Thursday, December 16, 2010

Regency Food

It has been a while since we did anything on food so I thought you might like a change. It could be that will all the festivities planned for the next little while, I have food on my mind.

While I know lots about meat, I thought I might do something of vegetables.  I found several recipes for a vegetable called a cardon in French, or in English a cardoon. It went "out of fashion" in the late 1800's.

It is new to me, but it is an artichoke thistle, related to the globe artichoke and has an artichoke like flavour. Since it has spines, care is needed.

The following recipe from 1822  would have been used as a second course dish.

Cardons a la Espagnole

This dish is the foremost of all the entremets of vegetables and requires great attention and no small share of skill. It is not much relished in England but in France it was held in the highest estimation.
In the first place you must select a few heads of cardons all very white. Cut each leaf into slices of six inches long with the exception however of those that are hollow which are tough and thready. Beard them of their prickles and blanch them by putting the thickest leaves into boiling water. When you have given these a few boils put in the leaves of the heart, turn the middle stalks into large olives and blanch them likewise.

Then try a piece in cold water to see whether the slime which is on the surface will come off by rubbing If so take them off the fire immediately and throw them into cold water as they are done enough or you may cool the boiling water by pouring cold into it till you are able to bear your hand in it to rub off all the slime.

This being done throw the cardons into a blanc, give them a single boil and leave them in the blanc. Whenever you wish to use them, drain a sufficient quantity. Pare both extremities and mark them in a stew pan with four spoonfuls of Espagnole and four spoonfuls of consomme a little salt and a little sugar. Let them boil over a sharp fire that they may not be done too much be sure to skim off all the fat.

Dish them nicely. Strain the sauce through a tammy before you mask (cover) them. Send them up to table quite hot with a cover over them to prevent their getting dry

Espagnole is a sauce, created this way. Besides some slices of ham put into a stew pan some slices of veal. Moisten the same as for the coulis sweat them in the like manner let all the glaze go to the bottom and when of a nice red colour moisten with a few spoonfuls of first consomme to detach the glaze then pour in the coulis. Let the whole boil for half an hour that you may be enabled to remove all the fat. Strain it through a clean tammy. Remember always to put into your sauces some mushrooms with a bunch of parsley and green onions.

Other suggested sauces were marrow (as in bone), veloute, and sauce blanche.  Take your pick. 

Interesting, but not something I plan to rush out and buy from the grocery store.  Next time we will try something a little less exotic.

Until then Happy Rambles

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Regency London ~ My search

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Regency London

My next day in London was a biggie. Talk about ramble. I walked miles. Looking back at my notes and plans, I now remember how worried I was about the volcano in Iceland. Anyone remember that?  I was on tenterhooks for weeks wondering if we would actually make it across the pond. Oh, now we have taken a side turn. Back onto the main path. That particular day, I took the underground to Tower station, where I met my fellow ramblers. Our first stop was a church

All Hallows by the Tower

London has many many churches, but this one calls itself the oldest one in the city of London.  I am hedging my bets a bit here, because I did not do the research and merely accept what they say.

The Saxon Abbey of Barking founded the church of All Hallows by the Tower in 675 AD. An arch from the original Saxon church remains. Beneath the arch is a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, evidence of city life on this site for the best part of two thousand years.
Following their execution on Tower Hill, numerous beheaded bodies were brought into the church including those of Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud.
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and educated in the schoolroom (now the Parish Room). In 1666 the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane, a few hundred yards from the church, and All Hallows survived through the efforts of Admiral Penn, William Penn's father. Apparently Samuel Pepys watched the fire from its tower.
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797. 

After the bombings of World War II, only the tower remains of that old church. The church continues its old medieval custom of "beating the bounds" basically walking the boundaries of the parish and whacking the ground along the line at intervals with sticks. I guess this prevents some other church from claiming their parishioners?  Since one of the boundaries actually runs down the center of the River Thames they all get on a boat to observe this part of the custom.  Now I do not know if they did this during the Regency, or if this was revived more recently, but it is just interesting.

Certainly the Church was there, beside the Tower of London, during our time and during the centuries before.

This picture shows part of the Roman street found beneath the Church in the early 20th century.

Don't forget to look out for my new short story e-book Undone out this month.
Unmasking Lady Innocent

This day was a long one and there is much more to come. Until then, Happy Rambles.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Regency Fashion for December

Just a quick reminder about the Holiday Contest on my website.

Our fashion article today is not what you would call cheerful but the description is so detailed I thought you would like it.

Princess Charlotte of Wales died November 6 1817 and Mourning Dress was still being worn in December as can be seen from this plate. The Princess was very popular and I think this would have been important to many people at this time

The Walking Dress
Plain round dress, composed of black bombazeen, the body is made up to the throat, and tight to the shape.  Plain long sleeves with white crape weepers.  The skirt is finished round the bottom by a number of black crape rouleaus.  Over this dress is worn a pelisse of black Levantine, open in front, and wrapping a little to one side.  The waist is very short, and the back is quite plain.  There is a small square collar which supports a very full ruff composed of white crape.  The collar, fronts, and bottom of the dress, ar finished by a broad trimming of black crape, which is laid on very full.  Plain long sleeves, finished at the wrist with black crape to correspond:  the upper part of the sleeve is full, but it is tight towards the wrist.  Head-dress, a small French bonnet composed of black Leghorn.  The edge of the front is ornamented by a rouleau of black crape; two rouleaus ornament the top of the crown; and one very broad one goes round the bottom of it.  A black crape band ties it under the chin; and a full bunch of artificial flowers, composed also of black crape, ornaments it on one side.  Black shamoy gloves and black shoes.
The Evening Dress
A black crape frock over a black sarsnet slip: the body is cut very low all round the bust, and very short in the waist.  The sleeve is very short and full.  A narrow white crape trimming, of a novel description goes round the bust, and both the body and sleeves are interspersed in a new style, with either black or white crape.  The skirt is of easy fullness; it is finished round the bottom by a broad trimming of either black or white crape disposed in festoons, and interspersed with cypress leaves, composed of black crape.  This is surmounted by a broad rouleau of either black or white crape, round which is twined a double row of polished jet beads.  The hair is dressed high behind, and in light curls on the forehead; it is ornamented only be an elegant jet comb.  Necklace and ear-rings of jet. Gloves of black shamoy leather; plain black silk shoes.

The use of jet for ornament is typical of this era for morning. I find the use of white as trim very interesting.

That is all from me on this occasion. In the new year, we will be looking at our fashions from a different angle.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.