Friday, September 11, 2009

Oxford John.

Today, everything going according to plan, I will be in Oxford for the annual Symposium on Food and Cookery.

There was a paucity of “London” recipes for yesterday’s theme. Not so with Oxford. With the sole criterion being that “Oxford” must be part of the name, there is much from which to chose. We have previously had Oxford Punch and Oxford Sausages, so what to have today? My favourite is “Oxford John” – an intriguing name for plain old mutton collops, cutlets, or chops. Here is one version of the recipe.

Oxford John.
Cut very thin collops from a leg of mutton, and take out all the sinews and fat; season with pepper, salt, and mace, and strew over a little parsley and two or three shalots; put a lump of butter into a stewpan, and when it is hot put in the collops; stir them with a wooden spoon till three parts done, then add half a pint of stock and a little lemon juice; thicken with flour and butter; let them simmer for four or five minutes when they will be done: put them into a dish, with the sauce, and throw fried pieces of bread cut in dice over and round them garnish: with pickles
The Imperial and Royal Cook, Frederick Nutt, 1809

To follow we will have one of the many versions of:

An Oxford Pudding.
A quarter of a pound of bisket grated, a quarter of a pound of currants clean washed and picked, a quarter of a pound of suet shred small, half a large spoonful of powder-sugar, a very little salt, and some grated nutmeg; mix all well together, then take two yolks of eggs, and make it up in balls as big as a turkey’s egg. Fry them in fresh butter of a fine light brown; for sauce have melted butter and sugar, with a little sack or white wine. You must mind to keep the pan shaking about, that they may be all of a fine light brown.
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1784.

And we will finish by sharing a draught from:

The Oxford Grace Cup.
Extract the juice from the peeling of a lemon, and cut the remainder into thin slices; put it into a jug or bowl, and pour on it three half pints of strong home-brewed beer and a bottle of mountain wine; grate a nutmeg into it; sweeten it to your taste; stir till the sugar is dissolved, and then add three or four slices of bread toasted brown. Let it stand two hours, then strain it off into the Grace Cup.
Oxford Nightcaps: being a collection of receipts for making various beverages used in the University, 1835.

And hopefully we might still have sufficient appetite for Oxford Pancakes, Oxford Dumplings, Oxford Brawn (with Oxford Brawn Sauce), Oxford Pie of Soles, Oxford Cake, and Oxford Bishop (another beverage).

Quotation for the Day.

The English never smash in a face. They merely refrain from asking it to dinner.
Margaret Halsey.


Anonymous said...

"Mountain wine"? We're not talking about Appalachian moonshine here, so what do you think is meant?

The Old Foodie said...

I dont know! fodder for another blog post perhaps?