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EVERYBODY knows that a good cook is an economical cook, so
that a knowledge of the elementary rules regarding the preparation of food must
prove an economy to all, and not only an economy of money, but of life and
strength, by enabling people to get better food and thus obtain more actual
nourishment out of the materials they can afford to provide.
The great secret in cooking is to make food palatable and not to waste the nutriment contained in the meat neither to let it boil out or steam out. If you boil your dinner, always keep the liquor in which it is boiled there must be the very essence of the meat in it, and it is therefore always good for vegetable soup. Always cover your pot, and let the steam, which contains the strength fall back into the stew. Never waste anything. Remember the old adage, "Waste not, want not." Save every bone every leaf; every crust, and make them into soup, if not
for your own children, for the children of those poorer than
yourself. It should always be remembered that "wholesome fare" is
well-prepared fare, and fare necessary to keep up the system, especially where
there is an extra amount of wear and tear by any exhausting labour. In rural
districts, where work is done in the open air, and without any excitement to the
nervous system, nature does not seem to make such large demands for
replenishment and turns out fine muscular men upon no stronger feeding than
potatoes and oatmeal. This, however, does not hold good in all cases. With many
animal food is a necessity, and reasoning from this necessity, it is not too
much to argue that every young woman ought to study the rudiments of cookery -
so as to learn that a clear quick fire is required to cook a chop or a steak,
which may be rendered tender by beating, either with the point of a knife or a
rolling-pin ; that a stew ought never to boil; that meat boiled is meat spoiled,
unless simmered; that vegetables must be put in boiling water, and without a
cover; that bread goes twice as far, and is three times as whole-some stale as
fresh; and that brown flour is much more nutritious and cheaper than white.
Many people, especially such as live in large towns, abandon altogether the attempt to cook their dinners for themselves, and after preparing it in the rudest possible form, send it to the baker's oven to be cooked, a proceeding utterly wasteful and bad, the reason showing upon the very face of it; for how is it possible that dishes of all sizes and sorts can be equally well cooked in the same heat? Besides, think of the different gases all condensing, and flowing mingled back upon the meat. Fish, flesh, fowl, pastry, and vegetables, all share alike. Then, again, there is the mixture of gravy, for basting must go on quite "promiscuously." You cannot expect the baker's man to dip his ladle into the very dish he wants to baste. Will he not, as a matter of course, dip where the dish is deepest and handiest?
In many families of moderate means, after the Sunday dinner is eaten, the meat that is left comes in cold day after day through the week until it is consumed. Such a disagreeable sameness might easily be avoided, and a wholesome and pleasant variety be obtained, by a slight
but sound knowledge of cooking. Of course, some people have
greater facilities than others. Where there is a small garden a good dinner may
be eaten every day; but even without this, it is possible, by a little judicious
economy, to obtain a regular supply of vegetables.
As almost all who possess a garden may keep a pig and a few hens, they may vary their bill of fare, either by using or selling the home produce. For growing children a full supply of food is a necessary to health and development. Where oatmeal is cheap, nothing can be better than well-boiled porridge; but where any prejudice exists against this, let the breakfast and. supper consist of coarse brown bread, and, if you can get it, skim or butter milk; if not, treacle and toast. and-water.
Children will generally thrive well upon bread alone, but nature requires something else, and the more you can vary the diet, even by the use of common vegetables boiled down, the better. Onions are easily grown, are cheap to buy, and contain a large amount of nutriment; so, too, do carrots; both are wholesome and palatable, and make a loaf of bread go much further. Always teach children to masticate their food, and eat slowly; half the quantity so eaten will suffice. Bolting food is not only [-5-] wasteful but unhealthy, and ought to be carefully guarded against.
In France the culinary art is much more generally known or understood than in Great Britain, and without doubt Scotland and the Border-land come next in attention to it in its simpler branches.
As a rule people in this country do not pay sufficient attention to the matter of culinary vessels; quite forgetting that it is really the best economy to have such vessels as will enable them to cook their food easily and well without at the same time necessitating any great outlay. In many houses in this country a great deal of fuel is wasted in the large open grates generally in use, and they are being consequently superseded in most places by some sort of cooking range. Fig. I shows a range suitable for a household of moderate means, which will be found convenient and economical; to the details of such a range we shall have occasion to refer in treating of the preparation of various dishes.
It will be found an economical plan to use a stove like that shown on page 4, Fig. 2, ranging from about two feet and a half by two, and only containing an oven (the larger sizes have a boiler as well). They heat equally all over; will boil, bake, and roast, all at once; use very little fuel, and can be allowed to go out directly their work is done. In addition to this they are easy to manage; the saucepans require little or no scrubbing, as they never come in contact with the smoke; and the consumption of fuel is very small. We use coke to advantage, French people use charcoal, but coal is the best. The first outlay in a stove without a boiler is about £2 10s., with a boiler, £3; and this is soon saved in fuel and time occupied in cleaning the saucepans.
A frying-pan, a gridiron, a saucepan, and a three-legged pot or "getlin," are all the culinary utensils absolutely necessary for ordinary plain cookery. These vary in price, according to size; for example - a moderate-sized gridiron costing from 1s. 2d. to 2s. 6d.; frying-pan, 1s. to 1s. 6d.; saucepan, 1s. 6d. to 3s. ; iron pot, 4s. 6d. to 7s. With these, a decent cook can do all that is necessary. As for a roasting-jack, nothing is better than a skewer and a hank of yarn.
The gridiron is a serviceable utensil, which deserves to be kept with special care. It is not unfrequently the friend in need to whom we resort when other means of cooking fail. It has also been made the subject of modern improvements. In olden time a silver gridiron was the pride of aristocratic cooks; but an enamelled or a well tinned one is scarcely its inferior. A good gridiron now has grooved bars (as shown in Fig. 3), which render the double service of keeping the fire clear of dropping fat, and consequently of smoke, and of conducting the gravy to a trough in front, whence it may be poured over steaks or chops in their dish.
A rusty gridiron will not improve a steak, while one still greasy with last week's broil will spoil it. Although not made of silver, it should be as bright, and scrupulously clean between the bars. For broiling, a charcoal fire is best; a coke fire, second best. With a cinder fire, you must wait till it is quite clear, and then sprinkle it with salt. Then heat your gridiron before laying on the steak, otherwise the parts touching the bars will remain raw when the rest is cooked. If made too hot, the bars will burn and char the steak, marking it with black lines, besides spoiling the flavour. Turning the steak several times keeps the gravy inside. This turning, which should be done not with a fork, but with a pair of meat tongs, will slightly prolong the time of cooking. A good rump steak will take ten minutes; pork chops and mutton cutlets less, according to their thickness; the former, however, should always be well done. For turning chops and steaks without pricking them with a fork, a double grid iron has been invented, the only objections to which are that it is more trouble to keep clean and less easy to heat its bars equally to the proper temperature. When placed on the fire, the gridiron should stand forwards, to cause the fat to run in that direction, instead of dropping into the fire, and so smoking the steak. This position is now insured by making the hind legs of the gridiron higher than the front ones, as shown in our illustration, Fig. 3.
The foregoing utensils we have indicated as especially useful in a household of moderate means. As our work proceeds, we shall give illustrations of others necessary for the more advanced and elaborate branches of cookery, and proceed now with
Bread is the Briton's staff of
life; we therefore begin our Homely Cookery with that important article of food.
It is sometimes a good deal helped out with potatoes, but the use of more than a
certain proportion of that vegetable is not desirable for maintaining strength.
People who live almost entirely on potatoes become too stout, and are
comparatively weak. The Hindoos and other Eastern nations, who eat little
besides rice, are inferior in bodily strength not only to the northern peoples
of Europe, who consume fish in large quantities, and to the South American races
of men, whose diet is meat exclusively, but to bread-and-meat eating people like
ourselves. It is the large quantity of bread they consume that maintains the
strength of the French labourers, many of whom do not taste fresh meat more than
once or twice a year. All the soups so liked by the working classes in France,
contain soaked bread in some shape or another.
Bread, if we think of it, is an ingenious contrivance for rendering corn eatable by human mouths, and digestible by human stomachs, which could only have been discovered step by step. The eating of dry barley, wheat, or rye, must have been working hard for one's living. Even frumenty (new wheat boiled soft and flavoured with sugar, nutmeg, and eggs) is tolerably trying to the jaws. Pounded corn might furnish an ingredient for stews and gruel; after the further invention of grinding it into flour between two flat stones, it would make porridge, and could even be baked on the hearth into cakes, which, however, would not yet be bread. It is the FERMENTATION, the "working," the causing of the dough to "rise" and become light, without which there is no real BREAD. Unleavened bread is an incomplete article, the produce of an unfinished process; and is therefore the symbol of pressure, danger, and consequent haste, in the eyes of the persons who partake of it at stated seasons. We may believe that the discovery of the fermentation of dough, converting it from heavy cake into light bread, was the result of some lucky accident.
Good Household Bread.-To ten pounds of flour in your kneading-trough, put a small handful of salt. Stir into this about two quarts of water, more or less; but some flours will soak up more water than others. For very white bread, made with superfine flour, the dough should be softer than for seconds or brown bread. In summer the water may be milk-warm; in winter, considerably warmer, but never hot enough to kill the yeast. After the water is mixed with the flour, add the yeast. Much depends on the quality of the yeast. Then knead your bread. After kneading, leave it to rise in a warm place, covered with a cloth. If all goes well, it will have risen m something between an hour and an hour and a half. Then divide it into rolls, loaves, or tin-breads. as wanted, and bake.
For a three-pound loaf; you must take three pounds and a half of dough; for a four-pound loaf; four pounds eleven ounces; for a six-pound loaf; six pounds and three-quarters; and for an eight-pound loaf; nine pounds of dough.
You cannot make good bread without good water. The [-6-] water should be good drinking water, pure both to the taste and smell - water which dissolves soap without curdling, and which boils fresh vegetables green, and dry vegetables (as peas and haricots) tender. None is better than rain-water, when it can be had clean and without the taste of soot. Stagnant water, hard water, and water from melted ice or snow, are all to be avoided. The quality of the water has a considerable effect on the quantity of it which the flour will take up. The quantity varies according to the kind of bread you want to make, and even according to the season. You can put in more water in winter than in summer, because the dough remains firmer in winter than in summer.
it takes more water to make soft bread, like the French, than to make firm bread, like the generality of bakers' bread in England. When it is kneaded with salt and yeast, as for making unusually light rolls, there enters into the composition of the dough almost as much water as flour. The smaller the rolls are, the less stiff the dough should be. But, as we have already stated, exact precision in these matters is not possible. In kneading dough, too much water is less inconvenient than too little. Nevertheless, when the dough is too moist, the "eyes" in the bread become too big, irregular, and unequal; and the crust is apt to separate from the bread and get burnt.
Oaten bread requires to be made with warm water, good yeast and plenty of it, and to be well kneaded; to be thoroughly baked in a hot oven, and left there some time, lit according to the size of the loaf; because the inside is apt to be pasty. Barley-bread takes less yeast, but should also t be thoroughly baked in a brisk oven. The German peasantry make bread with a mixture of barley-flour and potatoes, which they highly relish, custom being second .iature. For rye-bread, make a stiff dough with cold water and plenty of good yeast; knead well; when risen, put it into a smart oven, and be in no hurry to take it out. In Sweden, bread is made with a mixture of flour and barley ; in some districts, buckwheat-flour is mixed with rye-flour.
When yeast cannot be got, we recommend the following way of making
Bread without Yeast.-To every half-quartern of flour, add one teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, and half a tea-spoonful of salt. Mix all together; then, to the water sufficient to make a dough, add half a teaspoonful of muriatic acid. Set into the oven at once. This makes beautiful sweet bread, and is wholesome. Some use tartaric acid; in which case the bread will contain tartrate of soda, which, although not poisonous, is medicinal - slightly purgative even. On the other hand, muriatic acid neutralises soda just as well as tartaric acid, and the resulting compound is only common salt.
Potato Pie.-There is one dish, a home invention, which will be found both useful and economical, and
of which an illustration is annexed. Take a good mixed pie-dish. Cut out a tin lid which will fit down an inch at least below the level of the rim of the dish (Fig. 4). This must be perforated, and have a wire handle at each end. Fill the pie-dish with slices of cold meat, two boiled onions, a little seasoning; and a cup of water; flour the meat, and set on the tin lid. Pile upon the lid cold mashed potatoe,. done up with salt, pepper, and a little dripping (as shown in Fig. 5), and bake, either in a regular oven or before the fire, for an hour. When served, lift up the lid and place it with the potatoes upon a spare dish.
Potato Dumpling.- This cheap, simple, and wholesome preparation of food, not much known in England, a but which forms the daily meal of poor artisans and others in North Germany (who never taste meat, and, as they say, never think of it), will be found to supply a useful variety in nurseries, and for invalids whose allowance of meat is limited. The potatoes, which must be; mealy and of good quality, are cooked in the usual way, and then pounded. To three parts of potatoes put one part of wheat-flour, with a little salt, and mix them well. together. Milk sufficient to make a paste is then stirred in, and it is to be boiled in a cloth or basin. The a proper length of time for cooking can only be learned by experience, but it must be well boiled. It will then be firm and light, and may be eaten either with butter or meat gravy, or with cooked apple, stewed prunes, jam, treacle, or other sweet sauce. It is very palatable with salt fish, or meat, while the addition of suet, currants, raisins, and sugar converts it into a nice plum-pudding.
SIMPLE RECIPES (continued from p.6).
Potato Bread. - Boll the required
quantity of mealy potatoes in their skins; drain, dry, and then peel them. Crush
them on a board with a rolling-pin, till they are a stiff paste without lumps.
Then mix your yeast with them, and flour equal in quantity to the potatoes. Add
water enough to make the whole into dough, and knead the mass well. When risen,
put into a gentle oven. Do not close the door immediately, but bake a little
longer than for ordinary bread. Without these precautions the crust will be hard
and brittle, while the inside still remains moist and pasty. Other flours can be
in like manner made into bread with a mixture of potatoes; but they are best
cooked as cakes on the hearth, or in the way given below for potato cake. In
Scotland oatmeal is frequently mixed with wheaten flour in making cakes, and in
the west of Ireland with maize flour in making stirabout.
Potato Cake.- Very acceptable to children at supper, especially if they have had the fun of seeing it made. Cold potatoes, if dry and floury, will serve for this. If you have none, boil some, as for potato bread. Crush them with butter and salt ; mix in a small proportion of flour (wheaten, oaten, rye, or maize) and a little yeast (the last may be omitted at pleasure), and with milk work the whole to the consistency of very firm dough. Roll it out to the thickness of an inch and a half or two inches. Cut it out the size of your frying-pan, the bottom of which you smear with grease, and in it lay your cake, after flooring it all over. Bake, covered with a plate, on the trivet of your stove, over a gentle fire, or better on the hearth, when turf or wood is burnt. Shake and shift it a little from time to time, to prevent burning. When half done, turn it, and cover with a plate again. Other cakes of unfermented pastes may be baked in the same way.
Light Dumplings, steamed. -These, as well as light dumplings boiled, are, in reality, nothing but bread boiled or steamed instead of being baked. In light dumpling countries, housewives buy, in the course of the morning, so many pennyworths of dough at the baker's, and keep it warm and covered till wanted, which saves their having to make bread themselves. Steaming dumplings is by far the neatest way, besides, saving an extra saucepan. The dumpling is cooked in the steamer on the top of the saucepan, while the bit of meat and the vegetables are boiled below. The dough receives a little extra kneading, is rolled into the shape of a good-sized apple, is dusted all over with flour, and then put into the steamer. As the dumplings swell in cooking, they should neither touch each other nor the sides of the steamer. The water must be kept boiling all the while. When done, their outsides are smooth and dry. Set them on the table the minute they are taken out of the steamer. Cold light dumpling, steamerd, sliced across, toasted, and buttered, is not a bad substitute for muffins. Boiled light dumplings are prepared in the same manner, and are thrown into boiling water, which must be kept boiling all the while. They take less time to cook - from twenty minutes to half an hour - than steamed ones do. The outside of boiled dumplings is apt to be a little sloppy.
The best sauce to eat with these is good roast-meat dripping, with the fat and the brown gravy mixed together. Treacle is also used. A nice way of serving it is to put a bit of butter into the treacle, and then pour a little boiling water over them, stirring till they are mixed together. Equally approved is
Matrimony Sauce.- Put a bit of butter into cold water in a saucepan; dust in a little flour, stirring one way till they are completely mixed; then add some brown sugar and a table-spoonful or so of vinegar. Continue stirring till it boils; pour into a basin, and serve with your dumplings.
Hard, or Suffolk, Dumplings are unleavened dumplings, and as indigestible as unleavened bread. They are nothing but flour and water made into a stiff paste, with a little salt. This is rolled into balls as big as one's fist, floured outside, thrown into boiling water, and boiled three-quarters of an hour. Some housewives (when there is no gravy to eat with them) put a little bit of butter in the middle. They make a dish of eatable cannon-balls, each enclosing a spoonful of oil.
Drop Dumplings. -Make a thick batter with flour, milk, salt, eggs, and yeast. Set it for an hour in a warm place, to rise. Throw table-spoonfuls of this, one by one, into a saticepam of water boiling galloping. When done, let them drain on your slice an instant as you take them up, and serve with gravy, matrimony sauce, or sugar and butter. They are nearly, if not quite, the same as the popular Bavarian Dampf Knödeln.
Gingerbread.- Mix well together two pounds of flour, half a pound of butter oiled, one ounce of ground ginger, and a table-spoonful of baking powder; then stir in two pounds of treacle. Bake in a slow oven, putting it in as soon as made, and watching it carefully afterwards.
Mrs. Smith's Gingerbread -Beat up well together one pound of treacle, one pound of flour, half a pound of oiled butter, two ounces of candied citron-peel, and one ounce of powdered ginger. Put it into shallow tins, and set it into the oven immediately. The addition of powdered cinnamon and a little honey to the above ingredients makes a very nice and striking variety of gingerbread.
Egg-Powder cake.-Egg-powder, as it is called, is a vegetable compound, intended to serve as a substitute for eggs, to four of which one penny packet professes to be equivalent in cake-making, and sufficient to add to two pounds of flour. Some cooks, however, think it best to use it in addition to eggs. The powder is first mixed with the flour, and then water or milk is added, for plum, batter, and other puddings, cakes, pancakes, &c. For a cake: mix well together one quartern of flour, half a pound of butter, two ounces of sweet pork lard, three-quarters of a pound of well-washed currants, half a pound of sugar, two packets of egg-powder, and three eggs. You may add mixed spices, grated nutmeg, and candied citron-peel, to your taste. When these are thoroughly stirred up together, with enough milk, to bring the whole to a proper consistency, butter the inside of your cake-tin, put the cake in, and bake immediately. The top of the cake may be glazed with beat-up egg.
Cheap Cake.- While making bread, take some of the dough after it has begun to rise. To every pound of dough knead in an ounce or more of butter or dripping, a quarter of a pound of coarse sugar, some grated nutmeg, and either a quarter of a pound of currants and. chopped raisins or a few caraway seeds. When your [-28-] cake is thus made up, dust it with flour, cover it with a cloth, and set it in a warm place to rise again. When well risen, set it into the oven immediately. Bake thoroughly, but not too fast, and it will turn out firm and light.
Sally Lunn Cakes.-Make a soft dough with flour, a little salt and butter, two or three eggs, yeast, and milk and water. After kneading well, let it rise before the fire. Then make it into cakes of a size convenient to slice across and toast. Bake slightly, but in an oven sharp enough to make them rise. When wanted, slice, toast, and butter your Sally Lunns, and serve piping hot on a plate which you cannot hold with your naked fingers. There are two objections to these and the following- they are indigestible, and are also terrible "stroys" (destroyers, consumers) for butter.
Muffins.- With warm milk, a liberal allowance of yeast, flour, a little salt, and an egg or two, make dough still softer in its consistence than the above. After kneading or beating, get it to rise well. Then make your muffins as you would small dumplings; dust them with flour, flatten them, and bake them slightly on a hot iron plate, or in tin rings, turning them to bake the upper side when the under side is done. The great object is to keep them light, moist, and full of eyes. Muffin-making is a profession, but its secrets are not inscrutable. Once possessed of the iron plate (which you will be able to obtain without difficulty from any ironmonger), a few trials will put you in the way; and if you have one or two failures at first, they will be eaten with the greater relish because they are your failures. Before toasting a muffin, cut it nearly in two, leaving it slightly attached in the middle. When toasted brown and crisp on both sides, slip the butter into the gaping slit, and serve on a plate not quite red-hot.
Crumpets are made in the same way as muffins, only the paste is still softer, approaching batter in its consistency. Let them also rise well. Bake slightly in like manner on an iron plate made for the purpose. The usual size and thickness of crumpets you learn from the specimens sold in the shops. After toasting, muffins should be crisp; crumpets, soft and woolly. It is like eating a bit of blanket soaked in butter. If you are pining for crumpets, and have no iron plate, you may bake them in the frying-pan, which the Americans often use for cake-making.
Raised Buckwheat Cakes (American).- Warm a quart of water. Stir into it a good table-spoonful of treacle, and a teaspoonful of salt. Mix in enough buckwheat- flour (or oatmeal or Indian corn-flour) to make a stiff batter, together with a table-spoonful of good yeast. Let it stand to rise before the fire. Then bake on a hot plate, in iron rings, like muffins, or in a slack oven. Toast and eat hot with butter.
Fried Bread Cakes (American).- To a quantity of light dough equal to five tea-cupfuls, add half a cupful of butter, three of brown sugar, a teaspoonful of salt, four eggs, and a little grated nutmeg. Knead these well together with flour; let them rise before the fire until very light. Knead the dough again after it rises; cut it into diamond-shaped cakes ; let them rise; and fry in lard or dripping, as soon as light. These cakes are best eaten fresh.
Johnny or Journey Cake (American).- Boil a pint of sweet milk; pour it over a tea-cupful and a half of Indian corn-meal, and beat it for fifteen minutes. Unless well beaten, it will not be light. Add a little salt, half a teacupful of sour milk, one beaten egg, a table-spoonful of oiled butter, a table-spoonful of flour, and a tea-spoonful of carbonate of soda. Beat well together again. This cake is best baked in a spider (a deep iron pan) on the stove. When browned on the bottom, turn it into another spider, or finish it off on the griddle.
Plum-Pudding (Economical and Excellent).- Mix together in a bowl one pound of flour; one pound of beef or veal suet, chopped fine; half a pound of currants, previously washed; half a pound of raisins, stoned; two eggs, a little salt, grated nutmeg, and finely minced lemon. peel, with enough new milk to bring the pudding to a proper consistence. You may boil it either in a cloth floured inside, tying it up not too tightly, but allowing a little room for it to swell; or in a pudding-basin buttered inside. In the latter way, it will look handsomer when turned out on the dish, and will be less liable to loss of sweetness from the water getting in; but it will take somewhat longer to boil. In either case, the boiling should be maintained continually. The pudding may be increased in size, by adding bread crumbs and a little sugar, with one more egg and a little more flour, to bind the whole together.
If pudding sauce is wanted to eat with this, put a little flour and water into a saucepan, stir in a lump of butter and a little brown sugar, and when they are blended smoothly, throw in a glass of orange, ginger, or other home-made wine. An elegant sauce for boiled puddings is made by mixing with the above a dessert-spoonful of red currant jelly.
Plum-pudding may be "lengthened" (some would call it "adulterated" ) with carrots chopped very fine; it may be enriched with sultana (stoneless) raisins, candied citron-peel, blanched almonds, crushed macaroons, brandy, white wine, and a variety of other good things. But we have eaten plum-puddings with too many ingredients. Enough is as good as a feast.
Baked Apple-Pudding.- Peel the required quantity of apples ; quarter them ; take out the cores ; set them on the fire in a stewpan with a little sugar and water, and the rind of a lemon chopped exceedingly fine. Boil them, closely covered with the lid, till they are soft enough to be mashed with a fork. While mashing them, add the juice of your lemon. Turn them out of the stew- pan, and set them aside to cool. Butter or grease the inside of a rather shallow pie-dish; line it throughout with good ordinary pie-crust. Beat up (not to a froth) two or three eggs; mix them well with your apple-pulp, and put the mixture into your pie-dish; smooth the top with the back of a spoon, and grate a little nutmeg over it. Bake it in a moderate oven. The pudding is good either hot or cold. For stylish dinners, bake the pudding in a dish or tin with upright, instead of slanting sides. Use puff-paste, instead of ordinary pie-crust; mix orange- flower or rose-water, or some liqueur, as noyau, with the eggs when you beat them up; when the pudding is cold, take out of the tin, and dust the top with pounded lump sugar.
Sausage Dumpling.- Bend one sausage neck and heels together; enclose it in crust as you did with apple-dumpling, taking care to prevent all leakage. Tie it in a cloth, and boil. Making one large sausage-dumpling, or boiling several sausages in a crust in a pudding-basin, does not produce half the fun nor half the enjoyment as when each child has a dumpling to itself, full of savoury, steaming gravy. It is good, sound, substantial fare. and at the same time wholesome, but it should be prepared with some care, and it is not often that one can buy good hot sausage-dumplings with crusts that keep the gravy in.
Mincemeat or Bacon Pudding-.- After pig-killing and the like, there are often sundry scraps too small to put in store, and too good to waste. Chop them up with a little salt bacon, season with pepper and all-spice, and make into dumplings like sausage-dumplings.
Mincemeat or Bacon Roll.- Prepare the meat as for dumplings of the same, and with it make rolls like sausage-rolls, only on a larger scale, so as to be able to stop a little gap in the stomach of a hungry man.
SIMPLE RECIPES (continued from p.28).
Baked Tapioca Pudding.-To each
pint of milk put four table-spoonfuls of tapioca, and boil gently until it is
swollen. Sweeten and flavour according to taste. A little bit of cinnamon, or of
orange or lemon-peel, boiled with the milk is agreeable. Let it stand to cool
until it is tepid. Into the pie-dish in which your pudding is to be baked, break
two or three eggs; more, if you can afford them. Break them up with a fork, and
stir into them your lukewarm milk and tapioca. Grate a little nut- - meg on the
top, and put into a very gentle oven. Watch that it does not boil. Sago and
semolina baked puddings are made in the same way. You may, if you like, line the
bottom of the dish with a crust, as in making baked apple-pudding; it will make
it more satisfying. When eggs are scarce, their loss may be in some measure
supplied by the addition of a little flour, arrowroot, or baking-powder; but
always use eggs when you can get them.
Baked Rice Pudding.- Boil rice (after washing it) in a little more milk than it will absorb, with a little bit of cinnamon or lemon-peel, and a small quantity of finely chopped suet; sweeten to taste. When nearly cool mix with it as many eggs beaten-up as are allowed you pour it into a greased pie-dish, grate nutmeg on the top, and bake in a very gentle oven, especially if the allowance of eggs be liberal. The suet directed in this recipe (or a bit of butter instead) will be found a very great improvement. Some people are obliged to leave out the eggs altogether; some do so from choice, but of course when this is the case the pudding becomes a very plain one, and though good, wholesome fare, and not at all to be despised, if well made, it hardly deserves the name of a pudding.
Savoury Rice Milk - Steep your rice an hour or two in soft water. Set it on the fire in half milk and half good broth, cold. Mutton broth is excellent, with the fat left floating on the top; if turnips have been boiled with the meat, so much the better. Season with a small quantity of finely-chopped onion, and a dust of pepper and salt Keep stirring all the while, to prevent the rice from burning and the milk from boiling over. When the rice is quite tender, the members of the household can be served.
Sweet Rice Milk is more of a treat for delicate little girls, perhaps a little spoilt. By additions you may easily bring it up to custard or pudding point. Boil rice, previously steeped in new milk, with the same precautions as before; season with a little salt and sufficient sugar. You may flavour with lemon-peel, cinnamon, or grated nutmeg. You may stir in, after taking it off the fire as many beaten-up eggs as you please; and you may if you choose, add to it a bit of butter, a glass of home made wine, or, if needful, on a sharp winter's evening, a table-spoonful of brandy.
Broken-Bread Pudding, Baked.- You will often have sundry scraps and remnants of bread. Crusts are even better for this purpose than crumb. No matter how dry they are, so long as they are not musty or mouldy. Break up your fragments into small bits, and put them in a bowl Put into a saucepan as much milk as you judge will soak the bread; throw into it two or three tablespoonfuls of suet chopped very fine, sugar to taste, and a pinch of salt. When it boils up, pour it over the bread. When nearly cold, add two or three beaten-up eggs and just a few currants and raisins. Break up and mix the whole equally together with a spoon. Put it into a buttered pie-dish; smooth the top, put a few little bits of butter and raisins on the surface, and set into the oven to bake This pudding is as good cold as hot. The addition of a table-spoonful of rum to the beaten-up eggs is by some thought to be an improvement. By putting in more eggs and a little flour, to make it hold together, broken bread pudding may be boiled in a basin, and turned out on a dish. It may be served with some one of the sweet sauces for which we have already given recipes, poured over and round it, and then becomes a very delicate and presentable form of using up remnants.
Bread-and-Butter Pudding, without Butter. - This makes a capital pudding, and we strongly recommend our readers to try it. When well made, it is quite equal to the best varieties of marrow pudding. To make it first-rate, however, a liberal allowance of sugar and eggs is indispensable. Bake a nice fat piece of beef - the thin end of the ribs for instance-on a three-legged wire stand, over a dish of potatoes. By putting it into a brisk oven, and turning the potatoes soon afterwards, they will be crusted outside, floury within, and will soak up very little of the dripping. After the beef and potatoes have been served (which may thus be the staple dish of the [-37-] first day's dinner), and before the dripping is quite cold, cut several slices of bread, not too thick, and butter - their upper surface with the cooling fat, until you have enough to half fill the pie-dish which is to hold your pudding. The half left empty is to allow for the swelling of the bread. Stone some raisins; wash a few currants. Lay a few of these at the bottom of your dish; on them slices of bread and fat; then more fruit, and so on. Sweeten, according to taste or your pocket; a little more milk than will cover the whole; add a pinch of salt; beat up with that the number of eggs you can afford - one, two, three, or four. A little brandy can, if desired, be added. Pour this over the sliced bread. Let it stand to soak. If it is all absorbed, fill up the dish with more milk and egg.. On the top drop a few currants and raisins, and some bits of the cold beef dripping as big as hazel-nuts. Put into a moderate oven, and bake very gently, just allowing the top slice of bread to brown. This pudding is richest hot, - but excellent cold. We are inclined to think raisins only to be more economical for these and most other puddings than currants, which may, therefore, be left out. Raisins, especially when opened and stoned, make a greater show and communicate more flavour. But a sprinkling of currants looks prettier.
Batter is a mixture of flour, salt, eggs, and milk, beaten together, whose proportions depend - first, on the house-wife's means ; secondly, on the purpose for which she wants it. Some batter, as that for pancakes, fritters, and frying things in, is lightened by the addition of yeast or spirit. It may be also lightened by beating the whites of the eggs to a froth, and then mixing them with the batter. Batter, when cooked, should cut firmly, and not stick to the knife like paste. To ensure this, five eggs to every half a pound of flour is a good allowance. Put first the flour and salt (in very small quantity) together in the bowl; then the eggs. When those are incorporated, pour in the milk, a little at a time, beating it with the back of a large wooden spoon till all is smooth and of the required consistency.
Plain Batter Pudding, Boiled is the above batter tied in a well-floured cloth, or in a buttered basin, and boiled, galloping, from an hour to an hour and a half, according to size. The basin takes longer than the cloth. Do not take the pudding out of the boiler till the minute before you want to serve it. It is eaten most frequently with meat gravy; occasionally, however, with sweet or wine sauce.
Black-Cap Pudding is nothing more than the above, slightly sweetened, and with the addition of a handful of well-washed currants ; boil in a basin. Let the basin stand on its bottom in the boiler ; the currants in the batter will sink to the bottom, and remain fixed there when the pudding is cooked; and when turned out, they will all be at the top. Serve with any good sweet or wine sauce. Instead of grocers'' currants, fresh fruit, as sliced-apples, cherries, &c., may be used; but the batter must be stiffer, to enable it to hold together ; and the pudding mostly turns out a "mess" in the unfavourable sense of the word. Fruit with batter is much better baked.
Baked Batter Pudding, with Apples.- Grease the inside of a shallow pie-dish. Peel, quarter, and core apples enough to cover the bottom of the dish one layer thick. Over this pour enough batter, slightly sweetened, to fill the dish. The layer of apple will float to the top. Bake in a tolerably brisk oven, and serve immediately after taking out. It will then be a great improvement to put a few bits of butter (which will melt immediately), and sprinkle a little sugar on the top. Similar batter puddings may be made with almost any fresh fruit. Even those of inferior quality are softened and mellowed by the baking. Strawberries, cherries, plums of various kinds, even bullaces, make exceedingly nice and wholesome - baked batter puddings.
Baked Batter Pudding, with Sausages or Bacon.- Exactly as above, only, of course, not sweetening the batter, and using sausages or slices of bacon, or both, instead of fruit. In this case also it is best to lay the meat at the bottom of the dish, and pour the batter over it; because the coating of batter which adheres to it prevents its surface from being scorched, and retains the gravy.
Toad in a Hole is a good lump of fat meat, perhaps with plenty of bone - beef is best, veal second best - laid in the middle of a deep dish, and baked with batter poured round it. When done, the toad, or bit of meat, is taken out of its hole, laid on a hot dish, and served, accompanied by vegetables, after the hole itself has been eaten. This is also a capital way of getting all that is to be had out of an underdone joint of cold meat, especially if fat enough.
Batter Pudding, Baked under Meat, is also very good, when the meat is raised above the batter on a wire stand with three or four legs. The gravy, dropping from the meat, enriches the pudding, which in this case has a level surface, instead of presenting a hollow vacancy as with the toad-in-a-hole. When cooked, the meat is transferred to a hot dish, the wire stand removed, and the pudding left entire without flaw or defect.
Yorkshire Pudding is batter made a little stiffer than usual, put into a shallow tin, and set in the catchpan under roasting meat, and cooked by the fire which roasts it. Large joints would flood the pudding with too much gravy; while with a small fire the pudding is apt to remain underdone and pasty, for which the only remedy is to put it in the oven for a while. Cold Yorkshire and other baked batter puddings may be heated in a Dutch oven before the fire. Cold boiled batter pudding may be either fried, or sliced, toasted, and buttered like crumpets.
Carrot Pudding.- Mix together half a pound of flour, half a pound of chopped suet, a pound of chopped carrot, a quarter of a pound each of washed currants, stoned raisins, and brown sugar, with grated nutmeg, a little salt, four eggs, and enough new milk to bring the mixture to the proper consistence. Boil for an hour in a pudding- basin.
Saratoga Pudding (American).- Beat together three table-spoonfuls of sugar, two of flour, three eggs, and a little salt. Stir into them a quart of hot milk. Beat together again, and bake a quarter of an hour.
Dr. Dobell's Flour Pudding-That eminent physician, informs us, in his "Manual of Diet and Regimen," that four ounces of flour, an ounce and a quarter of sugar, three-quarters of an ounce of suet, three-quarters of a pint of milk, and one egg, form a combination of alimentary principles in nearly exact normal proportions.
Gateau, French country cake, for high days and holidays. - Five eggs to every pound of flour is the rule; when they are dear, you may content. yourself with four; when cheap, you may bestow six or seven on each pound of flour; but the more eggs you put, the drier the cake will be. Put also to the same a quarter of a pound of butter (which rich folk increase to half a pound), and either a quarter of a pound of currants, washed, or the same quantity of raisins, stoned and chopped. The plums will thus be few and far between, as if they had been shot into the cake at a long range. Indeed, you have a fair chance of getting a slice of plum cake without plums. No sugar. Work these into dough with water and yeast, and proceed exactly as with bread, making your cake into a long roll-shaped loaf, to bake the more thoroughly. You may use milk instead of water, but it makes the cake drier. Gâteau is eaten in slices spread with butter, at the end of a repast, or at the usual five o'clock collation. It may also be made plain, i.e., without plums.
SIMPLE RECIPES (continued from p.37).
Suet Dumpling.- This is an excellent dish both for rich and
poor, for several reasons. It is wholesome, pleasant, and cheap it may be made
more or less substantial; and its flavour may be varied according to taste ; it
can be eaten either as a savoury or as a sweet. its value as nourishment
consists in its containing a good proportion of fat. Writers on
cookery cannot too strongly insist, and mothers of families cannot be too fully
persuaded, that a certain quantity of fat in our daily food is
absolutely necessary to health. Young people, especially, who have not enough of
it to eat, are more liable than others to fall into a consumption at the period
when they are making rapid growth. To such persons fat, in the shape of
cod-liver oil, is administered as a medicine; [-54-]
for it matters little in what shape the fat is taken, whether as dripping,
butter, or oil, their effects on the system being exactly the same.
Unfortunately, though one man can lead a horse to water, a hundred can't make
him drink; and it is useless to set before delicate, perhaps fanciful stomachs
things from which, however good for them they turn away with dislike and
loathing. The only way is to cheat them, as it were, into taking, almost without
knowing it, what is essential for their bodily web fare. The housewife at least
ought to be thoroughly convinced of the great importance of all kinds of fat in
family dishes, and never to waste any; but, on the contrary, to procure all she
can at an economical rate. There are families in which every scrap of fat which
we helped to its members seated at table is left on the plate, and thrown to the
cat or the pig. This ought never to be. It will not often happen in families who
live by outdoor employment, but it will when their occupations are different. We
have no right to say an unkind word about "daintiness" and the rest,
if persons who are confined nearly all day long to sedentary and monotonous
employment, in a close, in-door atmosphere, have not the sharp-set appetite of
the ploughman who hears the singing of the lark and feels the freshness of the
winds of March, from misty daybreak to ruddy sunset; only, if they can eat no
meat but lean, we urge them to use the fat under some disguise. They already
take it in many shapes, unconsciously or without thinking of it as in broths,
milk, bread and butter, and even in meat which they call and consider lean. Let
them buy, therefore, not one ounce the less of good wholesome fat with their
meat, and let them employ it in some of the ways we are about to mention. For
plain suet dumpling, the best is the kidney fat of beef or veal, which is sold
separately in small quantities, and at a moderate price. Chop this fine, and to
one pound of flour, put from a quarter to half a pound of chopped suet,
according to the richness you wish to make it of. Add a pinch of salt, and water
or milk enough to make it into a paste that will hold well together. It is a
good plan to mix the salt (and, if you like, the least dust of pepper) with the
suet before mixing with the flour. Make this paste into dumplings about the size
of your fist. It is better to make several of a moderate size, than a few large
ones they boil more thoroughly, and in a shorter time; besides, each person can
have his dumpling to himself. Flour them well; tie each one in a cloth, well
floured inside, not too tight, but allowing a little room to swell. A very
little practice will teach you the degree of tightness. Throw them into boiling
water, and keep boiling (galloping) a couple of hours or so, according to the
size of your dumplings, and see that none of them e stick to the bottom. Serve
them the minute they are taken out of the cloth. They need no sauce; but a
little bit of butter, as an indulgence, or some roast meat gravy, does no harm.
For sweet suet dumpling, allow a liberal quantity of suet. With the salt mix a
little grated nutmeg, and a good table-spoonful of brown powdered sugar; or,
instead of using sugar, you may mix a table-spoonful of treacle with the water
with which you make the dumpling-paste. Boil as before. If sauce be wanted, give
Plum Dumpling.- As before ; only mix with the salt, sugar, and suet six ounces of washed currants, or of raisins stoned and chopped. Same cooking, and same sauce. We once saw an ailing child crying for plum-dumpling when there was only plain, and refusing to dine. A good-natured friend, who happened to look in said "Give me one of those nasty plain dumplings," and disappeared with it into the kitchen. In two minutes he returned with it stuck over the outside with plums. The child set to with appetite, and ate it. If your quantity of plums is scanty, mix just a few with your flour and suet, and stick the rest on the outside of your dumplings before tying them up in their cloth and boiling them. They will be received by the little ones with a heartier welcome than if the treasures they contained were unseen. It is said that "a pleasing appearance is the best letter of recommendation." You may call them dumplings in their Sunday clothes. Moreover, the plan has a highly-approved precedent. Cabinet pudding (which is nothing but sponge-cake soaked in beat-up egg, and boiled in a mould) ought to have its outside only garnished with dried cherries, or, in default of them, with jar-raisins stoned, by sticking them inside the mould before boiling.
Suet-Pudding.- Mix up the above ingredients with milk, a quarter of a pound of bread-crumbs, two or three eggs, a little lemon-peel chopped fine, and a little larger allowance of sugar. Do not make this up into separate dumplings, but boil in one lump, in a well- floured cloth, for a longer time-three or four hours. You see that in this case, as in the soldier's famous flint-soup, we are gradually enriching a preparation which started from a very simple beginning. By adding sundry nice things to suet and flour, we have got from plain suet pudding almost up to plum pudding itself.
Short Cake.- We now come to things that are made with a crust (which we may call pie-crust, though in many cases it is boiled), enclosing something either sweet or savoury. And as we have said a few words about fat, so now we would call the attention of house-wives to the importance of sugar as an article of food. Its effects on the constitution are similar to those of fat, and it may be used as a partial substitute for, or in addition to it. They should also know that there are three things which, although so different to the taste and the touch, are alike in their nature and their chemical composition. Those three things are gum, starch, and sugar. We often eat these, especially the two last, without being aware of it. Arrowroot is starch. There is starch in potatoes and in bread. Indeed the more of it there is in potatoes, the more nourishing they are. There is sugar not only in most ripe fruits but in many roots, as turnips, carrots, and parsnips and in many vegetables, as in young green peas. When they grow older, it changes into starch. Very much of the sugar eaten in France is made from the beetroot or mangold wurtzel. Sugar helps to fatten, and is therefore one of the aliments which supply animal heat. It is a valuable addition to food, though not an economical one and families who can afford its use are to blame if they pinch themselves in the article of sugar. Sweet things however, require to be backed up with a supply of those kinds of food which nourish the body - that is which supply the materials for growth. Short-cake is merely pie-crust sweetened with a little sugar, rolled out about three-quarters of an inch thick, and then baked in pieces of any convenient size. It is mostly eaten hot, as a little treat, at tea-time or supper, and is often made of what remains over and above of
Good Common Pie- Crust. - You may make this by putting six or seven ounces of finely-chopped suet, with a little salt, to every pound of flour, and working it into a paste with a little cold water. But it is better to "try down," or melt in a saucepan over a gentle fire, any suet or fat you happen to have, and put it to the flour just before it gets cold. Very eatable crust may be made with the dripping from roast beef, veal, pork, or mutton. Even goose-dripping makes a not bad crust (though a little strong in flavour) for meat dumplings or pies.
Butter is really the grease for pie-crust. Sweet fresh pork-lard, too, makes excellent pie-crust, but it is often as dear as butter, so that it is a question of price which you will use. The quantity of fat to each pound of flour is also a matter on which you will consult your pocket, and cut your garment according to your cloth. Ten [-55-] ounces of dripping or lard will make a rich crust. But many things do not want a rich crust. They are the better for its being at once substantial and light, which will somewhat depend on the cook's expertness in the use of her rolling-pin, and in her not being afraid to employ a little of what homely folk call "elbow-grease". A few quick turns and rollings out, with judicious sprinklings of flour between them, will often make, with the same materials, all the difference between a light crust and a heavy one.
Treacle Pudding.-Roll out your crust, to the thickness of from one-third to one-quarter of an inch, into an oblong shape, approaching to what learned men call "a parallelogram," and simpler people "a long square." Spread this with good treacle; then roll it into the shape of a bolster; work the ends together with your fingers, and give them a twist to keep the treacle in. Tie it up in a well-floured cloth, taking particular care of the ends. An oval boiler is the most convenient, because the pudding must not be bent. Throw it into boiling water, and let it boil well at least two hours. Indeed, it is not easy to boil this class of puddings (roly-polies) too much, unless you sit up all night to do it. N.B. They should be kept boiling till the minute before you want to serve them.
Sugar Roly-poly.- Make rather a rich crust; spread it with brown sugar, and proceed as above. Matrimony sauce (p. 27) is very nice to eat with this.
Apple Roly-poly. - Peel and quarter a quantity of apples, and cut out their cores. Set them on the fire in a saucepan with a little water and a clove or two. As they boil, stir them, and mash to a pulp. It will be a great improvement if you can put with them the rind of an orange peeled thin and shred fine. Of the pulp of the orange you will have no difficulty in disposing, especially if there are children in the house. When smooth and tender, reduce your apple-pulp to a thick marmalade by letting it stand by the side of the fire to evaporate. On the Continent, a similar marmalade is made with pears, especially with windfalls after a heavy gale. Sweeten your marmalade, if required, and with it make your roly-poly as in the case of treacle-pudding. It is clear that you can make a roly-poly pudding with any description of fruit, jam, or marmalade; or you may even substitute for them a few plums and currants.
Apple Dumplings.- Peel and core your apples; cut them into small pieces. Put a small handful of these into the middle of a bit of pie-crust, and with them one clove and a little lemon-peel chopped fine. It is these little additions which make things nice, and it is not the cost, but the thought and the trouble which prevent their being added. You may also put in a teaspoonful of brown sugar. Then work the crust round them, closing it at the top with a clever twist, and tie them, not too tight, nor yet too loose, in cloths floured inside, and boil galloping an hour and a half. There are recipes for baking apple-dumplings, respecting which we beg to observe that when baked they certainly am dumplings no longer, but become turnovers, rolls, or whatever else you please.
Apple Rolls. - Chop apples very fine, and sweeten them with sugar. Lay three or four tablespoonfuls - of this in the middle of a circular or oval bit of paste, rolled out a quarter of an inch thick. Fold it in two lengthwise; unite the edges, and press or scollop them with the bowl of a teaspoon, or the tines of a fork. Lay your rolls on a flat sheet of iron or baking-tin, that has been previously greased, and set into a moderate oven. To make quite sure of the apple being cooked, it will be found a good plan, instead of chopped or sliced fruit, to use apple marmalade, as made for apple roly-poly pudding.
SIMPLE RECIPES (continued from p.55).
Sausage Rolls.-Lay one sausage whole,
without re moving the skin, in the middle of the rolled-out pie-crust, and then
proceed as with apple-rolls. This is capital. cold or hot, for hungry boys.
Beef .Pudding.-Cut beef into bits half the size of a walnut, fat and lean together; they need not he the primest parts. Make them into a pudding, as you would make apple-pudding, seasoning with pepper, salt, allspice, and chopped onions. Put in a little water to make gravy. People that can get them, add mushrooms and oysters; but these are not absolutely necessary. This pudding takes a great deal of boiling.
Saffron Cakes or Buns are a nice little treat for children; pretty to look at, and easy to make. Their slight medicinal quantity is stimulant-likely to do more good than harm. Their tendency is to help digestion, and they are said to kill or drive out intestinal worms. To make your saffron loaves, cakes, or buns, buy at the druggist's as small a quantity of saffron as he will sell, infuse enough of this in the water with which you make your dough as to give it a clear, light, yellow tinge, and the decided taste and smell peculiar to the flower, both which it will retain after baking. Then make your cake exactly as the gateau-.directions for making which were given in a previous number (page 37) - with the addition of a little sugar, and taking care that it rises well. If to be kept some time, make it into good-sized loaves; if to be consumed or distributed immediately, make it into small buns or rolls. Bake in a moderate oven, neither fierce nor slack.
Good Common Cake.--Mix a teaspoonful of good yeast with half a pint of milk ; warm it slightly; Stir it into two and a half pounds of flour, and half a pound of brown sugar, and set it to rise. Then melt half a pound of butter with another half-pint of milk, and add it to the former ingredients, with half a pound of washed currants, or a few caraway seeds a little bruised. Again leave it for awhile to rise. When well risen, put it into tins, and bake.
Pancakes.-As these are a holiday treat, you will try and make them as good as you can. Shrove Tuesday comes but once a year. Allow eight eggs to a pound of flour. Separate the yolks from the whites. With the flour mix the yolks, a pinch of salt, a little milk, and some good yeast. The quality of the yeast is more important than the quantity. Beat the whites of the eggs to a froth with a little milk; this is done to help the yeast in making the pancakes light. Mix this with the flour and other ingredients. Stir in as much more tepid milk as will bring the whole to the thickness of batter. Some people add a glass of rum or brandy, and a little grated nutmeg. Cover with a cloth, and set it for two or three hours somewhere near the fire, to rise. Always wipe out your frying-pan immediately before using it. You may have hung it up clean, but dust falls, blacks fly, and rust goes to work. When the pan is warm, put in a liberal quantity of dripping, pork lard, or butter. When that is hot, pour into the middle of the pan enough batter to make a pancake. As it fries, keep raising the edges with a knife or with a fish-slice. When the under side is done, turn it quickly, taking care not to break it; to do this cleverly requires practice. [-67-] When the pancake is cooked, sprinkle its surface with a little moist sugar after it is laid on a very hot dish' and so on, until your pile of pancakes is finished, sprinkling each with sugar in its turn. Over the top pancake squeeze the juice of one or two oranges. The oranges are quite an excusable extra. Peel them before squeezing, and dry the peel, if not wanted for immediate use. It will serve to flavour puddings and stews. Boiling water poured over it, with a lump of sugar, makes a pleasant drink to quench feverish thirst, the bitterness and essential oil in the peel being slightly tonic. Some people prefer the juice of lemons with the pancake, so it will be well to give them the opportunity of choosing.
Apple Pancakes. - Put a little less milk into your batter-that is, make it a little stiffer, and sweeten it slightly. Chop apple very small, mix it with the batter and proceed as before. The pancakes will require more care in turning, to keep them whole, but they are very nice when you do succeed. Stir up the batter every time you use it, to mix the apple equally.
Apple Fritters.- Peel a few large apples ; cut out their cores with an apple-scoop, and cut them across in slices a quarter of an inch thick. Some cooks will tell you to soak them an hour in brandy, in a soup-plate, with a little sugar dusted over them ; but that expenditure of time, trouble, and materials is perfectly unnecessary. We do not say that it does no good, but you may make capital apple fritters without it. Let your batter be even stiffer than the preceding, with the allowance of one or two more eggs to the same quantity of flour. The frying-pan, which may be smaller and deeper, should also contain plenty of hot fat. With a fork, dip each slice of apple first into flour, then into the batter, to make as much stick to it as you can; then with your slice push it off the fork into the frying-pan. Turn it, if necessary; but there should be fat enough to cover it. When you think the apple is tender, take up your fritters, let them drain on the slice an instant, then pile them in a pyramid on your dish. Fritters should be fried so dry as to be eaten, like cake, with the fingers, and served hot enough to burn the mouth. Other fruit may be fried in the same way as apples We have eaten peach fritters; in the course of our travels but hold them to be inferior to apple, the peach being one of the fruits which lose flavour by cooking, while both the apple and the apricot gain by the process. Small slices of meat, cold cooked vegetables, as carrots and celery, joints of fowl, &c., are all excellent fried in batter. It is worth knowing, not only that a great many little remnants may be dressed again in this way, in a pleasing shape, but (in case you have to help to cook a stylish dinner) are actually used to ornament and accompany other dishes. They are largely so employed both by French and American cooks.
Parsnip Fritters (American).-Boil the parsnips in salted water, so as to flavour them through; make a light batter; cut the parsnips into rounds, and dip them in the batter. Have ready hot lard; take the parsnips out of the batter with a spoon, and drop them into the lard while boiling. When they rise to the surface, turn them; when browned on both sides, take them out; let them drain and set them into the oven to keep hot. Serve them with broiled, fried, or roast meats or fowls. Proceed in the same way for turnip fritters, to be used as garnish for fried meats, hashes, stews, &c.
Perch, Eels, and small Pike are
excellent fried but frying is rather a costly way of cooking fish. The fat it
takes would be better employed in making sauce to be eaten with them boiled.
With roach, dace, and bream (the· bigger these are the better), you may make a
very nice, light, and extremely palatable dish in the following manner:-
After cleaning your fish, salt them for a night. Throw them into as much boiling water as will cover them. Let them boil about five minutes, and as soon as the flesh will come away from the bone, take them up, and pick the flesh off with a knife and fork, taking care not to leave any of the little bones in it. You will then have a plateful of fish without any bone. Boil some mealy potatoes; mash them; season with pepper and salt; add a bit of butter or some roast meat dripping, and mix up the fish with the mashed potatoes equally, so that there is not more of it in one place than in another. You may then turn it out on a dish, and serve it; or you may put it in a basin, and set it before the fire, to keep it hot till wanted. When once made, it will warm up again easily.
Eels are occasionally to be had in tolerable plenty. There are two easy ways of cooking them which are convenient, because in both they are as good cold as hot. The first is-
Potted Eels. - For people with good stomachs and hearty appetites, there is no need to skin eels. There is no doubt, however, that their flavour and digestibility arc increased by skinning, although the skin contains fat, which greatly helps to warm us, by supplying fuel for the slow combustion within us, by which our animal heat is maintained. The pickled eels that are sent in casks from the northern countries of Europe to the south are never skinned. After cleaning your eel; and cutting off their heads, cut them into pieces about two inches long. Put them into a brown earthen pot, to which, if there is not an earthen cover, you have fitted a wooden one. Season them with pepper, salt, and allspice; if you have parsley and thyme in your garden put in a few sprigs. Pour over the eels a little more vinegar and water than will cover them; put on the lid, and set the pot into a slow oven, or on the ashes on your hearth. They should not be too much done; -as soon as the flesh will come away from the bone, they are done enough. They will keep some time. When herrings are cheap, and before they are shotten, you may pot them in the same way. These you scale, cut off the heads and tails, and cut them across into two or three pieces.
Collared Eels, though a little more trouble than potted eels, make a very good and handsome dish. For this, the larger the eels the better ; quite small eels can hardly be collared. Empty your eel; cut off its head; open it at the belly the whole of its length; wash it; take out the backbone, tearing the flesh as little as may be. Dry it by pressing it with a coarse cloth. You will then have a flat strip of eel-flesh, broad at one end and narrow at the other. Season the inner surface of the eel by dusting it with salt, pepper, and allspice. Then roll it tightly upon itself, as you would a ribbon, beginning at the broad end, until you have rolled it into a lump something like a short, thick-sausage, blunt at both ends. Tie it with broad tape (not with string, which would cut into the flesh when cooked), to keep it from unrolling, and then cook in an earthen pot with a lid, exactly as you do potted eels.
One large eel will be enough to do at a time, and be as much as there is room for in your pot. If undersized, you can collar several (rolling each one separately) at once. When you want them, you take them out of the pot, and after cutting off as many slices as are required, you return them to their liquor for future use. They will keep thus several days or longer, and are very convenient to have in store, to save cooking in hot weather.
Conger Eel Pie.- In many parts of the country congers, or sea eels, are often plentiful and cheap. In Cornwall, where they put everything into a pie, conger pie is one of the most approved. Take congers not thicker than your wrist (they may be less); empty, and cut them into two- inch lengths, rejecting the heads. Wash, drain, and dry them in a coarse cloth. Roll the pieces in flour, then [-68-] place them in your pie-dish, seasoning, as you do so, with pepper, salt, and allspice. You may sprinkle amongst them a little chopped parsley and lemon, or common thyme. Pour over them a tumbler of water, with a tablespoonful of vinegar in it, to help to make gravy. Two or three hard eggs quartered will be a nice addition. Cover all with a good solid crust, and bake in a moderate oven. This dish may be eaten either hot or cold; if cold, the pie may be a little more highly flavoured with spice and vinegar.
Large Conger, Roasted is very good and easy to do. Take a cut, about a foot long, out of the middle of one of the largest. Clean it without opening the belly. If you can manage to stuff it with a stuffing made of bread crumbs, chopped parsley and lemon thyme, pepper, salt, and shred fat or suet, bound together with a raw egg, your roast will be all the better, as well as all the bigger, for it. Tie it round with string, and after a good dredging with flour, roast it. Put into your catch-pan a lump of butter or some roast-meat dripping, and, if you live in a cyder country, a tumbler of cyder; if.not, the same quantity of one-third vinegar, two-thirds water. Baste veil your roasting conger with this, dredging it with flour from time to time. When half-done, change the end by which it hangs before the fire, and continue basting till it is done enough. Serve the gravy with it. Large conger, so prepared, can be baked in a dish, if the shape and size of the oven allow of its being basted now and then with the liquor (the same as you put into the catch-pan) in the dish, into which you may also put a few potatoes. Baking the fish is less trouble than roasting it, but if cooked in this way it is more liable to over-doing and drying up.
Skate is a wholesome fish, often to be had at a reasonable price, as it bears travelling well, and is indeed, in cool weather, the better for being kept a couple of days after catching. It is best in autumn, but is never exactly out of season. Choose fish with the brown skin clear and healthy-looking, the flesh and under skin very white. Young skate, called "maids," are tender fleshed and delicate; larger fish are firmer, and altogether more profitable, having thicker flesh in proportion to the quantity of gristle, for they have no real bones. The upper skin should be removed. If you have to do it yourself, strip it from the middle outwards. Save the liver. Cut your fish into pieces about four inches square- some out of the thick parts, some out of the thin. After washing, throw the thick pieces and the liver into boiling salt and water; when they have boiled up a couple of minutes, put in the thin. They will take from ten minutes to a quarter of an hour in cooking. When they are done, arrange them on your dish, and make for them some liver sauce, for which we subjoin a recipe.
Liver Sauce.-Chop some of the liver into pieces smaller than peas. Put some of the water in which the fish has been boiled into a saucepan; thicken it with a little flour and butter or dripping; add some vinegar, with a very small quantity of mustard mixed in it. Then put in your chopped liver; let it come to a boil, and it is ready.
Plain Boiled Mackerel, with Fennel Sauce. - if the fish have roes and milts, by making an opening near the vent, you will be able to draw the entrails at the opening made by the removal of the gills, at the same time leaving the roe or milt in its place, and also to wash the inside of the fish through those two apertures. The mackerel will thus have a much plumper appearance than if the roes were taken out and laid beside them. When the fish-kettle boils, throw in a few sprigs of the freshest light green fennel you can get. Add a little salt, and when the water boils again, throw in your mackerel. Skim carefully. They will take from twenty minutes to half an hour, according to the size. When done, lay your mackerel on the strainer in your dish, previously warmed. Have ready some melted butter, not too thick. Take the oiled fennel out of the fish-kettle, chop it fine, and add enough of it to the melted butter to give it a light green me. Add a dessert-spoonful of vinegar, either common or flavoured with tarragon. You may also stir in a very little made mustard, but so little as scarcely to be perceptible. When well mixed over the fire, serve separately a a sauce-boat.
Cods' Heads.- In some places, fishmongers take the heads off their codfish before they cut up the rest of the fish to retail it by the pound. In that case, the heads are told cheap; and when they can be had for somewhere about twopence each, they are well worth buying. They are in season through the whole of autumn and winter; and we have enjoyed many a cheap fish-treat with a dish of cods' heads, which contain several of the tit-bits prized by epicures-namely, the tongue, the cheek-pieces, and the nape of the neck. The fishermen in the northern regions, who take cod in large numbers for salting (to do which they are obliged to cut off the heads), might be expected to throw them away, and waste them, in the midst of such abundance. But instead of that they turn them to the best possible account. The tongues and the neck- pieces, as well as the sounds, or swimming bladders of the fish, are cut out and salted. Even the fins are dried, to furnish glue. The only inconvenience attending cods' heads is, that if there are several, they require a large kettle to boil them in; but they can be cooked one or two at a time, reserving the flesh from the second batch for next day's use. After taking out the eyes, wash the heads, drain them, and if you can let them lie all night with a little salt sprinkled over them, they will be none the worse for it. Put them into a kettle of boiling water, and boil from a quarter of an hour to twenty minutes, according to size. Dish them on a strainer, if you can, and help with a spoon.
For sauce, oiled butter is good - i.e., simply set a lump of butter in a cup before the fire until it melts, and with a spoon pour a little of it over the fish on your plate. In some English counties, nice mealy potatoes are considered a necessary "sauce" for codfish.
For sharp sauce, take a few table-spoonfuls of the cods head boilings; put them in a saucepan with a lump of butter or dripping, and a table-spoonful of vinegar dust in a little flour, and keep stirring in one direction till they are all mixed smooth and come to a boil.
Both these sauces go well with any boiled fish and are very nice served with many sorts of vegetables To these we will add a third, which will be found equally simple and good.
For brown sauce, put a good lump of butter or dripping into a saucepan. Set it on a brisk fire, shake it round - now and then, and keep it there till it is browned, not burnt. Take it off the fire, and stir into it a good tablespoonful of vinegar. When they are well mixed, pour into your sauce-boat, and serve. The mixing of the vinegar with the hot fat had better be done out of doors on account of the quantity of vapour that rises when they are put together. Although the reverse of an unhealthy smell, it may not be agreeable to the persons in the house.
Any meat remaining on cods' heads after a meal should separated from the skin and bone before it gets cold. This rule applies to all other fish. Arrange it neatly on a plate, and dust a little pepper, and drop a little vinegar over it. It will furnish a nice little delicacy when cold or you may warm it up with potatoes, adding any sauce that may be left, in the way we have already directed for roach and bream; or, after putting on it the cold sauce left, or a bit of butter, you may sprinkle over it bread crumbs or mashed potatoes, and brown before the fire or in the oven.
FISH (continued from p. 68).
Plain Broiled Mackerel.-
Moderate-sized fish are the most convenient for broiling. Open them at the belly
the whole of their length. Remove the head; you may leave the tail - it will
make the dish look more important. In districts where fish is a rarity, it is
common to leave every fin, even on fried fish - that is, on fish truly fried by plunging
them in boiling fat - for the sake of improving their appearance; it makes
them look half as big again. When the fish is opened, and laid flat on its back,
you may remove the bone; but leaving it will help you to handle it, and save all
tearing of the flesh. Dry the inside of the fish with a napkin ; sprinkle it
with a little pepper and salt. Grill the inside of the mackerel first. After
turning it, while the back of the fish is exposed to the fire, lay on the upper
surface a few little bits of butter. These will melt and enrich the fish while
the broiling is being completed. As soon as done, serve at once. No special
sauce is usually served with broiled mackerel. Those who like it can add a few
drops of catchup, or other flavouring. When broiling is not convenient, mackerel
so split open can be fried. In that case, the tail-fin is best cut off. The fish
must be well dried on both sides, between the folds of a napkin, and then rubbed
with flour before frying. Putting butter to it afterwards is needless. No sauce
is absolutely required, but anchovy sauce may be sent up with it.
Potted Mackerel.- Clean the fish in the way directed for plain broiled mackerel; cut off the heads and tails, and divide each fish across into three pieces, so as to have the shoulders, the middles, and the tails. After washing, let them drain. Have an earthen pot, a pate dish, with a cover of the same material. A common glazed deep stoneware pot, with a wooden cover, will do in case of need. At the bottom put a layer of mackerel; season with salt, ground pepper, whole pepper, bay-leaf, and cloves. Then put in more mackerel, and season again, and so on, until all is in its place. Over this pour a little more vinegar than will cover the mackerel. If, however, the vinegar be very acid, or if it be desired to keep the fish for any time, the vinegar must be diluted with cyder, water, or beer ; because, in either case, too strong vinegar would dissolve the fish, instead of allowing the flesh to remain firm, which it will do if the strength of the liquid is nicely adjusted, even after the back-bone has become so soft as to be eatable. Cover the dish or pot with its lid, and set into a slow oven for an hour or two - if very slow, it may pass the night there. Mackerel so potted, and closely covered, will keep good for a week or a fortnight, or longer. It may be eaten with a little of its own liquor poured over it, to which a little salad oil is a great addition when people are not frightened by the words "eating oil." With the accompaniment of a well-dressed salad, it makes a nice cool supper dish after a fatiguing evening's work. It is economical, because the mackerel can be bought when they are plentiful and cheap, and kept in this way till their season is over. Potted mackerel, too (being classed with hors d'oeuvres, side dishes, and kickshaws), may be presented even at wealthy tables, as a supplement to any meal.
Pickled Herrings, French Way (excellent cold).- Towards the end of the herring season, the fish is often very cheap ; but it is better to pay a trifle more before they are shotten. Choose herrings which, retaining their shape, are plump, and not too bloodshot about the eyes- i.e., which have not been crushed together in large heaps, either in the fishing-boats, or in casks, or baskets. If many of the scales come off, it is a sign they have so suffered. For this reason, when you live near the coast, the fishings of small boats are often to be preferred. The [-87-] herring is one of the fishes which die almost instantly they are out of the water. Comparatively few people have seen a live herring. Scale your herrings ; draw the entrails, leaving the milts and roes in their place ; cut off their heads, wash them, wipe them dry with a cloth ; salt them four-and-twenty hours in an earthen vessel. Then put them into a weIl-tinned or enamelled saucepan with whole pepper, cloves, sliced onions, and bay leaf. Pour over the fish enough vinegar and water to cover them, set them on a brisk fire, and let them boil two minutes. Take them off the fire, and let them get nearly cold in the saucepan before you put them into the covered dish in which they are to be kept for rise. Arrange them in that with care not to break them; pour the liquor over them, put on the lid, and set them in a dry cool place. Sprats and pilchards may be pickled in the same way ; indeed, all that is directed for herrings, is applicable to the latter of those fishes especially.
Fresh Herrings, Broiled - Frying herrings is a needless expenditure of fat; their flesh is quite oily enough in itself to broil them, and they will need no butter to be eaten with them, particularly if they are salted for a night, which renders them firmer, and improves their flavour. Scale the fish, draw the entrails without opening them ; score them crosswise on each side in two or three places, cutting the flesh down to the backbone, but not dividing that. Heat your grid-iron, anti then lay your fish upon it over a clear fire, into which (if of coal cinders) you have first thrown a little salt. While the fish are broiling, raise them gently now and then to prevent them sticking to the bars. When well done on one side, turn them to the other without breaking the skin. Although they should not be dried up, they require thorough cooking, especially if they have roes and milts. Serve on a hot dish, immediately they are taken off the gridiron. They need no sauce, but a little salt and a loot mealy potato are proper accompaniments.
Siamese Herrings, Broiled as Twins - Scale your herrings, cut off their heads, open them at the belly the whole of their length, from the tail upwards. Flatten them ; with great care, draw out the backbone, and remove any little bones that have not come away with it. Sprinkle the inner surface of each fish with pepper, salt, and a dust of flour. Then place them together in pairs, pressing the two inner surfaces into as close a contact as you can. Lay them on the gridiron ; when the undermost fish is broiled, turn them with a pair of tongs or between a couple of spoons without separating them. When thoroughly broiled and served on their dish, each person can have a pair of herrings still holding; together, as his rightful portion.
Red Herring.- Lay a red herring in deep dish, pour boiling water over it, and let it lie there five or ten minutes, according to the degree of dryness and saltness. Take it out of the water, peel off the skin, open it in the belly, and by laying hold of the head, carefully draw out the backbone and every little bone that springs from it. Lay the herring-flesh on a board, and cut one-half of it into long narrow strips or fillets, the whole length of the fish, the other half into small squares. Make some buttered toast; cut each round of toast into quarters. In the middle of each quarter lay a square of herring-flesh, encircling it with one of the narrow strips. This will give you mock anchovy toast. Slice bread and butter ; lay squares and fillets of herring upon it ; place another slice of bread and butter over it, and you have mock anchovy sandwiches. Put a few bits of herring-flesh into a mortar; pound them well. Put them into a saucepan with a lump of butter, and some flour and water. Keep stirring in one direction till they are mixed thoroughly and smooth. When it boils, you obtain mock anchovy sauce, to be eaten with beef steaks or fish. N.B. If this and similar sauces oil in the making, the introduction of a small quantity of cold water will set all to rights. The same pounded herring-flesh may be used in a similar way to essence of anchovies, for heightening the relish of several brown soups - hare-soup for instance.
Boil some water in a saucepan, with a clove of garlic
chopped small, and a small quantity of salt. Cut very thin slices of bread into
a soup-tureen, pour over them a table-spoonful of good eating oil, grate a
little nutmeg over them, and, when the water boils galloping, pour it over the
bread. This, which is the genuine Provençal water boiled, does not read like a
very substantial mess; nevertheless, a hundred thousand families in the south of
France have nothing else but this for breakfast, and enjoy good health,
notwithstanding. You may make the same kind of thing, only better, thus : If you
dislike, or have not, garlic, chop two or three onions into a saucepan of new
milk, or skimmed milk, or even butter-milk. Put slices of bread and butter into
your soup-tureen, grate nutmeg on them, and pour your boiling milk over them.
Let the tureen stand to soak three or four minutes before the fire, before
serving. Instead of buttering the bread, you may use unbuttered slices, and, to
make up for the deficiency of oily matter, boil some finely-chopped suet with
the milk, which will be found a very tolerable substitute.
Cabbage Soup (from "Wholesome Fare, or the Doctor and the Cook").- Please try this. Wash thoroughly, and shred very fine - as if for making pickled cabbage - the hearts of one or two summer cabbages, or of a very delicate savoy, according to size. Slice and mince some carrots, turnips, and two or three leeks, all very fine, and mix these chopped vegetables well together in a salad-bowl. Have ready a good broth; pork or beef-boilings will do, when not too salt - the great point is that the meat should not have been too long in salt; not more, say, than three or four days - French cooks prefer a variety of meats boiled together ; for instance, a piece of lean beef, a knuckle of veal, a small piece of salt pork, and a bit of the neck or shoulder of mutton. These meats should not be cooked so much as to render them uneatable, either cold or warmed up in a stew, or even served hot at the same dinner at which the soup appears. (Thus, the beef, served in the middle of a stew made of sliced carrots, turnips, and onions fried brown, will be welcomed as a dish of beef a la mode; the veal, covered with a little parsley and butter, will be excellent boiled knuckle of veal; the neck of mutton, masked with caper or nasturtium sauce, accompanied by mashed turnips, will give you the dish a Welshman so prizes; and the pork, cold, will be delicious for breakfast, or to cap a thumb-piece in the field.) For these purposes, they are invariably used in France; instead of being thrown out to the dogs, as broth-meat too frequently is in England. When the meat is enough done, according to your judgment, take it out, make the broth boil galloping, and then throw in your bowlful of well-drained shred and chopped vegetables. Let them boil on, without the lid, till the cabbages, &c., are quite tender, but not cooked to a mash. While the vegetables are boiling, slice and chop one or two large onions; fry them, in butter or dripping, to a rich brown. If more convenient, they may be prepared beforehand, and set by, cold, till wanted. And them to the soup, and mix them up with it.
Meagre Cabbage Soup, for abstinence days, is made is the same way as above, using water instead of broth, and often adding to the cabbage a large handful of chopped sorrel - an excellent anti-scorbutic and purifier of the blood. A larger quantity of fried onions is used, and, at the time of adding them to the soup, a small basinful of grated crumb of bread is also incorporated with it, to make it more nourishing.
SOUPS AND MEAT DISHES AT MODERATE COST.
Pea Soup.-The quality of this will much depend upon the water
with which it is made. The peas are often found fault with when it is the water
which is really to blame. Nevertheless, some peas are good boilers - others not;
but unfortunately there are no means of knowing them beforehand. Split peas,
when good boilers, are cooked sooner than whole ones; but split peas will often
behave as badly as the worst whole peas. The water to cook dry peas, either
white or blue, should be soft-rain or river-water, without a particle of salt.
Soak them for a night in some of this, and then set them on the fire separately (i.e.,
not with the meat nor with the meat-broth to make the soup), in a saucepan
with the water cold. Let them come to a boil gradually, and simmer slowly till
they are quite tender. Then pour them into a cullender placed over a bowl, and
squeeze them through it with the back of a wooden spoon, so as to retain the
skins (if the peas are whole) in the cullender. The crushed peas which have
passed through the cullender are what is called the purée of peas. Take
any good meat-broth or stock you have, not too salt. When it boils, throw into
it a good quantity of celery cut into short lengths and a smaller quantity of
chopped carrot and turnip. The flavour of the celery ought to prevail ; when it
is not to be had, a little celery seed crushed will be a good substitute. When
the vegetables are tender, stir in your puree, and serve accompanied by toasted
bread, cut into squares, to soak in it. Another flavour much approved with pea
soup is that of sage. Dry the leaves before a gentle fire, rub them to powder
between your hands, and serve in a saucer for each person to dust into his plate
of soup as much as he chooses. Pea soup, a good thing in itself, may be made
still better by taking one or two hocks of pork, slightly salted (or, if much
salted, well steeped in tepid water to draw out the brine), and making the broth
for the soup with them, and when the soup is made, by cutting up the pork into
small pieces and adding it thereto. Your pea soup then becomes victuals and
drink in one - substantial diet for a hard-working man. Peas are a
valuable article of food, and their use might be extended with great
advantage. For instance, if you bake your bread at home, sometimes add one pound
of pea-meal to every stone of flour, and it will make the bread all the more
nutritious. Peas are a very supporting food both for grown people and for
children. They should be eaten - we are told on medical authority - once or
twice a week all the year round.
Vegetable Soup.- Slice into a pail of cold water two or three lettuces, a leek or two, a few onions and potatoes, and one turnip. Any garden vegetables you have may be added to the above. Put a good lump of dripping into a saucepan with a close-fitting lid ; when it is melted, put in the vegetables, with no more water than hangs to them; shut down the lid, and let them stew gently, shaking them about to avoid burning. When they are half done, stir in enough broth or water to make the quantity of soup you want, add a few leaves of celery and sorrel (if to be had), and a teacupful of green peas, or, cook half a pint of dry peas, and mash them through a cullender into your soup. Let it boil till the vegetables are done enough; season with pepper and salt ; stir in a little bit of butter. Put slices of toasted bread into your tureen, and pour the soup over them.
Shin of Beef Soup- A departed humorist has said, "Of all the birds that fly in the air, commend me to the shin of beef. There's marrow for the master, meat for the mistress, gristle for the servants, and bones for the dogs." By successive stewings and warmings-up, it becomes better and better every day, until it is all of it consumed. It may be cooked as follows:- Take three or four pounds of shin of beef, cut the meat into two or three slices down to the bone, which should remain undivided and still enclosed in the flesh. Plug up each end of the bone with a stiff paste made of flour and water, to keep in the marrow. Set it on the fire in a boiler of cold water, with six or eight peppercorns and three or four cloves. Skim as long as any scum rises. If you season with salt, it must be very slightly; otherwise, by continued boiling and warming- up, the broth will be so reduced as to become too salt. Let it boil gently for four hours, then make it boil fast, and throw in a few peeled turnips, carrots, and onions, with a small bunch of thyme and parsley. When the vegetables are tender, you may serve the soup with bits of toasted bread floating in it. When the soup has been served, take up your beef, remove the slices of meat from the bone, separate them, if needed, with a knife and fork, put them in the middle of a hot dish, and arrange the vegetables round them, cutting the carrots and turnips into shapely bits. For sauce, fry chopped onions brown, stir in amongst them a dessert-spoonful of flour, dilute with a little of the soup, add two dessert-spoonfuls of mushroom catchup (for the making of which we will give a recipe in due course), pepper and salt, stir all together, and pour it over your slices of shin, then serve. For the marrow toast a large round of bread, lay it on a hot plate, spread the marrow roughly on it, season with pepper, salt, and a little mustard, cut it into as many pieces as there are persons sitting at the table, and serve.
Sausages and Cabbage.-Shred a fine-hearted cabbage or savoy into a pail of cold water, picking it over leaf by leaf to see that no impurities are left ; rinse the shred cabbage well therein, then put it into a deep saucepan of boiling soft water, without salt. Let it boil, with the [-104-] lid off, and with only just water enough to cover it till the cabbage is tender. Stir now and then, to prevent its sticking to the bottom, and if the liquor evaporates too much, fill up with hot water. Contrive, when the cabbage is done, to have just enough liquor left to moisten it Then bury in the cooked cabbage a pound or more of uncooked sausages. Put the lid close down on the sauce pan, to keep in the heat and vapour; let them stew, not too slowly, shaking them now and then, for twenty or five-and-twenty minutes. Have ready, on a hot dish, a thickish round of toasted bread. Take the sausages out of the cabbage with a spoon, and arrange them in a row on the toast. Squeeze the cabbage in the saucepan with the back of your spoon, and pour the liquor over the sausages and toast. Then serve the cabbage, neatly piled on another hot dish. This dish has the advantage of being easily heated up again, when it is quite as good as at first. If no sausages are left when the cabbage is warmed-up again, spread it in a layer on a dish, and on it put a few poached or fried eggs, or three or four slices of toasted bacon.
Epping Sausages.- Take sage, thyme, and especially knotted marjoram, if you can get it. If they have been splashed with earth or sand by the rain, as often happens, you must wash them thoroughly clean and let them dry in a current of air. When quite dry, strip the leaves from the stalks, and chop them very fine together. Mix a small quantity of this thoroughly with the chopped sausage-meat (which should be seasoned with allspice and nutmeg) before putting it into the skins. The dose of this will depend upon taste; at the first trial, it is better not to overdo it. These aromatic herbs can be dried in a slow oven, rubbed between the palms to a powder, and kept in bottles for future use. In a fresh state, a very small proportion of parsley and chervil may be mixed with them.
Roast Pork and Potatoes, Fried Whole - The pig must be scalded, not singed. Take a good piece of the loin or spare rib, score the skin, to make nice "crackle," and let out the fat. Roast it before the fire, over a catch-pan. Take middle-sized or small potatoes; first wash and dry, then peel them, so as not to have to wash them after peeling; wipe them dry with a napkin. When the pork is roasted, pour the fat into a small deep saucepan; set it on the fire ; when quite hot, fry the potatoes in it to a light clear brown. The fat will serve again, or for other purposes.
Haricot Mutton. -Take the chump end of the neck, or the breast, of mutton ; cut it up into small pieces, of a size to be helped with a spoon. Set them on the fire, in just enough water to keep them from burning. Keep turning them about in this, till they are half-cooked and nicely browned. Then take them out and lay them on a dish. To the gravy remaining in the saucepan, add more water, with flour, pepper, salt, and a sprig of thyme and parsley. Stir these well together, then return your mutton to the saucepan. After it has boiled a few minutes, put in some peeled potatoes (whole, if small, halved, if large), a carrot sliced, a turnip the same, and either small onions whole, or large ones sliced. When the vegetables are cooked, your mutton is ready. Serve the whole together on the same dish. You may lay slices of toasted bread, as sippets, at the bottom of, or round, the dish. They will make it both more sightly and more plentiful.
Pigs' Fry is much nicer, tenderer, and more economical, baked than fried. Into a large pudding-basin, put slices of the heart and liver, pieces of the chitterling "frill," and spleen, intermixed with sliced onions, and seasoned with pepper, salt, and allspice. Cover them with water, in which a little flour has been carefully mixed; put a plate on the top, and set in the oven till sufficiently cooked.
Pigs' Liver.- Open the liver, by cutting it in halves horizontally, but without detaching the separate portions. Lay it thus open on a dish, season it with pepper and salt, and pour over it a little oiled butter ; let it so remain a quarter of an hour. Then spread over it equally a stuffing made of bacon, chopped parsley, and shalot or whatever other stuffing suits your taste and judgment. Then close the liver, and wrap it in caul, or "leaf," or thin internal sheet-fat of a pig or calf. Lay this in a deep dish with a slice of bacon under and upon it ; cover it closely with another dish over it, and set in a gentle oven. When done, take it out of the leaf-fat, and serve it with its own gravy, relieved by a little vinegar.
Black Pudding (a much-approved recipe).-Have ready a well cleansed pigs' entrails, exactly the same as are used for containing sausages. Keep them steeped in cold water, until you want them. To one pint of fresh-drawn pigs' blood, take three pints of onions ; chop them tolerably fine, and cook them till they are nearly or three-quarters done, in a saucepan, with the least drop of water at the bottom, stirring them all the while, to prevent them browning. Take two pounds of fresh pork, without bone fat and lean in equal proportions; chop it up fine. Mix well together the minced pork, the onions, and the pigs' blood, seasoning with salt, pepper, and allspice, or mixed spices ground together. Tie one end of your sausage-skin, and, by means of a funnel or sausage-stuffer, fill it at the other with the mixed ingredients. Then tie the upper end of your pudding, coil it in the desired shape, or tie it into short lengths, and throw it into boiling water, which you will keep galloping for twenty or five-and-twenty minutes, according to the thickness of the pudding. Then take it out, and set aside to cool. So prepared, it will keep a good two or three days in summer, a week in winter. When wanted to serve, you may broil it gently over a slow fire ; but this requires care, to prevent the skin from cracking. A better way is to set it a few minutes in the oven of a cooking-stove, or in a Dutch or American oven, in front of an open kitchen-range.
Pigs' Head, Boiled with Vegetables.- Take half a pig's head (without the brains and tongue), put it into an earthen vessel, with half a pound of coarse salt, and leave it three or four days, turning it frequently, and basting it with the brine that forms. Put it into a soup- kettle, with six quarts of cold water ; bring it to a boil, skim, add pepper, shred onions, cabbage, and celery; let it simmer over a gentle fire, and add potatoes three-quarters of an hour before serving dinner. Then taste if the broth is salt enough ; soak with it some bread in your soup-tureen ; pour the broth over it. Drain the head and serve it, accompanied by the cabbage and potatoes With a little pea -powder, previously steeped, and a boil up after mixing it, you can convert the broth into pea soup.
Pumpkin and Rice Soup - Wash in cold water the quantity of rice required to make your soup; set it on the fire in cold water, let it boil till nearly done enough, set it aside. Pare your pumpkin, and cut it into bits as big as a walnut; put it in a saucepan with two or three sliced E onions, one or two cloves, a leaf each of celery and parsley, a trifle each of pepper, salt, and sugar, and amply sufficient water to make your soup. Boil till you can crush the onions and pumpkin to a mash; mash them well with a large wooden ladle ; pour all through a cullender, to strain off the fibrous portions. Then set the strained purée on the fire again; add to it the boiled rice and a good bit of butter, and keep stirring (to mix well, and prevent sticking to the bottom) until the rice is tender, Then serve, and you will have an excellent autumnal soup. There is no reason why, instead of water, you should not use any good meat or poultry-broth (not salt) which you happen to have.
MEAT DISHES AT MODERATE COST.
Sheep's Trotters.-When these can be bought,
as in many large towns, ready scalded and with the hair removed, they are not
dear. Keep them steeped in cold water till you set them on the fire to boil,
which will take at least three or four hours. When done, they may be eaten with
pepper, salt, and vinegar. A nice sauce for them is, to put some fat and flour
in a stewpan, to mix in smoothly some of the broth, to throw in a little chopped
parsley, and season with salt and a dash of vinegar. Cold sheep's
trotters can be covered with melted fat, rolled in bread- crumbs, and broiled
over a clear fire.
Sheep's Feet Paté - (French).-Have a coarse earthen pot or pâté-dish, with a well-fitting cover. Get at the tripe-shop, or of your butcher, three gangs of sheep's feet (twelve) ready cleaned and scalded. Divide them at the joints into two or more pieces ; boil them a couple of hours; then pack them closely in the pâté-dish, interspersing with them equally, as seasoning, sprigs of thyme and parsley, a few bay leaves, cloves, pepper, allspice, salt, and button-onions, whole. Put in the liquor in which the feet were boiled ; then put on the cover ; tie it in its place with string passed over it round the dish ; cover it down closely all round with paste, and send the pâté to pass the night in a baker's oven after the bread is drawn. Next morning, the pâté will be done, and may be either eaten hot or allowed to get cold. The oven being slow, the feet will be cooked to a jelly. If the oven is too fierce, they will of course be dried up, burnt, and rendered good for nothing. When properly done, this is an excellent dish ; but success entirely depends on the moderate temperature of the oven, the close fastening down of the lid with paste, and care on the part of the baker to prevent its drying up.
Pigs' feet and pettitoes may be dressed in exactly the same way.
Calf's Liver, Stewed. - Choose it fresh killed, of a clear bright colour, without spots. Dr. Edward Smith, a high authority, says,* [*"Practical Dietary," p.256] "Liver should be cut into thin slices, and boiled or fried with bacon. Cook it well, but not with a hot fire, and do not make it dry and hard. See that it looks healthy." It is perhaps the part of our butchers' meat which is most liable to be affected by disease. By our mode of dressing liver, it is just as good warmed up again as it was at first; indeed, nobody would know, unless they were told, that this was the second, or even "the third time of asking." Having as much calf's liver as your family want, cut it into pieces the size of a hen's egg, season them with pepper and salt, roll them in flour, and let them so remain on a dish while you are doing what follows. Peel potatoes, halve or quarter them, if large; do the same with onions ; slice two or three carrots. Put some fat or dripping into a broad shallow saucepan or stewpan, and when it is melted, brown in it a soup-spoonful of flour. Stir in a little water ; mix well ; then put in your liver, shaking it about ; then enough warm water to cover it. When it boils, put in your vegetables ; when they have boiled a few minutes, draw the saucepan aside, and let them simmer till they are done enough. Taste if sufficiently seasoned. It will be a great improvement if you can put in with the vegetables a sprig of parsley, celery leaf, and thyme. Lay the pieces of liver in the middle of your dish, put the vegetables round them, and pour the gravy over all.
]f you fry slices of liver and bacon, thicken the grease [-120-] left in the pan with flour and water, season with pepper, allspice, and vinegar, and pour it over them for gravy.
Sliced Calf's or Sheep's Liver Fried. - Cut up the liver into small thin slices. Cut some onions crosswise into very thin slices. Brown them in a stewpan with a lump of butter; dust in a little flour; stir in enough boiling water to cook them tender; season with pepper and salt. In your frying-pan fry the sliced liver in butter, taking care not to do them too much. Grate a little nutmeg over them, and add a dash of vinegar; then put them with the onions in the stew-pan; mix them together; let them stew gently for five or six minutes, and serve with the gravy poured over them, which may be further thickened, if too greasy, with a little flour and hot water.
Calf's Liver Cheese.-Chop fine a couple of pounds of calf's liver, half a pound of beef suet, half a pound of white bacon, and a few mushrooms, if there happen to be any. Mix these well together, then add to them three or four good-sized onions chopped and browned in butter in the frying-pan, six egg-yolks, a small glass of brandy, pepper, salt, and grated nutmeg, and lastly, stir in the whites of six eggs beaten to a froth. Line the bottom and sides of a well-tinned iron saucepan with very thin slices of white bacon; put in the minced liver, &c., and cover with thin slices of bacon. Close the saucepan tightly with a lid on which you can heap hot cinders or ashes. Cook over a very gentle fire. It does very well on a hearth where wood is burnt, with the hot ashes piled round it. Let it remain in the saucepan till quite cold and stiff. To turn it out, set the saucepan a minute or two in boiling water ; place the dish over it, and then reverse it.
Bullock's Heart a la Mode.-Split open the heart at its thinnest side, without cutting it in two ; take out the arterial cartilage and the coagulated blood left in it; fill its inside with bacon cut into dice, seasoned with pepper, salt, and chopped parsley. Tie it round with string into Its original shape. Stew it in a saucepan, covered with broth, and half as much cider, if it comes handy; add a bunch of sweet herbs, and as many onions and carrots as there is room for. When it has simmered gently full four hours, lay it on a dish; put the carrots and onions round it; let the liquor boil a few minutes longer to thicken, then pour some of it over the heart, and serve the rest in a sauce-boat. If you like it, you may flavour the latter with mushroom catchup and a little red wine, which will give the heart the flavour of hare.
Bullock's Kidney.-This is often cut up into dice, and made into kidney pudding, as we have previously directed (p. 66) for beef pudding. The crust helps it out very well; but it is less agreeable cold, and the kidney is very apt to be hard. As a change from this, cut up the kidney into very thin slices, dust them plentifully with flour, and season with pepper and salt. Put a lump of butter into a saucepan; as soon as it begins to melt, put your sliced and seasoned kidney to it ; add a little cold water, just enough to prevent burning; if you live in a cider country, use cider instead. You may add a table-spoonful of catchup. Keep shaking and stirring over a gentle fire without ever letting it come to a boil. If it does, your kidney will be hard and leathery. The secret of success consists in not letting it cook too much, too fast, nor too long. Lay bits of toasted bread round the edge of a dish. With a spoon put the kidney in the middle; give the gravy a boil up, and pour it over it. Some cooks would garnish with sliced lemon, and stew in red wine, or even in champagne; for the latter, the cider is not a bad substitute, and is often more obtainable. If any is left, let it be warmed up over a very gentle fire.
Tripe Normandy Fashion. - Wash your tripe, scald it; wash it again, scald it again; scrape it, wash it, re-scrape, and re-wash it in several waters; then cut it in pieces, and put it to cook in a boiler with chopped bacon, carrot; onions, garlic, cloves, thyme, bay-leaf, parsley, and peppercorns. Moisten with white wine or cider, and the fat skimmed from the pot-au-feu, or family soup-kettle. Instead of these, you may use good soft water, setting on cold. Let it simmer gently for about eight hours (we say, till tender, which will probably come to pass in a little less time). Before cooking tripe to serve it in any way, cut it into neat pieces two or three inches square. Tripe has been recommended to invalids, stewed with beef, seasoned to taste, and with thickened gravy poured over it. It may also be stewed with onions and milk, seasoned with pepper, salt, and nutmeg. It can be fricasseed brown with fried onions and gravy, and the flavour be heightened, just before serving, with allspice and tarragon vinegar. In all these cases the tripe must have long stewing, unless it has been done very nearly enough by the regular tripe-dresser of whom it was bought. One of the nicest ways of cooking tripe so prepared is to fry it in batter in the way already directed for other things. It then requires no sauce whatever ; if any is wished for, make it with water, flour, butter, a little vinegar, and still less mustard.
Lady Harriet St. Clair, in her "Dainty Dishes," gives three recipes for tripe, of which we borrow two, on account of their excellence and simplicity.
Stewed Tripe.- Select two pounds of double tripe well cleaned and blanched, cut in pieces of rather less than a quarter of a pound each; put in a clean stew-pan with a pint of milk and one of water, two teaspoonfuls of salt, one of pepper, eight middle-sized onions carefully peeled. Set it on to boil, which it should do at first rather fast, then simmer till done, which will be in rather more than half an hour. Put it into a deep dish or tureen, and serve with the milk and onions.
Tripe a la Lyonnaise (Lyons Fashion). -. When any cold tripe remains, cut it in thin slices about an inch square, and wipe it very dry. Mince two onions, put some butter (in the proportion of three ounces to a pound of tripe) into a frying-pan with the onions. When they are about half done put in the tripe, and let all fry for about ten minutes; season with pepper and salt, and three tablespoonfuls of vinegar to each pound of tripe. Serve very hot. This is a favourite dish in Lyons with all classes.
Besides these ways, French cooks serve tripe broiled in oiled paper, bread-crumbed, white, with sauce piquante; with sauce Robert, au gratin, or browned in the oven, like fricasseed fowl; in flat sausages after chopping, with skate sauce, like ox-palates; Provençal way, plenty of garlic and oil; Milanese way, with grated cheese; Italian way, stewed with macaroni, &c. &c.
Neat's Foot or Cow Heel.- The feet are mostly sold so nearly cooked as only to require a warming-up; but the substance of neat's feet consists of so little else besides gelatine and bone (the oil, strong in flavour, being extracted in their preparation), that we consider them more fit to enrich other dishes - soups, stews, fricassees, &c.- than to be served as a dish by themselves.
Neat's Foot with Parsley Sauce.-Warm up or finish cooking your neat's foot in as little water as may be. When ready to serve, make sauce with a little of the liquor, flour, butter, chopped parsley, and a dash of vinegar. Pour this over the foot, and serve.
Breast of Pork with Rice (Economical).-Wash and scald a pound of rice. Wash and cut up into dice half or three-quarters of a pound of breast of pork, fat and lean together; then add to it a little butter in a stew-pan. When nicely browned, add the rice ; stir in gradually three pints of water or broth and a little pepper. Let it stew for five-and-twenty minutes, stirring now and then, to keep it from sticking to the bottom. When done, serve it in a heap in the middle of a dish. A few boiled or fried sausages laid round it make a very pleasant addition.
MEAT DISHES AT MODERATE COST (continued from p. 120).
Calf's Cheek, and the Soup from it.- Get your
butcher to cut the calf's cheek in halves, just below the cheekbone, so as to
leave the fleshy part of the cheek and the nape of the neck entire. The fresher
slain it is, the better. Remove the eye-ball and the cartilage of the nose;
shorten the jawbones, so as to get rid of the teeth, but leaving the meat which
covered them, and throw them away. You would get no good out of them, they only
take up room in the boiler. Let the cheek so prepared, after being well washed
and rubbed with the hand, steep an hour or two in a pail of cold water. Set it
on the fire in plenty of cold water; as it is coming to a boil, keep constantly
skimming till no more scum rises. Peel onions, peel and slice carrots and
turnips, cut leeks into two inch lengths. Throw these, till wanted, into a pail
of cold water to keep them fresh. When the cheek has boiled three hours, throw
in the vegetables, with a little salt, half a dozen pepper-corns, and two or
three cloves. Put in also a sprig or two of parsley and thyme. The cheek will
take about four hours to cook. When done, take it up, and raise the flesh of the
cheek and the part containing the glands of the neck off the bones, keeping them
entire. Trim this lump of meat freely into shape, and set it aside for another
day. The trimmings, the eye, and the fore part of the head, served with the
vegetables, will make a nice dish. The broth will turn out excellent soup, which
may be eaten with toasted bread soaked in it. When the liquor is cold, skim the
fat off the top, and put it into your frying-pan, with the addition of a little
dripping, if the quantity is scanty. Slice onions into this, and fry them brown;
add a little of the liquor, and stir in gradually a couple of table-spoonfuls of
flour and a quarter of a herring, prepared as directed for mock anchovy, chopped
fine, if you have not the means of pounding it. Dust in a little pepper, and add
more liquor; and when all is mixed well and smooth, stir it into the broth. If
any of the trimmings of the head or vegetables are left, cut them in pieces and
add them also. When heated up, the second day's soup will be better than the
first, different in flavour, and more substantial. Serve toasted bread to soak
in it. Save a little of it to warm up the cold piece of cheek meat in, to which
it will also serve as gravy. You can garnish it round with fresh-boiled
vegetables - carrots, turnips, onions, potatoes.
Sheep's Heads.-Open the heads, take out the brains whole, and the tongues; throw them into cold water and wash the latter well. Divide the heads into halves. Take out the eyes, shorten the jaw-bones where there is no flesh, cut out the gristle inside the nose, and wash the heads well in two or three waters. Put the halved heads and the tongues into a kettle of cold water with a little salt in it. Skim till it boils ; then throw in the brains, and let them boil a quarter of an hour. At the same time with the brains, throw in some large onions and two or three Carrots halved lengthwise. When the flesh on the heads is tender, serve them on a dish with the onions and carrots laid round them; or you may mash the former into onion sauce, with pepper and salt, a bit of butter, and a spoonful of milk, If you do not want the tongues immediately, let them boil for a few minutes longer, and then leave them to cool in the broth. When you want them, warm them up (if cold) in the same ; Cut them in halves without separating them, lay them open on a dish, and pour over them some sharp sauce made with the broth, as directed for cods' heads. Warm the brains in the broth, lay them on a dish, sprinkle them with sage powder, made by drying sage leaves before the fire, and then rubbing them between your hands, and pour over them a little of the brown sauce already described. The addition of a little rice or prepared oatmeal groats converts the broth into capital soup.
Fried Fowl.-The fowl must be young, a cockerel or a pullet. Cut it up into joints, divide them, if large; also cut the carcase in pieces, use the heart, liver, and the gizzard properly cleansed. Put them all in a frying-pan with some bacon chopped small, a slice or two of ham, a few onions sliced very thin, pepper and salt. Fry all together; when they are done, arrange them on a hot dish. Dust a little flour into the gravy in your frying-pan; when browned, stir in a little vinegar and water; when nicely [-140-] smooth and well mixed together, porn it over your fried fowl, and serve.
Boiled Fowl.-Truss it as before; put inside it, with the liver, heart, and gizzard, a slice of white bacon half an inch thick; tie round it, outside, a broad slice of bacon a quarter of an inch thick, Take a bullock's bladder, slit open the orifice wide enough to admit the fowl. After rinsing out the bladder with hot water two or three times, put the fowl in it, and tie it up in such a way that no water can get in. After patient and careful boiling, take it out of its envelope, lay it on the dish surrounded by its gravy and sprinkle over it a teaspoonful of salt. You may serve it accompanied by
Parsley Sauce. - Chop a little parsley very fine. Into a saucepan containing a breakfast-cupful of cold water, put a lump of butter as big as a large walnut, into which you have rubbed a dessert-spoonful of flour. Keep stirring one way all the while these are melting, and until it boils. Then throw in the chopped parsley. Let it boil one minute, still stirring ; then pour it into your sauceboat. If any of the fowl is left, the best way will be to cut it up into joints, arrange them neatly in the dish with the gravy (which will be jelly when cold), and pour the rest of the parsley sauce over them. They will thus be presentable at another meal. A fowl thus secured from loss or injury may be steamed with good results; but this is a very tedious operation.
Fowl Stewed with Rice.-When your fowl is drawn, singed, and trussed (tied with string), with the legs cut off at the drumstick joint, and the heart, liver, and gizzard either fastened to the wings, English fashion, or put inside it, as they do abroad, put it into a saucepan not larger than will hold it conveniently, and allow it to be well covered with cold water. Set it on the fire ; as soon as no more scum rises, cover it down close with the lid, and set it where it will stew gently until quite tender, which you will easily ascertain upon inspection. You may reckon upon its taking three or four hours, perhaps longer, to do. At the same time that you set your fowl to cook, put half or three-quarters of a pound of rice to steep in cold soft water. When the fowl is on the point of turning tender, chop one or two onions small, and put them to the fowl with the steeped rice, a little salt, and a small quantity of pepper and grated nutmeg. Let them boil with frequent stirring, some twenty minutes. If the rice is a little mashy, never mind; it will combine all the better with the fat and gravy from the fowl. Lay the fowl in the centre of a hot dish, and pour the rice round and under it.
Ends of the Ribs, or Breast of Beef Stewed with Vegetables - When the ends of the ribs, or the breast, from a well-fed beast are to be had of a respectable butcher at a fairly reduced price, they are well worth purchasing, to be cooked as follows -For convenience, divide the bit into two or three pieces ; salt them two or three days, according to the weather. Rinse them in cold water, to clear them from the salt sticking to them, and set them on the fire in cold water (not quite so much as if for soup) in a small boiler. After skimming, season with two or three cloves and peppercorns. Let the meat boil an hour; then put in as many carrots, whole onions, turnips, potatoes, and hearts of cabbage, as will be fairly covered by the broth ; then let it simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked. On serving, put the beef in the middle of a large dish, and lay the vegetables round it, pouring some of the broth over all. Or, if you want to season more highly, you may brown butter, onions, and flour, in a frying-pan, season with pepper, salt, and catchup, stir all smooth, and pour that over your beef and vegetables.
THE CHEAPER SHELL-FISH.
The Common Limpet (Patella) - The
limpet is sometimes eaten raw, though in this state it is said to be poisonous
to some people, and it is certainly best cooked. Boiled in salt and water, it
makes a coarse but not unwholesome food.
Periwinkles.-Wash them in several waters, to get rid of mud and sand. Leave them quite half an hour in another water to cleanse; shake them up to make them draw into their shells; put them into a saucepan and pour over them boiling sea-water that has stood to settle; boil galloping twenty minutes, and serve accompanied by brown bread and butter.
Whelks (Buccinum undatum).-Put your whelks (alive, if possible) for a few hours into fresh or brackish water to cleanse. Boil them in salt and water, the smaller ones, to be eaten as periwinkles, three-quarters of an hour; the larger ones, with shells as big as hens' eggs, an hour and a quarter. They take a great deal of cooking, being hard and leathery in substance. As large whelks are hardly eatable, even after this preliminary boiling, take them out of their shells, dip them in flour or bread crumbs, and fry them in plenty of very hot fat. On serving, pepper and vinegar may be sprinkled over them. Soyer, in his "Modern Housewife," says, "Whelks have become plentiful in London, and are exceedingly wholesome fish. They are eaten, also, like the oyster." By which he probably means made into soup like clams, or cooked in the same way as oysters are cooked.
Mussels and Rice (an Algerian Recipe).- Wash your mussels well; set them on the fire in a saucepan without any water, but with a close-fitting lid. Shake them up from time to time, so as to bring them all in turn to the bottom. They will gradually open and give out their liquor, in which, and in the steam from it, they will cook. When they are all well opened and detach easily from the shell, turn them out into ,a large-holed cullender placed over a vessel to catch the liquor, which strain and set aside to settle. Take the mussels out of their shells, rejecting the weed attached to their inside, and any little parasitical crabs within them, and put them aside. Boil rice as if for a curry, so as to be as dry as possible when done. To this put a good lump of butter and a few table-spoonfuls of the mussel liquor; season with pepper, salt, and grated nutmeg. Put in the mussels, heat up all together, mixing them without breaking them. Or, you may heap the warmed-up mussels in the middle of your dish, surrounding them with the seasoned rice, as some cooks serve a curry.
Hustled Mussels, Plain. - Cook the mussels as before. When done, simply turn them out into a large open dish, and serve them in their shells as they are.
Pickled Mussels.-Cook and pick them clean as above. Put them into a preserve jar, seasoning as you proceed with salt, ground pepper, whole pepper, and cloves. When the jar is nearly full, pour vinegar over them till they are quite covered. If the vinegar is very strong, dilute it with a little of the liquor that came from the mussels. They are ready for use the day after pickling, and will keep good for some little time, if closely covered.
HOT DISHES EASILY SERVED AT SHORT NOTICE.
All Soups; but note that thick soups, as turtle, mock turtle, ox-tail,
&c., are best warmed up or kept hot in an earthen jar plunged in a saucepan
of boiling water, both to avoid burning and to diminish the amount of
evaporation from the soup, and so keep it from becoming too thick. Tapioca,
vermicelli, and pastes in general, thrown into clear stock or consommé take
time to cook, and must therefore be prepared, though apparently so simple.
All Boiled Fish: Large fish, as cod, turbot, halibut, skate, salmon, John Dory, sturgeon, conger, &c., to be cut in steaks, or slices, as served in portions by the Paris restaurants; small flat fish to be simply cleaned; small long-shaped fish, as whiting, haddock, jack, &c., to have their tails thrust through their guts, or tied in their mouths. To stuff fish takes longer time; but balls of ready-cooked stuffing can be heated up with them in the salted water in which they boil. Of course the fish are ready cleaned, prepared, or trussed, to be thrown at a moment's notice into the boiling water. Simple sauces, as melted butter, caper, ready-opened oyster, essence of anchovy or shrimp, &c. can easily be made while the fish is boiling. Fish not usually divided, like large mackerel, and which take a good half-hour to boil, are best split open at the belly, flattened, and fried.
All Fried Fisk and Broiled Fish, when a suitable fire - as charcoal, which is speedily lighted, and always clear - is at command. Large fish must be cut into steaks like cod, or squares, like pike. Smaller fish need only be well scaled and cleaned inside, leaving on the fins and head for show. The smallest, as gudgeons, smelts, sprats and whitebait, only require a good wiping and drying. When the cook is supplied with the proper means - i.e., a deep frying-pan and plenty of good fat, a large fish, as a mackerel, haddock, gurnard, pike, or carp, will fry in much less time than it will boil, and, if nicely done, make a greater show. The fish will be ready wiped, dried, floured, or bread-crumbed, lying on a dish fit for immediate use ; the fat dissolved in the deep pan, covered to keep out blacks, &c., and only requiring to be set on the fire, to bring it up to frying heat.
Small Things.-These must he the housekeeper's main dependence for a hot repast served in a hurry; and some of them are difficult to class separately from what she is obliged to serve as roasts. Tossed or sautéd mutton or beef kidneys, in gravy or wine. Savoury omelettes, of sweet herbs, grated cheese, chopped bacon or ham, containing a ragout of veal kidney, sweetbread, salmon, green peas, asparagus tips. Matelotes of fish and meat, combined or separate, half fried previously with the onions. Fricassees of veal and chicken, ditto. Curries of various things, ditto. Vol-au-vents; ragout made previously. Sweetbreads ; served white or brown. Calf's head a la tortue, not whole, but in portions. Plain boiled ditto, Black pudding.
Boiled.- The list of these is very short. With the exception of sausages, most meat articles of food are both too large and too solid to cook in that way in a short space of time, besides being spoiled by quick boiling. Hens' eggs, in the shell, if fresh, and done to half a minute are excellent. Choice and remarkable eggs may be served boiled in the shell. All require boiling as long as hens' eggs ; some longer. There is the egg of the common duck, the nearly black one of the East Indian duck, the brown one of the cochin china and other breeds of fowls, the small thick-shelled buff one of the guinea-fowl and the pinky-brown speckled one of the turkey. The pea-fowl's egg very much resembles that of the ostrich in miniature, being smooth, but indented all over with dimples. It is somewhat bigger than a turkey's, of a dull, yellowish white, and occasionally freckled with a few small reddish-brown marks. Pheasants' eggs are delicate ; so are lap-wings' (often sold for plovers' eggs), rooks', and waterhens'. The eggs of various gulls and other sea-fowl are full- flavoured, rich, and peculiarly grateful to many palates. A goose's egg, poached without breaking, makes quite a little dish. Plovers' eggs are also esteemed a great delicacy.
Vegetables.-Ready-mashed potatoes, browned in the oven in small basins or tin moulds. Cold boiled potatoes warmed up maître d'hotel way. Souffléed potatoes. Sliced or quartered potatoes, done in a hot bath of fat. Green peas, French way, or a la bourgeoise, warmed up. French beans, French way, idem. Dried haricots, either plain, boiled, with parsley and butter, or Breton fashion. Stewed tomatoes. Stewed, broiled, or ovened mushrooms. Fried cardoons, celery, and salsify. Stewed artichoke bottoms, cooked beforehand. Spinach, either true or patience dock, the better for a second or third heating-up. Chopped cabbage, ditto, to support pork chops. Purée of sorrel, ditto, for warmed-up fricandeau of veal. Broad beans, with melted butter and summer savory, ditto; old Windsor beans, skinned and stewed, ditto. Asparagus, half-cooked before ; sea-kale, ditto ; both of these served with melted butter poured over them.
Roasts.-Pork or mutton kidneys, fried, broiled, or roasted before the fire in a Dutch oven. Veal kidney, sliced and fried. Lamb chops, with cucumber sauce. All sorts of chops and cutlets, whether fried, broiled, plain, or bread-crumbed; half-cooked, and finished off in a ready- made ragout a la jardinière. Fried or roasted sausages. Beef steaks from the rump and the under-part of the loin. Broiled fowl, with mushroom sauce. Broiled pigeons. Small birds, as larks, thrushes, wheatears, rails - land and water-lapwings, knots, stints, &c., roasted in a saucepan. Civet of rabbit, hare, or venison, is a substantial meat dish quickly served: the same may also be said of hashes of various roast meats. Calf's liver and bacon, fried a-la- mode beef, and stewed ox-cheek, may be kept hot for hours, and ready for serving at a moment's notice.
Third Course.- Pancakes, with sugar and orange to squeeze over them ; apple fritters ; bread fritters ; plum pudding, or sweet suet pudding, sliced, toasted, and sauced with brandy; sweet omelette, filled with various preserves - strawberry, ripe gooseberry, raspberry, currant jelly, black or red; rum omelette; anchovy toast ; Welsh rarebit ; curry omelette.
Mussels with Sharp Sauce. - Cook the mussels
as already directed; turn them out, and set the liquor aside to settle. Leave
each mussel in the valve or half-shell to which it is attached, removing the
other half-shell. Take out the weeds and the parasitic crabs. Neatly arrange or
pile the mussels in the half-shells in the centre of a dish. .A soup-plate will
serve for a small quantity. Take some of the mussel-liquor, and with it. instead
of water, make melted butter, using the butter liberally. Add pepper and a good
dash of vinegar. When it boils, pour it over your mussels, and serve.
Scalloped Mussels - Cook the mussel; as above; pick and take them out of their shells. Have scallop-shells or tin pans made of that shape. Put grated bread-crumbs at the bottom; on these lay mussels, putting amongst them little bits of butter; season with pepper and grated nutmeg ; sprinkle more bread-crumbs over them, and so on till the shells are full, covering all with bread-crumbs at the top. Moisten with a small quantity of the mussel liquor. Set in the oven of your cooking-stove, or in an American oven, till they are well heated through, and the top nicely browned.
Fried Mussels (Grande Cuisine). - Shake your mussels in a saucepan with the lid on without water. When well opened take them out of the shells, remove the weed attached to the root of the tongue (really the foot) and the crabs which nestle inside the mussel. Lay them on a napkin to cool and drain. Make a hatter to dip them in with a little of their own liquor, flour, butter, and an egg; season with salt, pepper, and what else you please. When this is smooth and well thickened over the fire, it is ready. Dip the mussels one by one in this ; lay them on a board so as not to touch each other. When cold, with the sauce sticking to them firmly, roll them separately in bread-crumbs, and fry them light brown in a deep small saucepan containing plenty of hot fat. They may be served heaped on a dish garnished with fried parsley, or they make an elegant garnish for fried fish served on a napkin. Large oysters (scalded before dipping in the batter) may be fried and served in the same way.
Cockles. - Cockles, especially those from shores overlying a stratum of clay, after a thorough washing in two or three waters, and draining awhile, should be put into salt and water - less salt than sea-water, which may be easily ascertained by tasting - to cleanse themselves. Let them lie there all night, changing the water if you can. Cockles are nicest roasted on the bars of a grate, or a tin laid on the flat top of a cooking stove, or in an iron dish set into the oven, and eaten hot with bread and butter. As soon as they open wide they are done enough; or they may be shaken in a closed saucepan, with no water, over a brisk fire, till they arc done. Cockles may he dressed in all the ways-except frying-practised with oysters and mussels. They are good pickled, scalloped, stewed, and in sauce to go with any boiled fish.
Scallops. - On opening your scallops, before detaching them from the shell, trim away and reject the beards, keeping the white, red, and black parts of the fish ; wash them in several waters; then boil them an hour or more [-182-] till tender, in no more water than will cover them; then serve them as a stew, thickening their liquor with flour and butter, and seasoning with pepper, salt, and vinegar; or scallop them in their own shells with bread-crumbs, butter, pepper, moistened with a little of their own juice, and browned on the top in an oven or before the fire. They may be added, chopped to oyster or lobster patties, and, with hard-boiled eggs, may enter appropriately into any fish pie, but in every case, the scallops must be well boiled previously.
Stewed Oysters. - A light dish for invalids who find uncooked oysters too cold and difficult of digestion. As you open the oysters, put them and the liquor from the shells into a small basin, leaving the beards on them; these are not left for the sake of being eaten, unless liked, but for the juice that comes from them. For a dozen middle-sized oysters, put into a small saucepan a lump of butter as big as an egg; over this, pour the oysters and their juice; dredge a very little flour over them, season moderately with pepper and grated nutmeg, add two or three table-spoonfuls of cold water; set the sauce on a gentle fire, keep shaking the oysters round and round ; as soon as the butter is melted and the liquor hot, set the saucepan on the side of the stove to let the oysters get warm through - they must never boil which would make them hard and shrunken. Continue shaking or stirring from time to time. On a hot dish, lay a large slice of toasted bread ; on this deposit the oysters with a spoon; then pour over them nearly all the gravy, heaving in the saucepan a table-spoonful or so, into which the grit and sediment will have settled.
The Razor Fish or Solen should also be cooked like oysters, and makes most excellent and strengthening soup.
Clams figure very conspicuously in American bills of fare. We have never seen them sent to table in Great Britain, though they are to be had for the gathering on many spots. "Clams," observes Soyer, "are a species of cockle, only found in Devonshire, Cornwall, parts of Wales, and on the west coast of Ireland and Scotland." "The fish," he adds, "is much superior in flavour to the oyster, and if eaten raw, should be about the same size; but if larger, should be made into soup, or cooked in the same way as the oyster."
Stewed Clams (American).- Put the clams in a stew-pan, with about the same quantity of water as the juice of y the clams. Boil twenty-five or thirty minutes ; remove all the scum that rises, and season with butter and a dust of pepper.
Hashed Clams. - Chop clams fine; stew them in their own juice and a little water. Boil fifteen minutes, and season with butter and pepper. After taking up the hash, thicken the gravy with one or two egg yolks, and lay bits of toasted bread round the dish. Clams may also be fried in batter, or with egg and bread-crumbs.
Boiling is the ordinary mode of cooking vegetables. The
rule is to throw them (whether roots, foliage, flowers, or unripe seeds)
into cold water, after trimming or other preparation ; to let them lie there, if
shrivelled or drooping, until they have recovered their natural crispness then
to throw them into rain or river water, or other water made soft artificially by
the addition of a small pinch of carbonate of soda; to keep them boiling without
the lid (with roots this is immaterial, though it is one means of keeping greens
a good colour); to remove all scum as it rises ; to cook them enough; and to
take them up as soon as they are done through, instead of leaving them to
seethe, and lose their natural juices in the water.
To this there are exceptions. Peas and beans may be thrown into cold water when they are dried, but when green are best not thrown into cold water; and the former should be boiled in the least quantity of water possible. Potatoes require different treatment, according to their kind and the soil in which they grew. Very mealy or large potatoes, if thrown into boiling water, will fall to pieces outside, while still raw in the centre ; while small firm or waxy varieties (like the old Dutch) are best thrown into boiling salt water. If you buy potatoes of the grower, he will often tell you what treatment suits them. At any rate, an experiment both ways will soon settle the difficulty. But the qualities of potatoes vary, not only with soil and kind, but also with the period in the season. We have known potatoes, waxy and watery when first dug up, become light and floury in February or March, after the eyes had sprouted perhaps three or four inches. The reason is plain: superabundant moisture had been drawn off, and the starch, which forms one of its component elements, had had time to mature itself.
How to cook Potatoes.- It is well known that a good potato may be spoiled by bad cooking; and, by good management, a bad one may be rendered comparatively good. In fact, no vegetable depends more on the cooking than a potato. In the first place, if the skin is taken off them before boiling, it should not be peeled, but scraped, for the following reason : if peeled, it is reduced in size considerably; besides, the outside removed is the very best portion of the root. An iron saucepan is preferable to a tin one for cooking them, as it prevents their boiling so fast ; but the best way is, first to wash them very clean, then to put them on the fire with just cold water enough to cover them; when it has begun to boil, throw in a handful of salt, and add a pint of cold water, which checks their boiling, and gives them time to be done through, without allowing them to crack. As soon as done, rather under than over, which may be ascertained with a fork, pour the water off them, and replace the pan on the fire for a short time, until the remaining moisture is evaporated. If not immediately wanted, do not place the hid upon them, or the steam will be confined, but cover them with a cloth. New potatoes require great caution not to over-boil them, or they will be tasteless and watery.
Mashed Potatoes . -After boiling as above, peel them into a bowl, mash them immediately with a wooden spoon, adding salt, a small quantity of hot milk, and a little bit of butter oiled. When served on the dish, it will be an improvement to brown their surface before the fire, or in a gentle oven; or they may be put in a buttered tin or pudding-basin, set into the oven, and then turned out on to the dish.
Stewed Onions (Oignons en Matelote).- Peel some large onions, taking care not to cut their tops too short, in order that they may not fall to pieces. Throw them into boiling water, and let them boil a minute or two. Take out and drain them ; lay them side by side in a stew-pan, with a lump of butter, a bunch of sweet herbs, pepper and salt. In another saucepan, brown flour in butter, with a little chopped onion; when nicely coloured, moisten with common claret, Burgundy, or cider; let the sauce thicken, and then pour it through a strainer over the onions in the stew-pan, which you will set upon the fire, and let them stew gently. Give the finishing touch with a gherkin chopped small, and a dash of vinegar. In your dish hay as many slices of toast as there are onions; put an onion on each, and pour the sauce over the whole. The sauce should be thick, and is improved by the addition of strong stock or good gravy to the wine or cider, on mixing it with the browned flour and butter.
Stewed Turnips (Mitonnage aux Navets). - A French form of mashed turnips, which might be called with propriety, turnip sauce, and is very nice with boiled mutton, veal, or poultry. Peel turnips, cut them in pieces, and set them on to boil in salted water. When they are [-183-] tender, take them out, and in the water in which they have been boiled, simmer some crumbs of bread over a gentle fire. Mash the turnips, warm them in another saucepan with butter and pepper, then mix them up with the boiled bread. Stir two or three egg-yolks in a little milk, mix these and another bit of butter with the bread and turnips. Let the whole stew gently a minute or two to thicken, and serve.
Turnip Tops. - In spring an excellent vegetable is furnished by the shoots of turnips. The time to take them is the moment they show signs of running to seed, because their season is very short, especially if the weather is dry and sunshiny. When once sticky and thready, they are over. They are never dear, and in the country may often be had for the gathering. In gardens, it is worth while making a small late sowing, or heaving a patch of turnips, to make "tops," because they come in when other greens are scarce. After freshening up the turnip tops in cold water, throw them into a large kettle of boiling soft water, and keep boiling, uncovered, until quite tender. When done, put them into a cullender to drain, squeezing them gently with your ladle. Then transfer them to a vegetable-dish; press them with the bottom of a plate, holding the dish upright, to let the water run out. Dust the surface with a little pepper, and spread a lump of butter over it. Cut the flattened turnip tops across both ways with a knife, so as to divide them into small squares, and serve. Any left cold may be heated up next day in a saucepan, after being chopped fine with a little butter and salt; they are even better so than they are the first day.
There are other garden roots whose spring shoots, on starting up to seed, are not only available but good as vegetables ; those of salsify for instance, if soaked and served exactly like asparagus, are delicious.
Celery is a most useful and agreeable plant ; the imperfectly blanched portions give a tempting flavour to stews and broths, while the brittle leaf-stalks are the Englishman's favourite accompaniment to bread and cheese. The following is an approved American recipe for its use:- Cut blanched celery as fine as possible, add salt, and send it to table, where vinegar and egg can be added if desired. Unless served as soon as prepared, it will be apt to turn brown. Ornament the dish with green celery leaves. Onions can be prepared in the same manner, and make a fine salad for those who relish them. Cooked celery is more digestible and equally palatable.
Celery stewed Brown. - Cut the white part of celery into three inch lengths, tie them with thread into little bundles, after a good rinsing in a pail of cold water, and throw them into boiling broth to cook till tender, which will take some twenty or five-and-twenty minutes. Untie the bundles as you take them out and arrange them neatly in the middle of a dish. Brown a little butter and flour in a saucepan, dilute with the broth which boiled the celery, stir in a little mushroom catchup, pour it over the celery, and serve.
Celery stewed White.- Prepare as before, and tie in bundles, throw them into as much boiling water or veal broth as will just cover them. As it diminishes by evaporation, fill up with milk, taking care to prevent its boiling over or burning. Keep the quantity of the boilings as small as possible. When the celery is tender, arrange it on the dish, thicken the liquor with flour and butter (not too much of the former), season lightly with pepper and salt, and pour it over the celery. The flavour of the vegetable should not be overpowered by the sauce.
Cauliflowers and Broccoli.-These vegetables are distinguished more by the season at which they come, than by any distinctive quality in the nature of their substance. The cauliflower is tender and cannot resist our winters whereas, broccoli stand mild winters, although they too are cut off by our severer frosts. Consequently the cauliflower season lasts from about the middle of June to the middle of November. Some broccoli, planted early in May will show their faces in autumn, and continue coming in (according to the weather and the variety cultivated) from that time till May, or even June. Green and purple broccoli are delicious, but small; they are also rather a late summer and autumn than a spring crop. The usual plan is, to throw the heads trimmed, leaving a narrow circlet of shortened leaf-stalks round them into a pail of salt and water, to draw out the insects. The heads are then boiled and served whole.
A better plan is to cut up your cauliflower heads into sprigs, heaving to each sprig its portion of stalk, and to the outer sprigs their little hit of green. As you do so, throw them into a pail of cold water, without salt. After leaving them there awhile to freshen, put them into a large saucepan containing plenty of boiling soft water. Let them boil fast, with the lid off, till the fork tells you they are tender, which will take from five-and-twenty minutes to three-quarters of an hour. Then take them up with a perforated ladle or strainer, in which you will let each lot of sprigs drain a few seconds before depositing them in their dish. When the whole are neatly piled therein, put a lump of butter the size of an egg with a breakfast-cupful of cold water into a saucepan, dust in gradually a bumping teaspoonful of flour, stirring continually all the while. When smooth, add a dessert-spoonful of vinegar and a dust of pepper. Let this sauce boil up once, pour it over the cauliflower in the dish, and serve.
Cauliflowers and Cheese.- Arrange the cooked sprigs on the dish, as above. Put into the sauce instead of vinegar, a table-spoonful of grated cheese. Pour this over the cauliflowers. Sprinkle the surface with a mixture of bread-crumbs and grated cheese, and set it before the fire, or in the oven, to be slightly browned.
MUSHROOMS AND PICKLES.
Broiled Mushrooms are best done in a dish, in
the oven of a cooking-stove, or before a brisk fire in an American oven. On the
gridiron, they are difficult to keep from breaking and losing their juice before
they are done enough. Select mushrooms completely opened, free from grit and
maggots, and yet nearly arrived at maturity. Respecting these, Mr. Alexander
Forsyth says, "The small mushrooms so much prized in noblemen's families
for bottling, are by no means thrifty as food for working people, bearing as
they do the same relation to full-grown mushrooms that well-fed veal does to
beef. When the gill of the mushroom has got its rich colour and its delicious
odour, and whilst the curtain hangs round the outer edge like a fringe, the
mushroom is in perfection, and all that it then requires is heat enough to cook
it, and a little salt to eat it with ; and with such a sauce as this, dry bread
or boiled potatoes are able to do the work of a rich meal at a very small cost.
If you look at some fields in autumn, the crop of mushrooms reminds you of the
manna that the people gathered every morning and, at the present high prices of
flesh-meat, a good dish of savoury mushrooms would be to many a poor person as
if the windows of heaven had indeed been opened to them. The common
field-mushroom is easily known by its flesh-coloured gill and its sweet smell.
The Scotch bonnets (Agaricus oreades) are easily told ; and although they
look a little coarse, they are quite safe to be eaten." Peel off the upper
thin skin from your mushrooms, remove the stalks, and lay them in your dish flat
on their backs. On each lay, according to their size, several little bits of
butter as big as hazel-nuts, dust slightly with pepper and salt, and set into
the oven. As soon as the gills drop and their juice runs from them (in from
seven to fifteen minutes) they are done enough; serve in the dish in which they
are cooked. If the oven is fierce you may cover that dish with another on
Stewed Mushrooms - Mushrooms in any eatable stage make good stews ; we prefer a mixture for the sake of the catchup from the elderlies, and of the pleasant fleshiness of the younger samples, amongst which a fair proportion of buttons maybe admitted. Prepare as before, removing the stalks from the advanced mushrooms only. Put them in a saucepan with a little good broth and its floating fat, a bit of butter, and a parsimonious sprinkling of pepper and salt. Set them on the fire; when they begin to warm, close down the lid to keep in the steam; give a toss and a shake from time to time. In about ten minutes they will be tender and juicy; serve garnished with buttered toast in small squares or triangles.
Mushroom catchup (Practical and Good). - The quantity of catchup yielded by mushrooms, and the proportion of salt to make it with, depend entirely on the weather if rainy, they will be full of juice; if dry, they may contain very little. Over half a bushel of mushrooms throw, say, three handfuls of salt, and break them up with a wooden spoon; taste them the second day to know if they are salt enough. If you have more mushrooms come in, you may add them to the first from time to time. Leave them in salt two, three, and four days, frequently stirring, i.e., three or four times a day. Then squeeze them through a cloth, so as to get all the liquor from them. Boil this liquor half an hour. When you set it on the tire, add for each half-bushel of mushrooms two ounces of bruised ginger, the same each of whole pepper and allspice, four ounces of cloves, a quarter of an ounce of mace, six shalots, and two or three cloves of garlic, both chopped small. The object of these last is to give a relish without their being actually tasted; some cooks overdose their catchup with cloves, but if it is to taste of nothing but spice, the mushrooms, in point of fact, might be omitted. After the half-hour's boiling strain off the spice, and let the catchup stand to settle; when cool, bottle it off into bottles containing half a pint at the very most, and seal the corks in the way to be shortly indicated. When you are able to gather mushrooms yourself, do not pull them up by the root, but cut them off just above it with a very sharp knife, for two reasons first, the mould adhering to the root will fall amongst the gills of your mushrooms, and render them too gritty for eating - you cannot cleanse them from that grit. Secondly, mushrooms mostly grow in clusters, especially when cultivated by pulling up a mushroom you disturb the roots of the whole cluster, and prevent the development of several that would otherwise come on; whereas, by cutting, there is no disturbance of the roots, and the successional mushrooms follow in due course. Do not throw mushrooms pell-mell into a basket, but deposit them in regular layers with the top downwards and the gills and stalk uppermost they will carry much better so, and make fresher-looking specimens.
Mushroom Toast.-Peel off the thin upper skin from your mushrooms, and cut short the stalks. Set them on the fire in hot vinegar and water. As soon as they have boiled up once or twice, take them out, let drain, set them on the fire in a saucepan with a lump of butter, toss them well in it, dust in flour, moisten sparingly with good stock broth, season with pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and a morsel of garlic. When the stew boils take it off the fire, thicken with egg-yolks and a teaspoonful of vinegar. Pour the whole over a large round of buttered toast, and serve hot.
Pickled Mushrooms. - Housekeepers often complain of the difficulty of keeping pickled mushrooms, especially middle-sized ones (not buttons), from moulding; nevertheless, while the season lasts, it is convenient to lay in a stock of both, using the larger mushrooms first, and reserving the pickled buttons. Procure either of them as fresh as may be ; cut off the root only of the stalks of the buttons, and wipe off with a cloth any soil that may adhere to them. Set on the fire enough vinegar to cover them, with salt and spices ; as with catchup, the latter must not be in excess, or they will completely extinguish the mushroom flavour. When the vinegar approaches boiling, throw in the buttons, and let them boil two or three minutes ; then take them out, put them in small, warmed, wide-mouthed bottles, pour the hot spiced vinegar over them, and cork them provisionally. Next day fill up with some of the reserved vinegar, till it will all but touch the bottom of the cork; the second day do the same, if there is any vacancy, so as to leave as little air in the bottles as possible. Then cork down for good and all and hermetically seal the tops of the corks. When a bottle is once opened it should be speedily consumed; you may therefore, without wastefulness, liberally dose your mushroom sauce with buttons. For open mushrooms, which should not be too forward (pink or liver-coloured rather than black), peel off the thin outer skin, remove the stalk, cut the top into convenient sized pieces, put them into warmed, open-mouthed bottles, and pour over them hot vinegar, salted and spiced. Then treat as above.
Wax for sealing Fickle-jars and Bottles. - In an [-196-] earthen vessel, over a gentle fire, mix two pounds of resin with a quarter of a pound of yellow bees-wax or a couple of ounces of tallow, to soften the composition; a tallow dip answers perfectly, as it is better the wax should be a little too soft than a little too brittle. When well combined let it cool so as to be only just liquid, when you may dip the necks of the bottles in it up to the rim round the neck. It maybe coloured with yellow ochre, red lead, washerwoman's blue ball, or ivory black. Great care is requisite not to dip the bottles in the wax until it has cooled sufficiently, for if too hot it will cause the necks of the bottles to split.
Pickled Walnuts - The great point with these is to gather the green nuts at the exact time, neither too soon nor too late. A few sunshiny days, by solidifying the carbon imbibed by the tree, will make all the difference. If the nuts are gathered too young they will melt in the pickle if too old, the shells will be formed, and will resist the dissolving action of the vinegar for years. The test of their fitness is when a large pin (not a needle) can without difficulty be thrust through the walnuts in any direction; if it cannot, they are too forward. Of the two, it is better to be a little before time than a little after time. In the former case, the walnuts are good so long as they last ; in the latter, they are often quite useless. After gathering, wipe the green walnuts, one by one, with a coarse cloth which you are not afraid of staining. Lay them in the sun, or at a distance from a slow fire, two or three hours to dry, turning them occasionally. This will cause them to absorb the pickle more readily. Then put them into a brine of salt and water, strong enough to float an egg, remembering that a stale egg floats in weaker brine than a fresh one. Turn them about in this brine once a day, with a wooden spoon, and let them remain there several days, or a week, till they are quite black all over. When their complexion is what could be wished, take them out of the brine, put them, in single layers, in sieves, or on coarse sackcloth, to dry and drain in the sun; turn them once or twice, handling them gently. When tolerably dry, arrange them in the pickle-jars, or wide-mouthed bottles, in which they are to be kept. Put the requisite quantity of vinegar to cover them in a well-tinned saucepan, with the approved spices - whole pepper, bruised ginger, cloves, mace, &c. When wanted very hot, capsicums and scraped horse-radish are added, but they destroy the natural flavour of the pickle. Set the saucepan on the fire, and as soon as the vinegar begins to boil, take it off When nearly cool pour it over the walnuts, giving to each jar its share of spice, and covering them completely. When cold, tie down the jars with moistened bladder, or cork the bottles, and dip their heads and necks in the mixture of resin, &c., for sealing them hermetically, already given. If a few pickled walnuts are wanted for speedy use, pierce each one throughout with a needle, crosswise and lengthwise, before putting them into the jar, and pour the vinegar and spice over them hot, after warming the jar to prevent it cracking. Walnuts not only make a pleasant pickle to be eaten with cold roast meat, but a little bit, say the quarter of a walnut, crushed smooth, with a dessert-spoonful of the vinegar, greatly relieves a hash of mutton, beef, goose, duck, or wild fowl, besides improving the colour of the gravy.
Pickled Onions.-With pickles, as with every other object in life, it is well to make up your mind what you wish for. Some like pickled onions soft, some hard and nutty ; they are pretty when white, and bottled in colourless vinegar, but often taste of nothing but of that and hot spice; in brown vinegar, with less fiery condiments, you can taste as well as see that you are eating pickled onions. Gather the onions dry; expose them to sun and air for a fortnight or so. Peel them without too much waste. For soft pickled onions (brown), throw them into boiling salt and water; after another boil up take them off the fire, and let stand till nearly cool. Drain well on a napkin, put them in jars or bottles, and pour over them hot vinegar with spice boiled in it. When they are cold, it will be well to fill up with vinegar if required, and cork or tie down close.
For hard, hot, white pickled onions, after peeling, salt them, and leave them there two or three days. Take out, drain, pack in bottles, and pour over them white vinegar or pyroligneous acid, in which plenty of capsicums have been steeped.
Pickled Red cabbage.- Cut the cabbage, leaving it with a stalk, in dry weather ; remove all the outer leaves, till there is nothing remaining except the central hard ball which you mean to pickle. Hang the cabbages singly, if there be more than one, by the stalks, in a current of air in the shade. A draughty passage answers well. At the end of a fortnight or three weeks, take down the cabbages, and shred them with a carving-knife to the proper thinness, into a shallow earthen vessel. Some housekeepers then sprinkle the cabbage with plenty of salt, and leave it in it several days. The result is that the salt draws out a good deal of the sap of the cabbage (and with it the natural flavour), leaving room in the sap-vessels for the vinegar to replace it. It is not this salt, but the vinegar and spices, which make the pickle keep. We ourselves do not salt pickled red cabbage, but put a little salt into the vinegar instead. Pack the shredded (and salted) cabbage in the jars as tightly as possible. Boil the spices in the vinegar, and pour them over the cabbage hot. A small quantity of cabbage. for immediate use may be boiled in the vinegar three or four minutes. Those who like red cabbage firm in substance, should pour the vinegar over it cold.
Pickled French Beans.-These, which we consider among the poorest of pickles, more frequently appear in company as mixed pickles, than alone. They are associated with cauliflower sprigs, radish pods, gherkins, small green capsicums, and others. Gather them young, leaving a bit of the stalk, and not pinching off the pointed end. Salt them in brine, drain them, pack them in their jar with bruised ginger and other spices, and pour scalding hot vinegar over them. Those who have gardens do well, towards the close of summer, to keep an omnium-gatherum pickle-pot containing vinegar, in which to throw any of the articles which make up mixed pickle, as they become fit. When the collection is large enough to fill a jar, it can be packed therein in approved disorder; hot vinegar, with or without spice (for several pickles, as tarragon, nasturtiums, and capsicums, require no spice), can be poured over the medley, and the jar made air-tight for future use. Note that when a mixed pickle jar is opened, the cauliflower and the French beans are sure to be left the last.
Pickled Radish Pods.-In most gardens a few radishes remain which have grown too big and sticky to eat. Let them stand, if not for seed at least for pickle. Gather the pods when the seeds within theta are full grown but soft - i.e., in the condition of green peas. Pour over them scalding salt and water, and let them stand in it till cold; then take out, and drain. When drained, pack them in their bottle, and pour over them hot spiced vinegar. Tie down the cover provisionally. In a few days a good deal of vinegar will have been absorbed by the pods, and must be replaced by more. When there is no more shrinking of the vinegar, the jar may be corked or tied down for good.
In our next paper we shall go on with the subject of pickles and preserves, and having thus come to an end of our recipes in plain cookery, we shall proceed to the more advanced branches of the art, commencing with a list and description of the implements which are most necessary in a kitchen.
PICKLES (continued from p. 196).
Pickled Gherkins.- One of the few pickles in
esteem in France, where a peculiar sort - the cornichon, short and thick
- is grown exclusively for pickling; cucumbers being rarely eaten sliced, as
with us. The smaller the gherkins (from an inch to an inch and a half long), the
more they are esteemed: to insure which smallness, they are daily gathered from
the beds, and thrown immediately into strong salt and water. When you have
enough to fill your jar or jars, take them out of the brine, and drain them.
Peel shalots (or small onions), in the proportion of about one in ten to the
number of gherkins. Have a few sprigs of fresh tarragon. Pack the gherkins in
the jar, interspersing with them the shalots and a few tarragon leaves. When
the jar is nearly full, lay on the top some sprigs of tarragon. Pour
boiling vinegar over all. Spice may be boiled with it, but is not needful. If
the gherkins are not green enough, you may pour off the vinegar after
awhile, and return it to them boiling hot. Our neighbours themselves care little
about the colour; though, to please their customers, they sell gherkins
in bottles made of green-tinted glass.
Pickled Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Beet-root - We put these three articles together, on account of the difficulty of keeping them (especially the two last) pickled, without moulding. The remedy is, to extract the natural juices by the application of salt, which also robs them of their flavour. Cucumbers are cut, without peeling them, either into lengths across, and the seeds removed with an apple-scoop ; or lengthwise, also removing the seeds. After several saltings, they are put into a jar, and covered with hot vinegar, seasoned with spice. Green tomatoes, left whole, are treated similarly. The addition of either of the three to other pickles, is apt to mould them. They require attention, for the moment mould appears, they must be taken out of the jar, wiped, put into a fresh jar, and their vinegar poured over them, after boiling up. Garden beet alone hardly makes a pickle. The best way of using it is to bake it in a very slow oven, and then to slice it as wanted for incorporating with salads, &c. Green potato berries have been pickled to pass for tomatoes, which is a very dangerous practice.
Pickled Samphire.- The true samphire (Shakespeare's Crithmum maritimum) is now a rare plant. When you are so fortunate as to come into possession of it, divide it into small sprigs, rinse them well, lay them to drain in the sun, and leave them there till the leaves begin to flag a little ; which, being succulent, they are in no very great hurry to do. Place them in their jar, and cover them with hot vinegar containing a little salt but no spice, so as not to overpower their natural aromatic flavour. This plant is an umbellifer - i.e., bears flowers arranged like those in celery, parsley, &c. What ordinarily passes for samphire is a glasswort (Salicornia herbacea) common enough in salt marshes and on low muddy shores not often covered with the tide. It is not aromatic, but is full of soda; whence its English name, derived from its having at one time been employed in the manufacture of glass. It has been assumed the true samphire's name of passe-pierre, from the belief prevalent amongst some people that the latter relieved patients troubled with gravel and stone. Pull glasswort into sprigs ; wash and drain them, and pour over them hot vinegar well charged with salt and spice. We have known glasswort to be boiled and eaten as a vegetable, from faith in its healing virtues.
Pickled Nasturtium Buds and Seeds.- The first make the more delicate pickle, the latter are the more highly flavoured. Both must be gathered daily; the buds before the petals protrude beyond the calyx, the seeds while they are still as soft as green peas. It suffices to throw either into good strong cold vinegar, and when the harvest is over, to cork them down tightly. To say that nasturtium (properly, tropoeolum) sauce makes a good substitute for caper sauce, is scarcely fair, because it is so good in itself, and the flavour so different to that of capers, that it may be left to stand upon its own merits. Other pretended substitutes for capers are the flower-buds of the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), a ranunculus, and the unripe seeds of a garden species of spurge (Euphorbia), falsely called by country folks the caper plant. We mention them only to warn the reader against both.
Baked Apples for Children.- Take
a large earthen pot, and fill it to within three inches of the top with
well-wiped apples of any sort you may have, but it is best they should be all of
the same sort, in order to cook equally. Neither peel them nor remove the
stalks. Pour over them, so as to cover them completely, a mixture of treacle or
brown sugar and water. If the apples are windfalls, you may allow a little extra
sweetening. It will be an improvement if you can put here and there amongst them
some pieces of orange or lemon-peel, and a few cloves. Cover the pot with a lid,
or with doubled brown paper tied over it with string. Set it to pass the night
in a spent baker's oven. If the oven is too hot, the liquid in the pot will boil
over or evaporate, and the apples be dried up or burnt.
Baked Apples - Take a flat, earthen dish, on this place, so close as just not to touch each other, a layer of apples which have received no other preparation than careful wiping. Set them in a gentle oven, in which they must be watched from first to last in order to cook them as slowly as possible, and prevent their bursting more than can be avoided. Much will depend upon the oven, something on the kind of apple. Serve, after cooling, on the same dish on which they were baked.
Baked Apples - Proceed as above, using a silver or a plated dish instead of an earthen one. When cold, sprinkle over them, for show, a slight dusting of finely-powdered lump sugar.
Stewed Apples.- Take a large shallow stew-pan that will hold six or eight apples, enough, in short, to make a dish. Peel the apples and take Out the cores with a scoop, leaving the fruit whole. Pour a film of water over the bottom of the stew-pan to prevent sticking and burning, then place the apples in it side by side in a single layer as closely as they will pack, drop in lump sugar to give the degree of sweetness liked, a few cloves, the rind of a lemon, and the juice of the same. Pour in enough water to cover them [-220-] stew till tender on a gentle fire, but not one minute longer. Take them out one by one, with a large spoon, without breaking them, and arrange them in the dish in which they are to appear. Let the juice boil a few minutes longer, to reduce it, remove the lemon-peel and cloves; when almost cold pour it over the apples. Added hot it might crack the dish if of glass or china. Invalids find apples so stewed much more tempting than if mashed to a jam.
Dried Normandy Pippins.- A convenient resource in invalid cookery, because they store well, and are to be had when apples with their skins whole are not. These, to turn out good, should be previously steeped in tepid water - if all night so much the better, if not, several hours. The time they take to stew will much depend on the length their steeping. For stewing use the water in which they have been steeped, with the addition of more if necessary. Season, flavour, and serve as in the preceding recipe for stewed apples, applying the fire heat with even greater gentleness.
Dried Apples (not Normandy Pippins).- The kind most in use for this preparation (for which Norwich has long been celebrated) is the Norfolk biffin (beau fin), a very late, hard-fleshed apple. Drying apples in this way is a work of patience, and is a specialty with certain confectioners. The apples, by pressure between weighted boards and the slow but long-continued application of a heat, become perfectly circular cakes of dark brown flesh, enclosed in an unbroken skin.
Apple Jam.- Peel, core, and quarter apples; flavour as a above; put them into a stew-pan with enough water to keep them from burning, continue stirring and mashing with a fork until the whole mass is reduced to a smooth pulp. You may then either stop and put the jam into pots for present use - indeed, this is never intended for keeping - or, by slow evaporation, you may bring it to such a thickness that, put into shapes, it will stiffen when cold and so turn out an apple cheese.
Apple Jelly.- Peel, quarter, and cut up into small pieces a quantity of pippin apples. Put them in a stew-pan with a teacupful of water. When cooked to a mash put them in a jelly-bag, and let them drain all night; they must not be squeezed. Next morning put the juice in a saucepan, taking care not to put the sediment into it, in order that the apple juice may remain clear; put in sufficient sugar to bring it to the sweetness of currant jelly. Boil until it will jelly when cold, and put away in pots or glasses.
Orange Apple Jelly (Excellent) - When the apple a juice, as above, is put into the saucepan to be boiled down with the sugar, throw in slices of orange with the peel on, and the pips removed; let all cook together. On potting it off let each pot of jelly contain a slice or two of - orange. Both of the above are delicate sweet relishes to eat with bread.
Blackberry Jam - For people living in the country in the neighbourhood of woods, although the fruit varies in abundance with the year, blackberry jam will be one of the cheapest. Its flatness and insipidity may be relieved by the mixture with it of a portion of apples, which will raise it to the rank of a second-rate jam. Any brisk flavoured apple will do, but the Wellington or Dumelow seedling is particularly recommended for the purpose. Several jams and preserves are the better for being mixed, and the mixture often assumes quite a character of its own. Thus apple and orange jelly (just given) an excellent compound; rhubarb and strawberry jam also combine advantageously.
Strawberry Jam. - With jams and other fruit preserves, exactly as with wines, there are good, indifferent, and bad years. In a cold, wet, and sunless summer, it is difficult to make jams with the real perfume, although they may be made to keep by longer boiling, and an extra allowance of sugar. On the other hand, in fine summers, although it is false economy to diminish the prescribed allowance of sugar, the high flavour and firmness of the jam wilt testify to the influence of the genial season. In all cases the fruit should be gathered after one, two, or three dry days ; never after a spell of rain. Over-ripe fruit is as much to be avoided as under-ripe. The former is vapid, has lost its flavour, and is often tainted with bitterness and the elements of decay. Gather your strawberries on a sunshiny afternoon, handle them gently, pick only handsome, well-ripened specimens, and do not commit the mistake of supposing that "any fruit is good enough for jam." Pick them from the stalks with equal care, the object being that the preserved strawberries shall remain whole. In this state they will be much more sightly in sweet omelettes, lay tarts, with creams, &c. Weigh your strawberries, and for every pound of fruit allow three-quarters of a pound of lump sugar, well broken up into small pieces or coarse powder. Put a layer of strawberries at the bottom of your stew-pan, then a thin layer of sugar, then more strawberries; and so on till all are in the pan. Set it on a gentle fire. Shake and stir with a spoon to prevent burning, taking care not to break the fruit. As scum rises, remove it till there is no more. Let the jam boil, with all due precaution, from thirty to forty minutes, or even a little longer, according to the proportion of moisture contained in the fruit, and requiring to be driven off by evaporation. When you judge the proper consistency to be attained, remove the stew-pan from the fire, and let its contents stand to cool a little then distribute them into your jam-pots or glasses. Carry these on a tray into a cool, dry store-room, and let them stand all night. Next day you will be able to decide whether the jam is in a fit state to be tied down. Sometimes in wet, inclement seasons, you will find it desirable to give the jam a second boiling to insure its keeping. If all is right, cut circles of white paper which will exactly cover the surface of the jam in the pots. Steep them in brandy, and apply them to it. Then tie down with doubled or trebled paper and string, and write on the top the name of the jam and the date of the year. Store the pots in a dry closet, to avoid mouldiness, and in a cool one to prevent fermentation.
Raspberry Jam. - Take the same proportions of fruit and sugar, and observe the same precautions as in gathering, except that, as the fruit cannot be kept whole, this jam being really a jam, small and imperfectly-shaped fruit, if good in every other respect, may be employed. Then proceed, finish oft and store exactly as with strawberry jam.
Ripe Gooseberry Jam may be made either with the red. yellow, or white varieties of the fruit, but separately, unless a medley is wished for. Thick-skinned varieties are good, for the same reason that citrons are preferable to lemons for supplying candied peel. Wet weather is, if possible, even more unpropitious for gooseberry jam than for the preceding. Reject all cracked fruits, they are insipid and worthless. Remove the withered flower at the top of each, and the stalk at the bottom with a small, sharp pair of scissors. If you attempt to do it with your thumb and finger nails, you will in many cases tear the skin of the fruit. Weigh the fruit, and for each pound allow an equal weight (a pound) of broken lump sugar. Then proceed as with strawberry jam. You cannot keep the fruit whole - i.e., you cannot prevent the skins from bursting; nor is it desirable that you should, because too large a proportion of water enters into their contents, and a great part of this must be evaporated. But break the skins as little as may be, then finish off as before. Gooseberry jam, properly prepared, keeps well. We have found some four years old as good as on the day when it was made.
Black Currant Jam.- Exactly as above. If you have the patience, cut off the withered flowers and stalks, which [-221-] is a great improvement. Black currant jam eats well in a rolled pudding; it is also useful to mix with water, as a cooling drink for invalids. Red and white currants are not often made into jam, but are rather reserved for jelly- making. Some people, however, have a preference for red currant jam, as there is a pleasant acid in the flavour of it; others, again, mix equal quantities of red currants and raspberries.
Apricot Jam.- The apricots should be ripe enough to halve with your fingers. Crack the stones and blanch the kernels in boiling water. Allow equal weights of sugar and fruit. In the stew-pan add the blanched kernels to the fruit, and proceed as before.
Greengage and Plum Jam.- Wipe the fruit, weigh it, set it on the fire in a stew-pan covered with a lid, taking the usual precautions to avoid burning. When soft enough, crush the fruit with a spoon, and remove the kernels. Then add the sugar; three-quarters of a pound to each pound of fruit will do, but a pound is better. Let it boil slowly for forty minutes. If sufficient moisture is not driven off, all plum jams are apt to ferment. You may blanch the kernels of the plums, and incorporate them with some of the jam, on whose paper covers it will be found advisable to note the addition.
Quince Marmalade.- The strong odour emitted by quinces is a sign of their being fit for use. Peel, quarter, and core them, but save the pips. Put the quinces and their pips into a stew-pan, with a little less lump sugar than is directed for the preceding preserves, and just enough water to keep them from burning. As the sugar dissolves and the liquor boils, continue stirring the whole mass. When the fruit becomes tender break and mash it with a spoon. In about an hour it will be done enough. It may then be turned out into preserve-jars. The next morning it ought to be perfectly stiff, from the strong mucilage of the pips being thoroughly incorporated with it. Tied down in the usual way, it will keep good for a long time.
Damson or Bullace Cheese.- Let the fruit be quite ripe and sound, and any that is at all damaged must be carefully picked out. For every pound of fruit set aside a quarter of a pound of sugar. Put the fruit, without water, into a deep stone jar. Set the jar, nearly up to the neck, in a vessel of boiling water, after tying double paper over the top to keep out the steam. Or you may set it in a very slow oven. When the fruit is tender pour it into a bowl; remove the stones with a fork, but leave the skins. Then pour all into a stew-pan. Add the sugar, and boil, with care not to burn, until the whole is reduced to a thick pulp. The time required depends on circumstances. A dessert-spoonful set out of doors to cool, will tell you if your cheese is stiff enough ; if not, it must be boiled a little longer. When done put it into small shapes or moulds, in which it may be kept until wanted to be turned out, to appear at luncheon or dessert.
Currant Jelly.- Jellies from currants (red, black, or white) are all prepared in the same way. Strip the currants from the stalks, and for every pound of fruit set aside three-quarters of a pound of sugar. Some cooks allow as much as a pound of sugar to a pound of fruit or a pint of juice. Or, after the juice is extracted, you may allow three-quarters of a pound of sugar to every pint of juice. Put the stripped currants into a stew-pan, and let them boil for twenty minutes. The juice from red and black currants can then be squeezed through a cloth; that from white currants had better only drain, with very gentle pressure, to keep it clear. Return the juice to the stewpan, add the sugar, boil up and skim. After cooling a little, your jelly will be ready to pour off into jars or glasses. The sugar is added to the juice, because it is clear that by boiling it with the fruit you lose all which remains adhering to the skins and pips of the currants when the juice is strained away.
COOKERY. - XIV
IT may surprise many readers to learn that in France, which enjoys the
greatest reputation for its cookery throughout the whole of many extensive
regions, a simple wood fire, composed of logs lighted on the hearth, and
supported at one or at each end by "dogs" (chenets), is made to
cook most excellent dinners, not only of much variety, but even in places where
numerous guests have to be provided for, as in inns and like establishments. A
wood fire on the hearth makes capital roasts by means of horizontal spits turned
by clock-work. The caldron, supported on a tripod, or hung from the pot-hook —
a complicated contrivance called a cremaillere — furnishes broths,
soups, and boils vegetables. Stew-pans at the skirts of the fire concoct dainty
small side-dishes. The glowing embers, drawn on one side, serve to broil chops
and steaks, and to make any sauce that is quickly dished up. Tarts and pastry,
cakes and paths, are baked in the oven used for bread. Even in Paris, almost all
the rotisseurs, who sell roast meat and fowls either whole or in
portions, and who often also carry on the trade of restaurateurs, do all their
roasting on horizontal spits before wood tires. And where the fire is small in
appearance, when it is kept up all day long, and the spit in front of it is
never empty, it is astonishing what a quantity of food it can be made to cook in
the course of twelve hours.
The great merit of the old English range is its capability of cooking large joints perfectly, roasts especially. In a baker's oven a large joint is spoilt; in the oven of a cooking-stove it is apt to be burnt, or unequally done. An open range, extensible at the sides, will roast anything well, from a spit-ful of larks to a haunch of venison or a baron of beef. For a numerous household requiring few dishes, and those solid — such as the twelve or fourteen pound pike boiled whole, the haunch of four-year-old mutton, the potatoes and greens, and the huge plum-pudding—the open range answered admirably. It has done good service in its day, and if circumstances induce us to put it on one side, we should be unjust not to mention it, although it was a great consumer of coals; also the circular swinging trivets at its sides often supplied excellent melted butter and first-rate mashed potatoes. The open range is not a jack-of-all-trades, but it is master of several much-approved specialities. For instance, it admits of roasting with a jack and a spit, which makes the best of all possible roasts, especially with cradle or basket spits, which roast a joint without piercing it. With very little assistance the meat bastes itself, whereas with the bottle-jack there is a constant tendency to drain it of its juices, which no basting can completely remedy. The chimney of an open range requires frequent sweeping ; but it is very much. better to sweep it often than to have the contents of a frying-pan suddenly spoiled by a downfall of soot.
For middle-sized families of modest pretensions, who prefer comfort to show, and variety in their meals to monotonous abundance, the most useful apparatus is the cooking stove, of which there are different forms made both by English and foreign manufacturers. A very good pattern is perhaps that represented in our illustration. Some of the advantages of these ranges may be enumerated : they require no brick-work to fix them; roast, bake, boil, and steam with one fire, carry off all heat and smell from the kitchen; can be fixed in a very few hours after the fireplace is cleared out ready for them; and being quite detached and independent, can be removed when required, in the event of a change of residence. The pattern illustrated is made from four to six feet wide, and has a wrought-iron oven on one side of the fire, with movable shelves, wrought -iron roaster on the other side of the fire, with movable shelves, double dripping-pan and meat-stand, thoroughly ventilated by means of air-tubes and valves (by closing which the roaster becomes an excellent additional oven) ; strong wrought-iron back boiler, capable of heating water for baths, bedrooms or the nursery, or of supplying steam for steam-closet and steam kettles; gridiron for broiling ; hook, key, and raker ; dampers, register door, &c. The top consists of a hot plate, on which boiling, stewing, &c., may be done.
The stove shown in Fig. 9 is very convenient for broiling chops and steaks, but requires the use of charcoal, a few handfuls of which are spread beneath the gridiron, and lighted. In a few minutes the fire is ready [-233-] to do its work, and can be let out as soon as it has done it. This apparatus is usually placed near the main chimney, but a pipe from it can be carried outside through a hole in a wall or a window.
For outdoor cooking, as at picnics or on exploring parties, we recommend either of the ré-chauds or camp-stoves represented, especially Fig. 7. When of small size, Fig. 8, they must burn charcoal; if of larger dimensions, coal and coke will do. They are also useful in houses which have a back yard or court, when only a few small things are to be cooked, and it is wished to avoid lighting the kitchen fire, as in unusually hot and oppressive weather. They will heat water for tea or coffee, boil eggs, warm up soups or stews, fry chops, sausages, or omelettes, make sauces, and render good service by supplementing a cold dinner with sundry hot things. And, this being performed in the open air, all heat, smoke, and smell are avoided indoors.
Toasting is akin to roasting, and may be done (as with cheese and other articles that melt) in a Dutch oven, Fig. 5, or with a fork. Large forks should not be admitted into modern kitchens, where they only do mischief. Certainly, meat that is being boiled for broth or soup, may be pricked and its gravy let out as much as the cook pleases; but she will obtain her end better by having her soup, meat, and bones well divided at the butcher's, into pieces small enough for the boiling water to exert its action throughout their substance. But meat, fowls, or vegetables, that are to be served as "boils" in distinction to "roasts," should never be pierced with a fork or any other culinary utensil, until they are carved in their dish at table. The gravy which runs from them then, and the juiciness of the meat, will show the difference of their treatment.
Small joints, fowls, whole cabbages or cauliflowers, &c., may easily be removed from the boiler by a broad, flat ladle, pierced with holes, in one hand, and a long-handled kitchen spoon in the other. Large joints of salt beef, legs of mutton, turkeys, calves' heads, &c., should be tied with broad tape before putting in to boil. This will not only keep them in shape, but aid in getting them out of the boiler (perhaps with the help of an assistant), neat and entire, without receiving a puncture.
There is the toasting-fork, of which the cook may be allowed more than one, with handles of different lengths, to keep the fire at its distance on all occasions. There are toasting-forks with telescopic handles, composed of joints slipping one into the other ; but they are rather for breakfast-room than for kitchen use. The common cheap toasting-forks made of iron wire have only three prongs, whose insufficient hold often lets the half-done slice fall into the cinders—an accident which is still more vexatious when the object toasted is a kidney, a rasher of bacon, or a slice of underdone meat. A five-pronged fork, like that in the woodcut, Fig. 6, will hold the toast more securely. The bend in the handle allows it to be toasted by the side of, instead of in front of the fire.
A pastry oven, heated with charcoal, is useful in country houses not within easy reach of the pastry-cook or confectioner. Amongst the articles occasionally used in a kitchen, a gaufrier, or iron for making gaufres, or wafers, may be reckoned. There may even be two irons ; one for making thick gaufres, resembling pancakes in quality, the other for wafers proper. Gaufre tongs are made of cast iron. Any ironmonger doing business with France could easily procure them, which might be cheaper than ordering them to be made here.
The cook must have nut. crackers to prepare almonds and walnuts for dessert; lobster and crab-crackers for breaking the claws of those crustaceans; also a lemon-squeezer, a similar instrument, only made of wood, for pressing the greatest possible quantity of juice out of oranges and lemons. The inside of the squeezer has an oval hollow to keep the fruit under pressure from slipping aside.
To have clear jellies, either savoury or sweet, a flannel jellybag is indispensable. Instead of being hung on a peg in the wall, or on the back of a chair, it is better put to drain on a three-footed stand, with a support beneath to hold the vessel which receives the liquid as it strains away. We have shown this in Fig. 1.
One, two, or three shallow saucepans, made of stout [-234-] copper or iron, well tinned inside, are extremely useful and convenient for roasting in; on the Continent they are considered indispensable in a kitchen. They will be of different sizes in respect to breadth ; the saucepan is large enough if the joint or fowl can be easily turned in it. A depth of six or eight inches will suffice for the largest ; less for the smallest size. Fig. 3, with a flat bottom, must be used when it has to stand on a trivet belonging to a range; but Fig. 4, with the rounded bottom, will fit into the circular hole over the fire of a cooking-stove, which hole should be provided with flat rings of different breadths, movable at pleasure, suited to receive different-sized saucepans, and also to regulate the direct fire-heat applied to the bottom of large boilers or stewpans. The rounded bottom has the advantage of allowing every part of its surface being brought into contact with the joint to be so roasted ; none of the fat or gravy remains unemployed in the corner at the bottom. In preserve-making, the whole of the jam is more easily scraped out, and the inside of the saucepan itself is more readily cleaned.
This mode of roasting is very generally employed by Continental cooks for' small things, such as a leg or shoulder of lamb, a moderate sized fillet of veal, ducks, wild fowl, &c. Small birds, especially — larks, thrushes, and the like — are generally done that way. And a mere handful of fire suffices. At the bottom of the saucepan enough butter or sweet dripping is put to keep the joint from burning. As soon as the fat is hot, the joint is put in and kept constantly turned, until it is browned all over evenly, and thoroughly done. This, of course, requires constant watching. A roast in a saucepan cannot be left to itself. If the fat dries up, more must be added. When carefully done, a roast in a saucepan is not to be distinguished, either in appearance or flavour, from a roast done before the fire. Many even prefer the former. The convenience of the mode, the economy of fuel, and the escape of the cook from exposure to a great blazing fire, are obvious. Those who once try it will continue the plan, if only for the sake of its providing them with a succession of nice little fresh roasts, instead of having to get through heaps of cold meat. Saucepans for roasting in need no lid ; still, the lid will be useful when stews are to be done in them.
Lemon Mince Pies.—Squeeze a large lemon, boil the outside till
tender enough to beat to a mash ; add to it three large apples chopped, and four
ounces of suet, half a pound of currants, four ounces of sugar ; put the juice
of the lemon and candied fruit as for other pies.
Egg Mince Pies.—Boil six eggs hard, shred them small, shred double the quantity of suet ; then put currants, washed and picked, one pound, or more, if the eggs were large ; the peel of one lemon shred very fine, and the juice ; six spoonfuls of sweet wine, mace, nutmeg, sugar, and a very little suet ; orange, lemon, and citron candied.
Orange Cheesecakes.—When you have blanched half a pound of almonds, beat them very fine, with orange-flower water, and half a pound of fine sugar, beaten and sifted, a pound of butter that has been melted carefully without oiling, and which must be nearly cold before using it ; then beat the yolks of ten, and whites of four eggs ; pound two candied oranges, and a fresh one with the bitterness boiled out, in a mortar, till as tender as marmalade, without any lumps ; and beat the whole b too-ether, and put into patty-pans.
Orange Biscuits, or Little Cakes.—Boil whole Seville oranges in two or three waters till most of the bitterness is gone ; cut them, and take out the pulp and juice ; then beat the outside very fine in a mortar, and put it to an equal weight of double-refined sugar, beaten and sifted. When extremely well minced to a paste, spread it thin on china dishes, and set them in the sun or before the fire ; when half dry, cut it into what form you please, turn the other side up, and dry that. Keep them in a box, with layers of paper. They are for desserts, and are also used as a stomachic, to carry in the pocket on journeys, or for gentlemen when shooting, and for gouty stomachs.
French Rolls.—Rub an ounce of butter into a pound of flour ; mix one egg beaten, a little yeast that is not bitter, and as much milk as will make a dough of a middling stiffness. Beat it well, but do not knead; let it rise and bake on tins.
Sponge Cake.—One pound of butter, one pound of loaf sugar, nine eggs, one ounce caraway seeds, one pound and a half of flour. Wash the butter, and beat it up with the hands ten minutes before the fire ; break the sugar to powder, then add it to the butter. Drop one egg in at a time without first beating them, but beat the ingredients all together all the time you are mixing. Add the seeds, then the flour ; no beating after flour is put in.
Macaroni Pudding.—Simmer an ounce or two of the pipe macaroni in a pint of milk, and a bit of lemon and cinnamon, till tender; put it into a dish with milk, two or three eggs, but only one white, sugar, nutmeg, a spoonful of peach water, and half a glass of raisin wine. Bake with a paste round the edges. A layer of orange marmalade or raspberry-jam in a macaroni pudding, for change, is a great improvement ; in which case omit the almond water ratafia, which you should otherwise flavour it with.
Queen Cakes.—Mix a pound of dried flour, the, same of sifted sugar, and of washed clean currants. Wash a pound of butter in rose-water, beat it well, then mix with it eight eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately, and put in the dry ingredients by degrees ; beat the whole an hour; butter little tins, tea-cups, or saucers, and bake the batter in, filling only half. Sift a little fine sugar over, just as you put it into the oven.
American White Cake.—The following is said to be a good recipe, and it is a simple one :—Two cups sugar, two and a half cups flour, half a cup butter, three-quarter cup milk, whites of eight eggs, one teaspoonful cream of tartar, half a teaspoonful soda.
Yeast.—This may be made without having any recourse to any product of alcoholic liquors. To prepare flour yeast, boil one pound of good flour, a quarter of a pound of brown sugar, and a little salt, in two gallons of water for an hour. When milk warm, bottle the mixture and cork it close. It will be fit for use in twenty-four hours. A pint of this will make eighteen pounds of bread.
Barley Water.—Put two ounces of pearl barley into two quarts of water. Set the mixture on the fire, and when it boils, strain it well. Then add a little more water, and a bit of lemon-peel, and let it boil slowly until it is reduced nearly one half. It may then be removed, and again strained, and flavoured with sugar and lemon-juice.
Everton Toffy.—The pan must be warmed and rubbed with a little butter, after which put in one pound of brown sugar, and two table-spoonfuls of water. Let the sugar boil over a slow fire until it becomes a smooth thick syrup, when half a pound of butter is to be stirred into it. After boiling another half hour, drop a little on a plate, and if it sets hard, and comes off clean, it is done enough. Pour it out into a wide dish or tin well buttered, so as to forma cake about half an inch thick. It maybe flavoured with twenty or thirty drops of essence of lemon, stirred in as soon as it is taken off the fire.
Oatmeal Porridge. —Place some water on the fire, and as soon as it boils, throw in, a little salt. Then take some coarse oatmeal, and sprinkle it in the water by degrees, stirring it all the time with a large spoon, until it thickens like hasty pudding. It should then be removed from the fire, and poured upon plates at once. [-235-] It may be eaten with cold milk, treacle, or butter, and is an excellent food for breakfast.
Frumenty or Furmenty.—Boil a quart of wheat until the grains are well swollen. Take two quarts of milk, a quarter of a pound of currants or raisins, picked clean and mashed; stir these together and boil them. Then beat up the yolks of three or four eggs with a little milk, adding suet and nutmeg to flavour them. Add these to the boiled wheat, place the whole upon a moderate fire, stir it well for a few minutes, and then sweeten it with sugar. It may be poured out and eaten hot, though some like it as well cold.
Arrowroot with Milk.—Set a pint of milk on the fire, and when it almost boils, pour it upon a dessert-spoonful of arrowroot which has been well mixed in a little cold water. The milk must be poured in gradually, stirring it all the time, after which it is to be placed upon the fire again, and stirred for a couple of minutes. The arrowroot mixes better if sugar is stirred into it before it is moistened with water. Patent barley and sago may be treated in a similar manner.
To Pot Veal.—Cold fillet makes the finest potted veal, or it may be done as follows : Season a large slice of the fillet, before it is, dressed, with some mace, peppercorns, and two or three cloves ; lay it close into a potting-pan that will just hold it, fill it up with water, and bake it. three hours; then pound it quite small in a mortar, and salt to taste ; put a little gravy that was baked to it in pounding, if to be eaten soon, otherwise, only a little butter just melted ; and, when done, cover it all over with butter.
Veal Sausages.—Chop equal quantities of lean veal and fat bacon, a handful of sage, a little salt, pepper, and a few anchovies. Beat all in a mortar; and when used, roll and fry it, and serve with fried sippets, or on stewed vegetables, or on white collops.
IN England, a large quantity of good wholesome broth is thrown away, or given
to the pigs. The poor will hardly accept it as an addition to their usual fare ;
they only care to have it when they are ill, to be taken medicinally, as a
sudorific. On the other hand, in the south of France especially, no broth that
is eatable is wasted. Even after boiling fish, the liquor is carefully set
aside, for the purpose of making bouilli-baisse and other fish-soups.
It is on account of the uneatableness of the broth and its consequent loss, that smoked ar ' salted meats are less economical for family use than fresh meats. Through the peculiar manner in which they must be boiled, a great quantity of nutriment passes into the broth, which is therefore absolutely unusable. Not only is the liquid too [-254-] heavily charged with "salt;.' but it, has taken from the smoked meat rancid particles which render it unwholesome. Even with our moderately salted boiled beef and legs of pork, the boilings, otherwise good, are so salt that only a small proportion of them can be used for making pea-soup, &c. Better soups of that class are made by using fresh meat, and salting them to taste. Dried meats not salted, are not open to the same objection.
It cannot be denied that a slice of corned beef or of salted, unsmoked boiled leg of -pork, makes now and then a very pleasant morsel to eat. But families whose means are not too ample, but who still wish to support their health and strength by a plentiful, supply of nutriment, might do well to consider whether they should not make that savoury morsel only an occasional treat, and boil their beef unsalted, as is customary over a great part of the Continent. The boiled beef need not be always an insipid dish, and the nutriment contained in the broth is very considerable.
Amongst other offices which our food has to fulfil, is the very important one of warming our bodies. Now the heat taken in—to say nothing of the nourishment—in broths, soups, and warm beverages, is a saving of just so much fuel-food ; apropos of which, we will quote the following from the appendix to Dr. Edward Smith's "Practical Dietary :"-
"There is less waste in boiling than in roasting food, and still less in gently stewing than in boiling or roasting it, since the fluid in which it is stewed contains the nourishment which has been drawn out of the food, and is eaten. Do not purchase salted meat. Hot food is both more agreeable and digestible than cold food. Eat hot food generally, and particularly in cold weather, except in the case of bread, where it would be wasteful to do so. Children, and, old and feeble people need hot food more than strong adults. When you are very poor, and have not enough to eat, do not drink cold fluids."
French cooks occasionally put a bit of salt pork into their pot-au-feu, always into their cabbage soup but it is quite a small piece, just big enough to render the seasoning with salt unnecessary. A good deal of the salt given out by the bacon is absorbed during the long process of cooking, by the much larger proportion of fresh meat and vegetables which attract it.
When such things as a leg, neck, or shoulder of mutton, a breast or knuckle of veal, or a couple of fowls are served as " boils," the boilings may be converted into stock broth for diluting sauces, and forming the groundwork of many soups. Those from calf's head and ox cheek require peculiar treatment, which will be indicated. Those from turkey have a decided flavour of the bird, which, however, is not distasteful to many. The stock-pot may also receive any lean trimmings of meat, giblets of poultry and game, bones in general (crushed or chopped) if sweet, and any other well-flavoured remnants. Many butchers sell bones for soup making, but it is not an economical plan to buy them.
Stock broth should be kept simmering as long as the kitchen fire is in. It is improved by the addition of good vegetables, and slight yet perceptible seasoning. It lends its aid to all kinds of soups, from pea-soup to mock-turtle. Many things cannot be done without it ; it lends an additional charm to many more. And yet broth is held to be only the A B C of cookery.
If, instead of using for broth what you happen to have, you set to work to make it with fresh materials, you cannot do better than adopt the pot-au-feu.
The Pot-au-Feu (or the pot on the fire) is the name of a mode of making soup and cooking meat and vegetables, which is practised in France by every family which is raised above absolute poverty. Beef is generally the foundation of the pot-au feu. Choose a fresh-killed piece, weighing three or four pounds, of the "round," in default of which, the shoulder is to be taken, or a couple of thick slices of the shin. We often use the loin, cutting out that fillet for steaks or roasting, and making soup with the bone and upper; portion boiled entire. Now, although the pot-au-feu may be made with beef alone, other, things may be added;. as the size of the, vessel admits;' as a small joint of lean mutton, a little bit of salt, pork, and a fowl - which latter should be old; an old partridge or pigeon, or both, give the finishing touch as far as meat is concerned. A wild rabbit 'is quite admissible. If you have fresh bones, put them in, too. Put these on in your soup-kettle, allowing not more than one quart of cold water to each pound of meat. While it is coming to a boil, or before, peel and prepare your vegetables, and throw them into cold water, three or four carrots halved lengthwise from four to six whole onions; three or four leeks ; a stick of celery; one bay-leaf; a small bunch of parsley and thyme: You may add two or three turnips sliced ; but note that turnips put into soups or stews cause them to turn sour sooner than they otherwise would. Skim the pot as it comes to a boil .(the slower the better) ; when no more scum rises and it boils, throw in your vegetables, then skim again if necessary. You may put in a few cloves and peppercorns; but a pot-au-feu should not be highly seasoned. Colour with some sort, of browning—caramel or burnt sugar is sometimes used. Burnt onions are better. A bit the size of half a walnut suffices. A nice browning for soup may be made from pea shells. After shelling peas, choose the cleanest and freshest looking shells, and put them (not heaped) on a coarse earthen dish into a slow oven, and bake them gently till they are crisp and brown. They will then keep for some time in paper bags in a dry place . From four to six pea-shells will brown a pot of soup. Five or six hours of slow but constant boiling are recquisite to bring the broth to perfection. Some epicures let it simmer as long as seven or eight. It should then be clear, limpid, of a golden amber colour, exhaling pleasantly the combined aromas of the various meats and vegetables. This is the true French bouillon. At the bottom of the soup-tureen put two or three crusts, or some toasted, bread, or a penny roll cut in halves lengthwise and re-baked. Over the top of the tureen hold a fine-holed cullender, and, into this ladle the soup till the tureen is full. All floating scraps or shreds will thus be strained off. Before serving, let the tureen stand near the fire until the bread is thoroughly soaked. Some prefer the bouillon. the: first day, some the second: In the south of France it is often slightly flavoured with garlic, which has the same inconvenient effect as turnips, of making the broth turn sour sooner. If other meats besides beef are used, they are reserved to make their appearance under, different disguises. After the soup, the boiled beef is served alone —the bouilli— accompanied by the vegetables, cooked with it handed round in a separate dish. As condiments for this simple dish, mustard, gherkins, and other pickles may be used, during the season, slices of melon; and. in the South, ripe fresh figs. It is understood that as soon as the skimming is done, the pot-au-feu is to be covered down close with the lid that it is always kept boiling gently, and never galloped; and that both meat and vegetables are the freshest that can be had. One tainted bone or strong stale turnip would spoil the soup to-day, and make it still worse to-morrow.
Ratatouille.—This is a popular French mode of making a savoury mess out of remnants of cold meat, especially of cold bouilli, or beef which has passed through the pot-au feu. It is not essential that the meat should be all of the same kind, or of the same date; but it must be perfectly sweet. If the cold meat has little or no fat of its own, procure a small quantity of uncooked fat meat, such as the thin ends of the ribs of beef, or a cut out of a loin of veal. Cut all the meat into pieces of a size to be [-255-] helped as portions with a spoon. At the bottom of a stewpan (or better, of an iron round-bottomed pan) put a good lump of butter, or ,roast-meat dripping, on it slice one or two large onions, brown them, then put in your uncooked meat, if any, and brown it. Dust in a dessertspoonful of flour, brown it also with the meat and onions, stirring all the while. Then pour in gradually, continually stirring, as much water or broth as will nearly cover the whole. Have ready, freshening in cold water, a few peeled potatoes, whole if very small, or otherwise halved, quartered, or sliced ; half-a-dozen or more middle-sized onions ; a turnip sliced; a sliced carrot; a small stick of celery; a bay-leaf and a bunch of sweet herbs. In fact, you may use almost any vegetables, only avoiding those which discolour or give a bad flavour to the water in which they are boiled. When green vegetables are scarce, you may help them out with dry, as haricots steeped overnight and perhaps ready cooked. Put all these into the preparatory stew in the fait-tout, and stir from time to time, to prevent burning, and to bring them all successively in contact with the heat. When done, season sparingly with salt, but rather liberally with pepper, to give a decided relish. Then put in your cold meat, stirring till it is equally distributed amongst the vegetables. Take the fait-tout off the fire, as it must not boil any more. Stir now and then, to help the meat to get impregnated with the sauce. Let it stand simmering at the side of the stove until the liquor is so reduced by evaporation, that the dish in which the ratatouille is to be served will contain it all, vegetables, meat, and gravy. You may then dish it up.
Ratatouille Curry.—Some persons do not like curry ; those who do, are not agreed as to its degree of heat. To please all tastes, before reducing the gravy of your ratatouille, take out a teacupful and stir into it gradually a dessert-spoon or more, of curry powder. You can keep this warns in a sauce-boat plunged in hot water. At the time of serving your ratatouille, send up with it this curry sauce, and a vegetable-dish containing boiled rice. Those who like curry, can make one on their plate with the meat and vegetables from the stew.
Chicken Broth.—This is best made from an old cock or ben, but quickest from a young one. In either case let the fowl be fresh ; it may be used immediately after killing. Empty and singe it. Save the heart and liver, clean the gizzard, cut off the neck close to the body, and the legs at the knee-joints ; cut the neck into three pieces, split the head, cut off the beak, take out the eyes. If you do not mind the trouble, cut off the claws, and scald the feet and legs to remove the outer scaly skin. If you mean to throw , away the fowl afterwards (which no French cook would do), you may cut it up into joints ; if not, truss the wings, and tie it into a presentable shape with string previously rinsed in warm water. Set on the fowl and its appendages, in a boiler or large saucepan, with plenty of cold soft water without salt. As it comes to a boil, skim carefully. Afterwards let your fowl boil or simmer over a gentle fire for six hours if the bird was old ; for a less time if younger. Take out the liver after half an hour's boiling. Steep a coffee-cupful of rice in cold soft water, set it on the fire in cold water ; as soon as it begins to boil, strain off the water, and throw the rice into the broth a good hour before the broth is done. Instead of rice, a little pearl barley or oatmeal groats may be used. Besides rendering the broth more nutritious, they will absorb or mechanically combine with a portion of the chicken fat, thus making it smoother, less oily, and consequently lighter of digestion. When the fowl is tender, without being boiled to rags, take it out whole ; if not, let it boil to rags. Take the broth off the fire, let it stand an hour to settle, then skim off the surface fat and set it aside with a small quantity of the broth. Pour it off, leaving only the sediment at the bottom ; broths for invalids are not the better for being clear. It is then ready either for immediate use in the shape of broth, or to serve as the basis of a variety of soups. Season with salt (and pepper, if wished) at the time of serving. Catchup may be added at the rate of a teaspoonful to each half-pint of broth.
Boiled Fowl and Rice.--When your fowl is done tender, take it out. Fasten the liver and heart to one wing, the gizzard to the other. Have steeped a good quantity of rice. Boil it in water, beginning cold. When all but cooked, or in about a quarter of an hour, pour off the water, let the saucepan stand at the side of the stove with its lid raised to dry the rice, shaking it occasionally. Then add to it a portion of the broth and its surface fat which you had set aside, together with a good lump of butter. Stew the rice' in this till it is completely done, moistening with broth if t it become too thick. Season: with salt, a little pepper, and a very little grated nutmeg. A boiled white onion mashed to a pulp may also be stirred up with it. When thoroughly hot and the rice quite tender, lay it on a dish under and around your fowl, saving a little to spread over its upper surface to mask any breakage in the skin or flesh.
N.B.—Butter or some other form of fat should always enter liberally in the sauces or accompaniments for meats which have been deprived of it, as well as of other parts of their constituents, by boiling, for the case is not the same with stewing. This is important, not merely as a question of taste, but as an essential of sound nourishment.
BROTHS AND SOUPS.
Roast Boiled Fowl (after Chicken Broth).—If
the fowl is hot, take cold butter ; if it is cold, melt some butter in a cup.
Smear the fowl all over with this, dredge it with flour, and put it to roast
with a bottle-jack before a brisk fire. As soon as it begins to brown, baste it
well with a little of the reserved broth and surface fat. A lump of butter
rolled in flour and laid in the catchpan will greatly help the effect of the
basting. Have ready a warm dish, in the middle of which you place a bed of the
freshest, well-drained watercress. As soon as the fowl is nicely browned, and
frothing all over, lay it on the watercresses, and serve, after pouring over it
the contents of the catch-pan. For sauce to be sent up at the same time: To a
breakfast-cup-full of rich melted butter, put two dessertspoonfuls of pickled
button mushrooms (if you have not them, one pickled walnut, or a few gherkins
cut in pieces, may be used instead), one dessert-spoonful of the pickle
vinegar,. and two ditto of catchup.
Mutton Broth.—Take a pound of neck of mutton without the outer layer of fat; cut it, bone and all, into thin slices or cutlets. Set it on the fire in a quart of cold water, and let it boil gently for six hours. When it is reduced to a pint, prevent its further diminution by filling up with hot water from time to time. When presented to the patient, he will season it with pepper and salt to taste. The fat may be partially removed by skimming while hot, and entirely when cold ; but the broth will be more nourishing if it is made to combine during the cooking with some farinaceous substance, as pearl barley' or oatmeal groats.
Another Recipe.—To three quarts of cold soft water, put two pounds of scrag of mutton, cut up with the bones into pieces half the size of a walnut two table-spoonfuls of pearl barley, a dessert-spoonful of washed rice, a large- teaspoonful of oatmeal groats, an onion sliced, a leek cut into lengths, a leaf of celery (the green tip as well as the blanched stalk), half a turnip and a small carrot, or half a large one cut into dice, a teaspoonful of salt, and a sprig of thyme. Boil gently till all the solid substances have fallen to pieces, then strain through a coarse cullender.
White Veal Broth.—Take either neck or knuckle of veal, and treat exactly as for mutton broth. Veal is not usually put into the pot-au-feu, its broth being reserved for invalids.
Brown Veal Broth.—Fry sliced onions in butter tiff they are browned, not burnt. For three quarts of water, take two pounds of veal in slices with a fair proportion of cartilage and bone ; brown them on both sides in the butter and the frying-pan which cooked the onions. If you have a cold (fresh, not stale) roast meat bone (not mutton nor pork) or a few remains of cold roast fowl or game, you may add them. Then proceed as for the mutton broth, maintaining the quantity at two quarts. When done, a tablespoonful of catchup is a nice addition.
Dr. Dobell's Beef Tea.—Put one pound of minced rumpsteak into an equal weight (one pound) of water; macerate it for two hours at a temperature not exceeding one hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit, to yield one pint of beef tea.
Beef Tea.—Use for this, not an iron saucepan, but an earthen pot with a well-fitting lid, which will stand without cracking the heat of the iron plate on the top of the cooking-stove. Fill it from one-third to a quarter full of good lean beef cut into shapely pieces the size of a small walnut, in order that they may be presentable afterwards in a ratatouille, or as potted beef, seasoning slightly with salt and a few whole peppercorns. Then pour on cold water nearly to the brim, and set it on the plate or top of a cooking-stove to simmer gently several hours, taking off any scum and fat that may rise. The beef is not to be [-259-] overdone, but is to be left in the pot until all the beef-tea from it is finished. Stir with a spoon before serving a portion, in order to have the nutritious particles, which may have sunk to the bottom, suspended in the tea. Where there is no cooking-stove, the beef-tea may be slowly cooked by setting the earthen pot containing it in a large iron vessel of boiling water (as " jugged hare" is cooked), or, if the lid is luted down with paste, it may be made in a very slow oven.
Van Abbot's Invalid's Soup.—Into three quarts of cold water, cut small one pound of gravy beef, one pound of scrag of mutton, and a half or quarter of a calf's foot (for which two ounces of isinglass may be substituted). Gradually boil, skimming well. Then add three ounces of vermicelli, three tablespoonfuls of mushroom catchup, twenty-four corns of allspice, and a sprig of sage. Simmer four or five hours, till reduced to one quart. Strain through a fine hair sieve, and carefully remove all fat ; add salt to taste. This soup may be taken either cold as a jelly, or warm as a soup ; but note the importance of warm food for all persons of weakly constitution.
Meagre Soup (Soupe Maigre).—Before beginning, wash thoroughly all your green vegetables, peel your roots, and throw them into cold water. The proportions of each must depend very much upon what you can get. The soup, when finished, should be of the thickness of ordinary pea-soup. Take five or six handfuls of common sorrel, two large lettuces, from which the withered leaves only have been removed, a small bunch of chervil, and two or three sprigs of parsley. Shred all these very fine. Slice and chop onions, carrots, and leeks, very fine. Throw all these into your soup-kettle of boiling water with some whole potatoes of a mealy sort, a bay-leaf, a sprig of thyme, and a good lump of butter. Season with pepper and salt. Stir from time to time, to prevent any of the ingredients from sticking to the bottom. When they are all thoroughly cooked, crush as many potatoes as you want to thicken the soup ; the others, if it is a meagre day, may be served up with fish or eggs ; if not, with meat. The soup may be also thickened with bread—which makes it more nourishing—steeped in a little of the liquor, and then broken up and mixed with the soup.
Sorrel and Potato Soup.—Stew a couple of handfuls of sorrel in butter, then add enough water to make your soup, and mealy potatoes cut in slices. Stir frequently. When the potatoes are cooked, crush and mix them with the soup. Season with pepper and salt. Throw in a few very thin slices of bread. When they have soaked and boiled up once, serve your soup.
Small White Onion Soup.—Take a soup-plate full of small onions such as you would pickle. Peel them, throw them into boiling water, and let boil a minute. Then fry them in butter with a dust of sugar sprinkled over them. Brown a little flour in the butter. Fry also a few slices of bread, and pour over all a sufficiency of stock broth.
Leek and Potato Soup (Meagre).—Cut eight fine leeks into pieces an inch long. Peel and slice an equal quantity (by measurement, not number) of white, mealy potatoes. Set them on the fire in a saucepan with water, salt, and pepper. Boil until the leeks are quite tender and the potatoes can be easily crushed with a spoon. Add a good lump of butter, and stir well together. Put a few very thin slices of bread at the bottom of your soup-tureen. Pour the soup over them, and serve.
Turnip and Potato Soup (Meagre).—Put a lump of butter at the bottom of your stew-pan, and in it brown a couple of sliced onions. Stir in as much water as you want to have soup. Add an equal quantity of sliced turnips and mealy potatoes and a few slices of bread. When all is thoroughly cooked, pass it through a cullender, season with pepper and salt ; give it a boil up, and serve.—N.B. This soup is not certain to keep good beyond the second day.
Carrot Soup.—Made as above, only the carrots take longer to cook. Besides pepper and salt, flavour with a couple of bay leaves, a bunch of sweet herbs, and two or three cloves.
Onion Soup.—Cut a dozen middle-sized onions into shreds. Brown them over the fire with a good lump of butter, turning them constantly till they are tender and nicely browned. Add a dessert-spoonful of flour ; let it brown too. Stir in water gradually (or broth, if meagre soup be not preferred). Season with pepper and salt, and let it boil up a little while ; then add a little sliced bread let it soak for awhile, and serve.
Rice and Onion Soup, Brown.—Prepare your onions as before ; stir in hot water or broth. Boil till the onions are quite tender ; season, crush all through a cullender, Set it on the fire again, with the addition of rice that has been previously steeped in cold water. When the rice is tender, the soup is cooked.
Rice and Onion Soup, White.—Take an equal quantity of chopped onions and steeped rice. Boil them till tender in water, or veal or chicken broth. Season with pepper, salt, and a blade of mace. Add new milk to your soup in the proportion of one-third. As soon as it boils up (not over), it is ready. All the above soups require assiduous stirring.
Green-Pea Soup (French way).—Fry or brown in the saucepan in butter, some sorrel, and chervil— a handful of each. Stir in the required quantity of water. Season with salt, pepper, and a lump of sugar. When it boils, throw in your green peas. Put a few thin slices of bread at the bottom of your tureen, and when the peas are cooked, pour the soup over them.
Pumpkin Soup.—Take half or quarter of a pumpkin, according to size. Peel it, and remove the pips. Cut it into pieces the size of a walnut, and set them on the fire with water in a soup-kettle. When the pumpkin is completely reduced to a pulp, add four ounces of butter and a little salt. Stir it while it boils a minute or two longer. Boil a quart of milk with a little sugar and a pinch of salt, and then mix it with your pumpkin puree. Put bread dice (toasted or not) at the bottom of your soup-tureen, and pour over them the mixture of pumpkin and milk. This soup may be further flavoured with a dessertspoonful of orange-flower water.
Cauliflower Soup is a very striking instance of continental economy in "boilings." After boiling cauliflowers, add to the water a pinch of chopped parsley and a lump of fresh butter. Season with pepper and salt, and boil for a few minutes. Put bread at the bottom of your tureen and pour the soup over them. It will be still better if you brown sliced onions and flour and stir in your soup on them as a foundation after proceeding as before. When the soup is quite done, it is usual to throw in a few sprigs of cauliflower.
Provencal Soup.—Boil six or eight cloves of garlic in water with a little salt, and a sprig of summer savory (Satureija hortensis). Cut thin slices of bread into your soup-tureen, dust them with a pinch of pepper, pour over them olive oil in proportion to their quantity, and pour the broth over them, leaving out the garlic and the savory.
A Garbure is another southern dish, which is something between a soup, a stew, and a bake. It is one of those messes into which you may put anything; only there must be meat, there must be vegetables, and there should be brown rye-bread. To make such a dish properly a very large vessel is required. It is seldom made in this country.
Garbure a la Béarnaise (after the fashion of Béarn). Scald the hearts of four cabbages and of a dozen cabbage-lettuces. Take a good bit of bacon, lay it on its back, and slice it down to the rind without cutting through it ; put it, with the cabbages and lettuces, into a soup-kettle, [-260-] with a thick sausage made with the legs of a goose, and a thick slice of ham, well steeped to draw the salt out. Do not use garlic. Cover with good fresh broth, and stew the whole together, adding two onions, each stuck with a couple of cloves, a few slices of turnip and carrot, and a bunch of parsley. When cooked, take up your vegetables and meats, and keep them separate. Strain the liquor through a cullender. Take a deep dish that will stand the fire ; arrange the vegetables round its bottom ; fill up the interstices with grated rye-bread ; moisten with your liquor ; put green peas, crushed to a puree in the middle; on them lay your ham, bacon, and legs of goose ; cut the sausage into slices and lay it round the edge of the dish. Put it into a slow oven until it is slightly browned. Send it up, accompanied by the broth, served separately.
Tomato Soup.—Boil a few tomatoes ten minutes in a little broth, and then pass them through a cullender to strain away the skins and the seeds. Add this puree to your broth, with a few chopped onions and a bunch of sweet herbs. In default of tomatoes use tomato sauce. When the onions are tender, season with pepper and salt; a nice addition is a little chopped cabbage or a few sprigs of cauliflower, previously boiled separately. If you want it more substantial, as for a family meal in cold weather, you can throw in a few dice or neat-looking pieces of cold meat, game, or poultry, stewed quite tender, and with the bones removed. In this latter case, dice of toasted or fried bread should be sent up in or with it.
Gravy Soup.—Put into a stewpan any brown gravy and dripping you have left from roast beef or veal, or both; in it brown chopped onions and a little flour. Stir in gradually any good stock you may have, seasoning with salt, pepper, and mushroom catchup. Serve, accompanied by dice of fried or toasted bread.
Cheese Soup (Meagre).—Take about half a pound of rather dry Gruyere cheese; not to be had, any good, light-coloured (not red) English or other cheese, not too strong in flavour, will do ; pare off the rind, and grate the cheese. At the bottom of your soup-tureen strew a thin layer of this grated cheese; over it lay a very few slices of crumb of stale bread, cut excessively thin ; then more grated cheese, and more thinly-sliced bread, until all the cheese is in the tureen. The whole of this should occupy one-fourth of the depth of the tureen at most, to allow for its swelling, which it does considerably. Into a stewpan (a round-bottomed one is preferable) put a good lump of butter, without being afraid of using too much ; dust in a little flour, and stir it over the fire until it browns ; then throw in a good quantity of chopped onions. When they are browned, gradually stir in enough water to nearly fill your soup-tureen ; add a little burnt onion [sold either in cakes or (bottled) in balls] for browning ; season with pepper and salt ; let it boil, stirring all the while. Pour it, boiling, over the layers of cheese and bread in the tureen, put on the cover, let it stand two or three minutes before the fire, to soak and swell the bread and cheese ; that done, serve at once. The contents of the tureen are not to be disturbed till it is set on the table and the cover removed.
The following is a soup which has its merits,
and is really better than it reads:—Take plaice, small conger eels, and
whiting, in equal quantity ; i.e., equal weights of each when cleaned ;
wash, drain, and cut them into convenient sized pieces—in truth, any kind of
sea fish will do, only excluding those whose skin is particularly strong and
rank in flavour. Put water and olive-oil into a saucepan, in the proportion of
half a pound of oil to a quart of water—those who have an insuperable
prejudice against oil may substitute butter ; add a clove of garlic, some
chopped parsley and fennel, a bay leaf, and a few small onions. When it boils,
throw in the fish, and leave it till it is cooked, which will take about a
quarter of an hour. Take out the fish, to be served separately; put slices of
bread at the bottom of the tureen, and ladle your broth over it through a
Shrimp-tail and Tomato Soup.—You have ready any good broth or stock, that from beef or veal to be preferred. Light at the same time a couple of fire-places in your range ; on the one set a saucepan of salted water for your shrimps; add a bunch of sweet herbs and two slices of lemon. When it boils throw in the shrimps. On the other a dozen tomatoes (fewer will do ; if scarce, three or four will communicate their peculiar flavour), four large white onions cut in slices, a lump of butter, a clove of garlic, a bunch of sweet herbs, and just enough water to cook them in. When the shrimps are cooked, take them out, strain the liquor through a sieve, and set it aside. Peel the shrimps and set the tails aside. When your tomatoes and onions are cooked, press them through a cullender; set them on the fire again, with a bit of meat jelly, or a little roast beef or roast veal gravy, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and let them thicken a little over the fire. Then stir in your broth or stock and half a tumbler of the liquor in which the shrimps were boiled ; mix well together as it is coming to a boil. At the third or fourth bubbling, throw in the shrimp-tails, and the soup is made.
Oyster Soup.—For each guest allow six or eight oysters, according to size. In opening them, save all the liquor, with which you put the beards setting the oysters aside; add rather more than one equal quantity of water to the beards and liquor, and boil them ten minutes. Strain away the beards, which you will then reject ; let the liquor, stand to settle; pour it off from the sediment at the bottom of the vessel. Fry chopped onions to a very light yellow in fresh butter; add a little flour ; stir in gradually the liquor from the oysters; make up the required quantity of soup with veal broth or other light-coloured stock ; season with pepper, salt, and mace or grated nutmeg. When it boils up, take it off the fire ; throw in your uncooked oysters. You may thicken further, if you like, by stirring one or two egg-yolks in a little of the soup, and then incorporating it with the rest. As soon as the oysters are quite hot through (they must not boil), you may serve the soup, accompanied by fried bread.
Mussel, or other Shell-Fish Soup, is made in the same way. The mussels or other shell-fish must be well washed, then put into a covered saucepan without water, and repeatedly hustled over the fire until they open. Mussels will take longer cooking to make them come away easily from the shells than cockles. Either will yield a large quantity of liquor than oysters. After tasting it, you will judge of the proportion you think fit to put into your soup. If you prepare your shell-fish over night, the liquor will have all the longer time to stand and get clear. Shell-fish soup may be made as above, with several kinds at once and together. It may be varied by the addition of a dust of cayenne, a large teaspoonful of essence of shrimps or anchovy, and a tablespoonful of finely-chopped parsley, thrown in when the soup boils. Our native shell-fish may also be treated in the way the Americans dress their clams.
Clam Soup (Mrs. E. F. Haskell).—Wash clean as many clams as are needed for the family ; put them in just boiling water enough to prevent their burning. The water must be boiling hard when the clams are put in the kettle. In a short time the shells will open, and the liquor in them run out. Take the clams from their shells and chop them very fine. Strain the liquor in which they were boiled through a thin cloth, and stir into it the chopped clams. Season with pepper; add salt, if needed. Thicken the soup with butter rolled thin in flout ; let it boil fifteen minutes. Toast bread and cut it in small squares, lay it [-261-] in the tureen, and pour over the soup. If the family like onions, they can be added; if celery, it can be varied by the addition of a little celery cut fine. Another change can be made by adding the yolks of well-beaten eggs stirred slowly into it, or rich cream can be added. Persons living on the sea-shore can make several dishes thus varied with little expense.
Eel Soup.—Select for this middle-sized eels, not thicker than a medium joint of ox-tail, nor thinner than a man's thumb. Buy them alive; kill by stunning them on the head. Skin, empty, and cut them into two-inch lengths, which throw into salt and water to purify and whiten for an hour or so.
COOKERY - XVII.
FISH SOUPS (continued from p. 261)
White Eel Soup.-Set a saucepan of water on the fire; season with salt, whole
pepper, a blade of mace, a strip of lemon-peel, and a bunch of the most fragrant
sweet herbs at your command. When it boils, throw in the eels. As soon as they
are done enough (and they are spoiled if done too much), just enough to
let the flesh come away from the bone, take them out, split them in two, and
remove the bone. Each length of eel will then make two pieces, which should be
left entire . Set them aside. Chop fine three or four white onions. Roll a [-283-]
lump of butter in flour. Put it in a stewpan with the onions ; moisten gradually
with a little of your eel broth. When the onions are tender, add the rest of the
liquor (removing the herbs and the lemon-peel), stirring it in gradually, with a
teacupful of fresh milk. Throw in your eel meats, and set the soup aside until
they are hot through. While they are so heating, you may further thicken with a
couple of egg-yolks, well worked into a little of the liquor. Taste if
sufficiently seasoned. You will find an almost imperceptible dust of sugar an
improvement. In fact, most white soups, even when seasoned with salt, are the
better for a sprinkling with sugar.
Brown Eel Soup.—Proceed as before, only, instead of boiling the eels, fry them brown, after rolling them in flour, bread-crumbs, or batter. Open, take out the bones, and set aside. Fry chopped onions brown in butter, browning afterwards enough flour to thicken your soup without egg-yolks. Stir in gradually either water or stock ; during the process, season as before. When it has had a good boil, remove the herbs, &c. Put in your eel, and if you will, you may add at the same time a glass of white wine. After one boil up, serve, accompanied by bread dice toasted or fried.
Similar soups can be made with other firm-fleshed, middle-sized fish, as small conger, soles, &c. By the same treatment, cold remnants of fish, of various kinds, both boiled and fried, may be economised by appearing in novel and palatable forms of soup. They can be enriched by any lobster, oyster, or anchovy sauce that is left. If you happen to have a few shrimps, pick a handful ; boil their shells ; with a little of the liquor give a slight flavour of shrimps to the soup, at the same time that you throw in your shrimp meats. These soups bear a dust of cayenne and sugar, and should be accompanied by bread or rolls.
Salmon Soup may also he made with the remains of a fish that has appeared at table. As soon as removed, and while still hot, take all the flesh from the bones and skin. The entire quantity should be something between one and two pounds. Divide it into two portions. One half, consisting of handsome bits and flakes, you set aside ; the other, broken odds and ends, you pound in a mortar with a little cream, any remnants of lobster (the coral especially), a teaspoonful of anchovy sauce, and two hard yolks of egg. have ready a sufficiency of good veal or chicken broth, flavoured with vegetables, to make your soup. Put butter in a stewpan ; brown flour in it ; stir in a little broth ; then mix in your pounded salmon, &c.; then the rest of your broth. Season with pepper, salt, and perhaps cayenne. Throw in your reserved flakes of salmon, and, if you like, a few force-meat balls. After one boil up, serve.—N.B. This soup may be made, partly at least, with the boilings of the salmon, if the fish were very fresh.
Bouille-a-baisse, or Bouillabesse.—Allow a pound of fish and four or five mussels or oysters (if used) per head ; six pounds of fish for a dinner of six guests. Red and grey gurnards, haddocks, whitings, codlings, mackerel, ling, carp, red and grey mullet, plaice, soles, weevers, small craw-fish, or lobsters, figure admirably in a Bouillabesse. Cut your fish into pieces of a size convenient to help with a spoon. Chop onions fine, and toss them over the fire in butter without browning them. Arrange all the pieces of fish (mixing the different kinds) in a little cauldron or wide shallow stewpan. Pour over them a liberal allowance of the best olive-oil. Add the chopped and tossed-up onions, a clove or more of garlic, a bay-leaf or two, a few slices of lemon, two or three tomatoes, or a little tomato-sauce, salt, a very small pinch of saffron (try, first, a single thread, or dried pistil of the flower ; the flavour is so peculiar that it must not predominate, and yet there must be saffron), and a glass of white wine. nu up with cold water until the fish is entirely covered, and set the stew-pan on a brisk fire. Skim as it comes to
a boil ; let it boil from ten to fifteen minutes (::e., take it off the fire when the fish is cooked enough—just before it is enough), and throw in a dessert-spoonful of chopped parsley, which will turn to a beautiful bright green. Arrange the pieces of fish on a dish by themselves. At the bottom of a deep dish, or soup-tureen, lay slices of bread a quarter of an inch thick, and over them pour the liquor of the Bouillabesse, removing the garlic, the lemon, and the bay-leaves. The two dishes are sent to table together, and the guests ought to help themselves at the same time to the contents of each.
Tapioca Soup.—Wash the required quantity of
tapioca in cold water. Let it steep therein a few minutes. Drain it ; set it on
the fire in a saucepan with a little more of the cold stock than will cover it ;
let it come to a boil slowly, then boil about ten minutes. When the tapioca is
quite clear and tender, put it into the rest of your hot stock, and serve.
Large-grained tapioca looks best in soup. Sago and semolina soups are prepared
in the same way.
Vermicelli Soup.—Break the vermicelli into three-inch lengths, or thereabouts. It is unnecessary to steep it ; but rinsing it in cold water will get rid of dust, floury particles, &c., and often be the means of keeping the soup clear. Put on your vermicelli in a little more of your stock, cold, than will cover it, and let it boil till quite tender without dissolving. It will take from a quarter of an hour to twenty minutes, according to its degree of dryness. Add this to your hot stock, and serve. Vermicelli soup and the following may be accompanied by grated white or yellow cheese, for the guests who like it to dust over the soup in their plates.
Macaroni Soup.—As above, only break into shorter lengths, and steep an hour or two in cold water before boiling the macaroni in the stock.
Julienne Soup (Potage a la Julienne).—Take an equal quantity of turnips and carrots ; a much smaller quantity of onions, leeks, and celery. Cut all these into little strips two or three inches long, and not more than an eighth of an inch broad. To save time, there are instruments for cutting roots rapidly into strips for Julienne, so highly is this soup esteemed. The vegetables may also be bought ready cut, preserved, and dried, which is convenient at certain seasons of the year (Julienne is really a spring and summer soup), and for sailors and other travellers. Add to these a small proportion of chopped lettuce, chervil, and sorrel. Toss the roots first in very fresh butter, then add the herbs, and moisten the whole with good clear stock. Boil an hour. Either pour the whole over crusts in your tureen, or omit the bread altogether, which is the more usual and modem practice. In that case, the proportion of vegetables ought to be greater, and you may add to those already mentioned green peas, kidney beans (boiled separately), sliced artichoke bottoms (ditto), green asparagus chopped short, &c. This soup is the better for a lump or two of sugar–just little enough not to betray itself.
White Soups can be made by employing milk, with rice, vermicelli, macaroni, arrowroot, sago, semolina, tapioca, and pearl barley. The process is the same as when broth is used, only greater care must be taken to prevent burning and boiling over. Add a little sugar and a dessert-spoonful of orange-flower water. Note that in all soups to which sugar is added, there still requires a dust of salt. These soups may also be thickened by raw yolks of egg, carefully and gradually stirred into a little of the liquor, which must not boil. Half milk and half stock is a good proportion for white soups.
INVALID BROTHS AND BEVERAGES.
Hasty Broth.—Of the fleshy parts of beef and
veal, with a fair proportion of fat, take a pound each, and chop
[-284-] them into pieces not much larger
than a haricot bean. Chop, nearly as small, carrots, turnips, onions, and leeks.
Mix all together with a little flour. At the bottom of a large stewpan put a
lump of butter well worked in flour and a pint of water. In this, half stew,
half toss-up, your chopped meat and vegetables, stirring continually, and
separating the bits of meat which stick together. Do this for twenty minutes.
You may either let them take a little colour in the floured butter before adding
the water, or you may brown with a bit of burnt onion afterwards. Then add three
pints of hot water, and let it boil for half an hour, stirring occasionally,
that nothing sticks to the bottom. Season lightly with pepper and salt. You may
either strain the broth away from the meat and vegetables, or serve them in it ;
when it will be a veritable ragout soup, especially if enriched with a bunch of
sweet herbs, a glass of white wine, and a table-spoonful of mushroom catchup.
Porridge.—Put a pint of water into a stewpan. When it boils, with one hand dredge into it two ounces of oatmeal, and with the other stir it with a spoon. Pour it out into a basin or soup-plate ; add salt or sugar according to taste, and pour over it half a pint of cold milk, mixing the milk and boiled oatmeal together little by little with a spoon. This will be found to make an exceedingly nutritious breakfast for children.
Gruel is usually made by pouring gradually a pint of cold water over two table-spoonfuls of oatmeal groats, and keeping it stirred till it has boiled two minutes. Mix one tablespoonful of the groats with two of cold water. Pour to it a pint of boiling water, and boil from five to ten minutes, keeping it well stirred. Increase or diminish the quantity according to the thickness of the gruel required. No straining is necessary. Pour it into a basin, and, to make it more palatable, add a pinch of salt, a dust of sugar, a bit of butter.
Barley Water.— Put a quart of cold water into a saucepan ; throw into it a teacupful of pearl-barley; let it come slowly to a boil, and then boil it gently for ten minutes. Pour it, barley and all, into a jug ; when cold it is fit for use. Leave the barley in the water until it is all drunk. Barley water may also be slightly flavoured according to taste.
SOUPS AND PURÉES.
Mock-Turtle.—Half a calf's head, with
the skin on, scalded, will be enough for a middle-sized family. As soon as the
head is received, remove the cartilage of the nostril, and put it to steep and
draw the blood, &c., out in a pail of cold water with a handful of salt in it.
Set it on the fire, well covered with cold soft water, without salt in it. Let
it come slowly to a boil ; remove the scum as fast as it rises. As soon as it
really boils, let it have a bubble or two, and then take it out. Reject the
water in which it was boiled. This is done to get rid of certain impurities,
which might prejudice people against the calf's head boilings being used in the
soup. After rinsing the boiler, return the calls head to it, and set it to boil
again in hot water with a little salt in it.
When the calf's head is done, which will take from two hours to two and a half (for it should be still firm and not fall to pieces), take it up, and set it aside to cool. When cold, take out the brains, and set it aside. Cut the flesh into handsome mouthful pieces, removing the white skin of the palate ; do the same with the tongue, and set all these pieces aside. The remaining trimmings may either be returned to the broth to enrich the soup, or, if there is enough, they maybe made into a small calls head cheese.
To make the stock for your soup. To the calf's head broth add as much water as you are likely to want, allowing for boiling down. Put to it a calls foot neatly prepared and split, or a neat's foot idem ; three pounds of knuckle of veal, cut across in slices, is better than either. Put in also two pounds of shin of beef ditto. Add carrots and onions peeled and sliced ; you yourself must judge how highly you wish your soup to be flavoured with vegetables, as well as of its richness in gelatine and extract of meat. Skim scrupulously ; let it boil slowly several hours, till the meat falls to pieces. Half an hour before that time season with pepper, salt, cayenne (if approved), a blade of mace, a stick of celery, a browning ball, or a bit of burnt onion, a bay leaf or two, a bit of lemon-peel, and a bunch of the sweetest herbs at your command, including sweet basil and knotted marjoram, if possible. When the soup is well impregnated with their perfume, strain it through an ordinary cullender, and set it aside to cool. This soup being thick, not clear, straining it through a sieve or five-holed cullender would only rob it of many nutritive particles.
To thicken your soup. Roll a good lump of butter in as much flour as you can nuke it take up. Put it into a stew-pan, and when it begins to brown, dust in more flour, and stir in gradually some of your stock, adding more and more as it incorporates, and so on, until you have sufficient thickening to bring your soup to the desired consistency. Then warm up the whole together, and if you will, stir in a couple of glasses of madeira or good marsala, or any other good white wine. Now add your dice of calf's head and tongue to the soup, as also forcemeat balls, brain cakes, and egg balls, if you use them. Though liked by many, they are not indispensable. We add instructions for their making.
For Forcemeat Balls.—Make some turkey stuffing thus — Chop fine separately a bit of beef or veal suet as big as an egg, the rind of half a lemon, sprigs of parsley, thyme, and chervil. Mix these in a bowl with a large breakfast-cup-full of grated bread-crumbs ; season with pepper and grated nutmeg; break into them a couple of eggs, and work all together into a stiff paste. Roll portions of this paste into the size and shape of the forcemeat balls required; roll them in flour, and bake them brown and crisp outside in your Dutch oven, or the oven of your stove.
For Egg Balls.—To one egg put just as little flour as will make it into a paste that you can pinch into shape with your fingers. Season with pepper, a little grated nutmeg, and with less chopped lemon-peel cut very thin. Work these into pellets the size of marbles, making a few of them long like miniature sausages. Throw them into boiling broth, and let them boil galloping till their substance is set.
Mock-turtle will keep several days, being the better for it, and will even travel in jars. It is best warmed up by setting the jar in boiling water. If only a portion of it is taken at a time, it must be well stirred up to get your share of the meat which has settled at the bottom.
Potage a la Tortue —This potage is so substantial that it may supply the place of an entire repast. Half boil in salt and water a piece of a calf's head, taking only the lean. Cut it into little pieces, the shape of playing dice. Brown them in butter, with the addition of parsley, thyme, basil, bay-leaf, small onions, mushrooms, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and lean ham also cut into dice. When your meat and ham are fried enough, take them out and set them aside. Put a good lump of butter in a stew-pan, brown in it a dessert-spoonful or more of flour for thickening ; stir in gradually the quantity of water or broth necessary to make your soup ; season with salt, lemon-juice, and allspice. Add glazing, or gravy reduced to a jelly, if you have any. Let it boil up ; skim, and pass it through a coarse strainer or cullender. Then return to the soup the fried bits of calf's head and ham and a few forcemeat balls made as above, only with an equal quantity of minced cold meat (veal or fowl is preferable) and bread-crumbs.
Ox-Tail Soup —Take two fresh ox-tails ; stale ones would infallibly spoil your soup ; see that they are quite clean ; cut them into their separate joints. Wash them well in salt and water, but do not leave them in it. Set them on the fire with a good quantity of cold soft water, to allow for reduction by evaporation. Add to them sliced carrots, onions, leeks, a few peppercorns, and a couple of cloves. Skim well as they come to a boil. When the tails are nearly tender (which will take from three to four hours of gentle stewing), add a bunch of sweet herbs, a bay-leaf, and half a stick of celery. When the tails are cooked, take them out and set them aside. Skim the fat from the top of the broth and set it aside. Crush the vegetables through a middle-sized holed cullender, and add to the broth all that passes through in the shape of mash or puree. To increase the quantity of your soup, you may prepare at the same time, or previously, a strong stock made with two pounds of shin of beef, and one pound of knuckle of veal boiled down with carrots, leeks, and onions (with careful skimming) until their goodness is all extracted. Pour the liquor from the meat, skim off the fat, and set it aside. With this fat, and that from the tails, make a brown thickening with flour ; mix it with the soup, add the jointed tails, and season with salt and a tablespoonful or two of mushroom catchup. It is usual to cat, not toasted bread dice, but fresh rolls, with this and mock-turtle soup. By serving the joints of ox-tail with a small quantity of the thickened soup more highly seasoned (with pepper, and if you will, half a glass of red wine), and surrounded with the cooked vegetables left unbroken, you produce excellent stewed ox-tail, which you may further garnish by triangles of toasted bread laid round the dish.
Cherry Soup (German Recipe).—Pluck the cherries from their stalks, and boil them sufficiently in water, with cinnamon, lemon-peel, and lemon-juice. Then add wine and sugar, and serve it poured over bread cut into dice and fried in butter. You may also pound a few cherries small, boil them in water, and pass them through a sieve. This soup may likewise be made with dried cherries, or prunes, and pearl barley, boiled several hours in water. passed through a sieve, and then served as above. In German bills of fare sweet soups are frequent, and cinnamon is a favourite condiment.
SOUPS (continued from p.304).
Mulligatawny Soup is
a name that may be applied to any brown thickened soup highly seasoned with
curry powder. It probably originated in the demand for soup at short notice and
the necessity of cooking meat fresh in a hot climate. Kill, singe, and empty a
chicken, which should be young and tender. While it is still warm cut it up into
small joints, and fry them immediately in plenty of butter. When nearly done
enough, take them out and set aside. In the same butter fry six or more large
onions sliced. When done, put them with the bits of chicken. If there is not
butter enough, add more, and in it brown flour for thickening. Stir in a little
good veal stock, or chicken, or other broth, if convenient; if not, you must be
content with water. Then stir in a dessertspoonful of curry powder or more,
according to the degree of heat approved of. Then add the rest of your broth to
make up the required quantity of soup. Put in your onions and bits of chicken,
and stew up till the latter are quite tender. Season with salt and a little
lemon-juice. Other spices are sometimes added, but they are overpowered by the
flavour of the curry powder.- Garlic (to be fried with the onions) is
admissible. You may send up boiled rice in a vegetable-dish as an accompaniment
to mulligatawny soup.—N.B. A chicken killed yesterday, or even the day before,
will do. A rabbit may be substituted for the chicken, and even veal or mutton
All the Year Round's Mulligatawny.—Take two quarts of water, and boil a fowl ; then add to it a white onion, a chili, two teaspoonfuls of pounded ginger, two of curry powder, one teaspoonful of turmeric, and half a spoonful of black pepper. Boil these for half an hour. Then fry some small unions and add to the soup. Season with salt, and serve up.
Giblet Soup.—Procure two sets of goose giblets, scald the feet and legs to remove the outer skin, cut off the claws. Cut off the head, remove the bill and eyes, split it. Cut the neck into three, the pinion-hones into two, the liver into two, the heart into two, and the gizzard into four pieces. Set them on the fire in cold water to stew, remembering that the liver takes less time, the gizzard longer, to cook thoroughly, than the other portions. Then proceed exactly as directed for ox-tail soup. In some markets goose and duck giblets are sold ready for use, except the division above airected. Turkey giblets might be used, but it is not customary to truss the bird without them. The best giblet soup is from those of the cygnet, which is not often to be had.
Cabbage Soup.--Put into your soup-kettle (three parts full of cold water) a couple of pounds of sweet bacon or pork that has not been too long in salt. This is indispensable. You may add a bit of knuckle of veal, of mutton, of gravy beef, or all three. Skim well as they come to a boil. Shred into a pail of cold water the hearts of one or two cabbages, some carrots, turnips, celery, and leeks. When the soup boils, throw all these in, and skim again if necessary. When the vegetables are tender without falling to pieces the soup is cooked. You may thicken with a few crushed boiled potatoes.
For a true Puree of Green Peas.—If the season is advanced, take a quart or more of old (not dry) peas; boil them quite tender, or to a mash, in no more water than will cover them, with care not to burn. Squeeze them through a cullender, keeping back the skins. If old peas are not be had, you must use young ones. Boil down a quantity of the juiciest pea shells, squeeze their liquor through a cullender, and add it to the puré of old peas; stir in the required quantity of good veal stock. Season with salt and pepper. Throw in a pint of young green peas boiled tender, a few fried or toasted bread dice, and serve.
[-311-] Hare Soup.—Take a fine hare, skin and empty it, saving the blood, the liver, and the heart. Cut it up into joints, take the eyes from the head, and split it. Cut two pound; of shin of beef into pieces ; put these with the marrow-bone, the jointed hare, its blood, &c., into a boiler containing a gallon of cold water. Set it on the fire, and skim. When it boils throw in three or four onions halved across, two or three carrots sliced, a few peppercorns and cloves. As soon as the hare is tender, take out all the best joints, remove the meat from the bones, cut them into shapely mouthful-pieces, return the bones to the soup, and let it boil till all the goodness is got out of them and the beef. Half an hour before that time, throw in a bunch of sweet herbs and a small stick of celery. By putting in aromatic seasonings too soon, they are driven off with the vapour and are lost to the soup. While the sweet herbs are communicating their flavour, fry chopped onions in butter, brown and thicken with a little flour, moisten with a ladleful of soup, and add it to the rest. Then ladle the whole through a large-holed cullender, so as to remove bones, remains of meat and vegetables, &c. Add the bits of hare-meat, and let them simmer in the soup till heated through. Season with salt, and serve. A little red wine may be added ; if so, it should be mixed in at the last moment. If soup is salted at an early period, it is apt to become too salt by boiling down, by which it is spoiled and made uneatable. Hare soup may be heightened either with a little anchovy sauce mixed in a basin with a ladleful of soup, or with a couple of tablespoonfuls of mushroom catchup. People who object to the "blood" mentioned in this receipt, will not know it is there unless you tell them. In Northern Italy, when poultry are killed the blood that comes from them is caught in cups, and sold for making soup; and ragouts.
Pea Soup, Puree of Dried Peas.—Steep the peas (whether whole or split) overnight in soft water (rain water if you can get it) ; set them on to boil in the soft water, cold. When tender, crush them with a wooden spoon through a cullender.
For broth you may take almost any—beef, veal, or fowl. The boilings from salt meats are often employed, but we do not recommend them. Take rather a couple of hocks of pork that have been salted not more than throe or four days. Use their boilings with the addition of other stock. To this put the purée of peas, with a turnip chopped small and plenty of shredded celery. Boil till these are nearly tender. Then put in a good bunch of sweet herbs, and season with pepper. Before serving, remove the sweet herbs only. Send up accompanied by toasted bread-dice. Dry sage leaves in a very slow oven; rub them to a powder between your hands. Send up ;his powder in a small dish, for each guest to dust into his soup. It will keep for some time in a well-corked bottle. You may cut spoon-meat pieces of the hocks of pork, and throw them into the soup, like the calf's head in mock turtle.
There are prepared pea-flours for making Hasty Pea Soup. They arc convenient, and save considerable trouble, but the soup is smoother if the pea-flour is steeped overnight.
Green Pea Soup.—Green pea soup may be only a simplification of Julienne, i.e., green peas cooked in a good stock or consommé.
Cabbage Soup (Maigre).---Put your shredded cabbage and other vegetable; into a soup-kettle of boiling water, with a few peppercorns and cloves ; add a couple of handfuls of chopped sorrel. Fry onions light brown in
butter, and mix them with the soup. When all is quite tender, season with salt. You may make it milk cabbage soup, by adding one-half, one-third, or less than that quantity of milk. Put a large teacupful of bread-crumbs at the bottom of your tureen. After the last boil up, ladle the soup over it, and serve.
Small Onion Soup —Take a large soup-plateful of small onions, such as you would use for pickling; peel them carefully, then toss them in a stewpan in butter, with a dust of sugar. When they are nicely browned, gradually stir in over them the necessary quantity of stock-broth. Give them a boil, season with pepper and salt, put fried broad into your tureen, and pour the soup over them. This is one of the soups which has the advantage of not taking a long time to make when once the onions are peeled.
Broth from Essences and Extracts of Meat—As preparations of meat called essences or extracts are now largely introduced, and are attracting considerable public attention, we should be wrong in omitting to mention them here. Their great merit is their convenience, and the almost instantaneous promptness with which a basin of soup can be served. The essence must he selected and prepared with some care and judgment, If the dose is too large, the broth becomes unpalatable. This subject has recently received much attention from members of the medical profession and others, various opinions having been expressed, but we nevertheless think our readers, like ourselves, will prefer relying on an able medical opinion like that of Dr. Edward Smith than on their own unsupported. These essences are prepared from fresh meat in such a manner that the fibre and fat are left behind, only the ozmazome (or flavouring property), certain salts, and a very small quantity of albumen, remain. The quality of this food is determined by the first-mentioned substance, and with a teaspoonful of the essence about a pint of broth may be made, which, although thin to the palate, is as full of the flavour of meat as when beef-tea is prepared at home. The salts are not perceptible to the senses, but they consist, in part, of phosphates, and are very valuable The albumen is necessarily in very small quantity, from the small amount of the extract of meat which is used. Liebig's essence of meat, however, is a valuable addition to a traveller's stores, since it occupies a very small space, and with hot water he may at any time prepare a basin of soup in two minutes which would be more useful to him than any other fluid. It is particularly suited to those who abstain from intoxicating drinks. But when it is affirmed that one ounce of the essence, although derived from thirty ounces of beef, contains, nevertheless, the nutritive parts of the larder quantity, we hesitate to endorse the statement. A considerable amount of fibre, with fibrin, gelatine, fit, and some albumen, is left behind. That fibre is digestible is proved by the fact that in fresh meat it is nearly all digested; that it is highly nutritious is proved by its chemical composition. hence, where health exists it is best not to throw away this material. That it will not alone support life is true ; the salts necessary to life, and fat highly important to life, arc absent from it ; but that does not in the least prove that it is not of great value as part of a dietary. When one teaspoonful of the essence has been dissolved in about a pint of hot water, and seasoned with pepper and salt, it forms an agreeable and stimulating beverage, but should not be regarded as food for every-day use. In this respect it must be ranked with tea and coffee. It may be advantageously thickened by adding a little sago; and vermicelli, macaroni, and various Italian pastes, are agreeable and proper additions- Its proper place is that of a luxury, and in some states of disease it is also a valuable food; but in health, the quantity of nutriment is too small to be computed, and its action upon nutrition is rather indirect, by stimulating the vital actions, than direct, by supplying food. For ordinary use it is better for the housewife to make beef-tea from shins of beef, so as to obtain much gelatine, or from gravy beef, and to serve up the solid part as fond at the same meal. Our continental neighbours eat their bouilli and potage at the same meal; and so should we.
Boiling Fish. —The boiling of fish differs
considerably, both in its object and the manner of effecting it, from the
boiling of meat. In the latter it is often desired to get all we can out of it,
and in cases where that is not the exact intention, still what is got out
is not necessarily lost to a family's consumption. In the former the object
almost always is to keep all the nutriment we can inside the article which is
boiled; and what does issue from it in spite of our precautions is, in England
at least, wasted and thrown away.
Theoretically, therefore, all boiled fish ought to be plunged into boiling water, to set the albumen and curd in its flesh, and to fix in an insoluble form the particles which would have been dissolved in cold or tepid water. Practically, the rule must be observed with a certain degree of laxity. If a very large and thick-set fish, as an unusually fine salmon or cod—or only the half of one —be plunged in boiling water, as will be seen in the section "Eggs," the heat penetrates its substance but slowly, the outside and the thinner portions will be overdone while the inside near the bone will be still raw. The only means of obviating this is to put the fish into tepid water, and give it time to beat through gradually before coming to a boil. When, however, a large fish is scored or "crimped" (whether alive of dead) down to the bone, as cod is often treated, it may be set on the fire in boiling water, as the scoring has [-323-] nearly the same effect as if the fish were boiled in slices or moderate-sized pieces, which is often done now that "large joints" are out of fashion, and carving at a side table is in. The difficulties of cooking a very large fish entire well (i.e., retaining all its proper qualities) are so great that a little display may be wisely sacrificed to securing a satisfactory amount of firmness and flavour. Flat fish, as turbot and brill, are rarely so thick that they may not be put into boiling water at once. Halibut, if only on account of its size, is mostly cooked in slices. John Dory, which is not a flat fish, although it is flat, may be set on in cold water, whatever its size, as it takes a great deal of boiling, and is none the worse for being robbed of a little of its strong and peculiar flavour.
All fish, while boiling, should be skimmed as carefully as meat. Take it out of the water when it is done enough, and keep it hot, if it has to wait, by leaving it on the fish-bottom, set diagonally across the fish-kettle, so as to receive its steam, and covered with a napkin dipped in the hot boilings.
For boiling carp, pike, tench, and several other river
fish (especially those intended to be served whole cold), as well as lobsters,
crayfish, shrimps, prawns, and other crustaceans, French cooks often used a
made-up liquor, which they call court-bouillon. We ourselves do not like and
therefore do not recommend it. Certainly it covers any muddy flavour by
overpowering all natural flavour, but it utterly spoils sweet and delicate fish,
and, in our opinion, is ruin for lobsters and shrimps. Nevertheless, if the cook
is requested to use it, she may thus make her
Court-bouillon.—The quantity—which must be enough to cover the fish well—will consequently depend upon its size. Take equal parts of vinegar, red wine, and water ; add cloves, peppercorns, bay-leaves, thyme, parsley, marjoram, shalots, sliced carrots and onions, and salt. You may also add lemon-juice, and almost any aromatic that suits your fancy. Let these simmer and stew for an hour. The first time of using a court-bouillon there is no need to take out the flavouring ingredients ; put the fish to them as they are. If it is to be eaten cold, take the kettle off the fire before it is quite done, and let the fish cool in the court-bouillon. When you take the fish out strain the liquor. It will serve several times, only it must he diluted with water every time of using, otherwise it would become too strong and concentrated. Oil and vinegar is the only sauce that is customarily eaten with fish boiled in court-bouillon and served cold.
The Salmon.—We call the salmon a river fish because it is in rivers that it is most generally caught. The river also is its place of birth. But the sea is its home and its pasture-ground, to which it must return to renew the strength exhausted in its fresh-water revels, or die. In fact, it inhabits fresh and salt waters alternately. It spends its summer inland and its winter in the sea. Moreover, as the swallow returns to the roof or shed that gave it shelter, so does the salmon to the gravelly river's bed where it first saw the light. This instinct involves important consequences. If all the salmon ascending a river are taken, that river will be henceforth salmonless. No stranger salmon, cruising along the coast, will mistake that river's mouth for its own river's mouth. To restock the river young salmon must be reared in it, thence to find their way to the sea at the proper age, in the certainty of their coming, like bad shillings, back again. This fact has already been taken advantage of with promise of good success. There were no salmon in the Mediterranean ; consequently none could ascend the Rhone and other rivers that run into it. But salmon fry, bred at the French piscicultural establishment at Huningue (close to the Swiss frontier, in the neighbourhood of Bale) have been turned out into the Rhone, and there is reason to hope that, after their descent to the sea, they have thriven so well on the shoals of sardines as to found a colony of Mediterranean salmon. They may find, however, a formidable opponent in the powerful and gigantic tunny. A still more difficult task appears to have been accomplished, namely, the naturalisation of this noble fish in several Australian rivers. Salmon is abundant, and, moreover, cheap, in Norway and some parts of North America. Here the price is kept up, and made pretty equal all over the country, by the successive discoveries, first of packing it in ice, and secondly of railways. The penny-a-pound times, and the refusals of proud-stomached apprentices and servants to eat salmon more than three times a week, are gone for ever.
In salmon you eat concentrated fish, which, indeed, is true of all fish that are exclusively piscivorous. We do not think the pike can in this respect be for one moment compared with the salmon. But in all questions of this kind tastes vary so widely and so frequently, that it is almost dangerous to express an opinion positively.
Salmon is in season from the beginning of February to the end of August; cheapest in July and August. The fresher from the sea the better it is. A healthy fish has bright silvery scales, small head, plenty of fat at the belly part, and flesh of the pleasing hue emphatically called "salmon colour." On page 324 we give an engraving of the fish in good condition for the table. A shotten fish, that has remained too long in fresh water (sometimes called a "black fish," on account of its dull dark leaden tint) is lank and .gaunt, with a large lantern-jawed head, the gills infested with small white worms, the flesh flabby, pale, and unwholesome. The whole aspect of the fish is repulsive, and anything but tempting to eat. We have never seen such exposed for sale (illegal) in England; but on the borders of salmon rivers they are largely poached, and consumed by the poachers, during the close season.
Boiled Salmon is sometimes sent to table with the scales left on it, for show, and to make the fish, or the piece served, look bigger; but we do not recommend the custom, which, in our eyes, has an uncleanly appearance. Moreover, when properly scaled the skin is not only eatable but nutritious. If the fish has roe it may be either served with it, or—which is the more artistic practice—mixed with lobster or anchovy sauce. If a middle-sized fish, or good part of a large one (seven or eight pounds), is to be served entire, the precautions above indicated must be observed. From thirty to forty minutes will not be too long to let it remain in the water after boiling. If its appearing on the table whole is not a condition that is insisted on, it will be better cooked by being cut across into handsome pieces of from two to three pounds each, and so plunged into boiling water, and boiled from twenty to thirty minutes. They can then be served side by side in their natural order and position in the fish. With a garnishing of fresh fennel or parsley they will make quite as presentable a dish as one large piece, and will be much more equally and palatably done. In fact there is considerable economy in avoiding the dilemma of either overdoing the thin parts or underdoing the thick in a large fish served entire. Cooks are mostly caught on the first horn of the dilemma, which causes both waste and disfigurement.
Any of the slices not used, removed from table whole, should be laid at once, and while still warm, in a dish with a cover (as a vegetable or a pate dish), and covered with a mixture of half vinegar, if strong, more if weak, and half the boilings of the salmon skimmed. Add a few peppercorns, put on the lid, let it stand in a cool place for twenty-four hours, and you have capital pickled salmon.
Boiled salmon is so excellent, and its natural flavour requires so little foreign aid, That it is quite able to hold its [-324-] own and maintain its ground with no other sauce than a boatful of good plain melted butter, the unadorned canvas on which cooks embroider such a multitude and variety of other sauces. As melted butter—not butter melted—is one of the keystones of English cookery, we cannot give-the formula at a more appropriate opportunity than the present.
Melted Butter.—Take a lump of butter the size of a hen's egg, cut it into three or four pieces, and work them with a knife into as much as you can get them to take up of a dessert-spoonful of flour. Put them into a saucepan with three-quarters of a pint of cold water, keep stirring in one direction as they gradually melt, and dust in what remains of the flour. When they are well mixed, smooth, and the sauce boils up, it is ready for serving. Or you may simply put the lump of butter in the saucepan with cold water, gradually dusting in the flour as it warms and melts. This rough-and-ready way requires careful management to prevent the flour from gathering into knots. Good melted butter, even if smooth, should not be too thick or pasty. It will acquire that condition by being kept waiting too long at the side of the stove. In that case you can easily thin it by the addition of more butter and a little warm water. Another good accompaniment to salmon is
Mustard Sauce.—When your melted butter is on the point of boiling, incorporate with it a small quantity of made mustard (not in powder) mixed with a dessert or tablespoonful of vinegar. The strength of this sauce must depend on the taste of the guests ; but it is better to underdo than to overdo the dose. It is best kept in the state of a delicate sauce-piquante, with just enough pungency for the palate to perceive it, without being able to decide to what seasoning to attribute it. Mustard sauce goes exceedingly well with boiled mackerel and with boiled or fried fresh herring.
Anchovy Sauce is also orthodox with salmon. Incorporate with your boiling melted butter a couple of teaspoonfuls of essence of anchovies to make a sauceboatful. You may make a similar sauce with essence of shrimps ; but true shrimp sauce (containing the meat of the shrimps) is not usually served with salmon. The sauce for grand occasions is
Lobster Sauce.—Wash the lobster well before boiling, so as to cleanse it thoroughly from the sand or mud which is apt to adhere to it, especially if it be a hen-lobster with a nest of eggs under her tail. When cold, pick out the flesh of your lobster. If a fine one, you will probably reserve the handsomest pieces for a lobster salad or a Mayonnaise. The pickings and trimmings, the interior of the head and of the small claws, will suffice for your sauce. Separate them into small pieces ; dust them with a very little pepper or cayenne ; add the juice of a lemon ; and set them aside. Take the broken shell of the lobster ; again see that it is free from grit ; pound or break it up roughly in a mortar ; set it on the fire in a little more cold water than will cover it ; let it boil twenty minutes or half-an-hour. Strain off the boilings ; let them stand awhile to settle ; and with the liquor poured off (instead of with water) make melted butter, being liberal with the butter. When it boils, put in your prepared and picked lobster-flesh, and let it stand on the side of the stove to warm through. If you have any salmon roe, you may at the same time add it (previously cooked and separated into grains). Lobster sauce should be kept delicate in flavour, not high and pungent. The value of Ude's advice, " Never neglect to season your sauce; without seasoning, the best cookery is good for nothing," entirely depends on the meaning of words. For "seasoning" read " flavour," and he is right; for "seasoning" read "spice," and he is wrong.
Any surplus lobster sauce, with the sauce reduced and thereby thickened, will make delicious lobster patties or bouchées de homard.
Mock Lobster Sauce.—Take cold turbot, not overdone. If you have no turbot, boil a thick fleshy sole. While hot, remove the meat from the bones, and let it cool Smear the cold fish on both sides with essence of anchovies, or anchovy paste, or essence of shrimps. Cut it up, not too small, into dice and pieces resembling those which serve for real lobster sauce. Dust with a little very finely powdered sugar. Make your sauce itself
exactly as if there were no deception in the matter. It will help you greatly, if you can add and mix with your ingredients a little lobster-roe previously bruised in a mortar. This, if you have it, can be spared without loss, or even suspicion of loss, from a lobster salad or a Mayonnaise. Moreover, having a lobster, you can boil the shells, as above directed, and use the liquor to make your sauce. Finally, throw in your disguised turbot of sole ; heat and serve.
These little economies, like the turbot patties just indicated, cannot be justly sneered at as "leavings;" they are merely the employment of extra supplies which, in any case, must have a previous cooking.
Salmon Steaks are cut, about an inch thick, out of the middle or tail-end of the fish. Dry them between the folds of a napkin, dust with flour, fry with care that they do not stick to the pan ; or broil over a clear and gentle fire, wrapped in oiled or buttered paper. Serve with mustard sauce, if any; or with a lemon to squeeze over them.
Kippered Salmon salted, smoked, and dried, is cut into slices, and little more than warmed through, in the oven or before the fire, like red herring. Use mustard sauce; if any, but none is needed.
The Great Lake Trout and Salmon Trout are treated exactly in the same way as salmon. The latter, however, especially, is a more delicate and tender-fleshed fish, and requires less time (for equal weights) to cook, than salmon.
River Trout are still more delicate. Small ones may be fried or broiled. Boil the finer specimens in salt and water, acidulated while still cold with a little vinegar, [-325-] thrown in when it is on the point of boiling ; they are soon done (from five to ten minutes), and require careful watching and tender handling.
Potted Trout (Charr) is often merely a proof that the preparer has learnt the art of embalming ; and that the bodies of trout, like those of men, may be kept for indefinite periods, and transported to unlimited distances. What they taste of, besides spice, at their journey's end, we should be sorely puzzled to decide.
RIVER FISH (continued from p. 325).
The Carp, an illustration of which we give on the
next page, is a fish retaining its place in general cookery mainly on the
strength of its former reputation. In many parts of the Continent it is still
held in more esteem than, in our own opinion, its culinary merits entitle it to.
It is, in fact, a fish to keep in ponds, as we keep pretty birds in cages—to
look at and not to eat. It becomes very tame ; is gifted with considerable
cunning ; will rarely take a bait; when enclosed in a net, will, if at the
bottom, stick its nose into the mud and let the net slip over it ; or, if at the
surface of the water, will "take back," like a horse wanting to clear a hedge,
and then, with a rush, leap over it. There is no knowing how long a carp will
live ; we have ourselves seen carp which must have been, undoubtedly and with no
mistake, not less than eighty or ninety years of age, and yet quite juvenile in
appearance. The length of days once accorded to the patriarchs may very possibly
be still enjoyed by certain fish, when they once have grown big enough to escape
being swallowed by their hungry admirers and friends.
During the last century foolishly high prices were often paid for unusually fine specimens of carp. The real value of the fish (independent of its handsome appearance) lay (in those ante-railway days) in its astonishing tenacity of life, and consequent power of supporting long journeys without injury to its health. Carp were sent to market, or to wealthy customers, on approval, and if not purchased were sometimes returned to their pond.
Carp, like most other permanent freshwater residents, are in season all the year round, except during the interval between their spawning (the first hot days in May) and the flowering of wheat (say the beginning of July). No connoisseur would ever dream of buying a dead carp. Scale it, remove the gills, but leave the head; save the blood (to be cooked in the sauce) and the milt or roe. Small or undersized fish do best in a Matelote (as on next page) ; fried, or otherwise, they are, we think, very poor eating. Handsome specimens assert their right to the honours of Carp, Stewed Whole, for which you must have a kettle not much larger than will conveniently hold your fish.
[-341] After cleaning, marinade or pickle it in wine, salt, and vinegar, with the addition of any spices or aromatics you please. Six or eight hours will not be too long for it to remain there. You may then boil it either in Court-Bouillon (see p. 323), or in wine diluted with broth or water. When the fish is cooked, lay it, without breaking it, in its dish (without a strainer) ; take enough of the boilings to make your sauce; add to it the blood, some thickening and browning, some seasonings, in which you will be guided by your own discretion, as custom allows you a very broad margin in the preparation of this pretentious dish. Pour the boiling sauce over your carp, and make a prominent display of the milt or roe.
Stewed Carp, under various high-sounding names, may be garnished with the most incongruous and expensive things that a cook's imagination can devise—with ornaments of puff-paste, crawfish, cockscombs, turkey pinions, forcemeat balls, sliced sweetbreads, truffles, dear little dickey-birds, and what not besides. Broiled carp, even with caper-sauce, is not a dish for the gods nor yet for the goddesses. In short, considering the carp's intelligent and familiar disposition ; considering that it is a want of the respect due to age to partake of a creature who may be older than your great-grandfather, should he be alive; and considering that, to eat, he is only a fourth-rate fish, we prefer petting and feeding a carp to feeding on him.
Stewed Tench.—Tench are always bought alive. They
spawn later, and therefore continue in season later in spring than the carp. As
the skin is invariably eaten, carefully remove all the scales, which are small
and deep-set. The previous pickling, as with carp, is not necessary, but the
fish will be all the better for it. Then treat it in the same way as for stewed
carp, omitting the extravagances, and cooking it in the least quantity of liquor
possible. As the boilings from tench become, when concentrated, a jelly, stewed
tench makes a handsome as well as a palatable dish cold, for which
purpose it may be a little more highly seasoned. Indeed, we are heretical enough
to prefer a fine tench to his much be-praised cousin the carp.
Boiled Tench.—Prepare as above, and boil in salt and water acidulated with vinegar when cold. It may be served with any full-flavoured sauce you prefer.
Perch is an excellent fish, with white, firm, well-flavoured flesh, when taken from waters that are clear and deep. When you buy it dead, see that the eyes are bright and the gills rosy red. It is difficult to scale ; plunging it in boiling water a minute will help you; but ask the fish-monger to clean it for you, and beg of him not to flay it. Perch boiled in vinegared water, and served with essence of anchovy sauce, is a delicate and dainty dish, light, and easy of digestion. Fried perch, bread-crumbed, also
excellent, make a tasty garnish to lay round large dishes of any boiled fish.
Small perch (in company with carp, tench, jack, eels, and whatever else comes to hand) are turned perhaps to the best advantage in
The Mariner's Matelote.—With the matelote of eggs we gave the meaning of the word. Take live fish, various and sundry ; clean them without washing them ; for mariners hold that fish, once out of water, should never go back to it. Cut it in pieces without losing the blood. Put all into a stewpan with a couple of dozen of small white onions, scalded, and almost cooked enough. Season with salt, pepper, bay-leaf, and lemon-peel. Pour in enough claret or red vin ordinaire to cover the fish. Boil over a smart fire, taking care that the wine does not catch fire. Put in a lump of butter as big as a walnut. Arrange your fish on slices of toasted bread, and pour the sauce over them.
Bream and Roach are hardly worth the cooking. You may salt and stew the large ones, and make a fry of the small ones, together with gudgeon, bleak, dace, and any other "such small deer" that can find room in the pan.
Pike, Boiled Whole.—The pike, like carp and most other fresh-water fish, is in season throughout the cold months of the year, up to the time of its spawning in spring. It then becomes "indisposed" to appearance at table, recovering its health, also with carp, when wheat comes into flower. As this event conveys no precise date to most town residents, we would advise them to extend the close season a little longer, and leave pike unmolested till the beginning of August. It is best to buy pike alive, which is frequently possible. Fish that have died in the water, confined and starved in boxes, or forgotten in hoop-nets, are of quite inferior quality. Snared or speared pike are sometimes much injured by the wire or the spear. If killed immediately, the fish is none the worse to eat, and the unsightly scar can be concealed with garnishing. Pike from muddy waters (the same of eels, carp, and tench) are improved by keeping a few days or a week in a tank fed with a current of pure spring water, and giving them a few gudgeons and roach to serve both as companions and prey. The usual advice in selecting fish is to take short plump individuals, and to leave those of longer and slenderer proportions. This, however, must be accepted with a certain reservation. With the pike, as with many other fish, the difference of' figure is distinctive of sex, the female being short and deep, the male long and slender. The flesh of both, in season, is good ; the main question of preference lies between the roe and the milt towards the close of winter. There is a tradition that the pike is an introduced fish [-342-] naturalised in this country at the same time with hops and turkeys ; respecting the truth of which we entertain strong doubts. Certainly, live pike may have been brought to England and turned out in some simple-minded gentleman's waters, just as coals may have been carried to Newcastle ; but that would be no proof that they did not exist here before. It seems scarcely possible that a fish so widely distributed throughout Great Britain, found in isolated mountain-lakes in Wales and Scotland, in Highland rivers with no other communication than their outlet—the sea (and salt water is fatal to the pike)—can be anything else but a native species. Moreover, in 1586, Camden wrote —
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