Book Review

 A Book of Cookery, by a Lady

Kimberly Walters asked me to have a look at her new book A Book of Cookery, by a Lady. I felt honored to be asked. Who wouldn’t love it when an author of an new cookery book sends you a free copy to review.   Kim is an amateur  historian and started hearth cooking at Washington headquarters, as Mr. Elizabeth Thompson, the housekeeper.

Her writing style is very similar to what you would find in the 18th century, and can be a bit difficult to comprehend in the beginning, however, like the narrative as with the early cookery books, one gets the hang of it after a while. 

In the foreword, Kimberly states that the main purpose of the book is to bring together many early 18th century receipts, techniques, measurements, etiquette, and equipment that have been printed elsewhere and compile them into one source for ease of use, and this she does.

However, this book also has historical commentary, and she strays a bit by having documents regarding George Washington scattered throughout the book. Mostly about his traveling war family and what they were eating at various times, as well as the equipage he ordered for serving food. Where this is interesting it does not follow what she proposed to do, and the book is a heavy 346 pages.

Yet for all that, this one’s worth a look. The recipes are drawn from a wide variety of historical cookbooks and other historical sources. And what George and Martha served while away at war are fun anecdotes to read.

In my library, I have three shelves of early cookery book, all reprints, of course; also, here are all my Past Masters News and articles written by every hearth cook I could get my hands on, in my file cabinet.  It is nice to find one book that has many of these small publications, by present cooking historians in one place.

She has also compiled many receipts of all sorts, from early  books, English and American both north and south. So many of which include cooking , lungs, brains, hearts and such, for her book she has chosen receipts that are, what I would call, more pleasing to our modern palate.  I’m going to try Apoquinimic Cake, by Mary Randolph, “The Virginia Housewife” even though it is a southern receipt. With a bit of research I’m sure I can find a northern receipt very similar that I can use here in New England.

So if you have a limited cookery book collection ” A Book of Cookery” might do you well.  It has over 168 pages of receipts nicely groups in a comprehensible way.  And index it the front of the book.

Kimberly offered a valuable service by combining what is in season with definitions of food and equipment, and she has captures the grandeur of the sweet table for tea. She provides her web sources and the book is well footnoted.  If you’re looking for a cookery book that has brought together information from many sources, “A Book of Cookery” by A Lady  is a fine book for your shelf.

 

Sandie

Twice and thrice over, as they say, good is it to repeat and review what is good.
Plato
 

MOFFATT LADD HOUSE MUSEUM

 

FUN AT THE HEARTH – FINALLY!

I say “finally” as this is the fourth time we have rescheduled the workshop for the girls at Moffatt Ladd. This winter has been brutal, as you all know, and as much as we all like to be at the hearth on a snowy day, we like to do it in the safety of our own homes. So we waited, and the day of sun arrived.

The ladies of the museum had a few requests for our meal,  LAMB AND A COFFIN, so we have combined them. Now being that this was April and spring has arrived, I thought we should include a GRAND SALAD.

The first mention of salad that I know of is in the book, The Form of Cury, 1390. It is a tiny salad with many fresh herbs and dressed with oil and vinegar. The word salad meant many things to the English and included vegetables both raw, boiled and pickled. Many Grand Salads were works of art and presented as such. Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife, 1615, instructed “housewife’s to pay attention to the presentation of her compound sallets.” She was making an edible centerpiece.

Springtime salads were greeted with enthusiasm. The first shoots of asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, strawberry leaves, wild onions and violets found their way into a salad. These fresh greens were long awaited after the boredom of pickled and dried foods. So, should you read that the English did not eat vegetables, look further into the source.

Our meal has a centerpiece of a coffin, surrounded with the Grand Sallet. A coffin, or coffyn as it was spelled during the medieval time and earlier, meant basket or box. It was made of a tough dough that made a container. It holds food to be eaten right away, when cooked, and it also helps baked foods last longer when stored by excluding air from its host. It help preserve the fillings of meat or vegetables. The coffin was also used as an entertainment. In the 16th century translation of the Italian Epulario 1598 we find the following:

 “To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut UpMake the coffin of a great pie or pastry, in the bottome thereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will, let the sides of the coffin bee somwhat higher then ordinary pies, which done put it full of flouer and bake it, and being baked, open the hole in the bottome, and take out the flouer. Then having a pie of the bigness of the hole in the bottome of the coffin aforesaid, you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure shew to the company.

 Four and twenty blackbirds anyone? Our centerpiece was definitely not going to be filled with birds however, it did hold a lamb; however, the lamb was cooked.

Sherry started off right away on the hot paste for the standing crust of the coffin. She is hoping that this experience will help her make a fake one for the museum.

Sherry cof

We also needed a regular crust for the decorations and top. Marsha was in charge of that. The receipt for basic pie crust has not changed since mankind began to make flour into dough, to bake into a crust and put stuff inside it. We are using our crust for decorations on the coffin.

The English Art of Cookery, According to the Present Practice…. Richard Briggs, 1788 tart paste

Paste Marsha copy

With the coffin standing tall, Marsha whipped up the egg wash and I helped to apply the decorative side to the coffin.

wrap side copy

Lisa and Linda began the receipt for the coffin filling. Mushroom, carrots, garlic, shallots and scallions were washed, cut, and sliced ready for the filling.

The meat needed to be cut into bite-sized pieces, salted and floured. Pieces of bacon were put into a bit of olive oil to render, then taken out. The floured lamb was browned on all sides. Carrots, garlic, scallions, shallots, mushrooms and the rendered bacon were then added. A dash of sherry, a sprig of rosemary and some beef broth went in to simmer for a while. The rosemary was removed later, and a piece of floured butter, heavy cream, parsley, tarragon, and peas were then mixed in.

filling

With the coffin decorated, and the lamb mixture ready, the lamb was removed from the pan with a slotted spoon, and Linda filled the coffin.

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Marsha placed her decorated top on the coffin and crimped the edges.

top

I was not sure if anyone would be brave enough to eat the coffin dough, so I decided it would be a good idea to have some rolls made. Nothing smells better than hot rolls out of the bake oven and they do go so well with a salad. I picked my favorite cheese loaf receipt from –   W.M. The Compleat Cook,  1658,  with the addition of King Arthur’s 7 Grains. After the first rise, Linda reformed the dough into the rolls and gave it one more rise.

Linda bread copy

Rolls have a surprisingly long history, having been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. We know of the English manchet, a yeast roll popular with the Tudor Court, of which there are many variations. I did a bit of research to see when I could find the word roll being used in association with bread. I found this interesting information. In 1542 – Andrew Boorde, an English monk and physician, wrote a book called, Compendyous Regyment, or a Dyetary of Health. He discusses food he felt appropriate for Lords and good Englishman. When he expounded on BREAD he said,

“But the bread of rolls made for the Romans, I praise it not.”

I’m sure the word was used earlier I just have not come across an earlier reference as yet.

For our dessert we  had a receipt for Portugal Cakes, or as we often call them, Madeleines. The history of this little sponge cake is that it may have been named for the use of orange flower water or sack that came from Portugal Madeleines, which was made of a similar ingredients and has its origin in France. When, is the question. Some say Louis XV of France first tasted them in 1755. Others say a baker made them for his love Madeleine Paulmier in the 18th century while working for the Duke of Lorraine. When they came to England is a total mystery. However, we all think of them as being served on the English tea table. Hannah Glasse knew of them and we used her receipt. Whatever their history, they are tasty, and ours will be anointed with chocolate and spring mint.

So you say tomato and I say tomaato, but let’s not call the whole thing off, I want little cakes.

Lisa creamed the butter and sugar then added the rest of the ingredients for the batter, and spooned it into the French Madeleine tins.

Cakes1

Into the bake oven goes the coffin and Portugal cakes. The rolls were baked in the kettle on the hearth.

in

Time to prepare all the pieces for our Grand Salad.

To Make a Grand Sallet 

John Murrell, The Second Booke of Cookery and Carving, 1638 

Take the buds of all kind of good Hearbes and a hanfull of French Capers, seven or eight Dates cut in long slices, a hanfull of Raisins of the Sun, the stones being pickt out, a handfull of Almonds blancht, a handfull of Curans, five or six Figs sliced, a preserved orenge cut in slices; mingle all these together with a handful of Sugar, then take a faire Dish fit for a shoulder of Mutton, set a standard of paste in the midst of it, put your aforesaid sallet about this standard, set upon your sallet four half Lemmons, with the flat ends downward, right over against one another, halfs way betwixt your standard and the dishes side, pricke in every one of these Lemmons a branch of Rosemary and hang upon the Rosemary preserued cherries, or cherries fresh from the tree; set foure halfe Egges, being roasted hard, betwaene your Lemons, the flat ends downward, prick upon your Egges sliced Dates and Almonds: then you may lay another garnish betweene the brim of the Dish and the Sallet, of quarters of hard Egges and round slices of Lemmons: then you may garnish up the brim of the Dish with a preserued Orenge, in long slices and betwixt every slice of orenge, a little heap of French Capers. If you have not a standard to serue it in, then take halfe a Lemmon, and a faire branch of Rosemary. 

The eggs were put in a pot to boil and the asparagus blanched. Both were put in cool water to stop the cooking. Leaves of tarragon, marjoram, parsley, and mint were prepared. Figs and dates were julienned, while the slivered almonds were toasted. Capers were drained and lemons sliced. All of these ingredients would be used in the Grand Salad.

eggs aspar

Lisa cut the lemons in half and speared a grape onto the top of the rosemary and stuck the spear into a lemon. Linda took the sliced dates and almonds and stuck them into the eggs. We love the look of these and they were just a part of our garnishes for the grand salad.

Pan

Sherry cut oranges, with the peel, into slices early in the morning and then cut them into triangle, blanched them, patted them dry and sprinkled Darmara sugar on them. They were then put in the electric oven for three hours to dry. This was just the beginning of all the ingredients used for the Grand Salad.

Other items for the salad included, pickled cornichons, pickled beets, pea pod leaves, mint, dates, figs, sunflower seeds, raisin of the sun, various herbs and spices.

parts copy

With the coffin and rolls ready, it was time to assemble our centerpiece.

out

The Portugal cakes were the first item to come out of the bake oven. When they were cooled, melted chocolate helped finish the dessert, and Lisa chopped fresh mint for the tips.

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The coffin was placed on the plate and the grand salad was begun. Some of the items were put in a bowl and sprinkled with the Demerara sugar. A handful of mixed spring greens and the wonderful pea pod greens went around the coffin. The lemons with rosemary, the eggs with almonds and dates, asparagus, and other items were all artfully arranged on this. This was the fun part, making it a work of art, fit for a king or queen.

eveything copy

Gervase Markham, The English House- wife, 1683, suggests you serve your sallet up to the table with oyl, vinegar, pepper and sugar. We all decided that the dressing was way too oily for such a delicate spring salad so we substituted good old Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette. Not 18th century but really good. The table was set and we were all ready to sit down after a busy morning and noon assembling all the parts for what looks like a simple meal. We “housewife’s paid attention to the presentation of our compound sallet,” as Markham suggested.

 The Grand Salad with a standard of a Lamb Coffin and Cheese Rolls with Grains

bun

Linda and Lisa did the honors and took the top off the coffin

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BEHOLD A LUSCIOUS LAMB COFFIN AND GRAND SALAD EXTRAORDINAIREopen2

In this picture we are missing Sherry. Unfortunately, she was feeling a bit unwell and left early. We shared a toast to a job well done, and we also toasted Sherry, for her wonderful coffin case and candied oranges for the Grand Salad. We packed up a doggie bag for her and Marsha will make sure she gets it.

toast2

With the meal over and the Portugal Cakes eaten, we cleaned up, and everyone packed a goodie bag to take home for dinner.

So the season comes to an end, and all that is left is to put away all the washed dishes, and utensils we used, and season all the iron that might go into storage for the coming months. And I will think of the wonderful meals cooked, and of meeting so many interesting friends with whom I have been lucky enough to share my hearth. I’m looking forward to next fall and having several workshops. Stay tuned for the notices.

washed

Enjoy the Summer!

Sandie

Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is a great importance to the morale.

Elsa Schiparelli

 

HANNAH GLASSE

In the 18th century, English life started to breed the frantic, money-fueled materialism that we are familiar with today. As the middle classes grew, there was an increasing demand for books to save the lady of the house from the task of teaching her kitchen maids. Many households cooked for themselves. Books such as Hannah Glasse’s, The Art of Cookery, were directed at the servants, and were written in plain and accessible language.

The first edition of Hannah Glasse’s book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, was published in London in 1747. It became a bestseller for over a hundred years, both in England and the colonies, and a second edition was published within a year of the first.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned a copy and Benjamin Franklin translated it into French. Over the many years that I’ve been hearth cooking, I’ve used many of her receipts so I thought receipts combined for a meal would make a wonderful workshop. What you might not know about Hannah is that she was a housewife and this was a way for her to make some badly-needed money. Even though this seems bit altruistic, the book was written for the common good, and like so many other cookbook authors of the times, she too copied directly from other books. However, she added a few new receipts and including ingredients like Indian Curry and Asian food.

Unfortunately, Hannah Glasse was not successful making money with the book, and she went into bankruptcy by 1754. She needed to sell her copyright to stay afloat and therefore relinquished all control of further publications of her first book. She wrote again, her second book , The Servants Directory in 1755, was on the management of a household. But still debt plagued her and she ended in debtor prison for a while. Free by 1757 she wrote her third and last work, The Complete Confectioner. This was reprinted several times, but did not match the past success. So the newer editions of The Art of Cookery, with Modern Improvements, was mostly copied from the original , but not written by Hannah Glasse, who by that time had long since departed this world, passing away in 1770.

hannahOUR WORKSHOP BEGINS:
The anchor of the meal is a roast leg of lamb:

The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy – Hannah Glasse, 1747

To collar a breaſt of veal.
To Collar a breast of mutton, do the same way and it eats very well

TAKE a very fharp knife, and nicely take out all the bones, but take great care you do not cut the meat through ; pick all the fat and meat off the bones, then grate fome nutmeg all over the inſide of the veal, a very little beaten mace, a little pepper and falt, a few feweet-herbs fhred fmall, fome parfley, a little lemon-peel fhred fmall, a few crumbs of bread and the bits of fat picked off the bones; roll it up tight, ftick one fkewer in to hold it together, but do it clever, that it ftands upright in the diſh : tie a packthread acroſs it to hold it together, fpit it, then roll the caul all round it, and roaſt it. An hour and a quarter will do it. When it has been about an hour at the fire take off the caul, drudge it with four, baſte it well with freſh butter, and let it be of a fine brown.

Bob prepares the butterflied lamb and spreads it with the herbs mixture. Leslie helped by toasting the bread to be made into crumbs for the filling.

Untitled-1 copyThen it was rolled up with bacon and tied, placed on the spit, and put before the fire with a pudding pan underneath to catch the drippings

2For a dessert I chose “To make White Pot” with “Clear Lemon Cream.” Hannah has two receipts for white pot, one plain and one with rice and sweet meat. We used the addition of the sweet meat for the first White Pot. I have a fondness for this and don’t make it for myself, as I would eat the whole thing.

First the cream and egg mixture, with all the spices, needs to be heated and then cooled. The bread is sliced and buttered on one side. This was all assembled, and it sat a while for the bread to soak up all the liquid.
3It was time to put the Yorkshire pudding together.
Before Hannah’s first edition of the The Art Of Cooking was published, Yorkshire Pudding, was called Dripping Pudding. So the receipt has nothing to do with Yorkshire Scotland or England. A baked pudding under the roast before a fire was called a dripping pudding way before the War of the Roses.

 A Yorkshire Pudding
Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire; take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire ; when it boils, pour in your pudding ; let it bake on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a plate upside down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it a fine brown. When your meat is done sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish; melt some butter, and pour it into a cup, and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent good pudding; the gravy of the meat eats well with it.

The batter for the Yorkshire Pudding was made early by Kate and kept cool, away from the fire. This gave the flour time to absorb the wet ingredients.

Once the lamb had been dripping for half an hour, the dripping pan was removed and the batter carefully placed back under the roast. You could hear the sizzle the batter made as it was poured into a smoking hot dripping pan.

4As I mentioned we would be making a lemon sauce for the white pot. Kate peeled the lemons, simmered them in water on the hearth. This lemon juice was then strained through a cloth and poured into a bowl that had sugar and egg white beaten. Leslie watched as Kate stirred the pot to thicken the sauce.

white pot digbysJPG5Hannah’s receipt to “To Dress Potatoes” and “To Dress Asparagus” were next on the lineup.

Very few cooks had Hannah’ s love of al dente vegetables. In her book she suggest the following:

“Directions concerning Garden Things
MOST people spoil garden things by over-boiling them. All things that are green should have a little crispness, for if they are over-boiled, they neither have any sweetness or beauty”

Leslie boiled the potatoes whole in a kettle over the fire when they were done she and Deana peeled them. Leslie chopped chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary very fine and sprinkled them over the potatoes after they were cut and buttered. These would go into the bake oven to brown.
6

TO DRESS ASPARAGUS.
SCRAPE all the stalks very carefully till they look white, then cut all the stalks even alike, throw them into water, and have ready a stew-pan boiling;. Put in some salt, and tie the asparagus in little bundles. Let the water keep boiling, and when they are a little tender take them up. If you boil them too much you lost- both colour and taste. Cut the round of a small loaf, about half an inch thick, toast it brown on both sides, dip it in the asparagus liquor, and lay it in your dish: pour a little butter over the toast, then lay your asparagus on the toast all round the dish, with the white tops outward. Do not pour butter over the asparagus, for that makes them greasy to the fingers, but have your butter in a basin, and send it to table.

Leslie was in charge of the asparagus. We discussed Hannah’s use of the bread. It seemed to us that the toast should have been left dry to soak up the liquid from the asparagus and not have more poured on it. However, Leslie did follow the directions and with the added butter on the side the crisp asparagus turned out just as Hannah would have made it.

7Mrs. Glass had many excellent cooking techniques, she also expected a roast of meat to be well-browned, and not soggy, as if it were baked.

Our lamb was just that, brown and crisp on the outside and just enough pink inside to suit us all. The Yorkshire pudding is nothing like the modern version, it is dense and has a subtle flavor of lamb and bacon, a combination that can’t go wrong.

13Hannah would be proud of these vegetables, the asparagus was al dente, and the potatoes soft outside and crisp on the outside, with a great flavor of herbs and butter.

14The white pot came out and was moist and had perfect layers of sweet meets in-between the bread. The lemon sauce, made with egg whites to thicken it, added just the right amount of tang to counterbalance the sweet dessert.

10 copy Hannah’s cookery book was not written for the kings and gentry’s chefs. It was written for the common women. However, our meal was fit for a king.

15Each dish was made with many helping hands and as Hannah writes, “who can but read, will know how to do Cookery well.” And we did well.

18Sandie
Hannah Glasse: The original domestic goddess
“Centuries before Elizabeth David put garlic on our menus, in the days when Mrs. Beeton was still a Miss, one book transformed the eating habits of the nation.” The first domestic goddess, the queen of the dinner party, and the most important cookery writer, Hannah Glasse.”
Rose Prince

Court Cookery

Robert Smith spent eight years cooking under a Mr. Lamb, the cook to His Majesty King William. During this time he jotted down many receipts that he thought better than others. When he left there he went to live in the families of the Dukes of Buckingham, Ormond, D’Aumont (the French Ambassador), and others of the Nobility and Gentry.

The receipt we used in the workshop came from his 1725 book Court Cookery Or The Complete English Cook: Containing The Choicest And Newest Recipes. I also sneaked in one receipt from Sarah Tully’s personal receipt book 1745. It just seemed to round out the menu.

With all the receipts handed out, everyone started in. First and foremost were the French rolls. The starter was made the night before and Susan added the rest of the ingredients and set them to rise.

Heather started on the sauce for the cauliflower and cut all the flowerets in smaller pieces

1a1 copy

To Drefi Colliflowers with Butter First pick them very clean and boil them over a quick Fire with Water Salt and a few Cloves when tender drain them well and lay them in little dishes Take for Sauce which must be very thick, Butter, Vinegar ,Salt Nutmeg a little Pepper and sliced Lemon Roll up your Butter in Flower to thicken the Sauce

On a trivet over coals, Heather made the lemon sauce for the cauliflower receipt above. Wendy was in charge of making Sarah Tully’s receipt for Pilau below. This was made in a kettle hung over the fire on a crane.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaul floured the chicken for the fricassee, then began making the batter for the Caraway Cake. I needed an extra receipt to keep everyone busy so I included a lemon cream which Susan made.
Untitled-1 copyThe chicken fricassee also has meatballs in it. Wendy mixed it together and made small rounds. These were fired for a bit then mushrooms were added. When they were browned they were taken out and set aside.

1a5A  Brown Fricajsey of Chickens, or Rabbets
CUT them in pieces, and fry them in brown Butter; then have ready a Pint of hot Gravy, a little Claret, White-wine, strong Broth, two Anchovies, two shiver’d Pallats, a Faggot of sweet Herbs, a little Pepper, Salt, Mace, Nutmeg, and some Balls; thicken it with brown Butter, and squeeze on it a Lemon.

To make Force Meat Balls
Pound of Veal and the fame Weight of Beef suet and a Bit of Bacon shred all together beat it in a Mortar very fine then season it with sweet Herbs Pepper Salt Cloves Mace and Nutmegs and when you roll it up to fry add the Yolks of two or three Eggs to bind it; you may add Oysters or Marrow at an Entertainments

Once again the starter for the Cake was made the night before. Paul creamed the butter and sugar, added the started and more flour, caraways, currants which were soaked in brandy, spices and the liquids. This made a thick batter.

1a3 copyWhile Paul beat the batter, Wendy and Heather tied the brown paper to the bottom of the bottomless cake tin that was buttered and floured.

1a4 copyWith a few of the receipts in different stages of readiness, Allan and Paul sat on the porch which was warm from the sunny day. (Yes, that is snow out there, lots and lots.)

1a7 copyThe dough had risen and Susan cut it into equal pieces to make rolls. Paul put the chicken into the spider and cooked it to a golden brown.

1a6copy The lemon cream was heated over the fire by Susan and when it coated the back of a spoon she took it off. The cream needed to be stirred until it was cool so it would not separate. Heather was waiting for the water to boil for her cauliflower, so she took the task of stirring the lemon sauce until it was cool. 1a8

To make Lemon Cream

Take three smooth Malaga Lemons pare them and squeeze out the Juice, and cut the Peel in Small Pieces and put it to the Juice for three Hours cover it close and when it tastes of the Peel add to it the Whites of five Eggs and the Yolks of two and a half beat this well with two spoonfuls of Orange Flower Water strain it and sweeten it with double refin’d Sugar  and  strain it before you set it over a gentle clear Fire and stir it carefully till it’s as thick as Cream Put it into your Jelly Glasses and let it stand two or three Days

The chicken was removed from the pan, and the wine, broth and spices were added. The chicken and meatball/mushroom mixture were put in the sauce along with a faggot of fresh herbs. This was covered and simmered for 25 minutes.

1a9The French rolls went into the bake kettle and the caraway cake into the bake oven. As you can see, the oven was a bit hotter than we would have liked. However, the rolls came out wonderful.

1a10 copyWith all the receipts cooked, it was time to sit and enjoy our meal.1a12 Heather’s lemon sauce on the cauliflower was delightful, and Robert Smith’s receipt is wonderful easy too. Even Allan liked it.

1(SL)*

As I’m typing this, I’m having a leftover roll and coffee. Even after a few days the rolls are still delicious. I think it is the ale and yeast starter that makes all the difference.
2(SL)*

Sally Tully’s Pilau rice was a real hit. Mixed with the lemons, herbs and a stick of butter we decided this was a keeper of a rice receipt. The chicken and meatball fricassee had a wonderful flavor and went well with the Pilau.3

(SL)*

And last but not least, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
Susan and Wendy decided that the burnt part of the cake could be sliced off and because we had made a lemon sauce they were going to make trifle. And they did. It was scrumptious.

1a11My arm is now out of the cast and doing fine. I’m looking forward to the next two workshops. One on Hannah Glasse’s receipts, and the last one, a mix of receipts for Spring.
I love my fireplace and the snow, however, I am looking forward to SPRING.

Sandie
Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. Wolfgang Puck

(SL)*  Thanks to Susan Lindquist for the great pictures.

INSPIRATION

We have had so much snow this year we are running out of places to put it. However, on the bright side, it keeps me inside with a desire to relax and read by the fireplace. Thanks to the US Postal Service my two favorite magazines arrived just in time for a big weekend storm. Early American Life and A Simple Life. In EAL there is an article about banking a fire for the night and in ASL there is a great home in Maine that has a couver few, which is French for “cover the fire,” on the hearth. I took these articles as my inspiration for the snowy weekend.
Being that we had a huge fire going on Saturday in our cooking fireplace, I decided that I would bank the fire and see if I could start it in the morning without a match. Banking a fire means to cover the coals with ash. In colonial times, banking helped to keep the house from burning down and was a source for the next day’s fire. I have several spill holders on the fireplace and have never used them before, plus my husband has lots of tinder in his wood working shop. Spills were often used to restart the early fire.
spillsIn the morning I raked out the ash and found bit of coals still glowing underneath. I put the spills on top and faned the coals. When the spills started to brown I put some wood shavings and tinder on top and faned some more.

10POOF! and the tinder caught fire, I had succeeded in starting the fire without a match. Now, we had a plan in mind for the day. Allan and I decided to have brunch then spend he day in front of the fire and read.

7Allan put on a few more logs to really get things going so we could have coals
6After a while, we had a nice bed of coals to cook over. Allan heated up the griddle and put the bacon on, turning the griddle when one side browned; he cooked it until it was crisp. I love this griddle with its loop on top of the handle that lets the base turn without having to take it off to do so.

The mix of the wood smoke, maple syrup and bacon was awesome, I became impatient for our meal.

11I was a bit limited on how much I could do, however, I managed to make the coffee , the buttermilk batter for the pancakes , set the table, poured a cup of New Hampshire maple syrup and placed it by the fire to warm. Being one handed at the moment limits my assistance at the fire. So, to bide my time, I read a bit. Both magazines have so many great articles it will take all day to get through them. Luckily, I was in no hurry.

wristWith the bacon done, the griddle was wiped down with just enough grease left to brown the pancakes. I made a large amount of mix so we could freeze some for another day. Always thinking ahead for a quick breakfast.

4jpgAllan cooked six pancakes for our immediate consumption. He would make the rest later.

3With the orange juice poured, coffee and magazines ready, we sat down to a wonderful Sunday Brunch. We spent the entire day in front of the fire, ending with a Bloody Mary at five and looking at pictures, on the laptop, that we had taken of the many snow storms and of our warm summers spent out on the Cape.

2Winter is not all about bad weather, cold freezing temperatures, and cars that don’t start. It has its softer side that gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with someone . You don’t even need to converse much, just read and enjoy the company and the warmth of a colonial hearth.

Sandie

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell

Food History Lecture on Wednesday, February 4

Paul Memorial Library   Newfields N.H. Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00

Sandra Tarbox, Historic Foodways Culinarian and hearth cooking expert will bring her unique insight and practical experience to discuss

The Evolution of Food Ingredients and Cooking Ware”.

Ever wonder what our colonial ancestors used to make their jellies before the advent of gelatin? How did they make bread rise before Fleischmann’s yeast? This entertaining program of food history will discuss this evolution from the colonial kitchen into the 19th and  20th centuries.

sandie_fireplace

HEARTH COOKING WORKSHOPS

 Newmarket, NH.

Spaces still available for the following workshops. Beat the winter blahs, grab a friend and spend a delightful day cooking on the open hearth. 

FEBRUARY 28th ROBERT SMITH – Receipts from Court Cookery – 1725

A Brown Fricassee of Chicken, To Dress Cauliflower with Butter, A Buttered Loaf and Caraway Cake bakes in a hoop.

MARCH 14th HANNAH GLASSE Art Of Cookery – 1776

Forced leg of Lamb Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Vegetables- per Hannah and a boiled Puff Paste Apple Pudding $65 PER WORKSHOP – 10 – 3:00 PM

For more detailed information or to reserve a spot in the workshop contact Sandra Tarbox at sandie@colonialtable.com

PEPYS AT THE TABLE

There’s still room in the workshop on  February 7th,  2015, we are making cheese cake as they did in the mid 1600s.

These were my test cheese cakes that I shared with my neighbors.

cheese cFrom Pepys Diary 1669 April 25th
“Abroad with my wife in the afternoon to the park – where very much company, and the weather very pleasant. I carried my wife to the Lodge, the first time this year, and, there in our coach eat a cheese cake and drank a tankard of milk. I showed her this day also first the Prince of Tuscany, who was in the park – and many very fine ladies. And so home, and after supper, to bed.”

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To make these Bishop Miter Cheese Cakes I have use a Plimouth Plantation receipt that I’ve had for years. I’ve always made the cheese cake in a redware pan however I wanted to make them as smaller, flat hand pies similar to what Pepys wrote about in his diary. I contacted Kathleen Wall, the Colonial Foodways Culinarian at Plimoth Plantation, and fellow ALHFAM’er, to see just how she had made her stiff crust. A while back she had blogged about making them. I loved her reply, part of it sounded much like Dr. Seuss.

“I have both blind baked and cooked it all at once. I have made it in a redware dish and I have made it in a stainless cake hoop and I have made it free form. I have used May’s cool butter paste and Markham’s cool butter and whichever one has an egg and whichever one doesn’t.”

I’m very happy with the way mine came out and I’m looking forward to sharing the receipt with you at the workshop.

Sandie

The recipe that is not shared with others will soon be forgotten, but when it is shared, it will be enjoyed by future generations.
–Unknown

 

 

SPECIAL WORKSHOP DAY

I received a request for a private workshop. Bart and Connie, who live in Massachusetts, wanted to make a few receipts they could then try at home, in their own fireplace and bake oven. The day’s receipts were for a Coffin, Escalloped Potatoes, Asparagus in Crust, Mushroom and Artichoke sauce and Orange Pudding. 
1 copyBart and Connie wanted to start from scratch and build the fire in the bake oven so they would know just how to do this at home. Allan helped show them while I put things on the table. Afterwards, Bart and Connie shoveled the coals out and cleaned the bottom of ash.
DSC_7669 The coffin was the most time-consuming receipt, as there are several parts to it. So we started on that first. The dough can be a bit tricky being that you use hot water with melted lard and butter in it. Bart did an excellent job of it and you would have thought he was a potter. Connie roasted marrow bones, the marrow would go into the little meatballs like little nuggets for the coffin.

2 copyThe meatball mixture was of veal, pork and lamb, known to all of us as a “Meatloaf” mix. It’s modern, yet faster and easier than chopping the meat fine by hand. Herbs and spices were added and the meatballs were stuffed with the marrow. Connie partially fried them in the spider.
4a copyThe pork loin was cut into cubes sprinkled with flour, salt and pepper and also partially fried.4b copyA separate dough was rolled out and decorated with a rolling pin that has designs on it and applied to the side of the coffin and asparagus crust. With the coffin ready, the inside was layered with the meatballs, browned pork, mushrooms, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, figs, herbs, spices and a bit of cold gravy
3 copyConnie placed the top on the coffin; sealed it with beaten egg; and poked a steam hole in the top. She cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and used them for decorations. When done with the coffin, she worked on the crust for the asparagus and then blind baked it in the bake oven.
3acopy The Coffin decorated and ready for the oven
5b copyThe oranges for the orange pudding needed to have the inside removed and the skins boiled to make them soft. In the 18th century they would have used Seville oranges, which are very tart and need to be boiled in several waters. For this modern application we used Florida orange and boiled them once.
6 copyWith the crust for the asparagus half-baked, Connie adds the asparagus and then made a cheese and cream custard to pour inside. Into the bake oven it went, in front of the coffin an had been baking for awhile.
5 copyBart made a pudding with currants, eggs, sugar, sack and heavy cream poured over crumbled Naple biscuits which I made two days beforehand. This went into the oranges; the top placed on and stuffed into small bags, tied with string, and boiled for 45 minutes. They were very hot when they came out and Bart gingerly removed them from the bags.

10 copyThe potatoes for the scallop shells were ready and mashed with butter and cream. They were then spooned into shells and sprinkled with herbs and bread crumbs. and put into a bake kettle. The last receipt was for a mushroom and artichoke sauce. The spider was deglazed of the meatball and pork bits, the mushrooms added to brown, then the artichokes. A walnut size of butter with flour incorporated in to it made a roux. Chicken broth, cream and two egg yolks were slowly mixed in to make a sauce.5a copyWe used several methods of hearth cooking during the day to make this meal. Things were fried in a skillet, baked in a bake kettle and a bake oven. We boiled a pudding over the fire.
With everything ready, we sat to a lovely winter dinner. We discussed how 18th century receipts could be made with modern ingredients for ease of cooking and how Bart and Connie can replicate this delicious meal in their own fireplace and bake oven.
8 copyHappy New Year!

Sandie

You don’t have to be a chef or even a particularly good cook to experience proper kitchen alchemy; the moment when ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts.
Erin Morgenstern

WORKSHOPS 2015

WINTER HEARTH COOKING at the COLONIAL TABLE
For more detailed information or to reserve a spot in the workshop
contact Sandra Tarbox at sandie@colonialtable.com

FEBRUARY 7th
PEPYS AT THE TABLE –a meal from the diary of Samuel Pepys – 1669
An Olio, after the Spanish Fashion, A grand Salad, Brown Bread and Cheese Cake

FEBRUARY 28th
ROBERT SMITH – Receipts from Court Cookery – 1725
A Brown Fricassee of Chicken, To Dress Cauliflower with Butter, A Buttered Loaf and Caraway Cake bakes in a hoop.

MARCH 14th
HANNAH GLASSE Art Of Cookery – 1776
Forced leg of Lamb Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Vegetables- per Hannah and a boiled Puff Paste Apple Pudding

Workshops 10 – 3:00 PM

The registration fee per class is $65 per person,