Posted on

Jane Austen Silhouette Easter Eggs

‘Tis the season, so they say, for coloured eggs. The children have spent a glorious day trying their hands at spotted, striped and marbled eggs—I had to boil an extra dozen just to give them enough to try all of their ideas! ‘Tis the season for egg salad and deviled eggs, too, I guess. Still, I had an inspiration for these Jane Austen silhouettes and just had to give them a try. To be sure, I think they looked delightfully sophisticated in their black and white state (perfect for popping under a Jane Austen egg cosy, perhaps?) but my daughters were more thrilled with the coloured results.

egg-basket

You will recall, of course, how we have in years past looked at the origins of coloured Easter eggs, as well as last month’s recipe for soft boiled eggs, but I always like to begin with hard cooked eggs. They can be enjoyed later in salads or as is with pepper and salt. My favorite recipe is quite easy—add your desired number of eggs to a sauce pan (white eggs work best for clear colors, but brown and green eggs have a delightful, earthy look to them once dyed as well.) Cover the eggs with water and bring them to a boil. Once the water is boiling, take the eggs off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes. At that point, sink the eggs into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. If you wish to dye them at this point, dry them off and you are ready to begin.

You may use any dye method you prefer. There are numerous resources online for various combinations of water, vinegar and food dye (or vegetable dyes, if you prefer) I chose the simplest route today, with a premade PAAS kit, following the provided instructions.

Now for the hardest part! I used the 1” size of my Jane Austen silhouette stickers (these can be found in my etsy shop, regencyaustentation.)  Alternately, you can cut a silhouette of Jane from any self sticking source—tape, vinyl adhesive or contact paper. Use the following template as your guide—simply save and print the picture in a 1″ size.

Untitled-1 copy

Stick the adhesive to your boiled egg, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles. Bubbles in the tape will allow dye under and you won’t get clean lines. Once the sticker is adhered, dip the egg in your chosen colour for as long as it takes to get your desired hue. Once the egg has dried, you can remove the sticker for a white silhouette, or leave it on for a dramatic colour contrast.

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austentation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)

Posted on

Serle’s Soft Boiled Eggs

220px-Egg_spiral_egg_cupBoiled eggs have been a mealtime staple probably since boiling anything was invented. In fact, egg cups (you know what these are: those adorable little cups perfect for holding hard or soft boiled eggs) have been found during archaeological explorations of Crete dating to as early as the 18th century BC. An early silver version from 74 BC was even found in the ruins at Pompeii.

Soft boiled eggs were, by Jane Austen’s time, not only served at breakfast, as the broken egg shells on the table at Mansfield Park suggest, but also served throughout the day, as a healthy, plain food for children and invalids. In Emma, they are one of the few foods that even invalid Mr. Woodhouse can recommend with grace:

“Mrs Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs. An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome. Serle understands boiling an egg better than any body. I would not recommend an egg boiled by any body else; but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see — one of our small eggs will not hurt you.”

Soft boiled eggs in adorable cups, with, perhaps, little hats or “cosies” on top are a favorite childhood memory for many. Paired with hot, buttered toast “soldiers” (narrow strips of toast for dunking in the runny yolk) they can make the most important meal of the day a comfort food feast.

soft boiled eggs would look good in this
This silver egg service for 6 dates to 1820 and was recently sold by waxantiques.com

To make soft boiled eggs, bring 3 inches of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once the water is rolling, turn down the heat to a simmer and add your eggs, allowing them to cook for six minutes (you may wish to set a timer) Remove the eggs to an ice water bath (a bowl of ice water will do) to halt the cooking process while you make and butter your toast. It couldn’t be simpler.

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)

 

Posted on

Make a Jane Austen Egg Cosy

Hollie Keith’s book, So Jane has many ideas for adding a little Jane to your life. Her Jane Austen inspired Egg Cosy was sweet, but appliqued with flowers. It inspired me to create a truly Jane cosy to bring a little Austen to your breakfast table.

Austen Egg Cosy

To create this little cosy, you will need both colored and black felt along with scissors (pinking shears make a cute edge), embroidery floss, a needle, fabric glue and a few inches of coordinating ribbon.

Print the Egg Cosy PDF pattern.

Cut two half round pieces and one silhouetter per cosy.

Lay the two pieces on top of each other with the ribbon looped and fitted between them, as shown.

Using the embroidery floss, stitch around the cosy using a running stitch with a 1/8″ seam allowance. A blanket stitch also makes a nice edge.

Glue silhouette to center front of cosy.

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)

Easter-Eggs-25

Posted on

Visions of Sugar Plums

1907 Cover of A Visit from Saint Nicholas.With Clement C. Moore’s 1823 poem, A Visit from Saint Nicholas, we all now associate “Sugar Plums” with Christmas. In this early American depiction of Christmas Eve, we find the trappings of modern Christmas, from stockings to Jolly old Saint Nick, himself, round, red and fur trimmed, slipping up the chimney after leaving piles of presents for the children, “asleep in their beds, while visions of Sugar Plums dance in their heads.”

So what did a Regency Sugar Plum look like? The 1914  OED describes it thus,  “Sugar-plum – A small round or oval sweetmeat, made of boiled sugar and variously flavoured and coloured; a comfit”.

“Plum” in the name of this confection does not mean plum in the sense of the fruit of the same name. At one time, “plum” was used to denote any dried fruit.  Modern “Sugar plums” may be made from any combination of dried plums (aka prunes), dried figs, dried apricots, dried dates, and dried cherries, but traditional sugar plums contain none of these.

The word came in general usage in 1600s, when adding layers of sweet which give sugar plums and comfits their hard shell was done through a slow and labour intensive process called panning. Until the mechanization of the process, it often took several days, thus the sugar plum was largely a luxury product. In fact in the 18th century the word plum became a British slang for a big pile of money or a bribe.

 

A confectioner creating 'sugar plums' .
A confectioner creating ‘sugar plums’ .

Georgian Sugar Plums, then, looked much more like today’s Jordan Almonds, than anything else. Theodore Garrett, author of The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (1890) notes that “These are described under CARAWAY COMFITS, a more elaborate variety of them being known as DRAGÉES OR FRENCH SUGAR PLUMS…small strips of cinnamon [can also be] made to start off French Sugar Plums.

“Hero’s recruiting at Kelsey’s; – or – Guard-Day at St. James’s” by James Gillray (1797). Notice his cone of sugarplums.
“Hero’s recruiting at Kelsey’s; – or – Guard-Day at St. James’s” by James Gillray (1797). Notice the cone of sugarplums.

William Alexis Jarrin, author of The Italian Confectioner; Or, Complete Economy of Desserts, According to the Most Modern and Approved Practice, 1829, details the process, thus:

Continue reading Visions of Sugar Plums

Posted on

Mrs. Martin’s Mashed Turnips

“They must not over-salt the leg; and then, if it is not over-salted, and if it is very thoroughly boiled, just as Serle boils ours, and eaten very moderately of, with a boiled turnip, and a little carrot or parsnip, I do not consider it unwholesome.”
Emma

The turnip, while an extraordinarily humble vegetable was, like the carrot and potato, one of the few fresh vegetables that could be counted on throughout the winter without the help of a hothouse. They provided a double benefit as well, since both the vegetable root and greens could be eaten. Turnips are quite a bit sweeter than potatoes and this recipe makes a lovely, fluffy side dish. White or yellow turnips may be used.
mashed turnips

To Dress Turnips
They eat best boiled in the pot, and when enough take them out and put them in a pan, and mash them with butter, a little cream, and a little salt, and send them to table.
Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

Continue reading Mrs. Martin’s Mashed Turnips

Posted on

Conserve of Roses, boiled

Most roses are edible. Roses are not the only flowers that can be used to add a delicious and exotic taste to all types of dishes. The flavor of roses, however, is distinct and immediately recognizable, and it looks as wonderful as it tastes.

If you are looking to make your Valentine bouquet last just a bit longer, try this recipe, from Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook, The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy. Below it, you’ll find an updated adaptation.  Of course, if you prefer to try the jam without any effort, several companies do sell their own, ready made versions, as well.

Highly scented roses work best for this project.

Conserve of Roses, boiled
In order to conserve roses, take red roses, take off all the whites at the bottom, or elsewhere, take three times the weight of them in sugar, put to a pint of roses a pint of water, skim it well, shred your roses a little before you put them into water, cover them, and boil the leaves tender in the water, and when they are tender put in your sugar; keep them stirring, lest they burn when they are tender, and the syrup be consumed. Put them up, and so keep them for your use.
Continue reading Conserve of Roses, boiled

Posted on

Boiled Pudding: The Vicar’s Treat

Mrs. Cassandra Austen (mother of Jane Austen) was known to have a sparkling wit and a fine aristocratic nose (which she was pleased to have passed along to her children). She also had a wonderful sense of rhyme. Not necessarily poetry, but fun light verse. The following is a recipe she submitted to her daughter-in-law Martha Lloyd for her Household Book. As Mrs. Austen was the wife of a clergyman (the Rev. Austen was pastor of Steventon Church) one can well suppose she would know what to feed one.

A Receipt for Pudding

If the vicar you treat,
You must give him to eat,
A pudding to his affection.
And to make his repast
By the Cannon of Taste,
Be the present receipt your direction.

First we take 2 lbs. of bread,
Be the crumb only weigh’d,
For the crumb, the good wife refuses.
The proportions, you’ll guess
May be made more or less,
To the size the family chuses.

Then it’s sweetness, to make;
Some currents you take,
And sugar, of each a half pound.
Be butter not forgot,
And the quantity sought
Must the same with your currents be found.

Cloves & Mace you will want,
With rose water, I grant,
And more savory things, if well chosen.
Then to bind each ingredient,
You’ll find it expedient
Of eggs to put in a half dozen.

Some milk, don’t refuse it,
But boil, as you use it,
A proper pint for it’s maker.
And the whole, when complete,
[Shall be ready to eat]
With care, reccommend the baker.

In praise of this pudding,
I vouch [it] a good one,
Or should you suspect a fond word,
To every guest,
Perhaps it is best
Two puddings should smoke on the board.

The two puddings-yet-no!
For if one will do,
The other comes in out of season;
And these lines, but obey,
Nor can anyone say,
That this pudding’s without rhyme or reason.
 

Enjoyed this article? Visit our giftshop and escape into the world of Jane Austen for more Regency recipes.