Friday, June 02, 2006

Crowning Glory.

Today, June 2nd …

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on this day in 1953, and after what was no doubt an exhausting ceremony for the young queen, the family and guests sat down to dinner at Buckingham Palace. Several very elaborate, and no doubt equally exhausting official banquets followed over the ensuing few days, but on this day, the family dinner could not have been simpler: steak, salad, and ice-cream. To be exact, the royal version was:

Consommé Royale
Filet de Boeuf Mascotte
Glace a la Mangue

Which translated means:

Chicken Consommé garnished with cubes of egg custard.
Fillet of Beef garnished with quarters of artichoke bottoms, tossed in butter with cocotte potatoes and slices of truffle.
Mango Ice Cream.

The plebs on the other hand, were, if they were patriotic, tucking into “Coronation Chicken”, the cold curry-mayonnaise chicken salad dish invented specially for the occasion by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume of the Cordon Bleu cooking school, and promoted on the basis that because it could be prepared in advance and served cold, Mum would not have to drag herself away the new-fangled thing called a TV to cook the family dinner, thus missing some of the spectacle. Considerate, Huh?

Constance Spry’s cookbook also contains a recipe for the garnish for the consommé, so in case you want to reproduce the Coronation dinner for your family tonight, here it is:

Custard for Consommé à la Royale.
1 egg white, 4 tablespoons cream, seasoning.
Put the mixture into a dariole mould or a tea-cup, and steam gently until set. For a yellow custard, take 2 egg yolks to 3 or 4 tablespoons cream, season, and cook in the same way.

The garnish “à la Mascotte” is as described, so unless the truffles are beyond your budget, the steak dish should be easy.

As for the mango ice-cream, from whence could the mangoes have originated? Did HM’s loyal Commonwealth citizens in India or here in sunny Queensland send over some frozen mango pulp? In honour of that possibility, I humbly offer my own mango ice-cream recipe, sadly not used this past season which was unspeakably bad – even The Old Foodie’s Mum’s backyard tree had only about five mangoes, and the fruit-bats got those.

Mango Ice-Cream.
Make a custard base in the usual way, using 2 cups each of cream and milk, 4 egg yolks, and 4 tablespoons of caster sugar. Add the flesh of three ripe mangoes, pureed. Chill and churn as per usual.

On this Topic …

Constance Spry’s recipe for Coronation Chicken, and her comments on the perils of serving something such as curry to guests of “varying and unknown tastes” are on the Companion site here.

On Monday...

Muffet’s Musings.

Quotation for the Day …

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.

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