BILL OF FARE
SOFT CHEESE WITH CHIVES
PUMPKIN SOUP & SNIPPETS
ROAST LOIN OF PORK
APPLESAUCE – HONEY MUSTARD – PEACH PRESERVES
INDIAN PUDDING & WHIPPED CREAM
This class was meant to be casual and full of fall receipts. My four companions had been here before and knew the drill: Start on the things that need cooking the longest first. Nancy dove in to the Indian pudding receipt, scalding the milk, mixing the cornmeal and molasses and spices with the cream and adding raisins and eggs. Paul and Heather put together the stuffing for the pork from the receipt of Hannah Glasse with a few twists. We used leftover cheese bread from another workshop as our base for the stuffing. Allan had cut the pork, so it was ready to go.
Heather and Paul put the stuffing on the pork and it was rolled like a jelly roll. Then it was placed on the lacey lamb caul and rolled again. The caul would baste it as it roasted by the fire. Heather reminded Paul that they had seen an episode of “Chopped” that used caul fat, how timely. Paul, using his best boy scout knots, tied string around to keep the caul in place.
Patty started two things at the same time. Multi-tasking! I’m sure our foremothers did a lot of that. Yes, we were going to try and make cheese again. Last workshop it would not curdle, so Patty agreed to give it another try. She also needed to get the pumpkin leather soaked for the soup and heat the milk for the cheese.
Pumpkin played an important role in the Pilgrim diet. There is a poem that goes:
Stead of pottage and pudding and custard and pie Our pumpions and parsnips are common supplies, We have pompion at morning and pompion at noon, If it were not for pompion we should be undoon.
With the ingredients for Amelia Simmons’ A Nice Indian Pudding, all mixed together, Nancy poured them into individual bowls for baking in the bake oven. Paul and Allan secured the pork to the spit with skewers, ready for the fire. We all had a laugh at the original tin fat catcher. That will be the next order from OSV (Old Sturbridge Village).
While Patty was working on the pumpkin soup, she kept her eye on the cheese, and was rewarded with success. She made a wonderful soft ricotta and proudly displayed it. Now for some chives.
Heather and Paul cut up apples and added lemon zest, butter, cider, sugar and their own choice of spices and added them to the mix; this is Mary Smith’s 1772 receipt.
With the cheese made, Patty gets back to the pumpkin leather that is soaking in chicken broth, sherry, and cream she sautéed the garlic, onions, leeks. When these were soft she added the pumpkin and spices, and put it by the fire, along with the hanging pot of apples sauce, spinach, softening leeks and onion and the pork in the tin oven.
Nancy’s next receipt was the spinach tart. She had placed the spinach and a bit of water in a pot and placed a cover over it and it was steamed over the flames. While that softened she makes the pie crust. This receipt is a combination of Charles Carter’s and William Blackfan’s tart.
In-between receipts, and waiting for our food to bake, roast or steam, the clean-up crew headed for the kitchen and then set the table for our meals.
Patty puts the reconstituted pumpkin in with the leeks, onions and other ingredients. The bake oven has been going for nearly two hours and Paul got the hot job of cleaning it out.
However, his reward is to see that the pork roast is browning nicely and nearly ready.
With the oven clean and at the right temperature, Nancy put in her puddings and tart. I put the mashed applesauce near the fire to keep warm while everyone was busy.
First out of the oven is the Indian Pudding. This receipt does not take as long as some receipts, and is more cake-like than a running soft pudding. Paul whips up a sweat, and the cream for the topping.
The pumpkin soup was delicious and just enough to whet the appetite for what was to come. Paul and Heather brought a bottle of Moonlight Meadery made in New Hampshire. The honey-apple-wine called Kurt’s Apple Pie was an exceptional addition to our meal. This is a sipping wine, for sure; it certainly warms the cockles of your heart. With the first courses a memory, Patty dished out her succotash. Colonists quickly came to depend on corn and beans as vital staples.
Paul did the honors of carving the roast and serving it around the table. As Nancy made sure we all had a slice of her spinach tart, everyone passed the succotash, applesauce and other condiments about.
The pork was tender and moist and the stuffing tasty; it has bacon and savory spices in it, how could it go wrong? The aroma of the pork, stuffing and applesauce and tart together on the plate made your mouth water. I’m not sure what I liked best with the pork, the applesauce, honey mustard, or peach preserve; they were all marvelous. The spinach tart was set well and had a hint of the orange flower water and spices that Nancy had put in it. I still have a piece left that will be gone before I finish this blog.
With our second course digesting, it was time to clear the table, as we talked about our experiences of past workshops, books and many other topics. It was a nice and comfortable day with good friends and fine food.
To end this perfect meal we lingered over the table eating our Indian Pudding with whip cream and enjoying each other’s company.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner, and it is my dearest hope that you will spend it with friends around a table groaning with traditional foods from your mother’s, grandparent’s aunt’s and friend’s receipts. This is the best part of food, sharing it with loved ones.
There will be more workshop is the New Year; stay tune!
“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 1887 – 1964