This is a gem iron we found in a second hand store in Greytown. As is often the case with treasure hunting, the good stuff is often to be found either hidden away or languishing beneath piles of randomness. It's unusual looking, given that they typically look like this.
Gem irons are a cast-iron baking tray, divided into a dozen ingot-sized units. They're used to make spicy mini loaves called Ginger Gems, an old morning tea staple. Being cast-iron, they would retain their heat for a long period of time. Once warmed up, the ginger gem batter would be poured into the irons and then placed in a hot oven. Gems took very little time to cook and were served straight from the pan with lashings of butter.
Does anyone out there possibly know who the manufacturer of our set is? The foundry? Brand name? Anyone who can come up with some nugget of info on our particular iron gets a custard square (at some time in the future)!
For recipes & further information on using gem irons, pop along to Bron's post on Ginger Gems, as well as Mary at La tavola.
I'll be making some too, at some stage in the future - stay tuned...