Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is Miss Eagle psychic? Surely, it would be good to be a psychic blogger: to know what people were wanting to read and blog it. How good would that be for those concerned to drive traffic to their blog?
Now what has led to Miss Eagle querying her psychic capacity? The fact that she recently blogged her sponge recipe, complete with picture. Then this week, in Epicure in The Age, there are not one, but two articles mourning the demise of the sponge.
Article #2 has some history to it. Miss Eagle thinks beating her eggs with rotary beaters and folding in her flour with a trowel-shaped spatula is quite traditional. But traditional soul as Miss E is, she will not be attempting this way of whipping egg-whites:
The State Library's yellowing copy of Australian Cookery, Canned Fruits, Summer Drinks, Preserves, Jellies, Jams as Given at The Fruit Carnival of The Royal & Brighton Horticultural Societies Exhibition, Exhibition Building, Melbourne 1890 by Margaret J. Pearson, has - despite the lengthy title - a brief and efficient description on how to beat eggs by hand. The trick is to beat the yolks and whites separately. "The yolks in a large bowl and the whites on a shallow dish until the whites are solid."
At this time knives were used to beat egg whites. The flat of the blade was lifted and swirled through the albumen to incorporate as much air as possible.
It took me more than 20 minutes to beat four separate egg whites until stiff, trying to recreate this method. A first attempt with slightly older egg whites proved the sponge-cake mantra to "use the freshest eggs possible". The albumen of the two-week-old eggs did not hold together and simply rolled off the knife. Fresh egg whites have an almost soft jelly-like appearance and stay bound in a loop as they are whipped.
This method of whipping was replaced when cheap mass-produced hand beaters - patented in the 1860s - at last became available after the 1900s.
But, seriously, dear Reader, this blog is about traditional Australian family cooking and keeping the tradition alive by sharing with readers in Australia and around the globe. So-o-o... perhaps, I'll give the CWA a ring.
What do you think, dear Reader?

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