Saturday, July 21, 2012

Recipes: Two from Beeton

I read old cookbooks for the hell of it. That's not quite true. It is interesting to see what writers have to say about the dishes of the time. Sometimes insight is gained into a modern dish by looking at older ones. The other great reason is to resuscitate a "forgotten" dish and remake it into a more "modern" tasting dish.

I finished looking through The Campaign for Domestic Happiness by Isabella Beeton and found two dishes that I plan on trying out to see what can be made of them.

The first is a way of ripening Stilton cheese..."An artificial ripeness in Stilton cheese is sometimes produced by inserting a small piece of decayed Cheshire into an aperture at the top. From 3 weeks to a month is sufficient time to ripen the cheese. An additional flavour may also be obtained by scooping out a piece from the top, and pouring therein port, sherry, Madiera, or old ale, and letting the cheese absorb these for 2 or 3 weeks."  She does go on to say that this might not be the best way but it does leave it open for experimentation.

At our house, invariably, once every few months we run out of milk for morning coffee and tea. It seems that Mrs. Beeton has an excellent solution. Just beat up an egg, put it in the cup and add the hot liquid. A note of caution, add the hot liquid gradually and stir it up.  This is tempering the egg. I have my own method for doing this and next time we run out I will try it.

It's funny. I used to add "raw" egg to my hot chocolate where it added a richness and thickness that was quite decadent. I never thought to add it to coffee.

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