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

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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.

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

3 thoughts on “Court Cookery

  1. Hello,
    May I ask where you purchased the Combware Loaf Dish? I know you are busy but I have asked a few other times but got no reply. I hope I’m not being a pest Sandie. I love this site and look forward to it. I especially liked this entire meal you all prepared. Please advise at your earliest convenience. I just have to have a dish exactly like yours if possible. Thanks in advance. Vi

  2. Vi,
    I’m sorry you have had problems contacting me. I have not to my knowledge received any other requests from you. My Combware comes from Henderson Pottery in Maine. He has a web sight.