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Photos Marie Sjoberg

Charity shops make such good sense, people clean out their attics, volunteers feel good and gain experience in the stores, buyers find bargains or just pass time sifting through what is one man’s trash but another man’s treasure.  We Australians love ’em, my mother is always saying that there are more people in The Salvos than in the regular shops, intently searching for that gilded cat or Johnson Brother’s jug.  Sadly they are rare here in Italy, they’re obviously more of a Protestant invention, but to fill the gap there is a franchise of Mercatini del Usato that has blossomed over recent years – but more on them in another post.  So one goes to England, old dame of Charity Shops and Boot Sales, in itself a reason for a quick spring weekend, and all the better with my cousin Anna, daughter of boot sale doyenne Lizzie P.

With a new old Samsonite from the Oxfam shop on Monday morning we lug my haul home and with all these great melamine trays, butter knives and jam pots and I start to feel deeply nostalgic for fresh scones with raspberry jam or a slice of passionfruit sponge.

Passionfruit sponge

This recipe is the one found on Fielder’s Cornflour boxes and the trusted recipe of my Aunt Margie.  For what she and mum call a 4 egg sponge.

4 free range eggs – at room temperature (helps to separate while cold and then bring to room temp)

Pinch salt

4 rounded tablespoons cornflour

1 rounded tablespoon plain flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

5 tablespoons caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to 190 C.  Lightly grease and line two 20 cm tins or one 22 cm tin.

Sift together the cornflour, pinch of salt, plain flour & baking powder. 

Beat the egg whites until frothy, and gradually beat in sugar beating until stiff. 

Add egg yolks and vanilla essence gradually.  Then use a wooden spoon to lightly fold in pre-sifted flours.

Bake  for 18 minutes.

Fill with freshly whipped cream.  I love a very thin layer of passionfruit icing if you can lay your hands on a passionfruit, or a generous spread of raspberry jam in with the cream and a simple dusting of icing sugar on top.

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