I am now settled temporarily in Dublin, and - wonder of wonders! seem to have good internet access. In the muddle I "lost" yesterdays' planned post, so here it is, a day late:
September 21 in 1705 was the birthday of Dick Turpin, the romantically infamous English highwayman whose most legendary act was an impossible ride from London to York (a distance of 200 miles) in eleven hours on his famous mare, Black Bess.
What has this to do with food, do you ask? Only this – that I came across a thoroughly twentieth century recipe for Oysters Dick Turpin, and, having seen his grave in York on my last visit there, I was intrigued. It is a variation on the Angels on Horseback theme. I guess the black prune represents Black Bess?
Oysters Dick Turpin.
For these a large prune is hollowed out and filled first with a good pinch of pounded butter [and?] almonds and then with a large oyster. A small piece of fat bacon is wrapped around the prune, and the whole crisply fried.
The Times Nov 11, 1922
The same newspaper feature “On Oysters” had another “adaptation” of the Angel on Horseback idea – although it is an adaptation I do not understand, as it is a multi-ingredient, very fiddly construction, and there are no prunes. Surely prunes are essential to Angels on Horseback?
For an entrée the Angel on Horseback can be delightfully adapted as follows:
Let twenty-four oysters boil in their own liquor, then drain them and reserve a half pint of the liquor. Chop the oysters very fine, mix with this liquor, and just bring it to the boil. Then add three mushrooms and a small cupful of the white meat of a chicken, both chopped fine, and mixed with half a cupful of cream. Melt a tablespoonful of butter, and mix with two tablespoonfuls of flour, and stir into the stock, which should be boiling. Add a tablespoonful of chopped parsley, twelve drops of onion juice, salt and pepper, and then the yolks of two eggs.When all is well mixed, set it aside to grow cold. Then make into little rolls, about two inches by an inch, cut slices of bacon as thin as possible – about half a pound will be wanted – wrap each roll of the mixture in bacon, dip into a light batter, and fry in boiling fat, serving immediately.
Quotation for the Day.
What will happen to me, as the oyster said when he very inadvertently swallowed the gooseberry bush, nobody can tell.
Edward Lear (1812-1888)