Land Girls with Holly
Michael Gross

New Zealand’s Land Girls held down the farms while the blokes were gone during World War II, shearing, fencing, milking, plowing… Some decades later, a visit from the Divas crew to a few former members of the Women’s Land Service reveals that these gals can snag a chook and bake a mean tea cake. Land Girls Edna Currie, Hazel Hammond and Diana Wallace welcomed Holly to the farm and served up a sugary spread among the hay bales. We offer up a few of their recipes, courtesy of Edna Currie.

Party Cake
3 ozs. butter
6 ozs. sugar
3 eggs
4 1/2 oz. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
5 oz. corn flour
3 1/2 tbs. milk
1 tsp. baking powder

Method:
Cream butter & sugar.
Add vanilla essence.
Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Then add sifted flour & corn flour alternately with stiffly-beaten egg whites. Mix well. Add milk & last of all fold in baking powder.
Bake in two 8-inch greased sandwich tins — 20-25 minutes, oven 190º C (375º F).
When cold, decorate with pink icing & jelly beans.

Date Loaf
Soak one cup dates in 3/4 cup of hot water. Add a pinch of salt.
Beat together 2 heaped tablespoons butter & 3/4 cup of sugar.
Add one egg and essence of vanilla. Beat well.
Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the dates, and add to the mixture.
Add one cup of choppped nuts (walnuts).
Mix all together and put into a loaf tin which has been greased & a paper put in the bottom of the tin. Bake one hour in a moderate oven.

Fruit Cake
6 ozs. butter
pinch salt
6 ozs. sugar
Beat butter & sugar & salt together with four eggs, one at a time. Beat well.
Add one teaspoon of vanilla essence, 1/2 teaspoon of almond essence and a pinch of cinnamon.
Sift together 8 ozs. of flour & one teaspooon of baking powder. Add to mixture.
Add 6 ozs. of sultanas, 3 ozs. cherries & 3 ozs. of peel. Add grated rind of one lemon & the juice of one lemon.
Mix well & cook in moderate oven for one hour. (325º F)

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