This week I decided to try a good old
fashioned Sunday roast, Regency style.
The recipe for Roasted Chicken with Egg
Sauce comes from The Experienced English
1 good sized roasting chicken. Mine was
about 1.5kg or approx. 3lbs. 2 X 125g of butter. I bought a block of butter and cut it as I needed it. 5 tbsp plain flour. Gravy mix. I cheated and used instant gravy, but feel free to boil up the neck and gibblets and make gravy from scratch.2 hard boiled eggs.
Vegetables for the roast. My husband only demands the following for roasts. Potatoes, parsnip, carrot, broccoli, brusselsprouts, cauliflower, pumpkin & onion. He is a simple chap who thinks Christmas lunch must have at least 7 different meats.
Duck fat (if you can find it, usually in the butter section of the supermarket). I have seen too many Jamie Oliver shows and thought I would put this in with the chicken and roast potatoes.
Method. Take 3 tbsp of the flour and after sifting it (or not…no I didn’t ) sprinkle it over the chicken. Melt 125g of butter (approx. ½ a pound) and pour this over the flour. Next time I will put some dry herbs into the flour. Put some of the duck fat around the chicken. Cut up one of the onions into quarters and put inside the chicken.(you could use stuffing if
you wanted instead). Put the chicken (uncovered) in the oven for the usual time you would roast a chicken. Around 218C/425F for an hour and 20 mins.Cut up the potatoes and put a few dollops of the duck fat in with them. Put
them in the oven. I put them down on the bottom of the oven and move the tray up with the chicken later.Cut up the rest of your vegetables. I put the pumpkin, parsnip ,carrot and another onion in a roasting pan, covered them with foil and then put them in the oven about 30 mins after the chicken and potatoes went in. When the chicken is 10 mins from being ready, take the foil off to allow the onion to brown (it is a criminal offence in our house not to burn the onion on the top). The broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts I steamed on the stovetop. Cut the chicken up, serve the vegetables and make the gravy. Put the egg sauce on top of the chicken.
The Egg Sauce.
Boil the 2 eggs and let them cool a little.
Cut them open and slice up the egg white (roughly). Then take a fork and flake
the egg yolk. Mix them together in a gravy boat or a bowl. When you have the
chicken and the vegetables all cooked and ready to be served, melt another 125g
of butter and mix this in with the eggs. You can put a couple of tbsp of flour into the mix at this point to thicken the sauce. Spoon the egg sauce over the meat. (make sure you do this when the butter is warm).
After the surprising success of our first attempt at Regency cooking, we decided to venture back into the kitchen. This recipe for apple dumplings comes from The Experienced English Housekeeper,1789.
For making the pastry you can either use these ingredients or buy pastry sheets.
8 oz (250g) flour, 1 egg yolk, 4 oz (125g) butter, or butter and lard, A pinch of salt.
4 good eating apples. Cream, or custard to serve. We used vanilla custard.
4 tsp marmadale, or sultanas, or jam or sugar and cinnamon. We used sultanas and cinnamon in one dumpling and blackberry conserve in the others. You could use any sort of sweet filing.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Make the pastry or get
the frozen pastry sheets out of the freezer. Divide the pastry into 4 equal portions and roll them out thin. This is why I used pastry sheets.
Peel and core the apples. If you don’t have an apple corer, you
could cut the apple in half, cut out the seeds etc and then put the apple
together again when you wrap the pastry around it. I did try to core the first apple with a sharp knife but made such a mess that only 3 apples made it into the oven.
Lay each apple on the pastry, allowing the pastry to come up a little more than halfway up the apple. Put the filing inside the apple. Cut a small square of pastry to go over the top. I smoothed the pastry joins etc with a little warm water and clean fingers. The leaves and worm were an added decoration.
Spray an oven tray with some baking spray and a little on the top
of the pastry to help it brown. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes and serve hot.
Firstly, a confession, I am hopeless in the
kitchen. If you invite me to your house for dinner, be grateful that I bring wine and cheese.
So with that in mind, I decided to embark
on the foolish task of cooking some of the recipes I have come across in my historical romance writing research.
This is actually a recipe which dates from the 1747 publication The Art of Cookery made plain and easy. Even in the 18th Century, you ran the risk of getting a cookbook for
750g (1 ½ lb) shortcrust pastry. I cheated and bought pastry sheets.
2 medium potatoes, 2 medium onions, 2
apples. I used red apples.
60g (2oz) butter. 4 tbs water.
½ tsp mace. I struggled to find this in the supermarket, so I used Keen’s mustard instead which has been around since that time. (Well the tin in my cupboard has been). A little ground nutmeg. Some pepper, 1 tsp salt. 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced.
Heat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas Mark 4. I
did put the fan force on and turned it down a
little. Boil the eggs. While they are boiling, peel the potatoes, onions and apples and thinly slice them.Line a 9 inch pie dish with half the pastry. I cut the sheets up and made them fit. Beat the butter with a wooden spoon and then spread half of it over the pastry. Mix the spices together. Sprinkle a little over the pastry. Then layer the sliced eggs, potatoes, onions and apples in the dish, sprinkling a little of the spice between the layers. Roughly cut is good enough remembering that they didn’t have egg slicers in those days. (Ok, I couldn’t find one in my kitchen). Cut the rest of the butter into pieces and lay them on the top. Put in the 4 tbs of water. Then put the pastry sheet on the top.
Cook for an hour or until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot or cold.
You could make these into individual onion pies.
Her eyes drifted lower to the highly polished black Hussar boots which clung to his calf muscles. She took a deep breath and tried to turn her head away, but found herself unable.
Or was it unwilling?
Letter from a Rake.
The military uniforms of European countries such as Prussia, France and Russia, had a great influence on English mens fashion in the 19th century. The boot was a practical solution to the poor condition of the roads and a gentleman’s need to ride.
The Hessian boot (a favourite of Mr George Brummell)
The most popular type of boot was the Hessian. Originally, they were designed as a hard working leather boot for military officers. Having a low heel and a pointed toe, they were particularly suited to sit easily in the stirrup.
With a heart- shaped top and decorative tassel (gold for fashion and silver for mourning), they were a comfortable and practical form of footwear.
The Hussar boot.
The Hussar (or buskin) boot was a variation on the very popular Hessian boot. They were short calf- length Hessians, but without the decorative tassel.
Colonel E Davydov. Prussian Hussars 1809
The Wellington boot.
Another famous variation on the Hessian boot, which still survives in various forms today, was the Wellington boot. The Duke of Wellington had his boot maker, Hoby of St James’s Street London, change the boot so that the top reached to knee high in front. He also had the back lowered to make the boot more comfortable. The story being, that Wellington had noted the number of injuries sustained by his mounted soldiers from having been shot in the knee.
The higher front on the Wellington (without a turnover cuff) afforded at least a modicum of cover. The Wellington was cut to a loose fit and soon gained in popularity.
The Top Boot.
The top boot (or hunt boot) had a cuff at the
top. The inside of the boot was made of lighter color leather and was often turned down to give a stylish two tone effect. Some boots were made with a separate tan top to give the impression of a ‘turned down’ boot.
Portrait of Joseph Antoine de Nogent
Expense was no object to the refined members of Regency English society when it came to their writing desks. Mahogany timber, brass mouldings and exquisite craftsmanship was the order of the day. The brass castors allowed the desk to be moved easily, without scratching highly polished floorboards.
While ladies spent a great deal of their time writing letters during the
day, a woman of quality and fine breeding would have a small satinwood writing
table for her bedroom or boudoir.
I can imagine Millie Ashton, heroine of Letter
from a Rake sitting at this very desk penning a note to a friend in far off Calcutta,
1790 mahogany bonheur-du-jour
Satinwood kidney table, suitable for a ladies bedroom or boudoir