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 Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind

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PostSubject: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 21 Feb 2013, 17:42

I've long had an interest in historical foods, and modern recreations of same. What was probably my earliest encounter was an attempt to recreate prehistoric bread at an event at La Hougue Bie Neolithic tomb in Jersey, back when I was a lad. The corn was ground using a replica Neolithic hand-quern (basically two lumps of local granite rubbed together with the grain in between); the coarse flour that resulted was turned into a simple dough (no yeast, of course, and I suspect no salt) and small loaves made, which were, IIRC, baked in the hot ashes of the fire. The bread produced was not bad, if a little rough and doughy.

It's possible to get recipe books for historical dishes, which I've used on occasion. My Pullum Frontonianum (Roman, chicken with leek and herbs) - has gone down well with friends and family. More unusual, but also successful, was my Blanc Manger, a Medieval dish of ground chicken mixed with rice and topped with sugar, which among other things was apparently commonly given to invalids! These things don't always go well, though - my attempt at Pepones et Melones (melon in a honeyed wine sauce, again Roman) was not to my taste or that of my guest, though to what extent that was the fault of the dish or of my cooking is a moot point!

One of the most unusual occasions I've known an historical recipe resurrected was back in 2004. Again it was in Jersey, and again concerns bread. 2004 was the 800th anniversary of the Channel Islands sticking two fingers up at France and deciding to remain loyal to their Duke, the English monarch, rather than his French counterpart who had just conquered most of the rest of Normandy. This was cause for major celebrations. One of the local bakeries decided to get in on the act and began producing, on a large-scale commercial basis, a loaf made to a Medieval recipe. It was really rather delicious - no doubt due in part due to the honey that formed part of the ingredients! - and I believe was a great success. Alas, it was only on sale for that year, but it's an unusual example of a recreated historical food emerging into the mainstream.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 21 Feb 2013, 18:47

I occasionally make pancakes (tiganites) which have been cooked in Greece since the 6C BC. A little different from English pancakes but still yummy, and the receipe is versatile so different flavourings can be added to taste.

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup currants
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 cups water
4 tblspns olive oil

Mix all ingredients to a thin consistency, poor spoonfuls onto greased fry pan on medium heat. Cook on both sides until golden. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon, honey and walnuts.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 09:28

This thread seems to have languished for a while ….

Anyway like Anglo-Norman, historic food, cooking and dining are also a subjects dear to my heart as well as my stomach. And so it being Christmas, I am once again going to have a go at recreating some old recipes.

Last year’s medieval "Great Pye” in the form of a castle tower set in a moat of frumety … wasn’t a great success as the pastry gave way and the tower keeled over, although it still tasted good. This year I’m going to have a go at another grand medieval dish: "A Knighted Cock" – a roast of a chicken mounted on a suckling pig with the whole arranged to look like a charging armoured knight (although I’m using a quail mounted on a rabbit as I don’t think my oven is big enough for the full chicken/pig combination). It’s not a true subtlety, perhaps more of a grand dish to present at the top table to an honoured guest, and so accordingly the intention is that it should arrive at table hot, properly cooked, and not only edible but hopefully yummy too! Well that’s the plan anyway.

I made my breadcrumbs yesterday from some "good manchet bread” and the “raisins of Corinthe” have been soaking in armagnac overnight. So it’s time for one quick slurp of wine and then I need to start stuffing and trussing the rabbit and the quail. I’ll keep you all posted ….
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 10:25

Something like this MM?


One of Heston B's creations for a medieval feast

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:06

A bit like that.... although he's doing a cockatrice - a fake mythical beast constructed by sewing together halves of a pig and chicken (I'd like to try that one too sometime). No, mine's a chicken (or quail) riding on the back of a charging pig (or rabbit in my case).

By the way my rabbit is now trussed and has gone into oven (sorry - it looks a bit gruesome - but that's real food for you):



And the quail, dressed in his surcoat of bacon, is waiting his turn (he obviously takes a shorter time to cook):

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:21

Goodness, that looks spectacular but at least you're on your own so don't have to worry about your guests arriving an hour late and ruining your efforts. I'm doing something very forgiving: a nice piece of beef that will slumber away all afternoon in red wine and things. What impresses me most about your pictures though, MM, is your sparklingly clean oven!

Mmmm, rabbit! That, and kid, are not easy to source here and I love both immoderately.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:21

Heavens MM your oven is so clean that it put's mine to shame, my racks don't have that nice silver sheen no more.... Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:26

Ah but if only you two could actually see my oven you'd probably be horrified .... that's why I put a wooden cutting board there to hide the mess on the inside of the door!
But of course the camera never lies!  Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 11:38

They had nice joints of kid for roasting in the supermarket this morning, but I opted for lamb instead this time. It has been ages since we've had a leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary, gravy and mint sauce.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 15:36

One of the most interesting finds from Herculaneum 79AD, is carbonised food. Bread, peas, figs, fava beans, wheat and chickpeas

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 16:10

Et voila mes seigneurs et mes dames ....

Well that was fun, mais mon Dieu what a palaver to get it all arranged and served, properly cooked and still hot!

I decided whilst doing it that since this is a grand high-table dish of the sort to be presented to an honoured guest or to commemorate a special event, I really ought to have some specific occasion in mind. Hence my dish is the sort of thing that might have been presented during the Christmas festivities in the year….... well perhaps you might like to guess what I had in mind!


Here is the finished dish as served:



So, we have a chicken/quail armoured and spurred, mounted on a running rabbit (both stuffed with a spiced raisin/breadcrumb/ground almond/chopped pork mix, the saddle and quail’s surcoat are bacon). The rabbit is running over an heraldic field parti-coloured in white (puréed turnips) and green (pease), and the knightly quail bears these arms:




Any guesses then to whom the dish might have been served or what it represents, and so during which Christmas festivities might such a dish have appeared?
.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 17:20

OK, so the quail is a duc de Longueville, but which one? The elaborate construction (nearly said erection, that's a very phallic lance) looks 16th c., the kind of thing that one of those flashy Tudors would have liked, with a bit more bling of course.
That's my contribution to the Christmas conundrum, the experts can take over now.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 18:31

Yes the Duc de Longueville (very well done!)  .... plus, green and white, the Tudor colours.

Now when and where might these have come together?  (I was going to include a pomegranite .... maybe make a hat/helmet for the quail out of one, however the shop didn't have any. But that might give a bit more of a clue).


PS : And I didn't really intend this to be a competition!

So yes it is intended to be Louis I, Duc de Longueville, who was the highest ranking noble captured by the English in 1513 at the so-called "Battle of the Spurs", at which the French were routed and their cavalry fled " .... like startled coneys ...", leaving the "field" to the Tudor ... geddit?. The duke, as a noble prisonner/hostage/guest was transferred to London and was lodged at the Tower of London under the special protection of Catherine of Aragon (personal symbol the pomegranite) who, as befitted his rank, treated him with the utmost courtesy and respect. I imagine he was probably present during some of the courtly Christmas celebrations in 1513 and so may have had such a dish presented to him to mark his status as honoured guest as well as it being a mild jibe towards the battle which had led to his capture.

Now the question is: what am I to do with five unused quail? I've just watched the Danish film, "Babette's Feast", so 'cailles en sacophages' springs to mind. Hmmm ... that'll be a challenge!
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Tue 24 Dec 2013, 23:24

Oh lor' MM, that's all a bit above my pay grade; I had to cheat to get the bearer of the arms. More importantly, how did it taste? As good as it looked, I trust?
I'm tempted to tell you what you can do with the five quail but instead, here you are, it looks expensive but achievable http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/5670/babettes-cailles-en-sarcophage.html
I'm having a break from present wrapping, I've lost the tags amid the carnage. I am however feeling quite satisfied since I've got the ultra rich chocolate pots and the spiced pears in the fridge and the Christmas tree shaped fresh raspberry jelly for the infant department (my granddaughter and my son) is finally setting.

Have a pleasant, relaxing day tomorrow, I certainly won't but then I am grateful for that. Christmas can be difficult as well as fun; too many ghosts as you know only too well.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 26 Dec 2013, 13:02

I had a quiet Christmas but that suited me - could have done without the microwave going on the blink irreparably mind - but being vegetarian self-catering is to my taste (no pun intended). I admire the hard work those of you who are parents and grandparents have taken the time to prepare even if they aren't what I would choose myself (no insult to the meals but obviously I have a meat-free diet).
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 26 Dec 2013, 13:41

You're a vegetarian Christian, LiR? God help you around here then  Smile . Avoid Catigern at all costs: you will note that Our Leader has designated that particular poster as "I Cura Christianos Objicere Bestis". I don't know how I have survived this long (not sure I have actually).

MM - I could never eat your bunny 'n' quail offering, but I am lost in admiration at your amazing skill. You could go on the tele with that!  Smile 

Incidentally, the Battle of the Spurs incident of 1513 became the Tudor equivalent of England winning the World Cup in 1966. Every time he got drunk, Henry VIII would re-live every moment of the encounter - how the French ran - rabbits - etc. etc. He bored six women to death going on and on about it.

Right, I'm being dragged off for a walk on the beach now  Shocked  - the sun is actually shining here - quiet before the next storm moving in from the Atlantic. I need to walk at least twenty miles after all I've eaten in the last twenty four hours.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 26 Dec 2013, 17:29

Well, yes Temp, it did look a bit gruesome but then the intention was a reproduction of something that would have been acceptable to a 16th century clientele ... and so not something one would normally expect to tuck into these days ... not even if one dines from Tesco's "select range". It certainly wasn't something I'd want to eat every day, though I have to say it tasted very good - and I did eat it all: nothing was wasted. I had tried hard to keep the meat well basted so it wasn't any dryer than roast rabbit usually is, and the spicy stuffing was divine!

Just for you LIR I could offer another dish that I made yesterday:  a pastry tart concoction designed to exactly resemble a Tudor rose,  the central red rose of short-crust pastry coloured with beetroot juice, the main filling, in green,  of walnuts and spinach just slightly oozing out between the petals and then with a carved white goats' cheese rose on top of that .... and with a little pastry blob on top of it all, coloured yellow with egg yoke and saffron, to denote the roses' golden stamen.

Baked until the pastry was done, the spinach/nut filling was just starting to ooze, and the white goats' cheese just starting to turn golden,  it tasted lovely .... but structurally it all sort of collapsed and the beetroot colour ran into the white, so it wasn't quite the success I'd hoped .... And I'd been so proud of it when I put it into the oven!

Anyway after that lot I too had a good long walk with the doglet today to burn off some of the calories.  This evening was just a light supper of "cailles en sarcophage" .  .... actually not that difficult at all really. Basically they're just sort-of slightly bigger than usual chicken vol-au-vents,  ... though I had to substitute morille mushrooms instead of the obscenely expensive black truffles that the true recipe demands.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 26 Dec 2013, 18:22

@Temperance wrote:

Incidentally, the Battle of the Spurs incident of 1513 became the Tudor equivalent of England winning the World Cup in 1966. Every time he got drunk, Henry VIII would re-live every moment of the encounter - how the French ran - rabbits - etc. etc. He bored six women to death going on and on about it.


Just like England winning the world cup in 1966  .... LOL .... and Henry wasn't even there at the actual battle! He arrived after it was all done and over ... game, set and match!

And as battles go The Battle of the Spurs was all rather a kiss-in-the-ring sort of affair. Nothing at all like the bitter, hand-to-hand, serious kingdom-threatening engagement that was the Battle of Flodden, of just a few days earlier. Flodden was won by Thomas Howard but he was under the ultimate command of England's Regent, Catherine of Aragon, Henry being absent in France. Catherine had the good sense to play down the Scottish invasion and applaud Henry's French conquests, but even she couldn't resist pointing out that, while he sent her a Duke, she was sending him a King! (Although in the event she was disuaded from actually sending over to France the body of the dead Scottish King, in favour of just sending James' bloodied surcoat bearing the Scottish royal arms).


EDIT :

I've just read that In 1537 Jane Seymour when pregnant with the future Edward VI apparently developed an insatiable craving for quail, and so courtiers and diplomats were hurridly ordered abroad to find sufficient supplies for the Queen. I do so love quirky little details like that ... I wonder how she liked them done.

Of course, poor Jane, ... in the end all the quails benefitted her naught at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 11 Jan 2014, 14:48

Apparently they had to be fat quails, too: "My lord, the king commanded me to write you for some fat quails, as the queen is very desirous to eat some but here be none gotten," wrote John Husee to Lord Lisle. "But they must be very fat."

I'm sure I've read somewhere Jane ate about 22 quails in one go. Gorging on greasy poultry couldn't have done her any good at all...

But I came to this thread to post this - retro dishes from the 60s and 70s - utterly revolting, especially the bananas. Lord knows what MM will think.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2537433/From-ham-banana-hollandaise-lime-cheese-salad-liver-sausage-pineapple-Retro-culinary-abominations-happy-leave-past.html



Ugh. I'd rather have a fat quail.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 11 Jan 2014, 15:28

Yuck. However substitute some endive for the bananas and a good sauce mornay for the hollandaise and you have a very tasty dish that I did make quite often in those days. Now I've got a real notion to make it again soon.




It's all coming back - this is what I did with bananas. 

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:51

Last night we had a rather retro dish, (retro in NZ, maybe not in Switzerland) though one which we had frequently all the time the kids were home.  A cheese fondue.  And very nice it was too, even if I had to substitute the kirsch with ordinary brandy.  (Though I think we have ordinary cherry brandy in the cupboard left over from our wedding - it should be quite matured by now.)  It was my husband's birthday request in November and now we had it last night as well. 

For my grandson's third birthday I made those pineapple and cheese things on a toothpick, and I thought they might be ignored, but they went down a treat.  My dil had to go out and specially buy the toothpicks of course.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 11 Jan 2014, 23:16

Stuck into a grapefruit to make a hedgehog I trust?

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 12 Jan 2014, 10:10

Ah, but that's not a true hedgehog, has to have pickled onions (preferably red and green ones) on top of the pineapple. In Aus we always used an orange rather than a grapefruit though, which were virtually unheard of down there back then, the very height of expensive posh luxury grapefruit were.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 12 Jan 2014, 10:37

.... oranges and grapefruits? We were really classy and had a wooden hedgehog with holes all over its back for the sticks, made my father out of an old off-cut of oak. It had a silly grin carved and painted on its face and I used to play with it along with my other toy animals  ... much to the annoyance of my mother who had to recover it from the toy cupboard everytime she was preparing the food for "a bit of a do" .
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Fri 17 Jan 2014, 14:02

Try some haggis, Meles.

http://haggishunt.scotsman.com/recipe.cfm?recipe=6

from Wiki there is a very similar dish called Chireta from the Spanish Pyrenees.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 25 Jan 2014, 11:26

Well indeed, seeing that tonight is Burns Night, how about a bit of haggis? Scotland of course doesn’t have a monopoly on haggis  - Clarissa Dickson Wright in 'The Haggis: A Little History' makes a good case that haggis, as in a meat and grain pudding boiled in a sheep’s paunch, came to Britain with the Vikings, and there are very similar recipes using pig's stomach in the late Roman cookbook by Apicius.

So anyway here are two Anglo-Norman recipes from ‘The Forme of Cury’, written down in about 1390 by a royal cook of Richard II:

For to make Afronchemoyle - Tak þe Roppis [pluck] with þe schepys talwe as gret as dyses [sheep’s fat, diced] & parboyle & hack þem small with pepir & safroun [pepper & saffron] salt & brede [oat bread] & yolks of eyroun [egg yolks] & swete mylke [milk]. Do all togederys into þe shepis wombe [sheep's stomach] & seethe hym wel [boil] & serue forth of brode leches þynne [serve in thin slices].

Or if you fancy something a bit more, err unusual, here’s one for porpoise haggis (!):

Puddyng of Purapaysse - Take þe Blode of hym, & þe grece of hym self, & Ote-mele, & Salt, & Pepir, & Gyngere, & melle þese to-gederys wel, & þan putte þis in þe Gutte of þe purays, & þan lat it seþe esyli, & not hard, a good whylys; & þan take hym vppe, & broyle hym a lytil, & þan serue forth.

.... bleurr!
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 25 Jan 2014, 12:24

Thanks for the reminder. I've got a mini haggis that's been in the freezer since May 2012 so it should be properly matured by now. That'll do nicely for tonight's dinner, all I need is a tumshie.


More exotic dishes based on the wee beastie are quite the thing these days, haggis nachos are quite common and haggis pakora is really popular. Another variant is haggis tempura and recently in a Michelin starred establishment, a haggis bon-bon was one of the amuse bouche. There seems to be a pattern emerging here - deep frying. In Scotland, who'd have thought it?
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 25 Jan 2014, 12:44

I love haggis but can't get it here. I suppose I could make my own .... I'm sure the butcher in town could get me all the bits, but .... hmm I'd rather not bother. But I have got some big fat black-pudding type sausages home-made by the two ladies that run the village shop, so they'll have to do. I can't get neeps either, so they'll be with tatties and cauliflower.

But I do have some scotch whiskey in the house!
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 25 Jan 2014, 13:06

Goodness, I'm out of date with haggis a la mode, you can now get these:


Grouse, pheasant and duck infused with quince and lavender

and 



with port, juniper and redcurrant - which is pretty much the recipe for the venison casserole I had last night, apart from star anise as I'd no juniper berries.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 25 Jan 2014, 21:12

MM, could you not grow swedes from seed?  I don't know what French regulations are about taking seed into the country though.  When we came back into NZ in 2011 we had carrot seeds; they were in packets but were unlabelled, being from a small company.  Our customs people asked about them (we had declared them) and then wanted to see them.  Finding them was a performance as they were in the bottom of the bag.  Then they took them away, each packet, to examine and brought them back, satisfied, in about 20 minutes.  My husband, working in an agriculture support not-for-profit organisation, was very impressed, but I was thinking my brother-in-law there to meet us would think we had missed the plane.  We were second-last through - the last person was an Asian (probably Chinese) woman who seemed to have brought half her supermarket's supply of rice and other Asian food specialities into the country.  At least she hadn't brought a pig's head or similar which sometimes happens with Pacific people. What do people think "no fresh food" means in the rules of what you can bring?
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 09:35

@Islanddawn wrote:
Heavens MM your oven is so clean that it put's mine to shame, my racks don't have that nice silver sheen no more.... Sad

Try using metal (usually steel) scourers ID.



We only discovered them relatively recently after years of struggling with the green nylon scourers.



The difference is incredible. It really is like suddenly moving from one century to another. You won't believe how quickly you'll be able to clean your oven and your pans etc.

P.S. We still use the green scourers for crockery though - especially cups. The steel scourers can leave a metallic mark.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 10:58

I've used those curly metal things for years but my oven is still a disgrace. What does that say about me and my hygiene practises?
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 11:15

Well ferval just take comfort in the notion that a messy cook is nearly always a good cook.  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 11:16

I think I must be showing my age here Viz, but I remember those metal scourers from before the plastic ones were invented  affraid . And I still use them sometimes for difficult stuff, but they can scratch surfaces. Personally I prefer to use steel wool as it works just as well but is finer and doesn't leave as many marks.  The plastic ones I use on ceramic and glass stuff.



But I'm afraid my oven is still grubby, I'm very lazy and can think of a thousands things I'd rather do than clean the oven. I've taken to closing my eyes when opening the door instead of using elbow grease. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 11:40

I'd certainly second the idea that there are a thousand things one would rather do than clean the oven and that goes for almost every day of the year. And yes I note that metal scourers predate plastic ones by nearly 50 years which is why our ignorance of them in the Vizzer household is all the more irking.

One does wonders though how the cooks and scullery maids/boys in Tudor times cleaned the roasting dishes etc after having prepared the quail for Queen Jane. Or even how they managed in Victorian times. Does anyone know?
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 11:44

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 11:54

Ah you beat me to it Temp, and I was going to mention sand in the previous post but forgot before pressing the send button.

I've tried using sand in some antique bottles that I found, they had what looked like dried wine dregs inside and I swished some fine sand and water around inside and it did an excellent job at cleaning too.

Sand was used to clean rust, dirt and blood off armor and chain mail also and bring it to a nice polish.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 12:47

As well as sand people used to use horse-tail plants as scourers ... they contain microscopic crystals of silica, basically sand again, within the plant fibres.

And another technique I use to remove burnt on food, is to leave the pots and pans outside overnight on the lawn, especially when its mild and damp ..... the slugs and snails do a wonderful job!
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 12:55

I do that with uneaten and dried-on food in the cat's dishes. The magpies polish off any big bits and the slugs do the rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 13:44

Re cleaning armour: It's Ok to scour breastplates and greaves with moistened sand and a bit of rag, but that doesn't work for chain mail. The technique for mail, and small bits of armour like sabatons and armoured gauntlets, was to put them in a barrel with sand and water, and sometimes vinegar too, close it all up, mount it horizontally on a stand and then set one's squire to turning the barrel round and round and round. When I worked in a precious metals company that was still basically how we sometimes fettled up small metal components, such as platinum crucibles, or wedding ring blanks: we tumbled them in a drum with water and a mildly abrasive agent like talc. For really fine delicate work I believe the medium preferred by jewellers and watchmakers remains the same as it has been for centuries: crushed walnut shells - gentle, barely abrasive at all and self-lubricating.

The risk with sand, whether scouring armour or saucepans, is that one can easily remove quite a lot of metal along with the troublesome stains. The same problem still applies with those marvellous metal brillo-pad type scourers .... so go easy, especially if using them on your expensive copper pans, or indeed on a cheap soft aluminium pan. Incidentally does anyone still use aluminium saucepans these days or have they all been thrown out - whether to make spitfires in the 1940's - hoho, tons of those pans were still piled up unmelted into the 1950's - or simply given up to the scrap metal merchant in the 80's through fear of their link in causing Alzheimers' ? I haven't seen an aluminium pan since we cleared out my mum's kitchen after she died, and believe me, patriotic as she was, some of those definitely pre-dated the war. Mum never surrended up anything easily!
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 26 Jan 2014, 21:52

I had an aluminium pot till very recently when we bought a new set of pans, and my husband said it had to go.  Shame because it was very good and always able to be cleaned quite easily, no matter how badly I had burnt it.  But if a pot is very badly burnt the best thing of all which just lifts the burnt stuff off is a machine dishwashing powerball.  I have always used a stainless steel scourer called Goldilocks (though I often get my fairytales muddled and call it a Cinderella).  Works well and doesn't rust.  I use it very carefully or not at all on non-stick pots (not usually needed on them anyway) and not on the cast iron pot.

This morning's radio had an item about the Royal NZ Ballet touring America for the first time in twenty years, doing Giselle.  The wardrobe manager ("a tailor in a former life") said most of the clothes were washed daily but some couldn't be washed and the sweat was cleaned from them by spraying with cheap vodka.  "The worst you can get is the best for this. Definitely not for drinking." I don't know if this use for alcohol is widespread, or widely used in the past.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 15:22

MM  - thought of you when I caught the tail end of a cookery programme the other day. Saw how they made cheese on toast in the olden days before grills - with something called a salamander(?) which looked like a big, iron paddle. This odd instrument was heated in the fire until it glowed red-hot (looked like something from a smithy, actually) and it was then wafted over the cheese to make it melt. Remarkable and rather dangerous, I should think, to use such a thing after too much to drink...

Can't find a picture of a salamander, but will keep looking.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 15:34

Yes the salamander was basically a means of grilling or for browning stuff with intense direct heat from above ... so it was essential for doing custard tarts, melted cheesy toppings and other toasted confections .... and for branding the buttocks of any unwary cook that bent over in the vicinity without due care and attention.

Cheese on toast can also of course be done by grilling bread on a fork and melting the cheese in a shallow dish, before a hot fire ... or even just heating a block of cheese before the fire and scraping it as it melts. This is how peasants would have done it and how it sort of still exists as the raclette dish in France (racler - to scrape, une raclette - a scaper) ... although now of course one can buy special raclette party sets (in the way of fondu sets), which come complete with a small portable grill and little shallow dishes in which one melts/grills some cheese (ready sliced, easy melting, 'raclette' cheese is obtainable in all French supermarkets) before scraping it out with a wooden implement onto a morsel of bread .... and then eating with charcuterie, sliced onions, and cornichons.






All very yummy but also extremely laden with calories!




Mmmmmm.....


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 01 Mar 2014, 22:36; edited 7 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 15:53

Found one:

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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 18:04

Raclette sets are regularly to be found in the Aisles of Wonder in Lidl here, although they do tend to sit there until cleared away to make room for whatever the next batch of bargains happens to be. What a weird range of 'specials' that shop stocks, I see that next week I could pick up, along with the eggs and butter that I always go there for, a motor cycle helmet, a soft close toilet seat, gents' boxers and a pressure washer.
The super fierce grills in commercial kitchens are still called salamanders I believe.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 07:55

@ferval wrote:

The super fierce grills in commercial kitchens are still called salamanders I believe.

Yes, here is one.



I have never come across these things before.

PS I didn't know you could buy loo seats in Lidl. Whatever next?
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 10:42

Phew, only girly grill talk. I half expected an exchange of duck a l'orange cooking tips. Surprising what you can get in lidl  - or even large shops. Toilet seats sale in the food hall does nor inspire confidence, though does it? On the other hand our M and S food shop sells  underwear  by the all season hot cross bun section. Mmm
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 10:35

I've been out for a couple of posh meals in the last week and have been aware of something of a medieval revival in trendy dishes. Pig's cheeks, pigeon and rabbit all figured as well as verjuice and spelt although these are mostly relatively cheap ingredients and offer a good profit margin which won't be just a coincidence.
It was in the flavour combinations though that the retro influence really was evident, particularly in the more experimental amuse bouche and pre-starter courses. Mixing unlikely sweet and savoury seems to be a' the go, one was a purée of parsnips over white chocolate ganache sprinkled with verjuice - no, I wasn't convinced either although my dining companion loved it.
Beetroot macaron with horseradish cream, little carrot meringues and intense endive purée with sautéed grapes - not all these ingredients were available at the time but I'd bet they'd have gone down a treat in the 14th c.
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 14:41

In addition to his cooker [on the "Kit" thread] Alexis Soyer published a recipe book  entitled A Shilling Cookery for the People.:

http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/book1845soyer.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Close Encounters of the Cookery Kind   Mon 17 Mar 2014, 20:07

I see that Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson-Wright, the last of the Two Fat Ladies, died today. I liked her honest plain-spoken approach to food, cooking and life generally.

But seeing as she was only 66 I think I too had better go easy on the red wine as I toast the passing of another foody of the old school.
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