Thursday, July 31, 2014

Marrow Bones, Part 2.

Yesterday we looked at the preparation of marrow bones for the table. Today I want to show you how the marrow was removed and used as an ingredient in other dishes.

First, some general advice from the famous Eliza Acton, in Modern Cookery, for Private Families (1860 ed.)

Take the marrow from the bones while it is as fresh as possible; cut it small, put it into a very clean jar, and melt it with a gentle heat, either in a pan of water placed over the fire, or at the mouth of a cool oven; strain it through a muslin, let it settle for a minute or two, and pour it, clear of sediment, into small jars. Tie skins, or double folds of thick paper, over them as soon as the marrow is cold, and store it in a cool place. It will remain good for months.

At a season when butter of pure flavour is often procured with difficulty, beef-marrow, carefully clarified, is a valuable substitute for it; and, as it is abundantly contained in the joints which are in constant request for soup-making, it is of slight comparative cast in a well-managed kitchen. It is often thrown into the stockpot by careless or indolent cooks, instead of being rendered available for the many purposes to which it is admirably adapted. Take it from the bones as fresh as possible, put it into a white jar, and melt it with a very gentle degree of heat at the mouth of the oven, or by the side of the stove, taking all precaution to prevent its being smoked or discoloured; strain it off, through a very fine sieve or muslin, into a clean pan or pans, and set it aside for use. It will be entirely flavourless if prepared with due care and attention; but, if dissolved with too great a degree of heat, it will acquire the taste almost of dripping. A small quantity of fine salt maybe sprinkled into the pan with it when it is used for frying.

And her recipe for marrow as a frying medium for bread croutons:-

(Author's Receipt.)
Cut very evenly, from a firm stale loaf, slices nearly an inch and a half thick, and with a plain or fluted paste-cutter of between two and three inches wide press out the number of patties required, loosening them gently from the tin, to prevent their breaking; then, with a plain cutter, scarcely more than half the size, mark out the space which is afterwards to be hollowed from it. Melt some clarified beef-marrow in a small saucepan or frying-pan, and, when it begins to boil, put in the patties, and fry them gently until they are equally coloured of a pale golden brown. In lifting them from the pan, let the marrow (or butter) drain well from them; take out the rounds which have been marked on the tops, and scoop out part of the inside crumb, but leave them thick enough to contain securely the gravy of the preparation put into them. Fill them with any good patty-meat, and serve them very hot on a napkin.
Obs.—These croustades are equally good if dipped into clarified butter or marrow, and baked in a tolerably quick oven. It is well, in either case, to place them on a warm sheet of double white blotting-paper while they are being filled, as it will absorb the superfluous fat. A rich mince, with a thick, well-adhering sauce, either of mutton and mushrooms, or oysters, or with fine herbs and an eschalot or two; or of venison, or hare, or partridges, may be appropriately used for them.

Marrow was also used in sweet puddings too, where we would use butter nowadays, as the following recipes show:-

A vermicelli pudding, with marrow.
FIRST make your vermicelli; take the yolks of two eggs, and mix it up with just as much flour as will make it to a stiff paste, roll it out as thin as a wafer, let it lie to dry till you can roll it up close without breaking, then with a sharp knife cut it very thin, beginning at the little end. Have ready some water boiling, into which throw the vermicelli; let it boil a minute or two at most; then throw it into a sieve, have ready a pound of marrow, lay a layer of marrow and a layer of vermicelli, and so on till all is laid in the dish. When it is a little cool, beat it up very well together, take ten eggs, beat them and mix them with the other, grate the crumb of a penny loaf, and mix with it a gill of sack, brandy, or a little rose-water, a teaspoonsful of salt, a small nutmeg grated, a little grated lemon-peel, two large blades of mace well dried and beat fine, half a pound of currants clean washed and picked, half a pound of raisins stoned, mix all well together, and sweeten to your palate; lay a good thin crust at the bottom and sides of the dish, pour in the ingredients, and bake it an hour and a half in an oven not too hot. You may either put marrow or beef-suet shred fine, or a pound of butter, which you please. When it comes out of the oven, strew some fine sugar over it, and send it to table. You may leave out the fruit, if you please, and you may for change add half an ounce of citron, and hair an ounce of candied orange-peel shred fine.
The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy ... by a Lady (Hannah Glasse) 177

Marrow Pudding a second way [of three ways.]
Half boil four ounces of rice, shred half a pound of marrow very fine, stone a quarter of a pound of raisins, chop them very small, with two ounces of currants well cleansed, beat four eggs a quarter of an hour, mix it all together, with a pint of good cream, a spoonful of brandy, sugar and nutmeg to your, taste: you may either bake it, or put it in hog's skins.

The Experienced English Housekeeper (1808 edn.) by Elizabeth Raffald.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marrow Bones, Part 1.

Marrow is not well understood these days, methinks. Perhaps marrow bones are not considered worth the effort in our (so-called) time-poor lives. Perhaps they lost favour when refrigeration gave a block of butter a longer lifetime. Then again, maybe it is part of the general lack of popularity of ‘offal’ in these (apparently) more squeamish times. Fear of ‘Mad Cow’ disease can at least be ruled out as a cause, as marrow bone popularity was in decline long before that nasty condition became front-page news.

Whatever the reason, it is a sad paradox that marrow has fallen so far it now is mostly to be found only on the menus at high-end restaurants – an exception being perhaps in the comfortable dish of osso bucco. Not so long ago, historically speaking, marrow was such a prized source of rich, fatty deliciousness that specially designed spoons were provided to enable it to be scooped directly out of the tunnel of the marrow bone itself. And even though we might love osso bucco, I bet that not many of us have in the kitchen drawer a set of marrow spoons to enhance the enjoyment of the dish.

Marrow was used as a source of fat in many recipes, as we will see tomorrow, but today I want to show you how it was also sent to table in the bone itself, as an elegant stand-alone dish wrapped in a napkin, with one of the special marrow spoons alongside. The end of the bone was often sealed during cooking with a flour and water paste, to prevent the melting, fatty marrow leaking out. The following instructions are from Modern Cookery, for Private Families (1860) by Eliza Acton.

Let the large ends of the bones be sawed by the butcher, so that when they are dished they may stand upright; and if it can be done conveniently, let them be placed in the same manner in the vessel in which they are boiled. Put a bit of paste, made with flour and water, over the ends where the marrow is visible, and tie a cloth tightly over them; take the paste off before the bones are sent to table, and serve them, placed upright in a napkin, with slices of dry toasted bread apart. When not wanted for immediate use, they may be partially boiled, and set into a cool place, where they will remain good for many days.
Large marrow bones, 2 hours; moderate sized, 1½ hour. To keep: boil them 1½ hour, and from ½ to ¾ hour more when wanted for table.


When the bones have been sawed to the length of a deep pie-dish, wash and wipe them dry, lay them into it, and cover them entirely with a good batter. Send them to a moderate oven for an hour or more, and serve them in the batter.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Recommendation: Rabbit for Dinner.

Today, July 29, as with every other day in the year, the big question is - “What shall we have for dinner?” And what will we have for breakfast and supper too? Books have always been around to offer meal suggestions, and today to assist your decision, I give you the recommendations from Three meals a day: a diary for the kitchen, giving for every day of the year, according to seasons, a bill of fare for breakfast, dinner and supper, by an Old Epicure (New York, 1884.)

BREAKFAST: - Shad, Mutton Chops, Fresh Calf’s Tongues, Eggs on Toast.
DINNER.- Veal Soup, Young Rabbit Patties, Fresh Cod fish, Roast Beef, Water Cress Salad, Gruyere Cheese, Stoned Cherry Pie.
SUPPER.- Mutton Stew, Bacon and Eggs, Crab Salad, Munster Cheese, Raspberry Jelly and Cake.

As it turns out, ‘the Old Epicure’ also wrote The Gourmet's Guide to Rabbit Cooking (1859) which therefore most conveniently provides us with several recipes for the day. In previous times a ‘patty’ was not a ‘rissole’ or ‘burger’ type disc of meat but a small pie, as the first recipe shows.

Small Patties.
Make a light paste with a little butter, flour, two eggs, and some milk; roll it thin. Take as much of the meat from a rabbit as you are likely to require; chop it up, adding a slice of ham, a little butter, a shallot, or artichoke-leaves shred fine, and a sufficiency of spices; sprinkle it with lemon-juice or white wine, wrap a portion of this preparation in pieces of paste, and either bake or fry them; if the former, rub them over with the yelk of egg before placing them iu the oven.

Raised Pie.
Make a raised crust as for a pork-pie; take a fine young rabbit, disjoint it, and cut the meat from the bones; season it highly; add to it half a pound of fat bacon, the yelks of four hard-boiled eggs cut into slices, and sufficient tomato-sauce to make it of an agreeable colour. Pack the meat pretty tightly, and bake in a very gentle oven for an hour and a-half. This is usually eaten cold; but a vol a vent may be made with paste baked round a buttered mould, and when done, removed from the mould, and filled with a rich ragout of rabbit, which is eaten hot.

Rabbit Pie.
Cut up a couple of rabbits, nicely shaping your pieces of meat, and adding to it a pound of good fat bacon, cut rather small; season with pepper, salt, and powdered cloves. If agreeable, you may also join a shred shallot. Make some forcemeat balls with the livers parboiled and pounded in a mortar, eight fine oysters, mace, Cayenne, and savoury herbs. Form these ingredients into balls with the yelks of two eggs, and add them to your meat. Put a good crust round your dish, lay in your rabbits and forcemeat, pour in half a pint of port wine and the same quantity of water, cover it

Rabbit and Hare Patties.
Take a nice piece of cold roasted hare or rabbit, and mince it very fine with half a pound of suet. Thicken some strong gravy with a little butter and flour; season with nutmeg, mace, lemon grate, and a very little salt; then put in the mince-meat, with six ounces of cleaned currants. Boil the whole about six minutes, and fill up the patties.

The Practice of Cookery, Pastry, and Confectionary (1820) by Mrs. Frazer.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Bone Bean.

In the complex, confusing quagmire of nutrition advice, one thing remains undisputed by every stakeholder – vegetables are good. And if vegetables in general are good, then surely legumes are best in class.

I have for you today a selection of ideas from an interesting book in the ‘Three Meals a Day Series.’ It is the volume entitled Legumes: dried beans, peas, lentils for breakfast, dinner, supper (Chicago,1920) compiled and edited by Bessie R Murphy ( Southern Food Expert and Lecturer) The dedication in this work seems particularly appropriate to the importance of the topic – “Dedicated to Someone Somewhere to be used by Everyone Everywhere.”

First, some general notes on beans from the introductory paragraphs:

Every nation and country has some variety of the bean: The Mongol eats his rice, but for his protein has the soy bean; the Mexican, whose meat supply is scant, uses the frijole bean; the Spaniard has his lentils, while India has a proverb, “Rice is good, but lentils are my life.” South America claims the lima bean as a native, and Scotland the bone bean. The United States has one hundred and fifty varieties of beans being cultivated. The famous Boston baked beans are known everywhere. In fact, for all ages among all nations the pea and bean have held an important place as food for mankind.

This paragraph provides the mystery of the week, and the title of the post. If anyone has an idea what constitutes the “bone bean” of Scotland, I would be most grateful!

And now for my selections from amongst the recipes for each meal of the day.


Baked Beans with Rice.
4 cups navy beans                   ½ pound salt pork
1 teaspoon salt                        1 cup rice (cooked)
Soak beans overnight. In the morning put them into a saucepan and cook them with the pork slowly until they are tender. Remove pork, drain the beans, turn them into baking dish, and add the rice. Cook 30 minutes without stirring, so that the rice will remain on top. (Cover to prevent rice from burning.)

Baked Cowpeas and Cheese.
2 cups cooked peas                 1½ tablespoons butter
½ cup grated cheese                1 tablespoon onion
1teaspoon salt                                     I tablespoon chopped sweet green pepper
Press the peas through a sieve and mix them with the cheese. Cook the onion and pepper in the butter, but do not brown them; add mixture to peas and cheese. Form into a roll and bake in a moderate over until brown. Baste occasionally with butter and water.

Bean Polenta.
1 pint white beans                   1tablespoon butter
1½ tablespoons molasses        1tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon mustard                Salt and pepper
Wash the beans and soak them over night. In the morning drain off this water, cover beans with fresh water, and boil slowly 1 hour. Drain again, cover with 1quart freshly boiled water, and boil slowly another hour. When beans are done, press them through a sieve, return them to the kettle, add the butter, molasses, mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar, stir, and boil 10 minutes.


Soy-Bean Souffle.
2 cups soy-bean pulp               1 teaspoon onion juice
2 eggs                                      2 tablespoons parsley

Separate the eggs and beat well, add the onion juice, soy-bean pulp, and parsley, and fold in the stiffly beaten whites of the eggs. Pour mixture into a baking pan and bake slowly 20 minutes.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dining in Greece in 1903.

Yesterday we glimpsed early twentieth century Romanian cuisine through the eyes of
Lieut.-Col. Nathaniel Newnham-Davis, the author of Gourmet's Guide to Europe, published in London in 1903.  I don’t want to leave this fascinating book without giving you one more opinion on European cuisine from the ‘Anglo-Saxon gourmet.’ I have chosen his description of Greece, I confess in part because of the frighteningly funny suggestion in the final paragraph.

Grecian Dishes - Athenian Restaurants.
No one lives better than a well-to-do Greek outside his own country, and when he is in Greece his cook manages to do a great deal with comparatively slight material. A Greek cook can make a skewered pigeon quite palatable, and the number of ways he has of cooking quails, from the simple method of roasting them cased in bay leaves to all kinds of mysterious bakings after they have been soused in oil, are innumerable. There are pillaus or pilafis without number in the Greek cuisine, chiefly of lamb, and it is safe to take for granted that anything à la Grec is likely to be something savoury, with a good deal of oil, a suspicion of onion, a flavour of parsley, and a good deal of rice with it. These, however, are some of the most distinctive dishes: Coucouretzi, the entrails and liver of lamb, roasted on a spit; Dolmades, meat balls wrapped in vine or white cabbage leaves, and served with a cream sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice; Tomates Yermistes, which are tomatoes stuffed with forcemeat; Youvarlakia, balls of rice and chopped meat covered with tomato sauce; and Bligouri, wheat coarsely ground, cooked in
broth, and eaten with grated cheese. Argokalamara, a paste of flour and yolk of egg fried in butter with honey poured over it, and Chaha and Loukoumia, are some of the sweets of the cuisine. All Grecian cookery is done over a charcoal fire. A too great use of oil is the besetting sin of the indifferent Greek cook. The egg-plant is the great "stand-by" of the Grecian kitchen ; it is stuffed in a dozen different ways.

The food of the peasant is grain, rice, goat-flesh when he can get it, a skinny fowl on the great festivals, milk, and strong-tasting cheese. A bunch of grapes and a hunch of sour bread is his usual hot weather meal.

The Grecian wines, though some of them taste shockingly of resin, are not unpalatable. Solon, Soutzos, Kephista, Kephallenia, are all quite drinkable; and the better-class wines of Kephallenia, and those of Patras, made by a German firm, are enjoyable. Much of the Greek wine goes to Vienna and other centres of the wine trade, and reappears with labels on the bottles having no connection with Greece.


The restaurants of Athens are not happy hunting-grounds for the Anglo-Saxon gourmet. The Restaurant Splendid, in the Hotel des Etrangers, Place de la Constitucion, the Minerva, and the D'Athenes, both in the Rue de Stade, are the pick of a not too promising bunch ; and Murray recommends one in Amalias Street, near the Palace, which I do not remember to have seen.

A most grave litterateur to whom, as he had been lately travelling in Greece, I applied for supplementary information, applied the adjective "beastly" to all Greek restaurants, and added that the one great crying need of Greece and Athens is an American bar for the sale of cooling drinks in the Parthenon.

As the recipe for the day I feel compelled to again use as my source Foods of the foreign-born in relation to health, by Bertha M. Wood (Boston, 1922.)

Bean Stew (Greek)
¾ quart shelled beans (fresh)              ½ teaspoon salt
2 cups tomatoes (canned)                   ¼ teaspoon pepper
1 small onion                                       4 tablespns. olive oil
¾ cup lamb (cut into small pieces)

Put meat in hot oil and fry until nearly cooked, adding onion, chopped fine. Add tomato, beans, water, salt, and pepper. Cover well and cook over a rather slow fire.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dining in Romania, in 1903.

Restaurant and hotel reviewing is a relatively recent phenomenon, historically speaking, and I thought it might be fun to look at some early examples. One of the first ‘experts’ in the process was the London gourmet and newspaper columnist, Lieut.-Col. Nathaniel Newnham-Davis. He authored a book on dining in London, and then, with a rather mysterious friend with the interesting name of Algernon Bastard, took on the hotels and restaurants of Europe. Their book,
Gourmet's Guide to Europe, was published in London in 1903.

The authors outlined their mission in the Preface:

Often enough, staying in a hotel in a foreign town, I have wished to sally forth and to dine or breakfast at the typical restaurant of the place, should there be one. Almost invariably I have found great difficulty in obtaining any information regarding any such restaurant. The proprietor of the caravanserai at which one is staying may admit vaguely that there are eating-houses in the town, but asks why one should be anxious to seek for second-class establishments when the best restaurant in the country is to be found under his roof. The hall-porter has even less scruples, and stigmatises every feeding-place outside the hotel as a den of thieves, where the stranger foolishly venturing is certain to be poisoned and then robbed. This book is an attempt to help the man who finds himself in such a position. His guide-book may possibly give him the names of the restaurants, but it does no more. My co-author and myself attempt to give him some details - what his surroundings will be, what dishes are the specialities of the house, what wine a wise man will order, and what bill he is likely to be asked to pay.

Our ambition was to deal fully with the capitals of all the countries of Europe, the great seaports, the pleasure resorts, and the "show places." The most acute critic will not be more fully aware how far we have fallen short of our ideal than we are, and no critic can have any idea of the difficulty of making such a book as we hope this will someday be when complete. At all events we have always gone to the best authorities where we had not the knowledge ourselves. Our publisher, Mr. Grant Richards, quite entered into the idea that no advertisements of any kind from hotels or restaurants should be allowed within the covers of the book; and though we have asked for information from all classes of gourmets - from ambassadors to the simple globe-trotter- we have not listened to any man interested directly or indirectly in any hotel or restaurant.

I have chosen the authors’ review of Romania to give you today. I don’t believe I have ever covered Romanian food (or rather, an outsider’s view of Romanian food) in any previous post, so here goes:

In Roumania you must never be astonished at the items set down in the bill of fare, and if "bear" happens to be one try it, for bruin does not make at all bad eating. The list of game is generally surprisingly large, and one learns in Roumania the difference there is in the venison which comes from the different breeds of deer. Caviar, being the produce of the country, is a splendid dish, and you are always asked which of the three varieties, easily distinguishable by their variety of colour, you will take. A caviar salade is a dish very frequently served. The following are some of the dishes of the country:- Ciulama,  chicken with a sauce in which flour and butter are used; Scordolea, in which crawfish, garlic, minced nuts, and oil all play a part; Baclava, a cake of almonds served with sirop of roses. These three dishes, though now Roumanian, were originally introduced from Turkey. Ardei Ungelute is a dish of green pepper, meat, and rice; Sarmalute are vine leaves filled with meat and served with a preparation of milk; Militei is minced beef fried on a grill in the shape of a sausage. Cheslas and Mamaliguzza, the food of the peasant, much resemble the Italian Polenta and are eaten with cold milk. Ghiveci, a ragout with all kinds of vegetables mixed in it, is a great dish of the country.


When in Bucarest, as it should be spelt, go straight to Capsa's in the Calea Victorici, a first-rate restaurant. It is perhaps not quite equal to the best of the London and Paris establishments, but the cooking is really good, and certainly superior to anything you can find in Vienna. The French chef will provide you with a recherche dinner ordered a la carte. Fresh caviar is in perfection there, as also the sterlet or young sturgeon; the latter is caught in the Danube, and is a most dainty and much prized fish. The prices are fairly high, - about 2 francs 50 centimes for an ordinary plat. The wines are all rather expensive, that of the country being perhaps best left alone, although the Dragasani is a wine which tastes strangely at first, but to which one becomes used. A liqueur tasting of carraway seeds is pleasant, but that made from the wild plum is not to be rashly ventured upon.

This is the menu of a little dinner for two eaten at Capsa's:-

      Ciorba de Poulet.
      Turbot a la Grec.
    Mousaka aux Courzes.

And this a breakfast at the same establishment:--

    Glachi de Carpe (froid).
         Oeufs Polenta.
     Aubergines aux Tomates.

There is also a confectioner's shop kept by Capsa, who was for some considerable time at Boissier's in Paris, afterwards returning to Bucarest and opening this establishment. It is as good as that of any Parisian confiseur, with the result that all Bucarest are his customers, and his business is an extremely lucrative one.

A cheap dinner can be obtained, a la carte, at the Hotel Continental in the Calea Victorici, opposite the Theatre Nationale.

Jordachi's in the Strada Coatch, and Enesco's in the Strada Sfantu Tonica, also deserve mention; they are cheap, second-rate restaurants, but you get there the dishes of the country. In both these places a capital band of Tziganes play the music of the country. Enesco's is, perhaps, the better of the two. If you require any specialites the waiter will be sure to know what to advise; one dish, called Brochettes de Filet, may be recommended. The waiters at Enesco's and Jordachi's are intelligible in German and Roumanian; at the Continental, and especially at Capsa's, they are mostly French.

If you pay a call in Bucarest you will be offered Dolceazza, a kind of sweetmeat, and a glass of water.

I had not come across the word ‘ciorba’ (ciorbă) before I saw the dinner menu given in this book.  It is apparently a sour soup made with a variety of ingredients – the key feature that distinguishes it from ‘ordinary’ soup is the sourness.  Sadly, I have been unable to find a historical recipe, written in English, for a Romanian sour soup. Instead, I give you a version of ‘baklava’ (spelled with a ‘P’) from Foods of the foreign-born in relation to health, by Bertha M. Wood (Boston, 1922)

(Used by all Near East)
2 eggs                          2 teaspoons baking powder
I cup butter                 2 tablespns. melted butter
I pint milk                   1 ½ cups chopped nuts
Flour                            ½ cup sugar or ½ cup honey

Mix two eggs, one cup butter, one pint milk, as much flour as you need, and two teaspoons baking powder. Let stand overnight. Make into balls. Mix cornstarch and flour, and put on board. Roll balls out thin. Put into pan and cover with melted butter, chopped nuts, and sugar or honey. Add another layer of dough, then one of nuts — pistachio, walnuts, or pinto, etc. Cut in pieces, diamond shaped. Bake. Serve with syrup.

Perhaps we will accompany the ‘Anglo-Saxon gourmet’ on a visit to another European destination tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Naval Dinner, 1868.

It is some time since I gave you a menu, and today’s should appeal to those of you with an interest in military history too. My source is a newspaper from New Zealand – the Daily Southern Cross, of 25 July 1868.

On Thursday evening [July 23] the officers of the 2nd battalion of the 18th Royal Irish entertained Commander Villemsens and officers of the French ship 'Dorade,' at present in harbour, to dinner at their mess-rooms, Karangahape Road. The dinner was served in a most recherché style by Mr. Gallagher, caterer to the mess. The bill of fare was as follows : —Mock turtle soup, boiled mullet, sirloin beef, lamb cutlets, sausages a la pomme de terre, curried chicken, braised turkey, ham, rissoles of veal and ham, devilled kidney, fricasseed turkey, fried gar fish, roast saddle of mutton, roast pheasants, curaçoa jelly, tartlets, apple tart, Italian cream, pineapple jelly, Cape gooseberry tart, anchovy toasts ; a superb dessert of all fruits in season. The band, under Mr. Quinn, performed a choice selection of music. The usual toasts of the Queen and Royal Family were duly honoured, also the toast of H. I.M. the Emperor of the French, and appropriate tunes played by the band. The proceedings terminated at a late hour, all having thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The menu is typical of the Victorian era, with nothing unsettlingly novel or innovative presented to the diners. Curaçoa Jelly appears to have been a popular dish at the time, and with the substitution of gelatin for the labour-intensive calves’ feet jelly it would make a fine dessert for today.

Curaçoa Jelly.
Take two calves' feet, chop them into convenient pieces, and put them into a saucepan with rather more than two quarts of cold water; set the saucepan on the fire; directly the water boils throw it away, and wash the pieces carefully; then put them on again with two quarts of cold water, and let them boil slowly for three hours, removing the scum carefully during the process; then strain the liquor into a basin, and when quite cold and set, take off all the fat, and wash the top of the jelly with a little hot water, so as to get rid of every vestige of fat. Put the jelly in a saucepan on the fire; directly it is melted add sugar to taste, the juice and the thin rind of one lemon, and the whites of three eggs whisked to a froth. Beat up the mixture till it boils. Place the thin rind of a lemon at the bottom of a jelly bag, and pour the mixture over it. The bag should have been previously rinsed in boiling water, and the first half-pint of jelly that comes through must be returned to the bag. If the jelly does not come out quite clear, the operation of straining must be repeated. Add sufficient dry Curaçoa to the clarified jelly to flavour it well. Fill a mould with it and place it on ice to set.

Practical dinners: with plain directions for their preparation (London, 1887)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things to do with Marmalade.

There is no need for me to repeat here all of the ethical, economic, and environmental justifications for avoiding food waste. Anyone who doesn’t already understand them is a lost cause. I can, however, give you an additional reason for saving that last spoonful of good gravy, soup, sauce, or condiment. It is an idea with no global implications, to be sure, but it deserves consideration none the less.

Flavour. Throwing out the last little bit of something delicious is throwing out flavour. A bit of flavour that just might be what your recipe needs. Today I ask you to consider marmalade. Of course, a spoonful or two of a jam is just the right amount to spread on your toast, so in theory “leftover marmalade” should be a nonsense phrase. There may be a potent temptation to throw out a not-quite empty jar of a conserve, I suppose. Perhaps you have returned from a visit to the Farmers’ Market with a new flavour of jam, but feel that the old jar should be finished off first? Perhaps you are about to make a new batch of marmalade and need to recycle that jar? Perhaps, of course, you just love marmalade and want to explore new ways of using that lovely citrus tang to your cooking.

In a couple of previous posts we have had Marmalade Pudding (here, and here,) so I wont give another pudding today.

 How about this intriguing idea?

When eggs are scarce, use one egg and a tablespoonful of marmalade instead of two or three eggs in a cake. This makes it light and gives the cake a delightful flavour.
Worker (Brisbane, Qld) 31 May 1938
And this:
Marmalade Sauce.
Take 3 tablespoonfuls of marmalade, mix with it about 2 tablespoonfuls of water and 1 of sherry, warm over the fire; if not sweet enough, add a little sifted sugar. A few drops of lemon juice is an improvement to it.
The Menu Cookery Book (1885)

Another tasty idea, from a most interesting source:

Jam or Marmalade Pie.
Take two tablespoonfuls of jam or marmalade, beat up one egg, add an ounce of butter, previously melted. Beat altogether. Line a plate with good paste and fill with the mixture.
The Phrenological Magazine, Volume 5 (1889)

If you are a marmalade fanatic with a jar to spare, how about this?

Marmalade Bread.
Sift together 3 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Add grated rind and juice of 1 orange to 1 well beaten egg; stir in ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 cup milk. Blend flour mixture with egg mixture, stir in ½ cup marmalade and add ¼ cup melted shortening. Pour into greased loaf tin, stand 25 minutes and bake in moderate oven till firm to touch.
Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) 8 July 1948

And, finally, my favourite idea for a whole jar of the good stuff:

Seville Orange Ice from Marmalade.
Put 1 lb. of smooth orange marmalade into a basin and add the juice of 2 lemons; mix in by degrees 1 quart of cream, pass through a hair sieve, and freeze as before.

The Pastrycook and Confectioners Guide, by Robert Wells, 1889.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anglo-French Recipes, 19th Century.

The culinary rivalry between England and France is centuries old, but intentionally or not, inevitably each country has absorbed something of the other’s cuisine. I thought it might be fun to look at a mid-nineteenth century English view of the situation, and to find some recipes which perhaps represent “fusion cuisine” of the time.

The London Saturday Journal in 1841 gave a review of The Domestic Dictionary, And Housekeeper’s Manual, by Merle Gibbons, which included an opinion of the Anglo-French divide.

The main recommendatory feature of this diligently compiled Dictionary, (five hundred pages) and, at the same time, its chief originality, consists in the variety of information which it contains as to French Cookery and Domestic Economy; or rather, Anglo-French Cookery, which, according to Ude, is the best system in the world. Frenchmen, we know, dress a dinner, and Frenchwomen, themselves, better than any other people; and France is the highest authority upon matters of the mouth and of dress; but, so beneficial has been the renewed intercourse of French and English of late years, that we have actually improved their science of cookery, this Ude himself admitted, and neither Carême nor any other French artiste can gainsay it; though we admit, that in Confectionery, the French still keep the lead. The author of this Dictionary has evidently long resided in Paris, and his information is as certainly gathered by experience; for there runs throughout this work a current of information, such as has long been wanted—we mean, on French Cookery adapted to English habits. Yet, he has no partiality on the subject; for he loses no opportunity to set the relative advantages of English and French cookery before the reader; and his introductory chapter upon the Comparative Expenses of Living at home and abroad, will be very serviceable to that large class of the expensive English, who cannot make both ends meet In their own country, and so go to reside on the continent for purposes of economy, which, by the way, is an excellent lure to extravagance. The whole of this chapter is excellent, and we believe the lesson it reads to be the true stale of the case—that Paris is, by no means, the place for a man of small income to reside in, if his object be economy; and, that if he wish to play tricks with his fortune, (as Dr. Johnson phrases it,) he had better settle in London. But, the English flock to France - are fascinated with the change of customs, scenery, and general habits; and there is a certain gaieté and showiness about French society, which is just the bait for English persons of limited income, who too often aim at doing great things on a small scale at home. But, a man of easy income, we should say, may do greater things with his fortune in Paris than in London; for Trench party-giving is by no means so expensive as "having a few friends" in England. We arc, doubtless, the richest people in the world; and, at the same time, the most costly in our tastes and habits; Out tables are
better appointed than those of our neighbours; we have massive plate of standard value, whereas they have silver of all finenesses, and of filagreed lightness. Upon the relative merits of French and English cookery, medical men do not generally agree; but in what do they not differ? Dr. Prout, however, maintains that viands well stewed and macerated, are in the fittest state for digestion, and he has a large class of followers; so that the English underdone school is a mistake; though instead of broths, convalescent invalids are now recommended to cat a mutton-chop. Turn to the food of the working classes in the two countries: an Englishman grumbles if he does not cat meat daily—a Frenchman is satisfied with meat on every alternate day, and many in the south dine from bread and grapes, or a pipkin of stewed vegetables: but the English operative is stronger than the French artisan; and we have been assured that in a large work at Nantes, some few years since, undertaken by an English capitalist, the engineers of our own country did twice the labour of the men of Nantes, and with twice the regard to neatness and substantiality.

And here are a selection of “Anglo-French” recipes from the era. I don’t know which aspects of each recipe are English and which are French, but perhaps you do.

Pie Hot Raised, Anglo-Française.
Take the fillets from four loins of mutton, trim and cut them into scollops, season well with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, dissolve slowly three quarters of a pound of butter, and the moment it becomes liquid put into it two spoonfuls of parsley, four of mushrooms, the same of truffles, a shalot, all shred fine. Make a raised crust of whatever size and form you please, and having soaked the fillets in the butter and herbs, lay them on the pie en couronne; fill up the centre with mushrooms minced truffles, artichoke bottoms, veal sweetbreads; pour the remainder of the butter and herbs over; cover them with two bay leaves, slices of bacon; the lid and the walls or sides decorate tastefully, dorez and set it in a brisk oven; when you find the top is sufficiently done cut it off, and lay in its place three or four sheets of paper, and put the pie in the oven; an hour and a half is the time required for baking. As soon as done take out the bacon and bay leaves, and pour in a demi-glaze of mutton, mixed with an essence of truffles and mushrooms and the juice of a lemon; glaze the crust, and serve quite hot.
The Illustrated London Cookery Book, by Frederick Bishop (1852)
The following sweet pie recipe is interesting with its rice and cherry filling:

Pie, Anglo-Française
Take a deep dish, line the edge with puff paste like a common pie; stew a quarter of a pound of rice with some sugar until quite soft and sweet; take a pound of ripe juicy cherries, which pick and roll in a quarter of a pound of powder-sugar, and lay about a quarter of them at the bottom of the dish cover these with a fourth part of the rice, then the cherries again, and so on till your materials are used, taking care to keep the pie high in the middle; cover it with a layer of puff paste, which wash over lightly with some white of egg, and strew a little powder-sugar over; put it in a moderate oven for an hour and a quarter; then take it out, mask the crust with apricot marmalade, and a few macaroons crushed. Serve it either hot or cold.
The Cook's Own Book, by Mrs N.K.M.Lee (1832)

And repurposing a marrow pudding as fritters apparently make it Anglo-French:

Fritters a lAnglo-Française.
Make a batter as follows:—Put into a saucepan one glass and a half of water, two ounces of fresh butter, and a little salt, let it boil, then stir in enough flour to make it a firm batter, keep stirring for three minutes, then turn it into another vessel. Make previously a marrow pudding, while it is cooling prepare your batter, cut the pudding into thin slices, divide again into pieces about two inches long and three quarters of an inch wide, dip them into the batter and fry them, when done drain them, glaze with fine sugar, and serve them as hot as you can.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good Fish Recipes,1914.

I am home after my (all-too-brief) travels, and have the usual post-fun catching-up with chores and emails etc. today, so my post will be brief too.

From a Queensland newspaper of one hundred years ago this month, I give you some Good Fish Recipes.

Fish Balls.
Ingredients.- Fourteen ounces of mashed potatoes, 5 oz. of cold boiled slat fish, 2 oz. of butter, 2 tablespoonfuls of milk, salt, pepper, 1 egg, breadcrumbs.
Method.- Melt the butter in the hot potatoes; add the milk, seasoning, and the fish free from bones; mix thoroughly form into balls, roll them in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and fry in deep, very hot fat. When nicely browned, put on paper to drain. Serve garnished with parsley.

Lobster Pudding.
Ingredients.- One tin of lobster, 3 ½ oz. of breadcrumbs, 1 oz. of suet, 1 egg, 1 teaspoonful  of anchovy sauce, cayenne.
Method.- Drain the liquid from the tin of lobster; chop it up lightly, mix with other ingredients, put into a buttered basin, and bile for one hour. Turn out onto a hot dish, and serve with white sauce or melted butter.

Salmon Pie.
Ingredients.- One tin salmon, 3 oz. grated cheese, 1 tablespoonful of vinegar, cayenne, salt, breadcrumbs.
Method.- Butter a flat dish, spread the salmon on it with vinegar, cayenne, and salt; put a sprinkling of cheese, then breadcrumbs, on top; bake from 15 to 20 minutes.

The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts

(Barcaldine, Qld), 25 July, 1914.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Several Ways to use Peach Leaves.

I have a few ideas for peach leaves today - and they will be launched into cyberspace while I am myself in the air, on my last leg home from the UK.

Peach Leaf Yeast.
Peach leaves, used in the same way as hops, make excellent yeast. They may be used fresh fro the tree in summer, but the winter supply should be picked before the first frost comes, and dried. A small handful of leaves, scalded in a teacup of milk, makes a nice flavouring for a cake - often used instead of almond. After scalding, let the milk cool before using in the cake.
The Southern Agriculturist and Register of Rural Affairs: Adapted to the Southern Section of the United States, 1832.

Ratafia Cream.
In a tea-cupful of thin cream boil two or three large laurel, or young peach leaves ; when it has boiled three or four minutes, strain, and mix with it a pint of rich sweet Cream ; add three well-beaten whites of eggs, and sweeten it with pounded loaf sugar. Put it into a sauce-pan, and stir it gently one way over a slow fire till it be thick ; pour it into a china dish, and when quite cold, ornament it with sweetmeats cut out like flowers; or strew over the top harlequin comfits.
The Practice of Cookery: Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life, by Mrs Dalgairns, 1832

Plain Custards.
Tie together six or eight peach leaves, and boil them in a quart of milk with a large stick of cinnamon broken up. If you cannot procure peach leaves, substitute a handful of peach-kernels or bitter almonds, or a vanilla bean split in pieces. When it has boiled hard, strain the milk and set it away to cool. Beat very light eight eggs, and stir them by degrees into the milk when it is quite cold, (if warm, the eggs will curdle it, and cause whey at the bottom,) and add gradually a quarter of a pound of sugar. Fill your cups with it; set them in a Dutch oven, and pour round them boiling water sufficient to reach nearly to the tops of the cups. Put hot coals under the oven and on the lid, (which must be previously heated by standing it up before a hot fire,) and bake the custards about fifteen minutes. Send them to table cold, with nutmeg grated over each. Or you may bake the whole in one large dish.
Directions for Cookery, in its various Branches, by Eliza Leslie, 1844

To every pound of cherries put half a pound of lumpsugar, half an ounce of bitter almonds, and four peachleaves; cut the stalks of the cherries, and put them with the sugar, &c in bottles, filling the bottles with brandy. When Morello cherries are used, after three months the liquor may be poured off, and more brandy added.
A New System of Domestic Cookery: Founded Upon Principles of Economy and Adapted to the Use of Private Families, Mrs Rundell, 1842.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thoughts on Rice, in 1838.

Yesterday's story on quinoa came from an article written in the 1830's, and in it the "new" grain was compared with rice. Today I give you some further words on the latter from the same era. The recipe which follows is from the same source.

From: The Young House-keeper, Or, Thoughts on Food and Cookery, by William Andrus Alcott (Boston, 1838):-

substance which enters into the human stomach, and which is at the same time perfectly inoffensive, has been more slandered than rice. On the one hand, it has been said to be an innutritious, feeble substance; on the other, it has been said to be an active poison. It has been charged with producing costiveness, blindness, and even in some instances the cholera.
The truth is, that rice is one of the most nutritious substances in the world; as may be seen from the tables in a former chapter. I know, as I have already said, that it will be hard for many people to believe this. Because meat stimulates more, and gives more momentary warmth and strength, it is therefore insisted that it contains more nutriment. On the same principle, it might be proved that alcohol is highly nutritious; whereas all the alcohol in the world does not contain a particle of that which can nourish us or make blood.
Nor does rice tend directly to produce costiveness. The most that can be said against it is, that it is not very active on the stomach and bowels— and in our climate, and especially when trained as our stomachs and intestines are, to the action of substances much more stimulating and irritating, seems to have the effect of producing costiveness. But to the eastern nations who are trained to it— even without the curry sauce so largely used in many places—it has no constipating qualities. Let our children and youth be trained, from the first, to a pretty full proportion of rice with their food, and let them use other simple, wholesome, unstimulating things, and we shall hear little more of its tendency to costiveness.
As to its producing blindness, I have sought, these ten years, for evidence on this subject; but have never found a particle. The nearest approach to evidence I have met with, is the statement of a very worthy old man, that he knew a case of the kind in Maine. But every one knows how many other causes might have contributed to produce such a result as was stated. If this substance could cause blindness, we ought to hear of such facts from China, Japan, and other parts of Asia; especially since the establishment of eye infirmaries by the missionaries in those regions; but no such developments have, to my knowledge, ever been made. In short, I regard the whole as a base slander; and the charge that it produces cholera, no less so. Neither of the charges ever was, or—I venture to affirm it—ever can be substantiated.

Rice Pudding, With Apples.—Boil six ounces of rice in a pint of milk till it is soft, then fill a dish about half full of apples pared and cored; sweeten; put the rice over them as a crust, and bake it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thoughts on Quinoa, in 1832.

For the next couple of days I will be in travel limbo as I head home to Australia after several weeks in England.  Wednesday will be a blur as I travel the westwards time-warp, but never fear, there will be a post on that day, thanks to the marvels of scheduled postings.

From The Southern Agriculturist and Register of Rural Affairs: Adapted to the Southern Section of the United States, Volume 5  (1832), I give you some thoughts on "Peruvian Rice."

On the Cultivation of Quinoa or Peruvian Rice.

The only direction that we have obtained from Peru for cultivating the quinoa, is, that it is to be sown and managed like wheat. From our brief experience we find this entirely erroneous, and by following it last summer we lost at least nineteentwentieths of our small supply of seed. We sowed the seed in drills one foot apart, the seed in the drills about as close as wheat, on common soil. The result was, the plants stood so close that few of them bore seed; while a few scattering plants that grew singly, yielded abundantly; and the richer the ground the greater was the yield—so much so was this the case, that one plant that grew in a spent hot-bed (a pile of rotten stable manure with a few inches of soil on the top) yielded about two quarts of seed. We conclude from this that the quinoa should be planted one foot apart each way; the ground should be highly manured with stable manure, and it should be hoed like corn to keep the weeds down in the forepart of the season. It should be planted as early as the season will admit. The frost in the fall does not affect it, much of ours was standing during the severe frosts of this month [Nov.] ; the plant on the spent hot-bed particularly, was exposed to the very severe snow storm of Monday night last, the 21st inst., and the leaves frozen as hard as ice; but no injury was done to it. In cleaning out the seed, after the plants are ripe, we cut them up, tie them in convenient bundles and dry them perfectly. The seed is then easily rubbed out by the hand, and cleaned by winnowing. Some simple machine will soon be invented to clean it. The Peruvians rub the tops between coarse woollen cloths. If the ground be highly manured we believe that it will produce one hundred and fifty bushels to the acre—at least this is the proportion produced by  some of ours. It has this great advantage over every other grain—you cannot make the ground too rich for it, and it will yield in proportion to the quantity of manure applied, or to the richness of the soil. It will grow on any soil, where the common lambs-quarter (Chenopodium alba, its full brother) will grow. From a rough calculation we judge that half a pound of seed will be sufficient for an acre of ground. We must not forget to caution persons who make trial of this new grain, against destroying it by mistake ; for it resembles so closely the common weed called lambs-quarter in some places, pig-weed in New-York and some other places (Chenopodium alba) that before the seed begin to form they can scarcely be distinguished from each other.
Quinoa is used for all the purposes of common rice. We have tried it in all the different forms —in a baked pudding we think it far superior to rice. It does not resemble rice either in flavour or appearance ; and can only have received the name of Peruvian rice from the fact of its being used in the same way. Its flavour resembles that of oatmeal more than any thing else. The grain is circular, flat, and about the size of a small radish seed. There are two kinds, the white and the red. The former when cooked is quite white, the latter retains its reddish colour. They arc easily separated, as the whole of the red plant is covered with a reddish powder, which is a most perfect rouge when applied to the skin. The colouring matter is not dissipated by light, but remains permanent. Perhaps a valuable dye may be extracted from it. The leaves are used as spinnage, being little (if any) inferior to common spinnage. Persons wishing to try the quinoa can obtain seed at the rate of four dollars a pound, by applying to the editor of the 'American Farmer.'

Monday, July 14, 2014

Things to do with Tamarinds.

The tamarind has been mentioned a number of times here on this blog, but has been the star attraction in only one post to date (in which it played a major role in a preserve). The other star of that story was Mark Twain, whose famous words on his co-star are worth repeating:-

I thought tamarinds were made to eat, but that was probably not the idea. I ate several, and it seemed to me that they were rather sour that year. They pursed up my lips, till they resembled the stem-end of a tomato, and I had to take my sustenance through a quill for twenty-four hours. They sharpened my teeth till I could have shaved with them, and gave them a "wire edge" that I was afraid would stay; but a citizen said "no, it will come off when the enamel does" - which was comforting, at any rate. I found, afterward, that only strangers eat tamarinds - but they only eat them once.

Tamarind is not the star ingredient in many dishes, but is most commonly used to add an acid note to a dish. I did find some recipes in which the tamarind is very prominent in the book which was the source of the story on taro a few weeks ago – How to use Hawaiian fruit and food products (Honolulu, 1912.)

This is what this book says on the tamarind:-

The tamarind contains a laxative and cooling quality which makes it of value in cases of illness.

1. Shell tamarind, and cover with water. Let soak several hours; then take the water from tamarinds, dilute with fresh water, and sweeten to taste.

2. To make drink quickly. Place 10 or 12 shelled tamarinds in a 2 qt. pitcher filled with water. Stir well, and add sugar to taste.

1. Shell tamarinds. Place layer in jar, and cover with sugar. Repeat until jar is filled; then seal. Use candy boxes in same way, placing paraffin paper between layers of tamarinds.

2. Shell tamarinds and press tightly together in form of ball. Cover with cloth. An easy way to carry them in traveling, in which they will keep for years.

3. Make syrup of equal measures sugar and water. Boil tamarinds in this, and pour into jars to be kept for drinks.

Cook 1 c of shelled tamarinds in little water until soft. Strain pulp through colander. Add to tamarind pulp, 1 qt. papaya pulp and 1 c sugar. Cook 30 or 45 min.

Make the same as above, using tamarind in place of the papaya.

½ lb. tamarinds                       ½ lb. dates
½ lb. green ginger                   ½ lb. raisins
½ LB. onions                          ¼ lb. chili peppers
4 tbsp brown sugar                  2 tbsp salt

Pound all with vinegar, and rub through a sieve. Bottle and seal. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Preserve Butter.

Yesterday we considered various ways of preserving bread, so today I thought we should look at methods of preserving its natural partner - butter.

I give you several thoughts on the subject, from a range of sources:

From the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, conducted by D. Brewster (1830.)

To preserve butter for a long time fresh without any foreign mixture, the best method perhaps is, first of all to wash the butter-milk completely, out, and then to keep the butter under pure cool water, frequently renewed. Some wrap it up in a wet linen cloth, to defend it from the influence of the air. But though fresh butter be kept cool and from the air, it will in no very long time become rancid. We cannot by any means keep it fresh from one year to another, or transport it to a distance in good condition. Rancid butter, to most people, is extremely disagreeable. A very small quantity of it will be observed by many in a large mass of meat, that it may have been employed to season. Few stomachs can digest rancid butter. Some are so delicate, that the use even of fresh butter, of milk, of cream, and in general of all oleaginous substances, affect them with difficult and painful digestion.
Butter, to be a wholesome aliment, must be free from rancidity, and not fried or burned. But even in its purest state, there are few who can indulge very freely in the use of this article with impunity; and health, perhaps, would not suffer, though its employment as food were altogether laid aside. Like the other bland oils, it is gently laxative.
Most housewifes know several receipts for restoring rancid butter to freshness. But of these the greater number are of little use. Washing it well with pure water, or with ardent spirit, still better perhaps with sweet milk, will deprive it in some measure of its disagreeable smell and taste. It is of much more consequence to preserve butter from becoming rancid,by salting, and the other means already explained.

From The Southern Agriculturist and Register of Rural Affairs (Charleston,1832)

The making process is now completed. To preserve the rich flavour which this process secures, pack the butter nicely down in a perfectly tight, sweet vessel, and none is better than a stone earthen-jar, without a particle of additional salt; smooth the surface, and cover the top two inches with a strong, cold brine, which has been made by boiling and skimming the materials. If a pellicle or scum is seen to rise upon the pickle, turn off the liquid and replace it by fresh pickle.
I am accustomed to eat butter, of May, June and October, made and preserved in this way, when it is from six to twelve months old, without perceiving any material difference between it and thut which is fresh made.

From U.S. Patent No. 98,421 granted to Jacob F. Saiger in 1869)

My invention relates to means for curing and preserving butter; and it consists in a novel arrangement and process whereby it is intended to cure and preserve butter from taint for a long period of time.
My arrangement and process are as follows,

To wit: I take fresh butter and mix with it thoroughly a small quantity of saltpeter and pure white sugar - say about three or four ounces of each to every hundred pounds of butter. I next place the butter thus mixed in firkins, tubs, crooks, or other suitable vessels and close such vessels air-tight. I then place the vessels in a barrel, box, or other suitable packing-case and cover them, respectively, to the depth of two inches, more or less, with common salt. I also inclose the outer case in salt to about the same depth and let the butter remain so packed until I am ready to use it. I place one or more of these butter-packages in each outer case, as circumstances may dictate or require.