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Little Grey Rabbit author recipes relaunched

15 Jun 2010

A book of recipes published by a best selling children's author has been relaunched at The University of Manchester hall where she lived 100 years ago.

Former Manchester student Alison Uttley, famed for her Little Grey Rabbit and Sam Pig series, was also interested in home cooking, publishing 'Recipes from an Old Farmhouse' in 1966.

The book, which recaptures the rural idyll of Alison Uttley's childhood at Castle Top Farm in Derbyshire, is being republished by Pen and Sword this month.

Visitors to the beautiful Ashburne Hall tasted her Bakewell Tart, Eccles cake, and Cherry cake - specially prepared by a University of Manchester chef.

The book itself is packed with recipes for jams, dumplings, breads, pikelets, Yorkshire puddings, herb puddings, pickles, toffees, sweets and cakes and different natural remedies, including cough mixture and tinctures.

Several recipes from the book are named after neighbours who lived around Cromford, in Derbyshire, for example, Mrs. Lowe’s Parkin.

Uttley was born in Cromford in 1884 and became a teacher after becoming the second woman to graduate in Physics at The University of Manchester in 1906.

She published the first of the best-selling Little Grey Rabbit books in 1929, a year before her husband's tragic death.

By the end of her life in 1976, she had become one of Britain's most celebrated and prolific writers for children and adults.

Professor Denis Judd is author of Uttley's biography and along with the members of the Ashburne Association, a trustee of her literary estate.

He said: "This book is based on the recipes Alison Uttley enjoyed as a child.

"Using her inimitable style, she recalls incidents of childhood, including picking cowslips for cowslip wine and the importance of the seasons for produce in the days before most foodstuffs were available year-round.

"Her mother cooked without a cookery book, but Alison inherited some of her recipes 'written in her thin delicate sloping handwriting'.

"Cookery in an old farmhouse was an important part of life and no meal was made for just the family, they always made a huge amount ready for unexpected visitors or for the poor.

"This book is very different to other recipe books: it has been written without showing specific measurements for the recipes.

"But if you do need any help,  the rear of the book provides all the different measurements and volumes."

Notes for editors

Journalists are welcome to photograph a blue plaque commemorating Alison Uttley on the steps of  the Grade 2 listed Behrens House, Ashburne Hall, Old Hall Lane, Manchester M14.

For media enquiries contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567


Emma Howe
Pen and Sword
01226 734679