Victorian Cooking…Orange Fritters

Orange Fritters

Mix two tablespoonfuls of flour smoothly with one well-beaten egg, a quarter of an ounce of butter, and a quarter of a pint of cream, and add a pinch of salt and a dessert-spoonful of brandy.

Peel four or five large sweet oranges; take away the white pith, and divide them into sections without breaking the thin skin that divides them. Dip the pieces first into sherry, then into sifted sugar, and afterwards into the batter.

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Fry them in hot lard until they are lightly browned. Drain them on blotting paper to free them entirely from fat, and serve piled high on a hot napkin, with sifted sugar strewn over them. Time, eight or ten minutes to fry the oranges. Sufficient for four or five persons.

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This a tasty and easy recipe to follow and I added some Cinnamon…Highly recommended!

Victorian cooking…Chicken Pie Recipe

Our food today owes much to its Victorian forebears so I have decided to feature some of the recipes I have cooked and the fun of trying to figure out hoe to cook as near to the real thing.

img11216_4So this Chicken Pie recipe is from Cassell’s New Dictionary of Cookery (I have a 1910 edition but was first published in 1892) which boasts about 10,000 recipes!

I managed to pick my edition up for about £20 but you can a pdf/kindle copy here

 

Chicken Pie

20160102_194700Take two large chickens, (I used two large breast) and cut them into neat joints. Put the trimmings, neck, and bones of the legs into a stewpan, with some pepper and salt, a blade of mace, an onion, a bunch of savoury herbs, and a little water, or stock.

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Let these simmer gently for one hour and a half. They are to make gravy. Line the edges of a pie-dish with a good crust. Put a layer of chicken at the bottom, and then a layer of ham cut in slices and over that some. (I used ham, chicken and herbs. simmered for 1.5 hours, drained and had a lovely light gravy)

Sausage-meat or forcemeat, (forcemeat is essentially Victorian stuffing and is lovely)

Forcemeat 417 (Mrs Beeton)

417. INGREDIENTS – 2 oz. of ham or lean bacon, 1/4 lb. of suet, the rind of half a lemon, 1 teaspoonful of minced parsley, 1 teaspoonful of minced sweet herbs; salt, cayenne, and pounded mace to taste; 6 oz. of bread crumbs, 2 eggs.

20160102_175411Mode – Shred the ham or bacon, chop the suet, lemon-peel, and herbs, taking particular care that all be very finely minced; add a seasoning to taste, of salt, cayenne, and mace, and blend all thoroughly together with the bread crumbs, before wetting. Now beat and strain the eggs, work these up with the other 20160102_180011ingredients, and the forcemeat will be ready for use. When it is made into balls, fry of a nice brown, in boiling lard, or put them on a tin
and bake for 1/2 hour in a moderate oven. As we have stated before, no one flavour should predominate greatly, and the forcemeat should be of sufficient body to cut with a knife, and yet not dry and heavy. For very delicate forcemeat, it is advisable to pound the ingredients together before binding with the egg; but for ordinary cooking, mincing very finely answers the purpose. Average cost, 8d.

Sufficient for a turkey, a moderate-sized fillet of veal, or a hare.

20160102_183022and some hard-boiled eggs cut in slices. Repeat until the dish is full. Pour over all a cupful of water or white stock, and place a cover on the top. Brush over it the yolk of an egg. Bake in a good oven.

When the pie has been in the oven about half an hour, place a piece of paper over the top to prevent the crust from being
frizzled before the meat is sufficiently cooked. When it is ready, raise the cover and pour in the gravy made from the bones. Put a trussing- needle into the pie to ascertain whether it is sufficiently cooked. If it goes through easily, take the pie out.

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A pie made with two chickens, sufficient for six persons. Probable cost, 6s.

A taste of Victoriana

A 140-year-old bottle of beer brewed for an arctic expedition is to be auctioned after being found in garage. _83393291_bottlecollageThe beer – Allsopp’s Arctic Ale – was brewed in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, for an expedition led by Sir George Nares in 1875. The unopened bottle was discovered in a box in a garage in Gobowen, Shropshire, but auctioneers said it was a mystery as to how it got there.

The bottle is expected to fetch up to £600 but reached £3300. Auctioneers Trevanion and Dean, in Whitchurch, described it as “very special” and how right they were.

Aaron Dean, a partner at the auctioneers, said: “The beer was brewed for an expedition to the north pole which, unfortunately, didn’t get there.

“It was made to a certain recipe, so it lasted, and it was slightly medicinal.

“It went all the way to Portsmouth and it was loaded on to the ship as cargo, to go out with the HMS Alert and HMS Discovery.

“Unfortunately, the expedition didn’t quite make it to the north pole, so it came all the way back again.”

A Christmas Jelly or two!

Well not Jelly as we know it but Jelly in the sense of a fruit preserve.

Jelly is a clear or translucent fruit spread made from sweetened fruit (or vegetable) juice and set using naturally occurring pectin. 

Chutney, Confit, Conserves, Fruit butter, Fruit curd, Fruit spread, Jam, Jelly and Marmalade, all of these come under the general title of ‘Fruit Preserves’.

So here ‘s my masterclass on making a Christmas preserve with images!

Christmas Apple and Cinnamon Jelly
Ingredients: 3lb 30oz cooking apples diced, thinly paired rind of 1 lemon, 2in piece of ginger root crushed, 8in cinnamon stick, roughly broken plus extra if you wish, 1lb 2oz white granulated sugar per pint of juice.

2oz white granulated sugar per pint of juice. 

Method: Put the apples and 1 & 3/4 pints of water in a large preserving pan. Add lemon ring, ginger and cinnamon. Bring to boil, then cover pan and simmer for an hour or so until the apples are pulpy and squidgy. Spoon mixture into a jelly bag and allow top drip for about 6 hours. 

Measure the juice and weigh out the correct amount of sugar. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to a slow boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to a rolling boil, then take any scum (white in colour). 

Wash your jars and lids in warm soapy water then sterilise for about 20 minutes in the over on gas mark 4.  Then add the mixture with use of a funnel, seal and label…a voila!

The Victorians enjoyed their preserves and here some examples:

PEACH JELLY
Take fine juicy free-stone peaches, and pare and quarter them. Scald them in a very little water, drain and mash them, and squeeze the juice through a jelly-bag. To every pint of juice allow a pound of *loaf-sugar, and a few of the peach-kernels. Having broken up the kernels and boiled them by themselves for a quarter of an hour in just as much water as will cover them, strain off the kernel-water, and add it to the juice. Mix the juice with the sugar, and when it is melted, boil them together fifteen minutes, till it becomes a thick jelly. Skim it well when it boils. Try the jelly by taking a little in a spoon and holding it in the open air to see if it congeals. If you find, that after sufficient boiling, it still continues thin, you can make it congeal by stirring in an ounce or more of isinglass, dissolved and strained. When the jelly is done, put it into tumblers, and lay on the top double tissue paper cut exactly to fit the inside of the glass ; pressing it down with your fingers.

You may make plum jelly in the same manner, allowing a pound and a half of sugar to a pint of juice. Directions For Cookery Being A System Of The Art 1837

*A sugarloaf was the traditional form in which refined sugar was produced and sold until the late 19th century when granulated and cube sugars were introduced.

RASPBERRY JAM
Take fine raspberries that are perfectly ripe. Weigh them, and to each pound of fruit allow three quarters of a pound of fine loaf-sugar. Mash the raspberries, and break up the sugar. Then mix them together, and put them into a preserving kettle over a good fire. Stir them frequently and skim them. The jam will be done in half an hour. Put it warm into glasses, and lay on the top a white paper cut exactly to fit the inside, and dipped in brandy. Then tie on another cover of very thick white paper. Make blackberry jam in the same manner. Directions For Cookery Being A System Of The Art 1837

Apple Jam
Ingredients: 3lbs 30z cooking apples, 2lbs 2oz  sugar, 2 lemons, juice and grated zest

Peel the apples, core and slice them very thin, and be particular that they are all the same sort. Put them into a jar, stand this in a saucepan of boiling water, and let the apples stew until quite tender. Put the apples into a preserving-pan, crush the sugar to small lumps, and add it, with the grated lemon-rind and juice, to the apples. Simmer these for 30 minutes, reckoning from the time the jam begins to simmer properly; remove the scum as it rises, and when the jam is done, put it into pots for use. Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management 1861

 

Getting stuffed at Christmas

Stuffing is an essential accompaniment for any Christmas dinner and of course stuffing comes in a multitude of flavours.

The history of stuffing is somewhat sketchy but appears to been around since at least roman times as the earliest recorded is in the Roman cookbook, Apicius’ “De Re Coquinaria” which appears to contain recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and yes…dormouse – excuse me if I don’t!

The majority stuffings here seem to consist of vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, and spelt*  and frequently contain chopped liver, brains, and offal (any other meaty bits left over)

*Spelt is a wheat and was a staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times, but it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food.

Anyway stuffing is basically forced into animals cavities before baking and my favourite is homemade Sage and Onion which is from Mrs Beeton, you can find it here

Here is the ever wonderful Ruth Goodman with some top suggestion for Turkey and Stuffing.

Family traditions and Christmas Breakfast

A tradition that has passed down my family line from way back is a Victorian Era breakfast we have always used on a Christmas Day.

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon is a wonderful way to start the Christmas day. So for two you need:

4 eggs, free range
4 tbsp milk, or a little cream mixed with milk
15 g butter
75 g smoked salmon, chopped
1 tsp of Parsley

So whisk the eggs, milk and season well with pepper for about 10 seconds to blend everything together. Melt the butter into a saucepan and add the egg mixture. Make sure you stir continuously with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the mixture looks scrambled but is still soft and creamy. Then place the egg in top of the smoked salmon add some wholemeal bread and butter and enjoy.

A Christmas Breakfast!

A tradition that has passed down my family line from way back is a Victorian Era breakfast we have always used on a Christmas Day.

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon is a wonderful way to start the Christmas day. So for two you need:

4 eggs, free range
4 tbsp milk, or a little cream mixed with milk
15 g butter
75 g smoked salmon, chopped
1 tsp of Parsley

So whisk the eggs, milk and season well with pepper for about 10 seconds to blend everything together. Melt the butter into a saucepan and add the egg mixture. Make sure you stir continuously with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the mixture looks scrambled but is still soft and creamy. Then place the egg in top of the smoked salmon add some wholemeal bread and butter and enjoy.