Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vermicelli Soup, Jugged Hare, Vegetables, Bread and Butter Pudding

Things a Lady Would Like to Know [1876]


This book is excellent for menus, with a bill of fare for every day of the year! Even February 29. So many year-long cookbooks forget poor February 29. It also has a huge selection of improving quotes.

Daughter, the happiness of life depends
On our discretion, and a prudent choice:
Look unto those they call unfortunate,
And, closer viewed, you'll find they were unwise.
Some flaw in their own conduct lies beneath;
And 'tis the trick of fools, to save their credit,
Which brought another language into use. -Young

Er..... yes. That... hm. Well. Let's get on with the food. Perhaps it will be better. I subtracted a dish (made of eels) from the menu and swapped the dessert, but the type and number of dishes in the meal is still accurate.

Vermicelli Soup
Jugged Hare
Bread and Butter Pudding

Vermicelli Soup.--Soak for half an hour a 1/4 lb. of vermicelli (broken into inch lengths) in cold water, then drain it. Put it into a stewpan with 3 pints of boiling hot stock, 2 table-spoonfuls of grated Parmesan or Stilton, a tea-spoonful of fresh-made mustard, a salt-spoonful of loaf sugar, a salt-spoonful of salt, and simmer gently for good three-quarters of an hour, stirring frequently. Add another quart of stock, and a wine-glassful of Marsala or 1 1/2 of sherry. Boil slowly about eight minutes longer, and serve with a separate dish of parmesan or Stilton cheese.

Jugged Hare.--Skin the hare, and cut it in pieces, but do not wash it; dredge it with flour, and fry it a nice brown in butter, seasoning it with a little pepper, salt, and cayenne. make about a pint and a half of gravy from the beef. Put the pieces of hare into a jar; add the onion stuck with 4 or 5 cloves, the lemon peeled and cut, and pour in the gravy. Cover the jar closely to keep in the steam; put it into a deep stewpan of cold water, and let it boil four hours; but if a young hare, three hours will be sufficient. When done, take it out of the jar and shake it over the fire for a few minutes, adding a table-spoonful of mushroom ketchup, 2 glasses of port wine, and a piece of butter rolled in flour, with some fried forcemeat-balls. Serve with red currant jelly.

3. Bread and Butter Pudding.—Boil gently for five or ten minutes a pint of good milk, with the peel of half a lemon, a little cinnamon, and a spoonful of almond or orange-flower water*, then sweeten with good sugar;

break the yolks of five eggs and the whites of three into a basin; beat them well, and add the milk; beat all well together**, and strain through a hair-sieve; have some bread and butter cut very thin, put a layer of it in a pie-dish, and then a layer of currants, and so on till the dish is nearly full; then pour the custard over it, and bake it half an hour.


Vermicelli Soup: So good. I love cheese. Vermicelli is a noodle that is thinner than spaghetti, but thicker than angel hair. I used spaghetti. I will admit to you now, to my shame, I did not boil it for 45 minutes, nor did I soak it. I know. I'm sorry. But I wanted at least one thing in my dinner that I was reasonably sure would taste good, and other recipes in the book for vermicelli soup didn't have it cooked for that long. I also subbed grape juice for wine, for because as I have said before, I am a teetotaler. It was all yummy and warm and cheesy and good. Mmmm.

Jugged Hare: Rabbit tastes just like chicken! Really. Husband cut up the rabbit, because raw meat with bones makes me feel squiggly. Cooking in a jug, in liquid, with very low heat for several hours, is directly comparable to using a slow cooker. You may come to your own conclusions about with method I used. I also did not add in forcemeat balls (they are garnish, anyway) nor the spoonful of mushroom ketchup. My jugged hare recipe choices were limited, so I did the best I could. Most of them involve cooking the rabbit in its own blood. The flavor was really nice... except for the lemon. It was far, far too much lemon. If you make this, please use only a couple slices of lemon. That much lemon made the meat so very, very sour.

Bread and Butter Pudding: Fantastic! It tastes just like bread pudding should. I used orange blossom water, which made it gently floral. It does use a large amount of egg, more than you'd see today. As such, it is solid at room temperature. This is excellent if one does not have a refrigerator, as one lives in the 1870's. Because of its thickness, however, it doesn't run between the layers and soak in as well as it might. This problem would be easily rectified by adding custard between the layers right after the currants rather than pouring it all on top. If you do have a refrigerator, fewer eggs would not go amiss either. Two or three would be sufficient, I believe.

*Look in the drink mixer section of the grocery store
**This is tempering. It prevents the egg from cooking too fast and becoming scrambled egg. Slowly drizzle the hot liquid, a little bit at a time, into the eggs while whisking. Then, when the temperature of the eggs has been brought up, dump them back into the hot mixture and heat slowly and gently until thick.


Gail Carriger said...

Oh! This is my all time favorite resource for food research for the 1870s. I am so so excited you are actually cooking from it! I keep meaning to do so myself, and then never have the time or resources. I am so excited to read how things come out in the modern age. You know, I make most of the food eaten in my books from this book (mixed up and modified)! I do hope you do more. Best, Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger said...

P.S. May I suggest against some of Southgate's home remedies?

Jana said...

I am delighted that you are pleased! I found that one off your website, actually. I hope you've seen Feeding America; it's a great resource.

You may indeed suggest against Southgate's home remedies, but I might be better warned if I could find these remedies.

Jana said...

Oh yes, and I've got a few more things planned from this book. Hooray!

Nonna said...

How fun...everything looks great and tasty too !

I had rabbit once but didn't know was good but the idea of it bothered me...bunnies are so cute ! My Hubs plans on a wild Hog hunt this year with one of his buddies so I guess I'll be cooking a lot of pork if he gets one !

Jana said...

We actually went to a rabbit farm to get it. I did wonder if you could pick them out, like lobsters at fancy restaurants. "Ooh, that one is so cute, and has such soft brown eyes! I'll have that one."

But no. And that is probably for the best.

I know a seamstress who is ex-Navy. She speared a wild boar during Survival Training in the jungle., made sausages out of its intestines, traded with the natives, and came out of the jungle with some extra weight put on. True story.

Nonna said...

I cannot stand seeing lobsters in tanks that you pick out...the water is free of their poop because they starve them until they are sold. I can almost hear them screaming for food in the grocery store as I pass by...

And yes, it is for the best and a blessing indeed that you can't pick out your bunny for slaughter...the soft brown eyes would be torture !!!

Wow, from spearing wild boar ( very impressive ) to being a seamstress ? Good thing she had all that wild boar to trade with the natives or you may have never seen her again !!!

Margaret Pinard said...

What a fun task and series! May have to pop this book on my wishlist, as I love reeling from effect of even redaing the elaborate menus...