“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.”
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.
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
In 1662 King Charles II married the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza. Charles himself had grown up in the Dutch capital, while in exile. As a result, both he and his Portuguese bride were confirmed tea drinkers. When the monarchy was re-established, the two rulers brought this foreign tea tradition to England with them. Tea mania swept across England as it had earlier spread throughout France and Holland. Tea importation rose from 40,000 pounds in 1699 to an annual average of 240,000 pounds by 1708. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace ale as the national drink of England. It was a hot item and boiling the water made it a safe drink. Tea became the favorite English beverage after 1750.
Tea bowl or Tea cup and saucer: Getting a handle on Tea
The first tea cups in England were handless tea bowls that were imported from China and then later copies made in England. The first saucers appeared around 1700, but took some time to be in common use. The standard globular form of teapot had replaced the tall oriental teapots by 1750. Robert Adam’s Classically inspired designs for tea sets popularized handles and other Greek and Roman motifs.
We are not so happy as we were. A message came this afternoon from Mrs. Latouche and Miss East, offering themselves to drink tea with us to-morrow, and, as it was accepted, here is an end of our extreme felicity in our dinner guest. I am heartily sorry they are coming; it will be an evening spoilt to Fanny and me.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
November 24, 1815
Clotted cream is a thick yellow cream made by heating unpasteurized cow’s milk and then leaving it in shallow pans for several hours. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms ‘clots’. Clotted cream purists prefer the milk to come from cows in the English counties of Devon and Cornwall.
Clotted cream is generally served as part of a cream tea (also known as a Devonshire Tea) on (warm) scones with strawberry or raspberry jam.
Legends vary, assigning the origins of Clotted Cream to both Devonshire and Cornwall, but regardless of it’s beginnings, it had become a popular dish in it’s own right by the late 1600’s. Numerous recipes abounded, some for creating a plain cream dish, others used citrus flavourings to make a sweet dessert. Common period instructions suggested that you:
“Take the night’s milk and put into a broad earthenware pan. In the morning, set over a slow fire and allow it to stand there from morn to night, making certain not to boil the liquid, only heat it. Take off the fire and set overnight in a cool place. Next morning, dish off your cream and it will be quite thick.”
Clotted Cream can often be purchased for an authentic tea-time treat. When clotted cream is not commercially available, a reasonable facsimile may be made by combining two parts whole milk with one part whipping (heavy) cream, heating at the very lowest possible heat for a couple of hours until a skin forms, leaving it undisturbed overnight, and then harvesting the skin and its underclots. The remaining milk may be consumed or used in any number of recipes.
Some information from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
In 1809, Jane Austen, her mother, her sister, and family friend Martha Lloyd moved into Chawton cottage. None of Jane’s work had been published prior to the move, and the time she spent at here was the most prolific and productive of her life. It was there that she revised Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, which she had written some years earlier, and then wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.
It was also while in this house that Martha Lloyd (who would later marry Jane’s brother, Admiral Sir Francis Austen) compiled her household book, which contained recipes from friends and relations (including the Austen ladies) for everything from pudding and fish sauce to home remedies for shoe black and to alleviate “Hooping Cough”. That book, now in the possession of the Jane Austen Memorial Trust contains the following recipe:
Take three Naple biscuits. Cut them in slices. Dip them in sack. Lay them on the bottom of your dish. Then make a custard of a pint of cream and five eggs and put over them. Them make a whipt syllabub as light as possible to cover the whole. The higher it is piled, the handsomer it looks.
-From Martha Lloyd’s Household Book
A Whipt Syllabub
Take a pt of cream with a spoonfull of orange flower water 2 or 3 ounces of fine sugar ye juice of a lemon ye white of 3 eggs wisk these up together & having in your glasses rhennish wine & sugar & clarret & sugar lay on ye broth with a spoon heapt up as leight as you can.
(From Ed. Kidder’s Cookbook 1720-1740)
As you can tell, these recipes call for an extraordinary amount of alcohol. Perhaps this was to counteract the lack of refrigeration. At any rate, here is a modern, non-alchoholic recipe anyone can enjoy:
Fruit Trifle Supreme
1-3.5 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding 1-12 oz. golden pound cake, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes 3/4 cup raspberry jam (seedless if possible) 1-16 oz. can of sliced peaches, drained, reserving the juice 2 cups assorted fresh fruit (e.g. sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sliced Kiwi fruit) 1-8 oz. container whipped topping Assorted fresh fruit for trifle topping
In a medium bowl, prepare pudding mix according to package directions and refridgerate.
Line bottom of a deep glass dish or bowl with half of the cake slices.
Sprinkle the cake with half of the retained juice from the canned peaches.
Pour half of the warmed raspberry preserves over the cake and top with half of the drained peach slices and half of the fresh fruit.
Spoon half of the prepared pudding evenly over the fruit and cake.
Repeat layers, ending with the pudding.
Top with whipped topping and garnish with the fresh fruit.
Chill at least two hours before serving.
Benjamin Whitrow (Mr Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, 1995, fame) once said, “The Bennets do a lot of eating in the film, so Ron [Sutcliffe] the standby props man, asked me what I liked to eat. I told him gooseberry fool was my favorite pudding and he kindly provided it for me. It was so delicious that during the first two takes of the scene [episode six, “…Mr and Mrs Wickham shall never be admitted to Longbourn…”] I gorged myself. At the other end of the table Alison Steadman cannily toyed with a couple of grapes. It took two days to shoot this and I shall never be able to eat gooseberry fool again!” Continue reading Fancy’s Fools