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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Food found in Georgette Heyer's books

A Few Regency Recipes

My first introduction to the exotic meals of a bygone era came from reading Georgette Heyer’s excellent regencies and historicals and wondering about such exotic sounding dishes as ‘Davenport fowls’ might be and what was actually in the drink called negus.

With the aid of Mrs Rundell’s excellent little book, James Farley’s London Cookery and a few other sources  I am hoping to throw some light on those strange recipes.

  Here you will find Atelets of Palates, Davenport Fowls, Hessian Soup and Pig’s cheek
Along the line are recipes for Liason for fricassees, Benshamel [sic] sauce, Allemand sauce, Spanish sauce, mushroom ketchup and walnut ketchup. 

Atelets of Palates
This took a little  tracking down; the palates would probably be beef or possibly veal palates for which I present several recipes below; atelets aka Hatelettes were small silver or wooden skewers, so this translates as kebabbed palates…and the sauces, one assumes, to dip them in.  

From John Farley’s London Cookery 1811

Beef Palates
Blanch, peel, and broil the palates; trim them into the shape of cutlets; braize with a pint of veal stock till nearly-all is reduced : serve with allemand sauce.
Beef Palates Baked (Brown)
Having blanched, peeled, and boiled the palates, line a tin mould with a veal caul; lay a palate upon it, and over it some light forcemeat containing green truffles pounded : fill the mould with alternate layers of caul, palates, and forcemeat: add a sufficient quantity of stock, and bake in a moderate oven : take out the palates, etc. and put aside the cauls; lay the palates in the dish with the forcemeat over each: strain the gravy, skim off the fat, add two spoonsful of port wine, one of browning, and four of Spanish sauce  boil all together, and pour it over the palates.
Beef Palates Baked (White)
When the palates come out of the oven, strain the gravy and skim off the fat, adding a leason  and two spoonsfull of benshamelle.[sic…..Bechamel?]

Liaison Or Leason, For Fricassees, Etc
Take the yolks of four eggs, half a pint of cream, and a little salt, mixed well together : simmer, and mix as directed in the different receipts.]

I have to say that Mrs Rundell’s version sounds more appetising being inclined to add flavour in the cooking rather than drowning them in sauces;

Beef palates
Simmer them in water several hours till they will peel; then cut the palate into slices or leave them whole as you choose; and stew them in rich gravy until they are as tender as possible. Before you serve season them with Cayenne, salt and ketchup.  If the gravy was drawn clear add also some butter and flour. If to be served white boil them in milk and stew them in a fricassee sauce; adding cream, butter, flour and mushroom powder and a little pounded mace.

Sauces as indicated

Benshamelle[sic] Sauce

Take white veal, lean ham, turnips, celery, onions shred, a blade of mace, and a little whole pepper; sweat them down over a very gentle heat till three parts tender, and add beef stock : when it boils skim it clean, and thicken it with passing, adding cream enough to make it quite white, and of the thickness of light batter: let it simmer gently half an hour, and strain through a tamis[aka tammy or drum sieve].
German Sauce, Or Sauce Allemande
Put a little minced ham into a stewpan, and a few trim mings of poultry, dressed or undressed; four eschalots, a small clove of garlic, a bay-leaf, two tan-agon-leaves, and a few spoonsful of stock : let it simmer gently for half an hour ; strain through a tamis, return into a clean stewpan, and add a sufficient quantity of coulis [thick sauce of pureed vegetables] to make up the requisite quantity, give it a boil, and season with cayenne, salt, a dust of sugar, and a little lemon juice.
Spanish Sauce - Sauce Espagnole
Slice four large onions, and put them into a stewpan with a little vinegar, half a pint of sherry, two slices of ham shred small, a small clove of garlic, a truffle chopped, two eschalots shred, a bay-leaf, three blades of mace, and half a pint of coulis: boil all slowly for a quarter of an hour, rub through a tamis ; season with cayenne and salt, and squeeze in a little lemon juice.
Mr Farley also gives a recipe to pickle ox palates to add to other made dishes or to make of themselves a pretty little dish…however I’ll pass on that one.

Davenport fowl

Hang young fowls a night; take the livers, hearts and the tenderest parts of the gizzards, shred very small, with half a handful of young clary [this is clary sage], an anchovy to each fowl, an onion, and the yolks of four eggs boiled hard, with pepper, salt and mace to your taste. Stuff the fowls with this, and sew up any vents and necks quite close, that the water may not get in.  Boil them in salt and water till almost done; then drain them, and put them into a stew pan with butter enough to brown them.  Serve them with fine melted butter, and a spoonful of ketchup, of either sort, in the dish.

I’d better give you both sorts of ketchup Mrs R means…..

Mushroom ketchup
Take the largest broad mushrooms, break them into an earthen pan, strew salt over, and stir them now and then for three says.  Then let them stand for twelve until ther is a thick scum over; strain and boil the liquor with Jamaica and black peppers,[Jamaica pepper is allspice] mace, ginger, a clove or two and some mustard seed.  When cold, bottle it, and tie a bladder over the cork; in three months boil it again with some fresh spice and it will then keep a twelvemonth
Mushroom ketchup another way­
Take a stew pan full of the large-flap mushrooms that are not worm-eaten and the skins and fringe of those you have pickled, throw a handful of salt among them and set them by a slow fire; they will produce a great deal of liquor, which you must strain; and put into it four ounces of shallots, two cloves of garlic, a good deal of pepper, ginger, mace, cloves and a few bay leaves, boil and skim very well.  When cold, cork close.  In two months boil it up again with a little fresh spices and a stick of horse radish and it will then keep the year; which mushroom ketchup rarely does if not boiled a second time.
Walnut ketchup
Boil or simmer a gallon of the expressed juice of walnuts when they are tender, and skim it well; then put in two pounds of anchovies, bones and liquor, ditto of shallots, one ounce of cloves, ditto of mace, ditto of pepper and one clove of garlic. Let all simmer until the shallots sink; then put the liquor into a pan until cold; bottle and divide the spice to each.  Cork closely and tie a bladder over.  It will keep for twenty years and is not good the first.  Be careful to express the juice at home; for it is rarely unadulterated if bought.  Some people make liquor of the outside shell when the nut is ripe; but neither the flavour nor the colour is then so fine.

I can’t say I find the fowl or either kind of ketchup very appetising; but then I don’t like anchovies. Am I alone in thinking that the spicing seems to be very heavy handed?

Hessian Soup [and Ragout]

Clean the root of a neat’s tongue [calf’s tongue can be salted to be available year round] very nicely and half and ox’s head, with salt and water, and soak them afterwards in water only. Then stew them in five or six quarts of water, till tolerably tender. Let the soup stand to be cold; take off the fat, which will make good paste for hot meat pies, or will do to baste. Put to the soup a pint of split peas, or a quart of whole ones, twelve carrots, six turnips, six potatoes, six large onions, a bunch of sweet herbs and two heads of celery.  Simmer them without the meat till the vegetables are done enough to pulp with the peas through a sieve, and the soup will then be about the thickness of cream.  Season it with pepper, salt, mace, allspice, a clove or two and a little cayenne, all in fine powder.  If the peas are bad the soup may not be thick enough, then boil in it a slice of roll and put it through the cullender [sic], or add a little rice flour, mixing it by degrees. 

For the ragout cut the nicest part of the head, the kernels, and part of the fat of the root of the tongue into small thick pieces.  Rub these with some of the above seasoning as you put them into a quart of the liquor, kept out for that purpose before the vegetables were added, flour well, and simmer them until nicely tender.  Then put a little walnut and mushroom ketchup, a little soy,[yes that surprised me too] a glass f port wine and a teaspoon full of made mustard, and boil all up together before served.  If for company, small eggs and forcemeat balls. 

This way furnishes an excellent soup and ragout at a small expense, and they are not common. The other part will warm for the family.

Pig Cheeks this being all there was in the house to eat in the denouement in The Grand Sophy.

Pig cheeks also refers to the meat along the jaw, a fatty cut but apparently flavoursome.  If you are lucky enough to live in Bath, you might have Bath Chaps, wherein the meat is cured like bacon and is, I am assured, delicious.  At one time they were also dried, a recipe Mr Rundell has.  The local pig to Bath, the Gloucester Old Spot, reared on Somerset apples for excellent flavour, has a long jaw ideal for a good cut of meat for this cut, boned, pressed into a half cone and breadcrumbed, and eaten with mustard and boiled or fried eggs. {Sancia used up the eggs to make an omelette  however in The Grand Sophy].

Mrs Rundell’s recipes:

 To prepare pig’s cheek for boiling
Cut off the snout, and clean the head; divide it, and take out the eyes and the brains; sprinkle the head with salt, and let it drain 24 hours.  Salt it with common salt and saltpetre: let it lie 8 or 10 days if to be dressed without stewing with peas, but less if it is to be dressed with peas; and it must be washed first and then simmered till all is tender.
To dry Hogs’ cheeks
Cut out the snout, remove the brains, and split the head, taking off the upper bone, to make the chawl a good shape; rub it well with salt; next day, take away the brine and salt it again the following day: cover the head with half an ounce of saltpetre, two ounces of bay salt, a little common salt, and four ounces of coarse sugar.  Let the head be often turned; after ten days smoke it for a week like bacon.
Sounds like Mrs R knew how to prepare Bath Chaps even if she didn’t call it by the name.

I’d like to post a thanks to my husband for reading out impossibly small print in Mrs Rundell’s book because I need my glasses to see the screen but I need to take them off for close work.

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