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Raspberry Vinegar – A Recipe

raspberry vinegar

Raspberry Vinegar

The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
February 8, 1807

During the summer months cool, flavored drinks are all the rage. Things were no different during the Regency. All manner of syrups were invented, to be added to drinks for a variety of effects. Raspberry and other fruit flavors were popular. Orgeat, another flavoring, was made from almonds and oranges.

Raspberry Vinegar
Put two quarts of large fine Raspberries into one quart of the best Vinegarm let it stand two days near a fire, clarify a pd. of fine Sugar, strain off the juice form the Raspberries, add the clarified Syrop & boil all together till it is fine– When it is cold put into small Bottles & use it as you would Orgeat, mix with Water to your taste. –Mrs. Lefroy
From Martha Lloyd’s Household Book Continue reading Raspberry Vinegar – A Recipe

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Milk of Roses

And though the love of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the sentiment once raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?”

-Northanger Abbey


Nothing goes so well with love at Valentine’s day as Roses. But what to do with them once they droop? Who could bear to throw away such precious tokens of affection

This recipe is found in Martha Lloyd’s Household Book. There is no mention as to which Captain Austen (Both Frank and Charles served in the Navy) gave her the recipe. One may assume, however, that it was Frank. Frank who proposed to his wife during the intermission of a play. Frank who married Martha in 1828, 11 years after Jane Austen’s death.

Noting Sir Walter Elliot’s horror at “Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of mahogany… all lines and wrinkles”, it is not surprising that a sailor should have a facial recipe.

Milk of Roses, from Captain Austen
1/2 pint of rosewater-1/2 an oz of oil of Sweet Almonds–12 grains of Salt of Tartar. To be mixed well all together.

Rosewater is used in many recipes from soap and cakes to cookies and quiche. It can be found in grocery stores (under flavorings or drink mixers) or in Asian and Middle Eastern markets. When making your own, it is important to make sure your roses have not been treated with Pesticides. Wash them well before beginning.

Rose Water Recipe:

  1. Start with fresh or Dried Rose petals.
    Use 1 oz of dried or one cup of fresh petals per pint of water (boiled or spring water works best.)
  2. Steep Rose petals in near boiling water from 20 minutes to an hour and let cool. Make sure you cover the pot tightly. You don’t want those oils escaping into the air; you want them in your water.
  3. Strain the petals. The more roses you use and the longer you let it steep, the stronger your rose water will be.
  4. Rosewater can last up to a year if kept sealed in the refrigerator.

Sweet Almond Oil is a common ingredient in aromatherapy recipes. It is readily available everywhere essential oils are sold, including Crabtree and Evelyn.

Salt of Tartar, also known as potassium carbonate, is used in making soaps and liquors. It is the most difficult ingrediant in this recipe to find, though Kim’s Homebrew does take mail orders.

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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.

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