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Mrs. Bates’ Baked Apples

The bake house at Chawton cottage shows the types of ovens used by the Austen family. The bake house was quite often a detached building as an added measure of safety against fire and to preserve the house from the heat of year round baking.

Inside the bakehouse at Jane Austen's Chawton home.
Inside the bakehouse at Jane Austen’s Chawton home.

“There is nothing she likes so well as these baked apples, and they are extremely wholesome, for I took the opportunity the other day of asking Mr Perry…” Miss Bates rattles on to Emma about Jane Fairfax’s enjoyment the apples sent by Mr. Knightley. As the Bates’ had no bake house, they were obliged to rely on Mrs. Wallis to bake their apples, though in reality, they are a simple dish to prepare. You may wish to pair this dish with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and cookies.

baked apples copy

 

To Bake Apples Whole
Put your apples into an earthen pan, with a few cloves, a little lemon-peel, some coarse sugar, a glass of red wine: put them into a quick oven, and they will take an hour baking.
Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1747

  • 4 Medium sized Apples
  • 12 Cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp Lemon Peel
  • 57 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 240 ml / 8 fl oz/ 1cup Red Wine or Apple Juice, divided

Preheat your oven to 177° C / 350° F.
Continue reading Mrs. Bates’ Baked Apples

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Hannah Glasse’s Jugged Hare

The well appointed Georgian table relied heavily on a variety of meats served at each course of every meal. This included not only your run of the mill beef, mutton and poultry, but also game such as venison and hare.  In her letters, Jane Austen mentions receiving gifts of meat, such as the “a pheasant and hare the other day from the Mr. Grays of Alton” in 1809 and the “hare and four rabbits from G[odmersham] yesterday”, claiming that they are now “stocked for nearly a week.” (November 26, 1815). Perhaps the most famous recipe for Hare is, of course, Jugged Hare.

Jugging is the process of stewing whole animals, mainly game or fish, for an extended period in a tightly covered container such as a casserole or an earthenware jug. In French, such a stew of a game animal thickened with the animal’s blood is known as a civet.

One common traditional dish that involves jugging is Jugged Hare (known as civet de lièvre in France), which is a whole hare, cut into pieces, marinated and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water. It is traditionally served with the hare’s blood (or the blood is added right at the very end of the cooking process) and port wine. Continue reading Hannah Glasse’s Jugged Hare

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Negus

As Tom Musgrave was seen no more, we may suppose his plan to have succeeded, and imagine him mortifying with his barrel of oysters in dreary solitude, or gladly assisting the landlady in her bar to make fresh negus for the happy dancers above.
The Watsons

Negus, a beverage made of wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg was created by by colonel Francis Negus in the early 18th century. Though Col. Negus died in 1737, his namesake drink remained a popular fortifier on cold evenings. During the early Regency it was practically expected, along with White Soup at balls.

By Victorian times the drink, similar to Mulled Wine, had dropped from being fashionable to being considered a children’s drink. Jerry Thomas remarks in his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks, that it is “A most refreshing and elegant beverage, particularly for those who do not take punch or grog after supper.”

To Make Negus
To every pint of port wine, allow 1 quart of boiling water, 1/4 lb. of sugar, 1 lemon, grated nutmeg to taste.

As this beverage is more usually drunk at children’s parties than at any other, the wine need not be very old or expensive for the purpose, a new fruity wine answering very well for it. Put the wine into a jug, rub some lumps of sugar (equal to 1/4 lb.) on the lemon-rind until all the yellow part of the skin is absorbed, then squeeze the juice, and strain it. Add the sugar and lemon-juice to the port wine, with the grated nutmeg; pour over it the boiling water, cover the jug, and, when the beverage has cooled a little, it will be fit for use. Negus may also be made of sherry, or any other sweet white wine, but is more usually made of port than of any other beverage.

Sufficient: Allow 1 pint of wine, with the other ingredients in proportion, for a party of 9 or 10 children.
-Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1861

This recipe can easily be followed today. Non-alchoholic versions can be made by substituting the wine with apple or cranberry juice.

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Pickling Plums and Other Indigestibles

My cloak is come home. I like it very much, and can now exclaim with delight, like J. Bond at hay-harvest, “This is what I have been looking for these three years.” I saw some gauzes in a shop in Bath Street yesterday at only 4d. a yard, but they were not so good or so pretty as mine. Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers’, but I have never seen any of them in hats. A plum or greengage would cost three shillings; cherries and grapes about five, I believe, but this is at some of the dearest shops. My aunt has told me of a very cheap one, near Walcot Church, to which I shall go in guest of something for you. I have never seen an old woman at the pump-room.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
June 2, 1799

In his work on period fruits, Mark Harris provides the following information:

“Plums (Prunus domestica) originated around Armenia in Asia Minor and are only botanically distinguished from cherries by their size. Plums were first cultivated in western China. Wild plums, the Bullace (Prunus instititia), Cherry Plums (Prunus cerasifera) and the Sloe (Prunus spinosa) now grow wild throughout Europe and have hybridized extensively. Cultivated plums arose as a cross between the sloe and the cherry plum in the Caucasus region. Damsons are a variety of bullace plum well known in Roman times, and imported from Damascus in Syria, hence its name. At the time of Cato, Romans were familiar with prunes but not the plum tree itself. Besides the Damson, Pliney described 12 varieties of plums growing in Italy in the 1st century A.D. Plums have been cultivated in Europe since the 8th century and are recorded in England from the 13th century. Chaucer described a garden with “ploumes and bulaces” in 1369; “Damaske or damassons” (damson) plums are mentioned in the 1526 Grete Herball of Peter Treveris.

Blue Pérrigon or the Précoce de Tours was both a blue-black prune and dessert plum grown in Italy and France near the Basse Alps. It was first imported to England in 1582.

Another French bullace was the Reine Claude (103), dating in France from the reign of Francis I (1494-1547). It came from Italy, where it was called Verdocchia (104); it came to Italy from Armenia via Greece. This plum is better known by its English name of Greengage.”

To preserve this delicious summer fruit, one could either dry them, creating prunes, or pickle them, as the following recipe from Martha Lloyd’s Household book records:

To Pickle Dutch Plum or White Damsons and Orleans Plum
(also melons and cucumbers)
To a gallon of white wine vinegar put 3 pints of mustard and heads of garlick, a good handful of shallots, a good handful of horse radish, when it is sliced, three races [roots] of ginger sliced, half and oz of Jamaica pepper, and what salt you think fit. The plums must be gathered before they are quite ripe, when they are turning yellow. They must be cut a little on one side to let in the liquor. Put them in a row. Your mustard must be made as to eat. You may do melons or cucumbers the same way, only take ou the inside and rub them with salt.

Pickled Damsons or Plums
2 lb Damsons or Plums
1 lb Granulated sugar
½ pint Malt Vinegar
½ Lemon, zest only
2 Cloves
1 Small Piece Root Ginger, peeled and bruised

Place all the ingredients except the fruit in a saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, strain.

Return the vinegar to the saucepan and bring to the boil.

Prick the fruit, place into a deep bowl, pour over the vinegar.

Cover and leave in a cool place for 5 days.

Strain the liquid into a saucepan, bring to the boil.

Pour over the fruit.

Cover and leave in a cool place for 5 days.

Strain the liquid into a saucepan, bring to the boil.

Place the fruit into jars, pour over the boiling liquid.

Immediately seal with airtight lids.

Leave for 6 weeks to mature before using. Serve as a side to cold meats.

Recipe reprinted with Permission from The Foody.

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