Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

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…

The end of the birthday fun

Saturday saw the last in a line of birthday celebrations which have been very fancy indeed. And this was no less fancy.

We went to the Savoy for fancy lunch and to maintain the illusion that we are type of people who lunch in luxury.

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I had the set lunch menu, which I started with a pheasant and beetroot salad…

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It was small, but anything bigger would have taken up the space I was preserving for dessert.

Next I had a Jerusalem artichoke risotto (a big step for me as I never eat things with stupid names, eg, celeriac, artichoke, etc). It had trompette mushrooms, which threw me. What is a ‘trompette’ mushroom? Trumpet mushroom? Well, anyway, they looked like shitake mushrooms to me and were tasty.

As soon as the plate was set down, I caught a whiff of something? Truffle?! I hadn’t remembered seeing truffle on the menu though. I lifted the plate inelegantly to my nose. There was definitely truffle in my risotto! And it looked like there were some shavings of black truffle in it too. It was delicious.

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The dessert choices were pretty good, with a banana and blackberry Eton mess or a lemon cheesecake with ginger ice cream vying for my attention. Eventually though, sticking to the Italian theme which has dictated my food choices since my return from Rome, I went for a rosemary panna cotta with caramelised plums. (Is panna cotta Italian? It sounds a bit Italian.)

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After finishing dinner and congratulating ourselves that none of the children in our party had spilled/smashed/thrown/broken anything, we went for a wander. We found an amazing little chocolate shop, where a huge vat of melted chocolate was being stirred and delicate individual chocolates were being prepared.

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You can buy slabs of pure chocolate there too, should you wish….

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Or you could wander to one of the designer jewellery shops and purchase a little necklace, if the fancy takes you…

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You could just see it and impulse buy it, you know. Sometimes you just HAVE to get something because it’s pretty. You could probably get it with whatever change you have lying about in your pocket.

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Yes, you read that right. The necklace. The necklace in the previous picture. Is £42,000! Forty two. Thousand. THOUSAND. Pounds.

I did think about whether to get it but then I remembered my food processor broke the other day so I’m saving up for a new one of those.

And now, after days of piggybacking onto birthday celebrations which aren’t even mine, it’s back to reality. I have work in a few hours. I do not have a Michelin star chef making a mid-morning snack for me. Nor will anyone open a napkin and lay it in my lap when I sit down. I guess I’ll make a cup of tea and read a cookbook or something…..