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
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.
Paul 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.
The 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.
A 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.
While Paul beat the batter, Wendy and Heather tied the brown paper to the bottom of the bottomless cake tin that was buttered and floured.
With 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.)
The 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
With all the receipts cooked, it was time to sit and enjoy our meal. Heather’s lemon sauce on the cauliflower was delightful, and Robert Smith’s receipt is wonderful easy too. Even Allan liked it.
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.
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.
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.
My 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.
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.