Traditional Recipes

We have a brilliant collection of recipe books in the archives at the Ulster Folk Museum. Largely dating to the 19th and 20th centuries, they are a fascinating resource in that they provide an insight into cooking and baking trends throughout the decades. Some contain fabulously opulent recipes, whilst others are geared to those with modest incomes. Earlier this year, Aoife Kennedy from Colaiste Feirste spent a week with us on work experience. She helped to pick out seasonal recipes from some of our recipe books, a small selection of which are detailed below.


Easter cakes

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Lemon roll pudding

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Seasonal vegetables

Spring soup

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Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

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Easter cakes from Light Fare Recipes for Corn Flour and “Raisley” Cookery, 1911 (p. 106)

Image: Baking Easter cakes
Baking Easter cakes

Makes 24 cakes. 


  • 2 oz. Brown & Polson’s “Patent” corn flour,
  • ½ oz. “Raisley”,
  • 8 oz. flour,
  • 3 oz. butter or margarine,
  • 4 oz. sugar,
  • 3 oz. currants,
  • 1 egg,
  • rind of ½ lemon grated,
  • a little milk.


  • Cream the butter and sugar together,
  • add the egg beaten, then the flour, currants and lemon rind. If too stiff use a little milk.
  • Turn on to a floured board and roll out till about 1/8 in. thickness.
  • Cut out in rounds, place on a flat baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven ten minutes.


Lemon roll pudding from The Best Way: A Book of Household Hints & Recipes, 1907 (p. 35)

Image: Lemons


  • Three quarters of a pound of flour,
  • a quarter of a pound of dripping or suet,
  • one large lemon,
  • moist sugar,
  • and one teaspoonful of flour.


  • Rub the dripping into the flour,
  • add sufficient water to make a firm paste,
  • roll it out into a strip about half an inch thick;
  • strain the juice of a lemon into a cup with the grated rind,
  • stir in the teaspoonful of flour and enough moist sugar to sweeten it according to taste.
  • Spread mixture over the paste, roll it up, secure the ends, tie up in a floured cloth, and boil for two hours.


Spring soup from Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book, 1911 (p. 90)

Image: Seasonal vegetables
Seasonal vegetables


  • 3 pints of unclarified stock,
  • ¼ gill each of green peas,
  • French beans,
  • asparagus tops,
  • and chopped lettuce,
  • 1 young carrot,
  • 1 small onion,
  • a bouquet-garni,
  • ¼ lb. of beef gravy,
  • the white of 1 egg,
  • seasoning.


  • Prepare the vegetables, and scoop out some small pea shapes of carrot.
  • Cook all the vegetables separately in salted water.
  • Put the stock into a pan, with the onion, herbs, finely minced meat, seasoning, and white of egg.
  • Whisk till it boils, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Strain and re-heat.
  • Add the prepared vegetables, and serve.


1 hour.

Average cost, 2s 9d. Sufficient for 6 persons. Seasonable in April and May.


Hot Cross Buns from The Best Way: A Book of Household Hints & Recipes, 1907 (p. 80)

Image: modern Hot cross buns
modern Hot cross buns


  • One and three-quarters pounds of flour,
  • one ounce of mixed spice,
  • one ounce of compressed yeast,
  • three gills of milk,
  • quarter of a pound of butter,
  • quarter of a pound of currants,
  • quarter of a pound of castor sugar,
  • two eggs.


  • Mix the flour and spice together in a basin with a wooden spoon until they are like cream.
  • Make the milk lukewarm and pour it on the yeast.
  • Make a hole in the middle of the flour, and gradually strain into it the milk and yeast. When smoothly mixed cover the top of the basin with a piece of paper and put it in a warm place for about an hour.
  • While it is rising, prepare the other ingredients by putting in a large basin one and a quarter pounds of flour, into which rub butter lightly. Then add the fruit and sugar to the flour.
  • When the surface in the other basin is bubbled, begin beating in the dry ingredients, already prepared.
  • As the flour, etc., are added, at intervals, add the beaten eggs.
  • Then continue beating until the lump of dough can be pulled out without sticking to the basin.
  • Now cover the basin again with paper, and set it in a warm place till the surface is covered with little cracks. It will then take about one hour and a half to rise.
  • Have ready some flat greased baking-tins. Shape the mixture into round balls, and place them a good distance from each other on the tin. Shape a cross on top of each. This quantity will make twenty-two, more or less, according to the size the buns are required to be.
  • Place the tin of buns in a warm place for twenty minutes, or till they are half as large again. Then bake in a quick oven for about half an hour.