Grannie’s Alternative Christmas Recipes

whole-page-britannia-and-eve-friday-01-december-1933Calves Foot Jelly washed down with Lemon Brandy will make your Christmas dinner one to remember.

As a festive treat here are some simple recipes collected from Victorian grannies by the 1920/30s women’s magazine Britannia and Eve.

In this edition, Friday 1st December 1933, the ‘modern housewife’ is treated to a selection of alternative recipes to try this Christmas. They were chosen from a number of old recipe books with some dating back “nearly a hundred years”.


Lemon Brandy sounds lovely – and simple to make!


And there’s an alcohol free drink for those temperance folks!


Let’s move on to the main course. Forget turkey – why not try Potato Pudding.


Accompanied by some wonderful Calves’ Foot Jelly…with added fish!

It’s another simple recipe:

  1. Take two calves’ feet and put 3 quarts of water with an ounce of isinglass (a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish), which must be boiled until reduced to one quart. Then strain and leave until the following day. 
  2. Take off all the fat and wipe the jelly with a cloth. Boil and stir continuously.
  3. The next day when it’s just warm put in a pint of wine, peel  and add the juice of one lemon, and the whites of 5 eggs (and shells apparently!?).
  4. Cover with Saffron (a rare spice in Victorian times found in Cornwall)- enough to cover a sixpence will suffice.  
  5. When all this has been added boil again for 20 minutes, not stirring it.
  6. Then strain through a jelly bag. 
  7. A little brandy is an improvement and sugar to taste 

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Finally why not add some blackcurrant vinegar…black-current-vineger

I’m sure you’ll agree these wonderful recipes will make a fantastic alternative, if not superb addition, to any Christmas dinner – making this year’s feast the best ever!

Christmas at home. Illustrated Police News 28th Dec 1878.

Thank you Granny

Generic Victorian Granny

Happy Christmas





British Newspaper Archive (

Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History. By Andrea Broomfield



Medicine, Quakery and Hygiene before 1930 pinterest page.

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