Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To market, to market...

To buy a fat...beef?

Trying making a rhyme out of that one.

Hey diddle dumpling!

And for dessert:


INGREDIENTS. - 1/2 a lb. of short-crust paste
5-6 apples, according to size
1 tablespoon of currants
a little moist sugar

( I made a few alterations here... I used sultanas instead of currants...mainly because i didn't have any currants on hand, and I used caster sugar instead of moist sugar ... mainly as I had no idea what that was, but I have since discovered it is a type of rich brown sugar, so I probably should have gone with that instead... Oh well, next time.)

METHOD. - Peel and core the apples and fill the centre with currants. Roll out the paste thinly, and cut it into rounds nearly large enough to cover the apples.

Place one in the centre of each round, wet the edges of the paste, and press gently to the top of the apple. Put them join downwards on a baking-sheet, and bake from 20 to 30 minutes in a moderately hot oven.

When nearly done, brush lightly with water, sprinkly ove with moist sugar, and return to the over to finish baking. Serve either hot or cold.

TIME - About 1 hour. SUFFICIENT for 5 or 6 persons.

This was excellent and very tasty. The apples are sweet but not too sweet and it's very moist inside the pastry...kind of like an individual apple pie.

My husband's only complaint - it was too big, but he conceded that it's rather difficult to make an apple smaller.

Colour by numbers - Bacon

I'm sensing a under(red)current.


INGREDIENTS. - A haunch of venison
brown sauce or gravy
red-currant jelly

METHOD. - The haunch is the prime part of venison, and its excellence depends greatly on the relative proportions of fat and lean. An abundance of clear creamy-white fat of close texture may be generally accepted as an indication of the good quality of the meat. Venison, like mutton, should be well hung before cooking. The flavour is much improved if the meat is marinaded before cooking. In cold weather venison should be allowed to hang for about 14 days in a cool, dry place, but it must be carefully examined every day. The meat round the haunch bone first becomes tainted; it is therefore advisable to run a small sharp knife into the flesh; on being withdrawn, if it has an unpleasant smell,m the affected parts must at once be washed with warm milk and water, dried thoroughly, and covered thickly with ground ginger and pepper, which must, however, be washed off before cooking. If a little of these condiments be sprinkled on the venison in the first instance, and the meat wiped dry every day, decomposition may be considerably retarded.

When ready for use, saw off the knuckle-bone, rub well all over with clarified fat or dripping, and enfold in a well-greased paper. Make a stiff paste of common flour and water, put it over the joint, and tie securely with string. Roast in a moderate oven from 3 to 4 hours, according to size, and baste frequently. Within 1/2 an hour of serving remove the paper and paste, dredge lightly with flour, and baste well until the joint acquires a good brown colour. Serve as hot as possible, as the fat quickly cools and hardens, and send the brown sauce or gravy and the red-currant jelly to table seperately. The best end of the neck of venison, boned and rolled, makes an excellent dish, but other parts are not often roasted, the neck and shoulder being considered better adapted for stews, pies, etc.

TIME. - Allow roughly 25 minutes to each lb. SUFFICIENT for 12 or more persons.


ROAST VENISON (as told to me by the venison guy)

Preheat the oven to 220oC. Heat a frying-pan, with some oil in it, and when very hot, seal the sides of the venison roast (a couple of minutes per side). Then roast on a rack over a tray of water, no more than 30 minutes per kilo.

Serve with gravy or sauce of your choosing.

This was a very yummy dinner. I also made some

RED-CURRANT SAUCE. (For Puddings, Venison, Hare, etc.)

INGREDIENTS. - A small jar of red-currant jelly
1 small glass of port

METHOD. - Out the wine and jelly into a small saucepan, let them slowly come to the boil, and serve when the jelly is dissolved.

TIME. - About 5 minutes.

This sauce is excellent. Very, very tasty on everything, including some pieces of bread after the roast was all gone. I only wish I had made more...
Oh well, next time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Now we're cooking with gas!

Doe, a deer, a female deer!

Well, actually it could be a male deer. I'm not sure. I didn't ask.

My husband invited his friend over for dinner... which is fine, except that he didn't tell me this before I went shopping last week. And then yesterday his mother decided to invite herself over for dinner as well. So, suddenly, I've gone from dinner for two to dinner for four.

Luckily, last time I went to the farmer's market I picked up a piece of venison to roast, which I had in the freezer.

Venison may be eaten as steaks, roasts, sausages, jerky and minced meat. It has a flavor similar to beef, but is much leaner and the fibers of the meat are short and tender. Venison is lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than most cuts of beef, pork, or lamb.

Now, Mrs Beeton would have me roast an entire haunch wrapped in pastry for about 4 and a half hours. For my 800g of venison, that would probably result in a tiny charred chunk of something inedible.

So I will be roasting mine in the manner told to me by the venison guy... however, it will be accompanied by red currant sauce, and I'm going to do Apple dumplings for afters, so hopefully there will be enough to go around at this impromptu dinner.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Top of the (electric) range

Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni...

macaroni; 1599, from southern It. dialect maccaroni (It. maccheroni), pl. of *maccarone, possibly from maccare "bruise, batter, crush," of unknown origin, or from late Gk. makaria "food made from barley." Used after c.1764 to mean "fop, dandy" (the "Yankee Doodle" reference) because it was an exotic dish at a time when certain young men who had traveled the continent were affecting Fr. and It. fashions and accents. There is said to have been a Macaroni Club in Britain, which was the immediate source of the term.

Also used to specify pasta, particularly short round noodles. However, it hasn't always been that particular. In older times, macaroni was used as a general word for pasta.

So with this in mind, I went forward with my BACON AND MACARONI, despite not having any actual macaroni, but I think it still works in principle. And seeing as the macaroni is broken into piece in the recipe I figured it was all a muchness.


4 oz. of macaroni
4 oz. of streaky bacon
1/2 a pint of stock
1 oz. of butter
salt and pepper

Break the macaroni into small pieces, put them into slightly salted boiling water, boil rapidly for about 5 minutes, then drain well.
Have the stock boiling in a stewpan, put in the macaroni and stew until tneder, but not too soft. (I think what we like to call al dente)
Cut the bacon into small dice, fry slightly in a saute-pan, then add the well-drained macaroni, butter, a good pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir gently over the fire until the macaroni acquires a nice brown colour, then turn on to a hot dish, and serve.

TIME.- About 40 minutes. SUFFICIENT for 2 or 3 persons.

Not sure why this is a specific 'Breakfast Dish' but there you have it. It was quite tasty, although I think it would do with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Would also make a good lunch or some kind of university student dinner, although bacon may put it out of the budget of many students. Worth trying if you like bacon...and pasta... also different stocks would result in different flavours. I used chicken stock, which was quite mild, but a beef stock would probably provide a stronger flavour.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sure glad my dishwasher doesn't look like these

A nice surprise...

I got a great surprise this morning when I got a comment telling me I'd got an Award. It's the "Your Blog is Fabulous" award which I received from The Prodigal Tourist
I've been enjoying reading his adventures as he rediscovers his homeland with his family.

Now, apparently, the award has a few strings attached, and here they are:
You must pass it on to 5 other Fabulous bloggers in a post.
You must include the person who gave the award to you and a link back to their blog.
You must list 5 of your Fabulous Addictions in the post.
You must copy and post these rules in the post.

So here are 5 of my Fabulous Addictions: reading, cooking, history, vintage and sewing.

And here are 5 Fabulous bloggers you should all visit:
Jitterbug for her exciting adventures reclaim the lost domestic arts.
50s gal for living a whole year as a 50s housewife. It's fascinating reading.
kel at sweet treats from oz for not only being a friend but also for the most amazing cupcakes
Megan and Alison at Before our time for providing interesting insights into now and then
Emer at Circa 1952 for opening my eyes to interesting things about being a marine's wife...

Your blogs are fabulous. (Right click the Award and save to your computer and post it on your blog.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aluminium or Aluminum - Mrs Beeton sides with 'i'

It's growing!

my collection of Mrs Beeton books that is...


I just acquired this darling copy of Mrs Beeton's Cookery book. This time it was my mother-in-law who supplied the goods... she was showing it to me knowing that I have the other book Actually, she thought I had the same book. I asked if she would leave it to me in her will... so she just gave it to me, although I guess technically it should still belong to Gran in case she wants to pickle anything in the nursing home. (Apparently the sister-in-law gets to have Gran's recipe collection instead.) So this is my husband's Gran's copy of Mrs Beeton... allegedly again given as a wedding present.

However, here I come across the same quandary as I have with my nana's copy. It appears to be a lot older than a wedding present would suggest. This one seems even older than the All about Cookery, and a quick google gives it an approximate date of early 1900s to 1910ish. All very puzzling.

And, intriguingly, this book has lots of different recipes to the other one. Some things that were popular when this book was printed had evidently fallen by the way side by the time All about Cookery was published.

So I'm looking forward to even more adventures with Mrs Beeton.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

For the latest appliances...

Sardine-ically speaking...

Sardines are nutritious and considered a "brain food." These fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help maintain a healthy heart. Recent studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids slow the progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, thereby undoing all the bad effect of using the Mrs Beeton approved aluminium cookware.

Not only this, but sardines are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium, B12 and protein. Sardines are extremely low in contaminants such as mercury.

They are also delicious.

But not, as it turns out, in Mrs Beeton's SARDINE AND TOMATO SANDWICHES. And here's why...

Mrs Beeton is keen on sieving things. A lot of ingredients get passed through a sieve, hence why she suggests you purchase 2 hair sieves and one brass wire sieve when setting up your kitchen.

However, tomato and egg should never be passed through a sieve and mixed together, otherwise you end up with a mixture that resembles something you wouldn't want to feed to your dog. I can see what she's driving at, but I wouldn't want to serve these to my lady friends at a dainty afternoon tea.

But I digress. Here is the recipe so you can examine it for yourself. It does not come recommended.


INGREDIENTS - 1 tin of sardines
2 hard-boiled yolks of eggs
2 or 3 firm tomatoes
lemon-juice or vinegar
salt and pepper
white or brown bread,

METHOD - Skin and bone the sardines, and split them in halves. Pass the tomatoes and yolks of eggs through a fine sieve, mix them with a little butter, add the lemon-juice or vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare some fingers of bread, spread them with the tomato preparation; on the top place half a sardine, and cover with fingers of bread and butter. Press well together, and dish tastefully on a folded napkin, garnished with parsley.

To improve this, I think maybe just adding slices of tomato and egg to the sardine fingers... or perhaps toasting the bread.