I was going to write about leftover ham or turkey today, but – obviously being in trivial mode, I decided to see what I could find about Friday breakfasts. I immediately came across a lovely book called Bonnes Bouches and Relishable Dishes for Breakfast and Luncheon, by Louisa E. Smith (London, 1893.) It is written in charming, almost memoir style, as you will see:
When I was quite young my mother had a serious illness, so it was arranged that a distant cousin should come to reside with us. From her I first learned the manner and art of preparing some of the recipes given in this book.
I shall never forget the pleasing appearance of the breakfast-table on the Thursday morning following the arrival of my cousin. …
On Friday morning I was down early, as it was my custom to grind the coffee and make it myself, in order to be sure that no chicory was popped in. I found the kettle already boiling, the pot well warmed, and the coffee ground, I had simply to pour the water on it. The table was perfectly arranged as before; at one end stood a mould of some kind of jelly, with a wreath of watercress around it. This jelly, as I afterwards discovered, was made of knuckle of veal in the following manner: —
Knuckle of Veal in Jelly.
Chop well a small knuckle of veal, about three pounds in weight, put it into a clean stewpan, with enough water to cover it, add a blade of mace, one onion, a teaspoonful of Jamaica peppercorns, and a sprig of thyme, all tied in a muslin bag. Simmer for two hours, remove the bag. Then with two forks pull the meat from the bone, season with a mustard-spoonful of made mustard, the juice of a lemon, a dash of cayenne, a tablespoonful of mushroom ketchup, and pepper and salt to taste. Pour the whole into a well-oiled mould, and set it in a cold place for twelve hours. It will turn out perfectly the next morning. Dish on an ornamental paper.
Invalid's Breakfast Dish.
[the author’s sister was suffering from ‘the effects of over-exertion’]
For my sister's breakfast on Friday morning my cousin removed the undercut from a sirloin of beef, weighing about four ounces, beat it well, and dipped it into heated dripping. It was then laid on a hot, greased gridiron, over a clear fire, and cooked for ten minutes, being constantly turned. It was then placed on a hot plate, a pinch of finely minced parsley, and the same of salt, scattered over it, and served quickly with thinly cut slices of bread rolled. The dish was garnished with tufts of green parsley.
For our morning meal we had a dish of bloaters, which had been prepared as follows:
Fish Cutlets and Boiled Eggs.
Remove the heads and tails from six bloaters, split them down the back, remove the bone, dip them into heated butter, and dust bread crumbs over them. Season the fillets with pepper and salt, screen with minced parsley and mint, then grill them over a clear fire, without turning them. Just before placing on the table in a hot dish, a tablespoonful of ketchup, mixed with the same quantity of Holbrookes Worcestershire sauce, was poured over them. A dish of hot buttered toast was served with the fish, and six new-laid eggs, boiled in their shells, were covered with small tulip-shaped cosies to keep them warm while we did ample justice to the fillets.
My cousin suggested that the juice of a lemon daubed with cayenne would be a great improvement to the fish.
Grilled Mutton with Poached Eggs.
For [another] Friday morning we had grilled mutton and poached eggs. Some slices of underdone mutton had been cut from the leg. Each slice had been dusted with cayenne, dipped into heated dripping, and broiled carefully over a clear fire. Then they had been laid on a hot dish before the stove, while six fresh eggs were poached, neatly trimmed, and one laid on each slice of meat. Around these was poured a delicious sauce. A gill of good gravy had been put in a stewpan with a tablespoonful of mushroom ketchup, and thickened with a lump of butter rolled in flour, and stirred over the fire for a few minutes. Finely chopped parsley was scattered over all. A dish of potato straws was served with this.
It makes a simple bowl of cold cereal and milk or a plate of toast and marmalade look a bit ineffectual, does it not?
I'm rather glad that you wrote about breakfast instead of leftovers. This was a fascinating read !
Heroic breakfasts for a heroic age.
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