and place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the door while they’re cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.  Poke with a fork, and your cake is ready when the fork comes out clean.


Food safety: Eggs


On of the most disquieting things I heard in recent months is a 9 year old girl developing breast cancer. Of course, the causes of cancer are multifactorial, namely genetic, environmental, lifestyle and nutritional, to name a few. There is no one culprit that we can definitively lay the blame squarely on for making the C-word mainstream. But there is no doubt about it: more and more pharmaceutical by-products are seeping into our food chain, chemicals that are not meant for human consumption.

In eggs that you buy in supermarkets, for example. Eggs are good sources of nutrition. They are versatile, delicious, and an affordable source of protein. But it is so difficult to find organic eggs that are free from growth hormones and antibiotics. These are more expensive that the normal ones, sure, but are still reasonable cost-wise compared to other sources of proteins. I bought eggs with a particular strong branding implying that the products are healthy and green, but a perusal into the company website showed that the eggs are not free from stuff that I do not want in my body (especially my growing child’s). In the tropical paradise of Phuket, ‘clean’ eggs are not easy to find.

What are clean eggs by my definition? I want eggs that are cage-free (I don’t want them laid by hens in battery-cages), antibiotics-free and hormones-free. If possible, I want eggs that are organic as well, namely the laying hens are not fed with animal byproducts or genetically modified (“GMO”) crops but are fed with feeds that have been produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for a minimum of three years. Apparently, the supermarket in Central is one of the few places (other than specialised organic shops) that one can find these pure eggs, though I am not sure how rigorous the organic certification in Thailand is.

Click on this link for the US standards :


But I was very happy when my neighbour Richard Boyle presented me with a dozen. Now that I know where I can lay my hands on them, I will be cooking up a storm with these babies. Stay posted for yummy recipes! The eggy treat shown below is from a previous post: Spinach and eggs, German-style. Served with truffle butter on warmed toast, it is sheer decadence.

egg and spinach


Here’s another wonderful, healthy recipe with eggs: energy pancakes


And finally, don’t forget the simple omelette.  Load it with sweet Spanish onions, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes for a wonderful, protein-filled treat (gluten-free too).


Tip for egg safety: wash all egg shells, store eggs at 40F or below, in the interior of the refrigerator, rather than the door, which is subject to variable temperatures. Cook eggs – yolks and all – to a temperature of 160F if you are pregnant or vulnerable. I love runny yolks so I take the risk 🙂

Scrambled eggs: Cook until firm, not runny.

Fried, poached, boiled, or baked: Cook until both the white and the yolk are firm.

Egg mixtures, such as casseroles: Cook until the center of the mixture reaches 160 °F when measured with a food thermometer.