Friday, July 29, 2011

Champagne Cookery.

I cannot imagine having so much left-over champagne, or any sort of surplus of champagne such that I needed to go looking for recipes to use it up. Neverthless, there are recipes which include champagne as an ingredient, so there must be folk in that situation. 

I found champagne-menu Heaven the other day, and want to share it with you. It was in an account of a journey from Verdun to Tours, sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century, by the British/American Sir Jahleel Brenton, 1st baronet (1770-1844). The extract was included in a lengthy review of his biography, Memoir of the Life and Services of Sir Jahleel Brenton, Bart. K.C.B. By Rev. II. Raikes, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester (1847) which appeared in  The Gentleman's Magazine of July 1847.

“At Epernay, the chief depot for the wine of Champagne, I called upon Mons. Moet, the great proprietor of this wine. We were all most hospitably received and entertained by this gentleman. In conversation at table respecting the use of champagne in cookery, Madame Moet observed, that she believed there was not a dish in the first course in which this wine was not an ingredient; that the ham was boiled in it, and every other dish had its portion. At breakfast the following morning I observed that champagne was not forgotten even in this meal. The lady replied, that she believed it was in everything but the coffee. This was of course a déjeuner à la fourchette, and a very sumptuous one. By the time breakfast was over the carriage was at the door for us to resume our journey; but Mons. Moet requested me to pay a visit to his cellar before I left Epernay, and the sight amply rewarded me for the detention. It was of immense extent, the wine entirely in bottle, to the amount, I believe, of some hundreds of thousands, beautifully arranged in tiers, with marble conductors, leading to reservoirs of the same material, to carry off and receive the wine from the bottles which burst, a circumstance of very frequent occurrence. On returning from the cellar I found the ladies were already in the carriage, and it was with difficulty I could find a place for myself, in consequence of packages of the very best champagne which Mons. Moet had caused to be placed there. We left Epernay with a very strong impression of the kindness and hospitality we had received.”

I guess if you make the stuff yourself, you quite possibly have enough to cook with.

I thought the following recipe would be eminently suitable for a champagne breakfast:

Kidneys in Champagne - Rognons de Moutons au vin de Champagne ou à l’Italienne.
Skin fifteen kidneys, and mince them; put them into a stew-pan with the size of an egg of butter; do them upon a brisk fire till they are hardened; drain them, and put them into an italienne sauce, with half a glass of Champagne, which has been reduced nearly to glaze; finish by shaking them in this sauce without allowing them to boil
The Art of French Cookery, by Antoine B. Beauvilliers (1827)

And now for something girly, for any time of the day, I give you:

Pink Champagne Jelly.
Beat up the white of an egg to a stiff froth, and then stir it hard into three wineglasses of filtered water. Put twelve ounces of the best double-refined loaf-sugar (powdered fine and sifted) into a skillet lined with porcelain. Pour on it the white of egg and water, and stir it till dissolved. Then add twelve grains of cochineal powder. Set it over a moderate fire, and boil it and skim it till the scum ceases to rise. Then strain it through a very fine sieve. Have ready an ounce and a half of isinglass that has been boiled in a little water till quite dissolved. Strain it, and while the boiled sugar is lukewarm mix it with the isinglass, adding a pint of pink champagne and the juice of a large lemon. Run it through a linen bag into a mould. When it has congealed so as to be quite firm, wrap a wet cloth round the outside of the mould, and turn out the jelly into a glass dish; or serve it broken up, in jelly glasses, or glass cups.
Miss Leslie's Complete Cookery, by Eliza Leslie (1851).

Quotation for the Day.
There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.
Bette Davis


Les said...

Is the cochniel for flavor or color?

Fay said...

Above Bart. actually died in 1844. Didn't live to 114.
Even with that much champagne inside him. Lucky sod.

Fay said...

12 grains of cochineal is about 8 grams in old avoirdupois or about .281 of an ounce. Would be for colour.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Les. It would have been for colour - i dont think cochineal has much flavour?
Fay - thanks! I have edited the daye so the good baronet now only has a normal lifespan!

ACravan said...

The kidney recipe looks superb. Thank you. Curtis Roberts