Blankity Blancmange

Blankity Blancmange

Happy Valentine’s Day! I return after my two week hiatus. Cooking like it is ye olde thymes it not easy if you are traveling out of town for two weekends in a row. I feel refreshed after the trial that was Beefuary, and I am REALLY feeling poultry this month.

A LOT of arrowroot.

I was also not feeling fancy. I was thinking about interesting things I’ve read lately, regarding what people actually ate then, opposed to how they aspired to eat. I think Beeton’s sold a fantasy of that, of what it would be like to have twenty guests coming to dinner, how that would look and how that could affect one’s social status.

[As a related aside, I am reading House of Mirth and in the introduction the author informs us that Edith Wharton's family is the origin of the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses." (Wharton was born Edith Jones.)]

I had the remains of a cold chicken in the fridge from Thursday night, and I recalled I was always seeing mentions of “cold meat cookery” in Beeton’s–repurposed leftovers from the excesses of dinner parties, perhaps, or what was more likely, regular old leftovers. I decided to make it into minced fowl [956].

A little minced wing

First, you must hand-mince the leftover chicken. I always forget how long it takes to mince meat relatively finely and uniformly. I last did this for my croquettes I made for Christmas. This recipe calls for homemade stock, but I had already chucked my chicken carcass into the carrot soup [120], so I boiled the herbs and chopped onion the stock called for in storebought broth.

This amount should last all year.

Finally, I got to use my mace which I bought specially a few weeks ago, once I realized that every other recipe called for it. I was going to just dash a little nutmeg into everything, but I decided to try the real deal. I don’t know if I am easily fooled or what, but the mace really does taste different to me. I find it fruitier and more harmonious with what it often goes with in Victorian cooking, like chicken or cream sauces.

Mace blades

The recipe called for the broth to be thickened with flour, which is right out for my gluten-intolerant children, so I used a little cornstarch. I am not quite brave enough to throw arrowroot into everything yet, because I don’t always know how much to use or how it will react. Much like the b├ęchamel that I love so much, this broth came out deliciously once the herbs and onion had been steeped in it.

Two eggs from the giant blue cochin

The broth gets stirred in with the chicken, minced hard-boiled egg, and some cream, and it turns into this creamy slurry of herby awesomeness that is excellent on toast. It is like out of control gravy. My girls enjoyed theirs on mashed potatoes.

Minced fowl with broiled buttered bread

I served it with the carrot soup I mentioned, which was different than I expected. I think now we expect vegetable soups to be really pure concentrations of the vegetable they are representing, perhaps thinned with a little stock or water. This soup had onions, a turnip, and enough broth to choke a small army and the recipe says it serves ten. I believe it.

Carrot soup beginnings

I put the chicken carcass in and snapped the small chicken bones to let all their goodness out. The soup simmered for three hours and then I strained it to get the bones out, and then blended it. It doesn’t get any additional herbs or spices and it was wonderful the way it was. Beeton’s notes that the soup should be served the next day, and I cannot wait to try it. I am foisting it on unsuspecting friends who are in the air as I write this, and this after I told them “No Victorian food.”

Dessert was the only little road bump in the meal, and even that was decent and edible. I made blancmange, which is something I’ve always been idly curious about. Blancmange, English-style, is basically a milk jelly. Beeton’s advised stirring in a little brandy at the end, and I had dark rum, so I used that. The recipe also called for steeping lemon peel or bay leaves in the warming milk. I opted for lemon peel, which gave the finished product a really pleasant citrus flavor.

Steeping the milk and lemon "before a fire"

I thickened it with arrowroot, which I bought a large quantity of last month. When it was done simmering, it looked a lot like tinned sweetened condensed milk for baking, and not at all like warm Jell-O does. It was kind of bland and unimposing, and I served it with homemade grape jelly. My one real snag with it was unmolding it. I thought it would slide cooperatively like Jell-O might, but it was stubbornly sticky once decanted. Whoops!

Boing! Whoops. Shit.

The girls enjoy all things gelatinous.

There are a couple more pics at my flickr.

11 Responses to “Blankity Blancmange”


  • I am intrigued by this blancmange.

  • The carrot soup was delicious – not overpoweringly carrot, but earthy and subtle, with a lovely texture. Two thumbs up.

  • Take care , your new amazed follower .

  • Oregon Rams (Pacific Time Frame Zone web marketers). Women have not only
    a truly self-serving media center stage, they have the very real legal framework to spearhead and catch their agenda.
    A team with 2 losses might have lost both games right before the upcoming game, and be on a losing streak.

  • I am only writing to make you know what a outstanding encounter our girl had
    browsing your web site. She masterdd lots of pieces, not
    to mwntion whqt it’s like to possess an incredihle helpinbg heart to geet
    certain people effortlessly learn about several problematic subject matter.

    You really exceeded visitors’ expected results. Thankjs for imparting such productive,
    trusted, revealing not to mention fun guidance on that topic to Gloria.

  • For someone to be described as a candidate because
    of this kind of surgery, they need to meet specific criteria.
    The additional time spent centering on the above three points, the easier it is for you to
    feel there is a space, time for it to pamper, care and nurture your
    brain, body and soul. 5 minutes of push ups and sit-ups (8 seconds burst and 12 seconds rest repeatedly).

  • -Marsha Burns-One of the finest lessons I have learned all about following God is that He rarely handles things just as I do.
    The best way to have a quick auto insurance quote is to apply the internet.
    If you’ve ever wished to see India, Asia, Europe, Australia,
    America or UK in the extended burst of travelling, backpacking
    is the best method of doing it.

  • Howard Alken of Harward University designed the automatic sequence controlled calculator –
    the very first mechanical computer. Different companies produce the
    technology products and supply the technology service and support and their product.
    Once the application continues to be opened, a wizard can provide the instructions
    on how to use it.

  • This internet site is my aspiration, real wonderful design and Perfect subject material.

  • It’s not my first time to go to see this
    site, i am browsing this web site dailly and get nice data
    from here every day.

  • I am incessantly thought about this, thank you for putting up.

Leave a Reply