Tag Archive for 'pickling'

Cookery Books and Pickled Beef

Cookery Books and Pickled Beef

Hello! I cannot believe The Queen’s Scullery closed its doors nine months ago, can you? It was nice to have a break. I thought maybe it was for good, but then something happened to awaken the kraken, as they say. I have been fortunate enough to sign a book deal for all the recipes I have reworked for The Queen’s Scullery. The book should be out next year, I hope in spring.

In the meanwhile, I will be editing the book like a mad thing,  tinkering with some of the recipes that I feel I need another pass at, and I will try to mention them here and put up some pictures. I never finished wrasslin with jaunemange, and I’m convinced there’s a way to turn it out without ISENGLASS, for the love of hoop skirts, so I need to wrap that up and make it taste not like horrible burning death.

The cookbook will be a tiny bit academic, feature discussions of techniques, ingredients, and cooking methods, and will of course contain 100+ recipes that I have pulled out of the Book of Household Management and reworked for modern cooks (imperial and metric). It will have a 23-word title, inspired by my hero, Dr. William Kitchiner. Take that, Daniel Pinkwater. (Pardon the librarian hoomor.)

What have I been doing otherwise? It’s pickling season. I did pickled eggs recently but I’m embarrassed to show you because they are so torn up from being boiled brand-new-fresh out of chicken butts. Amateur hour!

BOUNTY!

The Dill Stalks at Midnight

Pickled lemon cucumbers YUM YUM YUM YUM

Pickled Beef

This, above, lately, is the new jam of cows. The excellent cookbook and early-fall savior, The Joy of Pickling, pictured above in the bean and cucumber picture, is responsible for this pickled beef. So simple and so delicious!

So–how are you? Any food adventures to report or links to share?

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December Has Been Simply Offal

December Has Been Simply Offal

I. Pickled Lamb Tongues and Fried Kidneys

Lamb party! I have decided to mess around with the odds and ends of lambs this month. I religiously followed the directions on Dave’s Cupboard for pickling lamb tongues, with the understanding that it was at my own risk and I could poison myself horribly (I did not).

As you can see in the first picture below, I acquired Instacure #1 (sodium nitrate) and cut the recipe down for just four tongues.

Fresh Lamb Tongues

Once they were cured, they got VERY STIFF and looked like a lady’s boot.

Post-Curing

Then I boiled them as instructed and peeled the skin off the tongues, and then hot pack canned them. I pickled them using what I think of as typical Victorian pickling spices–allspice, pepper, cloves, and mustard. You also cut off the root of the tongue. I thought this might be kind of confusing, but it is easy to tell where the root and extra bits ends and the tongue begins. It makes a big mess, though, all the trimming.

Peeling Skin

Kidneys are mentioned as popular morning fare, but they scream “light supper” to me somehow.

Splitting Lamb Kidneys

Skewering them keeps them from curling up.

Frying Up

They looked good, but were not my cuppa. I did like the tongues when they came out–they were great sliced on sandwiches with some leftover turkey.

II. Bonus Offal!

Okay, so this is not real offal. But I have been enjoying the heck out of my heart mold.

Chocolate Cream

This blancmange was a great improvement over the first time I made it. I’m really good at this now. It’s kind of ridiculous. I can’t wait to tell you what I’ve learned this year.

Blancmange

If you celebrate it, are you ready for Christmas, Victorian or otherwise? What are you making? I got my duck today and it is thawing in the icebox. I have three days left in this experiment  and then I will have 100+ recipes that are completely “fixed” and translated into modern measurements, both metric and imperial. I am going to see if I can get someone to publish them, but I have no connections in the cookbook arena. I think it will be nice to have an update 150 years after the BOHM was first released. I hope someone in publishing agrees with me–wish me luck. Look for a few more posts here before New Year’s. Happy Christmas.

The Haunted Liver

The Haunted Liver

From this point on, for the most part I will be focusing more on individual recipes and less on giant epic meals, though I do have some planned for the holidays. I have been and am going to be doing a lot of pickling from now through September, including genuine Mango Chetney (Caution: Chetney contains no mangos. Do not taunt happy fun chetney.).

I. Pickled Eggs

Because my house needs to have more of the atmosphere of a ye olde pub, I decided to pickle eggs. The jar can sit on a shelf with some relics from the Crusades, and the shelf can sit next to a giant taxidermied black bear.

Measure twice; cut once

The pickling spice was black peppercorns, Jamaica pepper (a.k.a allspice), and fresh ginger in vinegar.

You simmer this for ten minutes. I chose white wine vinegar, as I have been for my projects lately, because I feel like it is pretty middle of the road as far as vinegars go–about as close to “neutral” as you are going to get. White vinegar always seems too harsh for anything except cleaning the floor and dying eggs, and anything else has too much character.

16 naked hardboiled eggs stand before me.

I put the eggs into a jar and then you put the pickling juice over them. Easy!

I shall call my pub The Haunted Liver

I will come see you again in a month, girls. Wikipedia says that “pickled eggs have been linked to unpleasant smelling intestinal gas.” I enjoy the fact that this is mentioned under the subheading, “Uses.” Beeton says,”A store of pickled eggs will be found very useful and ornamental in serving with many first and second course dishes.” Indeed, a few recipes suggest garnishing with hardboiled eggs. This should work as well.

II. A Simple Supper

Last night I quick-fried flounder fillets and they were completely scrumptious. I have been wanting to make more fish recipes, and I hit on the recipe for fried flounder as something that was both “in season” (I know seasonality is practically moot now, and indeed the fillets arrived frozen, but Beeton says they were in season from August to November), and something I have never tried. I have fried fish many, many times in panko and “ordinary” crumb, and in corn and wheat flours.

What made this slightly different is that the recipe called for garnishing with fried parsley. Were the Victorians even cooking PARSLEY inappropriately? You bet your hook-and-eye boots they were.

A casual look reveals something that looks like ordinary parsley, but it had a nice snap and green flavor. I love parsley, but I find it overpowering at times. Frying it really mellowed the flavor. A recipe is hardly needed–make oil hot, gently set parsley in, and remove with a slotted spoon. Beeton called for quickly drying them fireside so I popped them into a warmed oven on a paper towel-covered plate to let them drain and stay crisp.

Fried flounders with parsley

And it worked very well with the texture of the flounders.

I served it with a simple cucumber dish which is titled “To Dress Cucumbers.” I think it’s funny that so many dishes are listed as “To Cook X” or “To Make X.” When people ask what they are eating, it makes things somewhat unwieldy. “What’s this? It’s To Cook Carrots in the German Way.” If anything else, I suspect it just reveals the diversity of Beeton’s sources and her haste in the editing process. I have been staring at this book for so long I can sometimes guess if she stole a particular recipe from Eliza Acton or M. Ude.

The salad was VERY simple, featuring cucumbers, salad oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. A good pairing with the fried fish.

III. Anchovy Redux

Last time I posted I was pretty excited about anchovy butter. I did it again:

I think you can see little fish-bits, maybe? They are very finely minced. I spread the butter on toast.

And broiled them for a couple of minutes.

This is really an excellent alternative to garlic bread. I served these with a tomato-heavy salad with vinaigrette, but I could see these with meat or a bolognese. I rewrote the recipe, below. Obviously, it is easy to divide this recipe. I used one American stick of unsalted butter (4 oz.) and mixed in two anchovies.

Anchovy Butter [1637.]

Ingredients.

To every lb. of room-temperature unsalted butter allow 6 jarred anchovies

1 small bunch of parsley, finely minced

a pinch of salt if desired

Mode.—Finely chop anchovies and mix well all ingredients, and make the butter into pats immediately. This makes a pretty dish, if fancifully moulded, for breakfast or supper.

Sufficient to make 2 dishes, with 4 pats each.

Seasonable at any time; delicious on corn on the cob, spread on good bread and then broiled or toasted, chicken, or mild fish.

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I am going out of town this weekend. When I return, I will write about my recent adventures with booze and cordials.