Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

How to prepare a 17th century feast

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I have been doing lots of research about 17th century cooking and ingredients, for my volunteer work at Ham House and I have come up with some real gems. A recipe book from 1664 called The Accomplisht Cookor by Thomas May contains the following fantastic recipe for bisque. It’s so brilliant, it doesn’t even need comment. Just check it out.

To make a Bisk divers ways.

Take a wrack of Mutton and a Knuckle of Veal, put them a boiling in a Pipkin of a Gallon, with some fair water, and when it boils, scum it, and put to it some salt, two or three blades of large Mace, and a Clove or two; boil it to three pints, and strain the meat, save the broth for your use and take off the fat clean.

Then boil twelve Pigeon-Peepers, and eight Chicken Peepers, in a Pipkin with fair water, salt, and a piece of interlarded Bacon, scum them clean, and boil them fine, white and quick.

Then have a rost Capon minced, and put to it some Gravy, Nutmegs, and Salt, and stew it together; then put to it the juyce of two or three Oranges, and beaten Butter, &c.

Then have ten sweet breads, and ten pallets fried, and the same number of lips and noses being first tender boil’d and blanched, cut them like lard, and fry them, put away the butter, and put to them gravy, a little anchove, nutmeg, and a little garlick, or none, the juyce of two or three Oranges, and Marrow fried in Butter with Sage-leaves, and some beaten Butter.

Then again have some boil’d Marrow and twelve Artichocks, Suckers, and Peeches finely boil’d and put into beaten Butter, some Pistaches boiled also in some wine and Gravy, eight Sheeps tongues larded and boiled, and one hundred Sparagus boiled, and put into beaten Butter, or Skirrets.

Then have Lemons carved, and some cut like little dice.

Again fry some Spinage and Parsley, &c.

These forefaid materials being ready, have some French bread in the bottom of your dish.

Then dish on it your Chickens, and Pidgeons, broth it; next your Quaile, then Sweet breads, then your Pullets, then your Artichocks or Sparagus, and Pistaches, then your Lemon, Poungarnet, or Grapes, Spinage, and fryed Marrow; and if yellow Saffron or fried Sage, then round the center of your boiled meat put your minced Capon, then run all over with beaten butter, &c.

1. For variety, Clary fryed with yolks of Eggs.
2. Knots of Eggs.
3. Cocks Stones.
4. Cocks Combs.
5. If white, strained Almonds, with some of the broth.
6. Goosberries or Barberries.
7. Minced meat in Balls.
8. If green, Juyce of Spinage stamped with manchet, and strained with some of the broth, and give it a warm.
9. Garnish with boiled Spinage.
10. If yellow, yolks of hard Eggs strained with some Broth and Saffron.”

Ok, now off you go to the kitchen and get going on your bisque! I think I’m going to try my lips and noses with cocks stones… Mmmm…

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I confited a rabbit!

This is exciting. It is very exciting. Why? I hear you ask. Well, because I can pretend I am on Masterchef, of course! They are always making a confit of something. A confit of duck, a confit of vegetables, etc etc.

So, using my fabulous new cookbook I got for Christmas, I bought a rabbit, something I have never done before and followed Michel Roux’s recipe for rabbit confit. It was fascinating. Well, actually, it was opposite of fascinating. I just stood and watched a pan do nothing. You have to keep the temperature at 70 degrees the whole time, which is quite low. It bubbles a little at first, then it just sits there, doing nothing. image

So far as I can see, it is a more chic, French way of deep fat frying, minus the batter and bubbling. It is cooked really slowly and then preserved in the fat/oil and will last a few weeks in the fridge.

The rabbit was amazing when I used it to make a cassoulet the next day. Really soft and moist.

Last night I also made tomato confit and garlic confit and used them in my lamb and Mediterranean vegetable dish, from the same cookbook.
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I am like the confiting queen now! I will just say one thing though, I’m buying more oil every time I go to the shop and it could work out to be an expensive hobby, this confiting thing.

P.S. Danda would like me to tell you the confit joke he and I came up with…. How do you make a duck confit? Lay it down on the sofa and put a pillow under its head.

Danda and the frittata

“Danda,” said I, one day. “I have just discovered frittatas. They are fabulous and so tasty. I like to cook for people. I would like to make you a frittata.”

Danda, looking uncertain, asked “Will I like it? What’s in it?”

“You will love it,” I declared. “I will make an extra tasty one, I promise.”

He decided to trust me and I got to work. In went the potatoes, some mushrooms, some ham, a bit of onion and garlic, seasoning. I fried it all for a few minutes then poured whisked egg over the top. I let it cook for a bit before putting the whole thing under the grill to finish.

Ta da! A beautiful frittata. I got plates and cutlery and took it to Danda. The kitchen was cold that day so Danda had decided to eat in the front room.

I put the pan onto the footrest thingy and cut Danda a slice of the frittata. I put it on a plate and presented it to him.

“This looks great. Thanks so much,” said Danda, leaning back onto the chair and putting his feet up onto the footrest…..

Frittata on footrest….. Foot on footrest…. Frittata on floor…..

There was a moment of silence as he looked at me in fear. I tried to stifle my laughter so as not to encourage this kicking-food-on-the-floor habit. It didn’t work. Hysterics gripped us both as we scooped the sad little frittata back into the pan and tried to decide if we could apply the 3 second rule.

O, Danda……