One of my favourite themes is that of ‘mock’ or imitation dishes. I have written numerous posts on them before, but came across an irresistible find recently, in an Australian newspaper, and just have to share it with you.
From Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW) of 3 August, 1903, I give you in its entirety a column simply entitled ‘Imitation Dishes.’ There is no attempt at explanation or justification for the topic in the column, – the recipes stand unashamedly alone. You could prepare a complete feast from them, should you be so inclined. I wonder if your guests would detect the subterfuge?
Fillet a bream, and cut it into small pieces, the size of whitebait. Roll the fish in fine breadcrumbs till well covered, place it in a frying basket, plunge this in boiling fat, fry the fish for a minute or two, taking care not to overcook it, drain on paper, arrange on a fresh paper or d’oyley on a hot dish, dust with pepper and salt, and serve at once. Brown bread-and-butter and cut lemon should accompany this dish, which should be garnished with sprigs of parsley.
Take a piece of fillet of veal, and cut it into pieces about the size of half a pigeon. Make a little forcemeat, and add to it some grated or minced ham. Spread each piece of veal with a little of the forcemeat, roll it up, tie it with tape, and stew in good stock for three-quarters of an hour. Place the meat in a tin, butter it, dust with flour, and bake for a few minutes in a hot oven. Arrange on a hot dish, remove the tapes, pour some thick brown gravy around, garnish with sippets of toast, and serve with bread sauce.
This may be made with fresh meat, or as a rechauffe of cold mutton. If the former, bone a piece of well-hung loin of mutton, and stew the bones in stock very gently for two hours with an onion, a carrot, sweet herbs, a stick of celery, and one or two cloves and peppercorns. Strain the soup, return it to the pan, place the mutton in it, and simmer until the meat is tender. Remove the meat, and brown it in a hot oven. Strain the gravy, thicken it, and serve very hot, with redcurrant jelly or any sharp preserves. If cold cooked mutton is used, it must be cut in thick slices, and simmered in the same way. The stock may be made of a little water, finely-chopped onion, a glass of claret or port, a tablespoonful of red-currant jelly, a little glaze, and a tablespoonful of chutney.
Take a piece of beefsteak, about 10in or 12in in extent, and spread it with a layer of sage and onion stuffing, roll up the steak tie it in shape, put it in a deep dish, with half a pint of good stock or gravy, and bake for about an hour, turning and basting it frequently. Remove the string, put the meat on a hot dish, thicken the gravy, pour it around the meat, and serve.