Know Your Onions - extract

Some extracts from "Know Your Onions" by Susan Watkin


one of the necessaries of life among the ancient Britons, and still eaten roasted. Their fitness for food is prove
d by their power of fattening hogs, &c. They also yield good lamp-oil.

ALE (potato)
The potatoes are to be grated to a pulp, and mixed with boiling water, and some ground barley-malt is to be added. The liquid is to be hopped in the usual way, yeast added, and the fermentation induced. In Ireland excellent beer is brewed from parsnips, by a process like the fore-going, but no malt is used, and the bitter is hops.

A very light pleasant bread is made in France by a mixture of apples and flour, in the proportion of one of the former to two of the latter. The usual quantity of yeast is employed as in making common bread, and is beaten with flour and warm pulp of the apples after they have boiled, and the dough is then considered as set; it is then put in a proper vessel, and allowed to rise for eight or twelve hours, and then baked in long loaves. Very little water is requisite: none, generally, if the apples are very fresh.

Eight ounces of apples when grated; six or eight ounces of butter; the juice and rind of a lemon grated; five eggs, leaving out two whites, the eggs to be well beaten and the ingredients well mixed together; put a paste round the dish and bake it.

Far surpasses any imitation of it that can be made. It should be milked into a glass that is kept warm by being in a basin of hot water. The fixed air that it contains gives some people a pain in the stomach. At first a tea-spoonful of rum may be taken with it, but should only be put in the moment it is to be swallowed. [NB in the "Cookery for the Sick" section]

Four ounces of powdered alum put into a pint of cold water. A piece of rag to be dipped into this liquid, to be applied to the burn or scald - frequently changed during the day. This is a rapid cure.

Put half a pound of butter into a stew-pan; when it is burning brown, you must keep dredging in some flour; add six anchovies boned, four shallots chopped, some whole pepper of both kinds, and a little mace. You must keep shaking it as you put the flour in, and stirring it all till it is a thick paste. Keep it well closed down in a jar to thicken and flavour gravies.

Boil a pint of cream with a stick of cinnamon, and some lemon-peel; take it off the fire, and pour it very slowly into the yolks of four eggs, stirring till half cold; sweeten, and take out the spice, &c.: pour it into the dish; when cold, strew white pounded sugar over, and brown it with a salamander.

may be improved greatly by dissolving it thoroughly in hot water; let it cool, then skim it off, and churn again, adding a little good salt and sugar. A small quantity can be tried and approved before doing a larger one. The water should be merely hot enough to melt the butter, or it will become oily.

Put in yolks of eggs, just before the butter comes near the termination of the churning. This has been repeatedly tried, and makes very fine, sweet butter.

This may be restored by melting it in a water bath, with some coarsely powdered animal charcoal (which has been thoroughly sifted from dust), and strained through flannel.

may be freshened by churning it with new milk in the proportion of a pound of butter to a quart of milk. Treat the butter in all respects in churning as fresh. Cheap earthenware churns for domestic use may be had at any hardware shop.

a room in the houses of gentlemen, belonging to the butler, where he keeps the utensils belonging to his office.

"O, dear," said a fashionable girl, when she first beheld a cucumber, "I always thought such things grew in slices."

the name of a plant and its fruit, of the genus Cucumis. The flower is yellow and bell-shaped; and the stalks trail on the ground, or climb by their creepers. The fruit is cold, watery, and by many thought unwholesome.

They grew formerly in great abundance in Palestine and Egypt, where, it is said, they constituted the greater part of the food of the poor and slaves. This plant is noticed by Virgil, and other ancient poets. It was brought to England from the Netherlands, about 1538.

Parboil the cucumbers, split them, and take out all the seeds and soft part; fill up the space with forcemeat very finely pounded together: tie the cucumbers that they may appear whole, flour and roast them in a Dutch oven, basting with butter to make them brown. Have a good gravy, and serve them up in it.

Take a piece of butter rolled in flour, stir it into your stewpan till the flour is of a fine yellow colour; then add some common stock, a table-spoonful of good gravy, a wine-glassful of white wine, a bundle of parsley, thyme, two cloves, a bay leaf, a blade of mace, six mushrooms, white pepper and salt. Stew for an hour over slow fire, skim off the fat, and strain through a very fine sieve.

CURDS AND WHEY - cheap method
Add six grains of citric acid to a wine-glassful of milk, and the result will be a pleasant acidulous whey, and a fine curd.

CURDS AND WHEY - Italian method
Take several of the rough coats that line the gizzards of turkeys and fowls, cleanse from the dirt, rub well with salt, and hang them up to dry; when required for use, break off some of the skin, pour boiling water on, digest for eight or nine hours, and use the same as rennet.

Put four table-spoonfuls of the best currant jelly into a basin, stir into it gradually twelve spoonfuls of beaten egg; line some pans with puff-paste, fill them with the custard, and bake them about ten minutes.

Gather the fruit on a dry day, either red or black currants, and strip them into an earthen jar, tying a paper over them, and putting a slate on the top. Stand the jar in a boiler of boiling water, and let it boil for two or three hours; then strain it clear, and to every pint of juice add one pound of preserving sugar. Boil and keep well skimmed. When thickened enough, put into your pots, and finish with brandy papers.

Half a pound of best currants, picked, washed, and well dried, not quite half a pound of suet, and six ounces of pale moist sugar, with half a pound of bread crumbs finely grated and sifted. Beat four eggs well, and add to them a little milk, some ground spice, not forgetting nutmeg and a little salt, and mix all well together. Butter small cups, and fill with the mixture, and bake for rather more than half an hour. The same mixture is delicious if rolled into small balls and lightly fried, only the fat must be of the purest kind, and they must be most delicately done. Serve with sweetened melted butter.

Half a pound of currants well washed and dried, half a pound of suet finely minced, and fifteen tablespoonfuls of dried best flour. Add moist sugar and spice to your taste, and a little candied peel cut very small, if preferred. Beat two eggs well, and stir them to a sufficient quantity of milk to mix your pudding to a stiff batter, adding a small teaspoonful of carbonate of soda. Bake in a brisk oven.

Take white currants full ripe, mash them with your hands, and strain them through a hair sieve. To one gallon of rum or brandy, put five pints of the juice and a pound of loaf sugar; cover it up close, and let it stand two or three days, stirring it twice a day; then run it through a jelly-bag. It is best to put half the spirits to the currant-juice, and then add the other half when you bottle it off.

Take a pound of currants, and squeeze into a quart of water; put in four or five ounces of pounded sugar. Mix well, strain, and ice, or allow to get cold.

Take about two ounces of butter, and place it in a saucepan, with two small onions cut up into slices, and let them fry until they are a light brown; then add a table-spoonful and a half of curry powder, and mix it up well. Now put in the beef cut into pieces about an inch square; pour in from a quarter to a third of a pint of milk, and let it simmer for thirty minutes; then take it off, and place it in a dish, with a little lemon juice. Whilst cooking stir constantly, to prevent it burning. Send to table with a wall of mashed potatoes or boiled rice round it. It greatly improves any curry to add with the milk a quarter of a cocoa-nut, scraped very small, and squeezed through muslin with a little water; this softens the taste of the curry, and, indeed, no curry should be made without it.

Three ounces of turmeric, two ounces of coriander seed, two ounces ginger, one ounce black pepper, one ounce of chilies, one ounce small cardamoms. These must be all thoroughly pounded, sifted, and mixed together.

Turmeric four ounces, coriander seeds eleven ounces, cayenne half an ounce, black pepper five ounces, pimento two ounces, cloves half an ounce, cinnamon three ounces, ginger two ounces, shallots one ounce. All these ingredients should be of a fine quality, and recently ground or powdered.

CURRY POWDER (a genuine Indian receipt)
Turmeric, coriander, black pepper, four ounces, each: Fennigreek, three ounces; ginger, two ounces; cumin seed, ground rice, one ounce each; cayenne pepper, cardamoms, half an ounce each.

Coriander, twelve ounces; black pepper six ounces; turmeric, four ounces and three quarters; cummin seed, three ounces; cayenne one ounce and a-half; ground rice, one ounce; cardamoms, half an ounce; cloves, quarter of an ounce. I have found it best to have the above receipts prepared at my chemist's.

Having cut up whatever meat you intend to use, either fowl, or the thin part of a breast of lamb, not previously cooked, wash it all well three or four times in cold water, and dry well in a clean cloth. Put a tenth portion of the curry powder [see below] into a mortar, and beat it well with a small onion and a little water, so as to make it about the consistence of mustard. Then rub it well into the meat, and let it stand covered up for two or three hours. Put three ounces of fresh butter into a stew-pan and melt it, then put in your meat, and keep it over a brisk fire till the whole is nearly dried up, taking care it does not burn, and stirring it well. Then place the pan over a slow fire to simmer, adding a bay leaf or two, and a spoonful of salt, with one of water, if you wish it more moist. Peas or haricots, or potatoes cut small, may be added if you like, and should then be put in first with the meat. Lobsters or prawns make excellent curries, to which you should add a capsicum or two. Serve in a very hot covered dish, and send up rice in a separate dish with it.

Mince four onions; cut sweetbreads, fowl, or veal, in small pieces, and fry in butter; add two tablespoonfuls of curry powder, and put all in a small stewpan. Sind out the fryingpan with a teacupful of boiling water, and pour amongst the curry. Season with salt, cover closely, and stew till tender. Add a tablespoonful of lemon pickle and two of cream. Stir, and boil five minutes. Serve with boiled rice round the dish, the curry in the centre.