Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sturminster Newton Mill and an old recipe sheet

When we lived in Dorset, we used to visit Sturminster Newton every Saturday and Monday for the auctions and the Market. We always bought our cheese on the market and then visited the Mill when we needed bread flour, which was stone-ground and wonderful stuff. After stopping at Fiddleford Manor/Mill, we drove the mile or two up the road and stopped at the Mill, for old times' sake. Sadly, it was not one of its open days. (It is now run by the National Trust . . .) Not too disappointing, as we had been around the mill many times and didn't need bread flour. I hope these few photos give you an idea of how it looks, and how serene the spot on the river Stour. Thomas Hardy and his young wife Emma lived a few hundred yards downstream from the Mill and would have known it well. I dare say they walked to Fiddleford too, as there is (I have only NOW found out) a beautiful walk along the river between the two. Amongst my loose recipe sheets, I found an egg yolk yellow sheet with a picture of the Mill and "Sturminster Newton Mill Recipes" stamped on the top. So I shall add a couple of recipes at the bottom of this posting.

We finished our little outing by parking in the market place at Stur (what the locals call the town and we always have too). Sadly, it is much altered from our day, and the big cattle market was finally closed in 1998 and is now covered over with housing and everywhere much-altered. The buildings where old Dicky Burden used to hold his auctions, and quickly sell the best lots to a spot by the door (!) (e.g. himself!) are no longer there. We have many happy memories of days spent there, seeing who bought what (and where it ended up next at auction, often being bid up by the new buyer lurking at the back of the crowd!) and for how much. We made quite a few purchases there, many of them very good bargains. Nothing went unsold - even if he had to drop the starting price to just 10 pence (this was 25 years ago), he would sell it, even if it had to be for 11 pence!

Anyway, I had £10 burning a hole in my pocket when I went through the doors of Hansons, the BIG fabric and craft warehouse. I could have spent it a hundred times over but in the end came out with a handful of fat quarters with which to make pretty borders for pillowcases (some as presents). Money well spent.


Freezer Cakes

1 oz fresh yeast or 1/2 oz dried yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 lb wholemeal Stour Flour
6 oz sugar
2 eggs
1/4 pin milk
8 oz margarine
1 1/2 lbs mixed fruit

Beat together yeast, eggs, baking powder and milk in a large bowl. Rub fat into Stour flour and stir into yeast mixture. Stir in sugar and fruit and mix thoroughly. Cover and stand overnight. Divide mixture between 2 x 1lb loaf tins (greased and lined). Bake at gas no. 2 (300 deg. F, 150 deg. C) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Well, I couldn't leave this one out!

6 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz demerara sugar
2 medium eggs
pinch of salt
3 oz hard margarine

Sett oven at mark 5 gas (375 deg. F or 190 deg. C), middle shelf. Greaase a 7 inch oblong dish or tin. Rub fat and flour together with the pinch of salt. Add the sugar, and the two eggs beaten. Add enough apples (sliced thinly) according to your taste. A nice sharp Bramley cooking apple is best. Put into your greased dish and sprinkle the top with a little more demerara sugar and bake for 3/4 hour. Lovely with a nice drop of cream . . .


2 tablespoons milk
6 oz soft margarine
6 oz soft brownsugar
3 large eggs
6 oz wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 level tsp ground ginger

Set oven at mark 4 gas (350 deg. F or 180 deg. C)

Grease and line a 6 inch round cake tin. Put the margarine, brown sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, ginger and 2 tblspns milk into bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together until they are combined, then beat the mixture for about one minute to incorporate some air. Turn the mixture into the tin and bake for about 1 1/2 hours until it is well risen. When cool I ice it and place walnut halves on the top of the cake.


  1. I'm going to try those recipies.

    Thanks BB!

  2. Went there once a number of years ago, your pictures bring back many good memories.

  3. The recipes sound good - Styrminster was one place I didn't manage to visit when I was in Dorset a couple of years ago. Next time it will be on the list!

  4. I loved the photos! Definitely places I'd love to visit. I especially like stone ground flour to bake with. Where we used to live in Indiana there was a mill I could visit and stock up on stone ground wheat flour and corn meal. The bread baked with it was so good!

  5. Nice to see you back. Never really been round Dorset making a mental note to pay a visit as it looks rather interesting. Am going to try the recipes! How about sharing the mincemeat recipe again please?

    Take care



  6. Yum yum to those recipes. I fancy the apple cake and the ginger one too :D

    I did enjoy your story of the cats and the rodent, nicely written, and the post about 'on your mind', hmmm, some good points.x