NEWSLETTER - FEBRUARY 2012
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VICOMTE IN THE KITCHEN
The supermarkets seemed a bit quiet this last month or
so, with nothing much of interest or exciting to talk about,
therefore I thought by way of a change something a little
different might appeal . . .
I have always loved books and there is nothing I like doing
more than spending an afternoon going around charity shops
or second-hand book shops to see if I can find old recipe
or cooking books. Most of the time they are mass produced
or poor quality but every so often something out of the ordinary
appears. One such book which I would put under the category
strange is The Vicomte in the Kitchen written
by the Vicomte de Mauduit and published in 1933.
There were second, third and fourth impressions published
in each of the subsequent years before in 1937 the First
Cheap Edition was published! Needless to say my copy
is one of the cheap editions . . . hardback but with paper
quality that feels almost like the texture of blotting paper
(if you are old enough to remember blotting paper).
The Noblesse Oblige written by Frances, Countess of Warwick
in her final paragraph wrote:
I envy the Vicomte de Mauduit his knowledge and
enthusiasm; I will ask my cook to follow in his wise footsteps.
Every man who tries to raise the standard of our cookery
deserves well of our country, and the Vicomte de Mauduit
will strengthen the entente cordiale.
The Introduction written by Elizabeth Craig, a more familiar
name in cooking, goes on to say:
Let me introduce you to The Vicomte in the Kitchen,
and his cuisine, which is after my own heart.
Few cookery books written in English interest me. They
are usually too much alike. But The Vicomte in the Kitchen
is full of original touches. It is a book neither the cook
nor the gourmet can ignore.
Every woman who covets the title of a perfect hostess
will find it her right hand. Every woman who is content
to be a perfect housewife will find it invaluable.
I congratulate the Vicomte de Mauduit on his latest
achievement. If the British housewife takes it to her heart
there will be no more dull meals. The Vicomte sees to that.
I will not quote the whole of the Preface by the author but
one paragraph does strike a chord:
Cookery, in my opinion,should not only be regarded
as an art, but as the finset art. It should be on the curriculum
of every school, and should,I think, take precedence over
algebra, and even over sport.
So what about an example or two?
There are no lists of ingredients in the recipes and I have
typed them in the style they appear in the book. And do not
worry . . . no sparrows were harmed in the making of the first
Melt one tablespoonful of butter in a frying pan, when
hot add three tablespoonfuls of minced beef, three tablespoonfuls
of minced bacon, three tablespoonfuls of minced pork, and
three tablespoonfuls of minced mushrooms. Season with salt,
pepper, and one teaspoonful of chopped tarragon. Mix well
together with the yolk of an egg, then boil the leaves from
a heart of small cabbage, or lettuce; after ten minutes
of boiling strain them and stuff each one with some of the
mixture. Roll and tie like beef olives.
In another saucepan melt one tablespoonful of butter, add
the "sparrows", move them about till well browned,
then pour in three tablespoonfuls of good brown stock, cover
and simmer for one hour and a quarter. At the end of that
time, stir in three tablespoonfuls of thick cream for three
minutes, then serve as an entrée hot with the sauce,
or for hors-d'oeuvres allow to cool in its sauce.
MOGLAI MURGHI BIRIANNI
(MOGUL CHICKEN PILLAFF)
In a large saucepan melt one ounce of butter and fry in
it two small sliced onions and a little sliced garlic. Stir
till golden, but do not allow it to brown, then stir in
a few chopped almonds (blanched), cloves, raisins, peppercorns
and cinnamon, also a soupçon (ever so little) of
powder of chillies, and salt and cayenne.
Now cut up a young tender chicken, and fry it in the mixture
till nearly cooked, when you add half a pound of rice which
has been well washed and soaked. Add some good stock to
cover the rice well over one inch above it, and simmer gently
till the rice is palatable.
I have not tested either of the recipes but if someone would
like to have a go I would love to hear how they turn out.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
chorizo is without doubt the most famous of all Spanish sausages.
Chorizo comes in a whole array of varieties from smoked chorizo
from the north to unsmoked, more spicy versions from the south.
Orce chorizo is made in Andalucia by a small family run butchers
in the village. La Carniceria de Julian is run by husband
and wife team Julian and Conche, both have a passion for good
quality cured meats including hams, lomos and of course
Orce chorizo was discovered way back in 2005 after visiting
numerous small producers, the quality of this sausage is unmistakable
and has achieved raving reviews from both Orce Serrano Hams
customers and chefs in the UK and France. There is a lot to
be said for non mass produced embutidos and with chorizo being
so popular outside Spain itself it pays to buy the best.
Orce chorizo is still made by hand every Tuesday and Wednesday,
although modern practices have been introduced the whole procedure
from mixing the ingredients, adding the wine, turning out
the sausages and tying the strings is very much a hands on
affair. The skill with which these sausages are tied really
is a sight in itself. Julian and Conche produce three different
types of chorizo in small batched twice a week. Chorizo dulce
(sweet) Chorizo Picante (hot) and the Orce Fire
Chorizo which is a very fiery sausage using extra paprika
and chili. The recipe for the fire chorizo came about after
many customers requested a chorizo with a little extra heat.
Several weeks later the recipe was perfected, a fine balance
of ingredients had to be tweaked in order that the extra chili
did not over power the sausage flavour, the result was, to
say the least highly satisfactory and proves popular to this
day both online and in the village itself where during the
tourist season production is tripled to meet demand.
Forging such a relationship with Julian and Conche has played
an important part in achieving the highest quality cured products
available. The fact that the business is a small affair, family
run was certainly very influential in the decision making
process to take on board their artisan produce. Their chorizos
follow a very traditional recipe and are made all year round,
in November before the matanza period which is
no longer practiced in the area the butchers can be seen brimming
with locals collecting their minced pork, seasonings, wine
and other ingredients to make their own home made chorizos,
in the village of Orce there are a fair few chorizo recipes!
are of course the key and only the freshest pork is used to
make the Orce chorizo, made weekly means fresh, chorizos usually
hang for around a week to cure in Julians bodega
where batches are then taken upstairs for display behind his
butchers counter. Low but regular production means that fresh
chorizos are great for cooking, cured for all but a few days
these sausages are perfect on the barbeque during the summer
months or in stews and casseroles when the weather turns colder.
The longer the sausages hang then the firmer they become so
great for tapas, skewered on cocktail sticks with fruit, cubes
of cheese or other small bites of flavour you can create a
selection of Spanish tapas to impress the guests at any time.
Orce chorizos are tied using different string, once cured
the sausages all the look the same so a simple method has
been put in place do determine which one is which. A white
string determines sweet chorizo, red string for hot and red
& white for the hot and spicy fire chorizo. The fire chorizo
in itself is quite unique because as a general rule the Spanish
tend to stay clear of hot and spicy food, this chorizo however
as well as boasting a building heat on the palate is predominantly
Fruit will calm down the heat from the fire chorizo and also
chorizo picante so try grapes, orange and one
that works the best refrigerated melon. Chorizo that
are to be barbequed work well on kebabs with apple, again
the fruit just adding a sweetness to the strong chorizo flavour.
Chicken is also a main contender for pairing with chorizo,
pan fried chicken wings with thickly sliced chorizo will take
on all that paprika and spicy flavour, a very simple dish
but packed full of Spanish flavour. There are of course many,
many more suggestions.
Spanish Chorizo >>>
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
The site rarely features drink recips but there are exceptions.
This recipe from Natoora
is a beautifully refreshing mango drink which is lovely and
sweet and a great way to enjoy the full flavour of mango.
1 ripe Alphonso Mango
180ml natural yoghurt
2 tsp. caster sugar
3 cardamom seeds, removed from their pods
How to make:
the mango and put all the juice and flesh into a blender.
The best way is to slice the ‘cheeks’ first, you will
feel with the knife a harder core in the middle which
is too hard to eat. Then work your way around the rest
of the mango to get all the soft flesh into the blender.
add the yoghurt and sugar and blitz. If you prefer, add
a touch of milk, cream or water to thin.
the cardamom finely and stir into the drink.
sweeten very slightly to taste with caster sugar.
then thin slightly with water or milk.
a few cardamom seeds from the drink.
and enjoy! If you like, add some chopped pistachios, almonds
or mint to sprinkle on top.
OF THE MONTH - THE VICOMTE IN THE KITCHEN
The Vicomte in the Kitchen:
Soup is the time-honoured dish of the peasants, traditional
in every part of the world, made of all the good things the
France has the pot-au feu, and more particularly the Bouillabaisse
in Provence, and the Garbure in the Basque country. England
has the turtle and oxtail. soups, Scotland the Scotch Broth,
Italy the Minestrone, Spain the Puchero, Holland the Erwtensoep,
Russia the Borshtch, America the Clam-chowder, and everywhere
the Rossolnick, the most expensive soup in the world.
Soups are nourishing, healthy, and easily digestible.
They have become civilized, and no longer constitute
a whole meal but from a very pleasant and appetite-giving
prelude to a good dinner.
And for the soup recipes . . .
Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter in a saucepan, add some
chopped lardons and one chopped onion. When the latter is
golden (not brown) add one potato, one small cabbage (or,
preferably, the leaves of a cauliflower), one leek, one
carrot, one turnip, all cut into small pieces, then two
sliced tomatoes, one cupful of green peas, and some chopped
parsley. Cover with some good stock, season with salt and
pepper, bring to the boil and simmer till the vegetables
are half cooked. Then add any form of macaroni or rice,
in not too great a quantity, however, else the soup will
be too thick.
Pour in one glass of white wine and finish cooking, stirring
frequently. Sprinkle some chopped parsley and serve with
This is a very simple and quick way of making a delicious
Take two cloves of garlic, a few leaves of sorrel and one
thick slice of truffle cut in small pieces. Put these in
a saucepan with one dessertspoonful of butter. Place on
a good fire for five minutes, then add a dessertspoonful
of flour, and teaspoonful of salt, stirring lightly. Pour
in some water, and let it boil for ten minutes. Add the
yolks of two eggs, stir and pour over pieces of toast.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
8 oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 oz soft brown sugar
2 oz chopped walnuts
3 oz raisins or sultanas
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup
1/4 pt milk
2 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon caster sugar
the oven to 180°C / Gas mark4.
all the dry ingredients together and add the nuts and
the syrup and the milk and beat together to form a soft
into a 6 inch tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45
cooked remove from oven and brush with the sugar glaze
whilst still warm.
the ingredients gently until the sugar is dissolved.
for 2 minutes. Use while hot.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
And finally from The Vicomte in the Kitchen . . .
These are not the sort of recipes you might expect to
find in a modern cookery book,
in fact I do not recall having ever seen anything like these
in any recipe book I have looked at.
they work? Who knows but they are fascinating.
the largest of warts can be removed painlessly without leaving
a scar by the following prescription:
a small piece of raw beefsteak all night in a little tarragon
vinegar; then cut as much from it as will amply cover the
wart, tie it on the wart, or if on the forehead fasten it
over with sticking plaster. Do this overnight and remove
by day. In a fortnight of nightly treatment the wart will
die and peel off.
REMOVE THE SMELL OF ONIONS
peeling onions, sprinkle a little dry mustard over your
fingers, rub them together, then wash them, and the onion
"perfume" will have disappeared.
little vinegar should be kept boiling on the stove while
onions or cabbage are being cooked; it will prevent the
disagreeable odour going through the house.
PREVENT THE SINK PIPE FROM FREEZING
at night a handful of common salt over the sink drain; besides
dispelling the grease it will help to prevent the pipe from
ABSORB DAMP FROM A CUPBOARD
a small wooden box with lime, place it upon a shelf in the
cupboard; this will keep the air in the cupboard both dry
KEEP CAKE FROM GETTING STALE
an apple in the cake box, and it will keep moderately rich
cake moist fora great length of time.
keep parsley or any other fresh herbs in water, as this
will turn the herb yellow quickly. Instead, put the herb
in an airtight jar in a cool place.
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