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COOKING NEWSLETTER - FEBRUARY 2012

Welcome to the Hub-UK Newsletter. If you have ideas that you think might work we would love to hear from you and by the same token if you think something is rubbish let us know . . . but do it nicely! newsletter@hub-uk.com

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THE 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 . . .

Vicomte de Mauduit

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.”

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

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 recipe.

MUSCOVY "SPARROWS"

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.

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN  

ORCE CHORIZO

Fire chorizoSpanish 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, lomo’s and of course chorizo.

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!

Sherried chorizoIngredients 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 about flavour.

Pairings:

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.

Shop Spanish Chorizo >>>

EASY TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING CORNERS  

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.

Alphonso Mango LassiALPHONSO MANGO LASSI

Ingredients:

1 ripe Alphonso Mango
180ml natural yoghurt
2 tsp. caster sugar
3 cardamom seeds, removed from their pods

How to make:

  • Peel 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.

  • Now add the yoghurt and sugar and blitz. If you prefer, add a touch of milk, cream or water to thin.

  • Crush the cardamom finely and stir into the drink.

  • Then sweeten very slightly to taste with caster sugar.

  • Blitz, then thin slightly with water or milk.

  • Remove a few cardamom seeds from the drink.

  • Serve and enjoy! If you like, add some chopped pistachios, almonds or mint to sprinkle on top.

www.natoora.co.uk

SOUP OF THE MONTH - THE VICOMTE IN THE KITCHEN  

TruffleFrom 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 earth produces.

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 . . .

MINESTRONE

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 grated cheese.

SOUP PÉRIGORD

This is a very simple and quick way of making a delicious soup.

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.

WHEN SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE  

GRANNY LOAF

Ingredients 

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

Sugar glaze:
2 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon caster sugar

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark4.

  • Place all the dry ingredients together and add the nuts and the fruit.

  • Add the syrup and the milk and beat together to form a soft mixture .

  • Place into a 6 inch tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

  • When cooked remove from oven and brush with the sugar glaze whilst still warm.

Sugar Glaze:

  • Heat the ingredients gently until the sugar is dissolved.

  • Boil for 2 minutes. Use while hot.
THE 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.

Do they work? Who knows but they are fascinating.

  • TO REMOVE WARTS

Even the largest of warts can be removed painlessly without leaving a scar by the following prescription:

Steep 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.

  • TO REMOVE THE SMELL OF ONIONS

After peeling onions, sprinkle a little dry mustard over your fingers, rub them together, then wash them, and the onion "perfume" will have disappeared.

A 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.

  • TO PREVENT THE SINK PIPE FROM FREEZING

Sprinkle at night a handful of common salt over the sink drain; besides dispelling the grease it will help to prevent the pipe from freezing.

  • TO ABSORB DAMP FROM A CUPBOARD

Fill a small wooden box with lime, place it upon a shelf in the cupboard; this will keep the air in the cupboard both dry and sweet.

  • TO KEEP CAKE FROM GETTING STALE

Put an apple in the cake box, and it will keep moderately rich cake moist fora great length of time.

  • TO KEEP HERBS FRESH

Never 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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