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.
COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TO OFFICERS OF H.I.M.S. ' DORADE.'
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.
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)