17th Century Snow Cream Recipe

Door No. 5

To make Snow Cream recipe from Jane Loraine’s recipe book (Miscellaneous Manuscript, Misc MSS 5)

Fancy making ‘Snow Cream’ the 17th Century way. Well, here’s how;

Take thick cream of the evening milk put to it a little sugar and some rose water, then put it into silver basin or a wooden bowl and with a little rod make a little brush and beat it with good strength and as you see it rising to froth put it with the rod into the other side of the bowl from the plate where you beat it and when you have a good deal made into froth take it up with a skimmer and as fast as you lay it into your cream bowls throw searced double refined sugar upon it, and when you have taken up as much froth as yohave that made, that fall to beats in your cream again so do till yohave made your dish of cream as big as you will have it that is done

This recipe is part of a larger recipe book that was created by a number of people including the manuscript’s owner, Jane Loraine. The recipes are culinary, medicinal and cosmetic. The manuscript is an excellent example of the kinds of knowledge and expertise that women in an early modern household needed during the 17th Century.

Find out more about Jane Lorraine’s recipe book here and find more recipes from the Jane Lorraine Recipe book in this digital edition.

14th December – 17th Century Cake Bread Recipe


Cake Bread recipe

Cake Bread recipe from Jane Lorraine’s recipe book (Miscellaneous Manuscripts 5)

Image and transcription (below) are taken from a page of Jane Lorraine’s recipe book. The recipe book contains lots of different recipe and was written in the 17th century by a woman called Jane Lorraine.

Jane Lorraine lived in Northumberland. She is likely to have been the wife of Nicholas Loraine and probably a member of the Fenwick family (John James Fenwick in 1882 opened the shop Fenwicks which exists on a larger scale down Northumberland Street, Newcastle today).

The recipe book is a collaboration between many different people. We can see that many different people contributed their recipes to it as there are mentions of different individuals within it (a total of 67 people), in addition to six different handwriting being identified within the text. Jane Lorraine put together the recipes by different individuals into one big recipe book.

27. Cake Bread
Take a peck of very fine flower two pound of sweat butter
six pound of currants to a quarter of an ounce of mace
a quarter of an ounce of synomond five nutmugs one
pound and a half of fine sugar let your spices and
sugar be very finely beaten your currants washed picked
and dryed put your spices into your flower a little salt
mingled well together, put your butter in thin slices put in
your Corants and sugar mingle them well togeather put
in two spounfuls of rose water a pinte of good ale yest
put in as much Cold cream that is thick and sweat as will
make it into a past work it very well when you have done
put your paste into a hot lining Cloth set it a while before
the fire mould it upon a table take a broad wooden peall lay
a sheat of broade paper strow it with flower lay your paste
on fashon it into a Cake prick it with a bodkin let it goe
down into the bottom then with a fether anoynt the kake
with melted butter strow good sugar finely beaten upon
it set it in an oven that will not scorch

This recipe book is part of Miscellaneous Manscripts

Making the Archive Public #1 – William Corbett’s Bookshop

Making the Archives Public was a UTLSEC Innovation Fund (University Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Committee) project in 2014/15. Devised by Dr Ruth Connolly and Dr Stacy Gillis from the School of English with further expertise and access provided by our own Special Collections, Queen’s University Belfast, and local heritage partners, it incorporated traditional curation and digitisation with web based visualisations. As an introduction to some of the concepts behind Digital Humanities, these online exhibitions served to widen the understanding and availability of physical documented heritage to the public.

In this blog series, we will be showcasing examples from this project, using the rich archive and rare book collections on offer to researchers in the North East. 

Here is the #1 in this ‘Making the Archive Public‘ series:

William Corbett’s Bookshop

William Corbett's Bookshop

Visit: http://corbettsbookshop.omeka.net/

This site, created by Claire Boreham, allows users to browse the shelves of a seventeenth-century bookshop.

William Corbett was a bookseller in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the seventeenth century. When he died in 1626, an inventory of his shop was made, listing over a thousand books, mentioning around two hundred of them by name. This is an incredible insight into what books the Newcastle public were buying and reading in the early years of printing, such as Bibles and theological books (an example is shown in the image below).

William Corbett’s will and the inventory of his house and shop are held in Durham University Special Collections and the exhibition also includes rare and unique material from Newcastle University Special Collections, Newcastle City Library, and Queen’s University Belfast Special Collections.


Christopher Barker, “The Bible, that is, the Holy Scriptures, contained in the Old and New Testament,” William Corbett’s Bookshop

Education Outreach: Use your Loaf

A group of Year 9 (13-14 year old) students from Bedlingtonshire High School in Northumberland took part in a two day event inspired by a 17th century recipe from our Special Collections.  As part of this ‘Use Your Loaf’ project, they baked and sampled bread from a recipe that, as far as we know, had not been used in over 300 years!

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Jane Lorraine’s recipe book, which was compiled between 1684-6, was adapted by the Food Technology students who transcribed the recipe for cake bread (similar to our modern day fruit loaf), interpreting the older spellings, letter formations, annotations and weights to create a recipe they could work with.

Next they visited the Chemistry Outreach Lab to gain an understanding of the science behind the chemical reaction of yeast and the impact that heat has on the effectiveness of yeast.

Students at NU

Students at NU

The following day they returned to have a go at baking both modern day bread and their newly discovered 17th century bread in NU Food – surprisingly finding more similarities than differences.  The students remarked that the 17th century bread was indeed edible (as Library staff who sampled the bread baked by the education outreach staff will testify – (in itself a miracle if anyone knows our baking abilities!).  They also did some food tasting and experienced the difference salt makes to the taste of bread before finding out about current University research on the benefits of various herbs and spices.

The primary purpose of the pilot was to work with the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and the School of Chemistry on an outreach project with a widening participation school, which showcased the potential and breadth of University education to students from families with limited experience of higher education.  One student remarked of the University that “it is a big interesting place” with many others commenting on how “it was different” and how they got to do “something we don’t usually do”, whilst a significant number remarked on how the visit made them more likely to consider applying to University.  One student summed it up succinctly when asked what they would change about the visit:  “nothing, it was brilliant”.

17th C bread

17th C bread

We hope to condense the pilot into a one day event which can be offered to other schools and to open up the project to other interested parties through the development of a libguide.  Hopefully, more forgotten recipes that have not been baked for centuries will be revisited and eaten again.

Jane Loraine’s Recipe Book – a more in-depth look – Oct 2011

Page 32 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book on how to make 'Carraway Cakes', 'Sugar Plait' and other recipes
Page 32 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book on how to make ‘Carraway Cakes’, ‘Sugar Plait’ and other recipes (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This additional treasure of the month has been provided by Catherine Alexander, a student in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, who has recently completed a summer research project based around a seventeenth-century recipe book, held in Special Collections.

This is a seventeenth century cook book manuscript, written by Jane Loraine, who lived in Northumberland. She is likely to have been the wife of Nicholas Loraine, son of Ambrose Loraine of Hartburn, and probably a member of the Fenwick family. The cook book is firmly rooted in Northumberland, and there are extensive records of the Loraine family in Kirkharle. Reference to individuals also demonstrates a local community; in this recipe Mrs Charleton’s surname locates her in Charlton, near Bellingham in North Tynedale. There are 67 recipes attributed to 41 individuals in this cook book, only 13 of whom are men.

Recipe: To maike mackrowns page 31
fol. 24V

25 Mackrowns Mrs Charletons       this
Take 4 new Laid eggs beat them a quarter of an houre in a glased earthen pot put to them ten spoun fulls of rose water beat it a quarter of an houre longer then put six spounfuls more of rose water beat it a quarter or an hour Longer then put one pound of lose sugar down weight finely beaten beat it halfe an houre Longer then put in halfe a pound of London flower beat it till it is well mixt butter your cofins deep in a good spounfull set them in as fast as you can let your oven be as hot as for white bread it must be A clay oven

The manuscript, in folio format, is 78 pages long and contains 665 recipes. The page numbering, added later, shows missing pages.

The annotation beside the recipe title: ‘this‘, shows use of the book and the selection process for the contents page.

Page 31 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book on how to make 'Macrowns'
Page 31 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book on how to make ‘Macrowns’ (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This manuscript is typical in its medical emphasis and over half of the recipes are medical, while only a quarter are culinary. These food recipes focus on cakes, creams and preserves, while the medical receipts cover a range of illnesses, focusing on common concerns such as consumption, and women’s health, particularly childbirth. There are also some recipes for beauty treatments and perfumes. Nine percent of the recipes represent the overlap between food and health, in the waters and wines which function as drinks as well as preventative medicines and cures.

Page 66 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a common cold or cough
Page 66 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a common cold or cough (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This hybridity has an impact on the domestic roles of women, as they commanded authority on medical as well as culinary issues.

Many parallels and similarities can be seen with other cook book manuscripts and printed texts at this time, and this manuscript is part of a widespread communication of ideas and advice. This genre was popular in the seventeenth century and gave women a literary voice.

Page 65 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a consumption
Page 65 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a consumption (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

Collaboration is also typical within the recipe book format, and this can be seen through reference to individuals as well as in the six different handwritings identifiable in the text. The secretary hand which dominates 70% of the text can be associated with Jane Loraine, through the 13 signatures given. Many of these are dated between 1684-6.

See the full digitised version of Jane Loraine’s recipe book available on CollectionsCaptured.

Further information and transcriptions have been provided by the School of English and are available online.