Transcribed by David Starner, Kevin Handy, and the Online Distributed Proofreader Team
THE Country Housewife AND LADY'S DIRECTOR IN THE Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm.
Instructions for managing the Brew-House, and Malt-Liquors in the Cellar; the making of Wines of all sorts
Directions for the Dairy, in the Improvement of Butter and Cheese upon the worst of Soils; the feeding and making of Brawn; the ordering of Fish, Fowl, Herbs, Roots, and all other useful Branches belonging to a Country Seat, in the most elegant manner for the Table.
Practical Observations concerning Distilling; with the best Method of making Ketchup, and many other curious and durable Sauces.
The whole distributed in their proper Months, from the Beginning to the End of the Year.
With particular Remarks relating to the Drying or Kilning of Saffron.
By R. BRADLEY,
Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge; and F.R.S.
The Sixth Edition With Additions.
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To The LADY WAGER, Consort to the Right Honourable Sir CHARLES WAGER, One of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, AND One of His Majesty's Most Honourable PRIVY-COUNCIL;
This Book is most humbly Dedicated, by Her Ladyship's most Obedient, and most Humble Servant,
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AN INDEX TO THE FIRST PART.
Asparagus, preserv'd. Ditto Drest the Dutch way. Ditto with Cream. Artichoakes, to dry. Ditto preserv'd. Ditto pickled. Ditto fryed. Ditto in Suckers, to eat raw. Apricot Wine. Alamode Beef.
Brandy, Laurel. Birch-Wine. Brewing. Beef Cake-Soup. Ditto to Pot like Venison. Beef, to Collar. Brocoli, to boil. Butter, good in Suffolk. Buckingham-Cheese, to make. Butter, why good or bad. Ditto in general. Butter, what Milk is good. Ditto made over the Fire. Ditto wash'd. Ditto churn'd in Summer. Ditto churn'd in Winter. Beans, preserv'd, the Winter. Berberries, to pickle. Beet-Roots, red, to pickle. Ditto fryed. Boar's-Head imitated. Brawn, to Collar. Boar, when to be put up for Brawn.
Capon, to dress. Carps, to stew. Cellars, which are best. Cowslip-Wine. Cheese, spoiled. Ditto what concerns its Goodness. Ditto why bad in Suffolk. Ditto Good from one sort of Cattle. Ditto preserv'd in Oil. Ditto Marygold. Ditto Sage. Ditto Sage in figures. Ditto Cheshire. Ditto Cheshire with Sack. Ditto Gloucestershire. Cheese, Cream. Ditto Why the Aversion to it. Churns, the Sorts. Clove-Gilly-Flower Syrup. Cucumbers, to pickle. Codlings, to pickle, green. Ditto to pickle Mango. Cherry-Brandy. Cherry-Beer. Cherry-Cordial. Cherries distill'd. Cherry, Cornelian, in Brandy. Calf's Feet Jelly. Cockles, pickled. Capons, to set upon Eggs.
Dairy, how to build. Different Sorts of Goosberries. Different Sorts of Currans. Ducks, wild, to roast. Ducks, wild, hash'd.
Eels, their time of Breeding. Ditto in plenty. Eggs, to prepare six ways. Eels, to clear from Mud. Ditto to roast. Ditto to Pitchcot. Ditto to Collar. Elder-Flowers, to dry. Elder Vinegar. Elder-Wine, red. Ditto white. English-Wine.
Fowls and Birds, the Difference. Fowl, to dress. Ditto to farce. Fricassee of Chickens, brown. Ditto white. Fish Gravey for Soups. Flounders, pickled. Frontiniac-Wine imitated. Fruits preserv'd for Tarts. Florence-Wine imitated. Frontiniac-Wine to make. Fowls, the Sorts. Fish, to boil firm. Fish boiled, the Sauce.
Geese, when to buy. Ditto to fat. Ditto to roast. Ditto how to kill. Grapes, ripe early. Grape-Wine.
Herb-Soup, the Foundation. Hops. Hare, to pot. Herbs, to dry. Hare coursed, how to keep. Ditto hunted, to dress. Ditto the Pudding for it. Ditto to roast. Hare, to stew. Hung-Beef. Herbs infused in Spirits.
Larks, to dress.
Malt, which is good. Ditto Liquor, to bottle. Mountain-Wine, to imitate. Milk, to be examin'd. Mace in Rennet. Mead, small, to make. Metheglin or strong Mead. Mushrooms. Mushroom-Gravey. Ditto Ketchup. Mushrooms, stew'd. Ditto broiled. Ditto fry'd. Mushrooms, a Foundation for Sauce. Mushrooms, to powder. Ditto to pickle. Melons, green, to pickle, like Mango. Mussels, scallop'd. Ditto fryed. Ditto pickled. Morillas, to dress. Morillas, to dry. Ditto in Ragoust. Ditto to fry.
Orange-Flower Cordial. Onions, pickled. Oysters, from Colchester. Oysters, to stew. Orange-Wine. Oysters, in Scallop Shells. Oysters, roasted. Oysters, pickled. Onion-Soup.
Pidgeon, wild. Ditto tame, the Sorts. Ditto Carrier, its use. Ditto broiled. Ditto in Paste or Dumplings. Ditto stew'd. Portmanteau Pottage. Pike, to roast. Ditto to bake. Pease, preserved all the Year. Pickled Walnuts. Ditto Cucumbers. Ditto for Mangoes. Ditto Kidney-Beans. Ditto Nasturtium-Seeds. Partridges stew'd with Sallery. Ditto roasted. Pheasants, their Sauces. Ditto to dress. Potatoes. Perch, with Mushrooms.
Rennet, how made in Essex. Ditto another way. Rennet-Bags, which are good. Rennet-Bags, how to make them good. Rennet with Spice. Red Surfeit-Water. Rosa Solis, to distil. Raspberry-Wine. Red Goosberry-Wine. Rabbit, roasted with a Pudding.
Sausages of Fish. Sausages, of Pork. Soup of Herbs. Shrub, to make. Sauce Royal, or Travelling-Sauce. Spinach, stew'd. Sallads, to dress. Sage-Wine. Skerrets, to dress. Salsify, to dress. Scorzonera, to dress. Saffron, to cure. Snipes, to roast. Soup, a L'Hyvrogne.
Tokay-Wine, to imitate. Travelling-Sauce. Tench, which is best. Trout in Season. Trouts, to pot. Tragopogon, to dress. Truffles, to broil. Truffles, to stew. Truffles, ragou'd. Turkey, to dress.
Veal-Glue. Visney. Venison, and its Sauces.
Water-Soochy. Wines, boiled. Wines, fermented. Wines, to help, by Sugar. Wines, of St. Helena, reform'd. Woodcocks, to roast.
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TO THE LADIES OF GREAT BRITAIN, &c.
The Reason which induces me to address the following Piece to the Fair Sex, is, because the principal Matters contained in it are within the Liberty of their Province. The Art of Oeconomy is divided, as Xenophon tells us, between the Men and the Women; the Men have the most dangerous and laborious Share of it in the Fields, and without doors, and the Women have the Care and Management of every Business within doors, and to see after the good ordering of whatever is belonging to the House. And this, I conceive, is no less the Practice of these Days, than it was in the time of that great Philosopher; therefore it may seem necessary that I make some Apology for the Work I now publish, which, for the most part, falls within the Ladies Jurisdiction: but I hope I am the more excusable, as my Design is rather to assist, than to direct. I may call myself rather their Amanuensis, than their Instructor; for the Receipts which I imagine will give the greatest Lustre or Ornament to the following Treatise, are such as are practised by some of the most ingenious Ladies, who had Good-nature enough to admit of a Transcription of them for publick Benefit; and to do them justice, I must acknowledge that every one who has try'd them, allow them to excel in their way. The other Receipts are such as I have collected in my Travels, as well through England, as in foreign Countries, and are such as I was prompted to enter into my List, as well for their Curiosity as for their extraordinary Goodness.
I could have launched much further in this Attempt, but that I confined myself to publish only such as were necessary for the Use of a Farm; or, in other terms, for the good ordering of every thing which is the Produce of a Farm and Garden: And especially I am induced to publish a Tract of this nature for two Reasons, which I think carry some sway with them.
The first is, that I find many useful things about Farms, and in Gardens, whose Goodness is so little known, or understood, that they are seldom reckon'd of any account, and in most places are looked upon as Incumbrances; such as Mushrooms, Lupines, Brocoly, Morilles, Truffles Skirrets, Scorzonera, Salsifie, Colerape, Charddones, Boorencole, and many other such like things, which are excellent in their kind, when they are well dress'd, and admired by the greatest Epicures.
The other Reason which has induced me to publish this Piece, is, the Difficulties I have undergone in my Travels, when I have met with good Provisions, in many Places in England, which have been murder'd in the dressing.
I could mention many Instances as bad as the common Story of Bacon and Eggs strewed with brown Sugar: But as this was done through Ignorance, as the Story relates, I hope I need make no further Apology, or have occasion to give any other Reason for making this Treatise publick, but that it may improve the Ignorant, and remind the Learned how and when to make the best of every thing: which may be a means of providing every one with a tolerable Entertainment founded upon Practice and Fashion; which can never fail of Followers, and of making us fare much better upon the Roads in the Country than we were used to do.
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THE Country Lady's DIRECTOR
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I Shall in this Month take particular notice of the Pigeon, whose Characteristicks are chiefly to have short Legs, and their Feet of a reddish Colour, to have long Wings, and to be quick of Flight; in which the spreading of their Tail-Feathers greatly contribute, as well as to guide them in the Air. They by for the most part two Eggs for one sitting, and so more; but breed often in the Year. When Pigeons are once paired, it is observed they are very constant to one another, and assist each other in the Incubation or Sitting on the Eggs, as well as in bringing up and feeding the young ones; and moreover it is remarkable, that a Pigeon has no Gall-Bladder.
The sorts are, first, the blue wild Pigeon, which is the most frequent in Dove-Cotes, but is not very large, nor disposed to breed so early in the Spring as some others: they are, however, a hardy kind, and will thrive any where, if there is plenty of Water; for tho' they are not of a watery Race, yet it is observable, that they covet to be where it is, and that they feed frequently upon the Banks of Rivers and Ponds. I have known that where there were two Dove-Cotes, that stood within a Mile of one another, and one of them was near a River, and the other remote from it, the Pigeons of the House distant from the Water, left their Habitation to reside in that next the River, even tho' they had an Allowance of good Feed at home.
Among the tame Pigeons, those which the Italians call'd Tronfo, and we Runts, are the largest; but these may be again distinguish'd under the Characters of greater and smaller: those which are commonly call'd the Spanish Runts, are very much esteem'd, being the largest sort of Pigeon, and are sluggish, and more slow of flight, than the smaller sort of Runts; but the smaller Runts are better Breeders, and quick of flight, which is to be esteem'd; because if they were to seek their Food far, they can range much more Ground, or return home much quicker on occasion of stormy or wet Weather. As for the Colours of their Feathers, they are uncertain, so that one cannot judge of the sort by them.
The next, which makes the largest Figure, but is not in reality the largest Bird, is the Cropper; it is so named, because they usually do, by attracting the Air, blow up their Crops to an extraordinary bigness, even so sometimes as to be as large as their Bodies. This sort is esteemed the better, as it can swell its Crop to the largest Size. The Bodies of this sort are about the bigness of the smaller Runt, but somewhat more slender. This sort, like the former, is of various Colours in the Feathers.
The next are those Pigeons call'd Shakers, and are said to be of two sorts, viz. the broad-tail'd Shaker, and the narrow-tail'd Shaker: The reason which is assign'd for calling them Shakers, is, because they are almost constant in wagging their Heads and Necks up and down; and the Distinction made between the broad and narrow-tail'd Shaker, is, because the broad tail'd sort abounds with Tail-Feathers, about twenty-six in number, as Mr. Ray observes, and the narrow-tail'd Shakers have fewer in number. These, when they walk, carry their Tail-Feathers erect, and spread abroad like a Turkey-Cock. They likewise have diversity of Feathers.
The next I shall take notice of, are the Jacobines, or Cappers: These are called Cappers from certain Feathers which turn up about the back part of the Head. There are of these that are rough-footed: these are short-bill'd, the Iris of their Eye of a Pearl Colour, and the Head is commonly white.
The next is the Turbit, commonly so call'd, but what is the occasion of the Name, is not known, unless Turbit, or Turbeck, is a Corruption of the Word Cortbeck, or Cortbeke, which is the Name the Hollanders give them, and seems to be derived from the French, where Court-bec would signify a short Bill, which this Pigeon is remarkable for; the Head is flat, and the Feathers on the Breast spread both ways. These are about the bigness of the Jacobines.
The Carrier Pigeon is the next I shall take notice of; it is so call'd from the Use which is sometimes made of them in carrying of Letters to and fro: It is very sure that they are nimble Messengers, for by experience it is found, that one of these Pigeons will fly three Miles in a Minute, or from St. Albans to London in seven Minutes, which has been try'd; and I am inform'd, that they have been sent of a much longer Message: however, they might certainly be made very useful in Dispatches, which required speed, if we were to train them regularly between one House and another. We have an account of them passing and repassing with Advices between Hirtius and Brutus, at the Siege of Modena, who had, by laying Meat for them in some high Places, instructed their Pigeons to fly from place to place for their Meat, having before kept them hungry, and shut up in a dark Place. These are about the size of common Pigeons, and of a dark blue or blackish Colour, which is one way of distinguishing them from other sorts: they are also remarkable for having their Eyes compass'd about with a broad Circle of naked spungy Skin, and for having the upper Chap of their Beak cover'd more than half from the Head with a double Crust of the like naked fungous Body. The Bill, or Beak, is moderately long, and black. These Birds are of that Nature, that tho' they are carried many Miles from the place where they were bred, or brought up, or have themselves hatch'd, or bred up any young ones, they will immediately return home as soon as we let them fly. Perhaps this may, in some measure, depend upon the Affection the Male or Female bear to one another. When they are to be used as Carriers, two Friends must agree to keep them, one in London, and the other at Guilford, or elsewhere; the Person that lives at Guilford must take two or three Cocks or Hens that were bred at his Friend's at London, and the other two or three that were bred at Guilford; when the Person at London has occasion to send an Express, he must roll up a little piece of Paper, and tie it gently with a small String pass'd thro'it about the Pigeon's Neck. But it must be observ'd before, that the Pigeons you design to send with a Message, be kept pretty much in the dark, and without Meat, for eight or ten Hours before you turn them out, and they will then rise and turn round till they have found their way, and continue their Flight till they have got home. With two or three of these Pigeon's on each side, a Correspondence might be carried on in a very expeditious manner, especially in Matters of Curiosity, or those things which tend to publick Good. I know a Gentleman that has set out on a Journey early in the Morning, where it was judged to be dangerous travelling, that has taken one of this sort of Pigeons in his Pocket, and at his Journey's End, which he tells me was near thirty Miles distant from his House, has turn'd off the Pigeon, and it has been at its feeding Place in nine or ten Minutes, with an Account of his safety. In Turkey it is very customary for these Pigeons to be taken on board a Ship that sails, by the Captain, and if any thing extraordinary happens within the distance of six or eight Leagues, the Pigeon is sent back with Advice, which sometimes may be a means of saving a Ship from being taken by the Pyrates, or other Enemies, and expedite Trade.
The Barbary Pigeon, or Barb, is another sort, whose Bill is like that of the Turbit, i.e. short and thick, and a broad and naked Circle of a spungy white Substance round about the Eye, like that in the Carrier Pigeon. The Iris of the Eye is white, if the Feathers of the Pigeon are inclining to a darkish Colour; but is red, if the Feathers are white, as we find in other white Birds.
Smiters are another sort of Pigeon, suppos'd to be the same that the Hollanders call Draijers. This sort shake their Wings as they fly, and rise commonly in a circular manner in their flight; the Males for the most part rising higher than the Females, and frequently falling and flapping them with their Wings, which produces a noise that one may hear a great way; from whence it happens that their Quill-Feathers are commonly broken or shatter'd. These are almost like the Pigeon call'd the Tumbler; the difference chiefly is, that the Tumbler is something smaller, and in its flight will turn itself backward over its Head. The diversity of colours in the Feathers makes no difference.
The Helmet is another kind of Pigeon distinguish'd from the others, because it has the Head, the Quill-Feathers, and the Tail-Feathers always of one colour: Sometimes black, sometimes white, or red, or blue, or yellow; but the other Feathers of the Body are of a different colour.
The next Pigeon I shall take notice of, is that which is call'd the light Horseman; this is supposed to be a cross strain between a Cock Cropper and a Hen of the Carrier Breed, because they seem to partake of both, as appears from the exerescent Flesh on their Bills, and the swelling of their Crops; but I am not determin'd concerning that point, nor can give any good Judgment about it, till I have seen whether the Cropper be the Male or Female, upon which depends a Debate in Natural Philosophy, which has not been yet decided; this sort however is reckon'd the best Breeder, and are not inclin'd to leave the place of their Birth, or the House where they have been accustom'd.
The Bastard-bill Pigeon is another sort, which is somewhat bigger than the Barbary Pigeon; they have short Bills, and are generally said to have red Eyes, but I suppose those colour'd Eyes are belonging only to those which have white Feathers.
There is also a Pigeon call'd the Turner, which is said to have a Tuft of Feathers hanging backward on the Head, which parts, as Mr. Ray says, like a Horse's Main.
There is a smaller sort than the former call'd the Finikin, but in other respects like the former. There is a sort of Pigeon call'd the Spot, suppos'd, and with good Judgment, to take its Name from the Spot on its Forehead just above its Bill, and the Feathers of its Tail always of the same colour with the Spots, and all the other Feathers are white.
Lastly, I shall take notice of the Pigeon call'd the Mawmet, or Mahomet, supposed to be brought from Turkey; however, it is singular for its large black Eyes; the other parts are like those of the Barbary Pigeon.
These are the sorts of Pigeons generally known, for the large Italian Pigeons are only the larger Runts; and I am of opinion, that the diversity of colours in Pigeons only proceeds from the diversity of kinds of Pigeons, that couple with one another; for I have known Swine that have been whole-footed, that have coupled with those that were clovenfooted, and the Pigs that were produced, were partaking of whole and cloven Hoofs, some one, some two cloven Hoofs, and the rest whole Hoofs.
Concerning the Life of a Pigeon, Aristotle says, that a Pigeon will live forty Years, but Albertus finishes the Life of a Pigeon at twenty Years; however, Aldrovandus tells us of a Pigeon, which continued alive two and twenty Years, and bred all that time except the last six Months, during which space it had lost its Mate, and lived in Widowhood. There is a remarkable Particular mention'd by Aldrovandus relating to the Pigeon, which is, that the young Pigeons always bill the Hens as often as they tread them, but the elder Pigeons only bill the Hens the first time before coupling. Pliny and Athenaeus, from Aristotle, tell us, that it is peculiar to Pigeons not to hold up their Heads when they drink as other Birds and Fowls do, but to drink like Cattle by sucking without intermission; it is easily observed, and worth Observation.
To distinguish which are the Males and Females among Pigeons, it is chiefly known by the Voice and Cooing; the Female has a small weak Voice, and the Male a loud and deep Voice.
The Flesh of Pigeons is hard of Digestion, and therefore is not judged a proper Supper-meat; it is said to yield a melancholy Juice, but if boil'd are very tender, or roasted while they are called Squabs, viz. Pigeons about four days old, they are much better for the stomach, and then commonly yield, among the Curious in eating, about eighteen Pence, or two Shillings a piece. The Food which is generally given to Pigeons is Tares; but if we were to mix Spurry-Seeds with it, or Buckwheat, those Grains would forward their breeding, as has been try'd: however, if Pigeons are fed only with Tares, and are of a good kind, we may expect them to breed nine or ten times in a Year; but sometimes, perhaps, not hatch above one at a time, tho' if they were in full Vigour, they would breed up a Pair at one sitting.
In the feeding of Pigeons, it is adviseable not to let them have more Meat at one time than they can eat, for they are apt to toss it about, and lose a great deal of it; so that the contrivance of filling a stone Bottle with their Meat, and putting the Mouth downwards, so that it may come within an Inch of a Plain or Table, and will give a supply as they feed, is much the best way. And their drinking-water should be dispensed to them in the same way out of a Bottle revers'd with the Mouth into a narrow shallow Cistern; but at the same time they should not want the conveniency of a Pan of Water, if there can be no better had, to wash themselves in, for they are of themselves a Bird subject to contract Dirt and Fleas. This is what I shall say of the breeding of tame Pigeons at present.
As to the preparing of Pigeons for the Table, they are commonly either roasted, boiled, baked, or broiled; these are so generally understood, that I need not mention them, nor that Parsley is almost become necessary with them either to be roasted or boiled in the Body of the Pigeon, or put in the Sauces for them: this every one knows, but that the Liver of the Pigeon should be always left in the Body of it, is not known every where, otherwise it would not be so generally taken out and lost, as it is in many places remote from London; but this may be, perhaps, because every one does not know that a Pigeon has no Gall. As to particular ways of Dressing of Pigeons, there are two or three which I think are excellent. The first I had from a Lady in Essex, whom I have had occasion to mention in this and other Works, and that is in respect to broiling of Pigeons whole. When the Pigeon is prepared for the Kitchen, tye the Skin of the Neck very tight with Packthread, and put into the Body a little Pepper, Salt, Butter, and a little Water at the Vent, and tie it up close at the Neck, broil this upon a gentle Fire, flowring it very well, and basting it with Butter. When this is brought to Table, it brings its Sauce in itself. To those who are not lovers of Spice or Salt, the Butter and Water will be sufficient to draw the Gravy in the Pigeon: but a Pigeon that is split and broiled is of a very different Taste from this, and not worthy, in my opinion, to be reckon'd with it.
Another way of ordering Pigeons, which I met with by accident, and pleased me as well as several Gentlemen in my Company, was the boiling of Pigeons in Paste: The Receipt the People gave me for it, was, to fill the Belly of the Pigeon with Butter, a little Water, some Pepper and Salt, and cover it with a thin light Paste, and then to put it in a fine Linen Cloth, and boil it for a time in proportion to its bigness, and serve it up. When this is cut open, it will yield Sauce enough of a very agreeable Relish.
Stewing of Pigeons, from Mons. La Fountaine, an excellent Cook in Paris.
Pick and wash half a dozen Pigeons, and lay them into a Stew-Pan, with a Pint or more of good Gravy, an Onion cut small, or three or four large Shalots, a little Bunch of sweet Herbs, some Pepper and Salt, a Pint of Mushrooms that have been well clean'd, and cut into small Pieces, and a little Mace; let these stew gently till they are tender, and add to them about half a Pint of White-Wine just before you take them off the Fire; then lay your Pigeons in your Dish, and brown your Sauce after 'tis discharged of the Bunch of sweet Herbs and the Spice, which should be tied in a little Linen Cloth; pour then your Sauce with the Mushrooms over the Pigeons, and strew the whole over with grated Bread, giving it a browning with a red-hot Iron; or the grated Bread may be omitted.
Another Way of dressing Pigeons, from the same.
Take young Pigeons and par-boil them, then chop some raw Bacon very small, with a little Parsley, a little sweet Marjoram, or sweet Basil, and a small Onion; season this with Salt, and Pepper, and fill the Bodys of the Pigeons with it. When this is done, stew the Pigeons in Gravy, or strong Broth, with an Onion stuck with Cloves, a little Verjuice and Salt; when they are enough, take them out of the Liquor, and dip them in Eggs that have been well beaten, and after that roll them in grated Bread, that they may be cover'd with it. Then make some Lard very hot, and fry them in it till they are brown, and serve them up with some of the Liquor they were stew'd in, and fry'd Parsley.
In the beginning of this Month, as well as in December, the Eel is commonly laid up in the Mud, and we find them there in Clusters folded one over another, which I suppose is the manner of coupling; for in the beginning of March, or end of February, we see young ones as small as Threads on the edges of the Waters. I think it is no longer to be doubted, but that the Eel is viviparous; that is, it brings its young ones perfectly framed, and does not lay Spawn like other Fish: and the Resemblance the Eel bears to that Fish, which is call'd by the Fishermen the Coney-Fish, and is found at this time about the Buoy in the Nore full of young ones, makes me the rather conclude the Eel brings forth its Young perfectly form'd. This Fish is not accounted wholesome at this time of the Year, nor fit for eating till they begin to run in March, therefore what I have to say relating to preparing Eels for the Table, will be set down in the Month of March.
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As our Poultry will begin to lay plentifully in this Month, it may not be improper to say something of them before we proceed to give the Receipts for dressing and preparing their Eggs for the Table. It is necessary to be known first, the Difference between Fowls and Birds; a Fowl always leads its young Ones to the Meat, and a Bird carries the Meat to the Young: for this reason, we find that Fowls always make their Nests upon the Ground, while Birds, for the most part, build their Nests aloft; so then our common Poultry are Fowls, the Pheasant, Partridge, Peacock, Turkey, Bustard, Quail, Lapwing, Duck, and such like are all Fowls: But a Pigeon is a Bird, and a Stork, or Crane, and a Heron, are Birds, they build their Nests aloft, and carry Meat to their young Ones.
The Characteristick Marks of the Poultry Kind are, besides what I have said above, to have short, strong, and somewhat crooked Bills, which are best adapted to pick up Grains of Corn, Pulse, and other Seeds, which is chiefly what these Fowls feed upon; and we may observe, that as neither Birds nor Fowls have Teeth to macerate their Food with, so Nature has provided them not only with a Crop to soften their Meat, but a Stomach furnish'd with thick strong Mucles, whose use is to grind the Grains of Corn, or any hard Meat swallow'd whole, which they perform by the help of little Stones, which Birds and Fowls swallow now and then, and which supply the defect of Teeth. It is observable, that Fowls, for the most part, lay a greater number of Eggs than Birds, even many more than they can sit upon at one time. I have known about thirty Eggs lay'd by one common Poultry-Hen, but it is seldom that any Bird lays more than five or six, except the Wren, and the Tom-tit, and the Pigeon not more than two. Again, the Poultry, contrary to others of the winged Race, are armed with Spurs; and it is observable, that the Cocks of the common Poultry distinguish themselves from diurnal Fowls, by crowing or singing in the Night, as the Nightingale distinguishes itself from the rest of the Bird-kind. As for the length of Life in common Poultry, Aldrovandus makes it to be about ten Years, but that the Cock becomes unfit for the Hens when he is four Years old; and we find by experience the same, as well as that a Cock should not have more than six or seven Hens, if we expect healthful and strong Broods of Chickens. About the Laying-time of these Fowls, Spurry-Seed and Buckwheat is an excellent strengthening Food for them.
There is another thing relating to Fowls of this kind well worthy observation; and that is, of Capons being made to bring up a Brood of Chickens like a Hen, clucking of'em, brooding them, and leading them to their Meat, with as much Care and Tenderness as their Dams would do. To bring this about, Jo. Baptista Porta, in lib. 4. Mag. Nat. prescribes to make a Capon very tame and familiar, so as to take Meat out of one's Hand; then about Evening-time pluck the Feathers off his Breast, and rub the bare Skin with Nettles, and then put the Chickens to him, which will presently run under his Breast and Belly; the Chickens then rubbing his Breast gently with their Heads, perhaps allay the slinging and itching occasioned by the Nettles, or perhaps they may contribute to warm that part where the Feathers are away: however, the bare part must be rubb'd with Nettles three or four Nights successively, till he begins to love and delight in the Chickens.
When a Capon is once accustomed to this Service, he will not casuly leave it off; but as soon as he has brought up one Brood of Chickens, we may put another to him, and when they are fit to shift for themselves, we may give him the Care of a third.
The sorts of the House Pullen, or common Poultry, are many; but as the use of them for the Table is the same, I shall only take notice of such as are of the large Dunghill kind, or of the Hamburgh sort, of the Game kind, and of the small Dutch kind; which last is admired by some for the fineness of their Flesh, and for being great Layers, especially in the Winter: But it is certain that the larger sort sell the best at Market, and lay the largest Eggs, and therefore should be the most cultivated about a Farm. As for the Game Breed, some fancy that their Flesh is more white and tender than the other sorts; but they are always quarrelling, which contributes to make themselves and their Brood weak.
Where we propose to raise a large Stock of Poultry, we should be careful to secure our Hen-House from Vermin of all sorts, and keep it dry and clean, allowing also as much Air as possible; for if it is not often clean'd, the scent of the Dung will give your Fowls the Roop: So likewise there must be easy Convenience for perching of the Fowls, disposed in such a manner, that the Perches be not placed over any of the Hen's Nests, which must always lie dry and clean, bedded with Straw, for Hay is apt to make the sitting Hens faint and weak. When we design to set a Hen, we should save her Eggs in dry Bran, and when she clucks, put no more in her Nest than she can well cover; for as to certain numbers to be more lucky in hatching, there is nothing in that: And if we fat Fowls, then use the Method prescribed in my Country Gentleman and Farmer's Monthly Director, in the Month of January, which is much the best way of any that has yet been discovered. In the choice of Fowls for eating, those which are white feather'd and white legg'd, are much tenderer and finer in their Flesh than those of other Colours, and are much weaker; for which reason, those who understand Cocking, do not approve of such as happen to be white feather'd: and those which are black feather'd, are accounted the hottest and most fiery, and their Flesh is coarser than in other Fowls. But let us now come to the use of the Flesh of these Fowls, which is either eaten roasted, boiled, fricasseed, baked, or broiled either slit or whole. It is to be noted, that the Flesh of these Fowls or Chickens boiled is more easily digested than the Flesh of those that are roasted, and the Flesh of the Legs is more easy of Digestion than that of the Breast. Mr. Ray takes notice, that those parts of Fowls, which are continually in Action, are esteem'd the best, for which reason he prefers the Legs of tame Fowls, and what we call the Wings in wild Fowl, that is, the fleshy part on the Breast. Gefner and Aldrovandus have both largely treated of the use of the Flesh and Eggs of these Fowls, but I believe some of the following Receipts for dressing them, will not be unacceptable, they being more adapted to the Taste of our Times.
I shall begin with some curious ways of dressing of Eggs, which I had from a Gentleman of Brussels, who had collected them from most parts of Europe.
First Way of dressing of Eggs.
Boil your Eggs till they are hard, and cut the Whites only into Rings or large pieces; then cut some Parsley and Onions small, and stew them with a little Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg in half a Pint of Water, till the Onion and Parsley is tender; when this is done, put in your Eggs well flower'd, and as soon as they are hot, put half a Pint of Cream to them, and thicken them for serving at the Table. The Yolks may be fry'd to garnish the Dish.
Second Way of preparing of Eggs.
Boil your Eggs hard as before, and cut the Whites likewise as directed in the above Receipt, and then prepare some Gravy, a bunch of sweet Herbs, a little Salt, some Lemon Peel, some Jamaica Pepper beaten small, an Onion shred small, and let these stew together till it is sufficiently season'd; after which, strain it off, and put in the Eggs to heat them thoroughly, and then thicken the whole with burnt Butter.
Third Way of preparing of Eggs.
Break some Eggs, beat them well, and season them with Salt and some Jamaica Pepper finely powder'd, then make some Butter very hot in a Pan, and pour in the Mixture to fry, till it is hard enough to hold together; then it must be taken out, and cut into several Pieces, and served with the same Sauce directed in the foregoing Receipt.
Fourth Way of dressing of Eggs.
Take the Hearts of two or three Cabbage-Lettuces, a little Sorrel, Parsley, Cherville, and a large Mushroom, put them in Water over the Fire till they are tender, then chop them together very small with some Yolks of hard Eggs, and season the whole with Salt, Pepper, or Nutmeg; and when the Mass is well mixt together, put them in paste, making them into small flat Puffs, and fry them. This may be diversify'd, by adding some sweet Herbs chop'd small to the Mixture, before it is put into Paste.
Fifth Way of dressing of Eggs.
Beat as many Eggs as you think convenient, and at the same time squeeze the Juice of an Orange among them; being well beaten, season them with a little Salt, then take a Stew-Pan, and if it is a Fast-day, put some Butter into it and pour in your Eggs, keeping them stirring continually over the Fire till they are enough, then pour them into a Plate upon Sippets. But on Flesh-days, instead of Butter use strong Gravy, or on Fish-days some Mushroom-Gravy may be used instead of Butter, or with it.
Sixth Way of ordering of Eggs.
Boil Eggs till they are hard, peel them, and cut them lengthways, then quarter each half, and dip the several quarters in Batter, made of Flower, Eggs and Milk; fry them then in Butter very hot, over a quick Fire, and lay them a while before the Fire to drain. In the mean while prepare for them the following Sauce of burnt or brown Butter, seasoned with Sweet-herbs, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and a little Elder-Vinegar, with some Mushrooms stew'd and hash'd; and garnish your Dish, or Plate, with fry'd Bread, Parsley, and fry'd Mushrooms.
These are a few out of many Receipts, which the above Gentleman gave me, and may serve as Directions for many others; for by what I can find, all the others depend upon the same Principles. The variation of these depends upon the variety of Tastes: Some like Amletts, or Frazes of Eggs, with Bacon, or with Clary, or other high-tasted Herbs, which every good Housewife knows how to direct. The same Gentleman observes, that Amletts with boiled Artichoke Bottoms sliced, Amletts with the Tops of boil'd Asparagus, green Pease boiled, Mushrooms stew'd and sliced, or Truffles, these he tells me are extraordinary.
As to the particulars relating to the dressing of farced Fowls, the methods which most agree with my Palate, and have been admired by the best Judges of my Acquaintance, are the following, which I had from France.
To dress a Capon, or other Fowl.
When your Fowl is truss'd for Roasting, cover the Breast with a thin slice of fat Bacon, and put an Onion stuck with Cloves into the Belly, with some Salt and Pepper; when it is roasted enough, take off the Bacon, and strew it with grated Bread, till it is brown. This is eaten, either with Orange-Juice and Salt, or if Oysters are at hand, as they are about many Farms in England, they may be stew'd gently with a little White Wine, Spice, and a little Butter, which will make an agreeable Sauce for it. Or else it may be eaten with a very good Sauce, which I have often met with, and have lik'd as well; which is made with small Beer and Water, equal quantities, an Onion slic'd, some Pepper and Salt, and about an Ounce of Flesh, either of Mutton or Beef, to boil till it comes to about half, supposing at first 'tis not above half a Pint; and at some places, instead of Mutton, &c. this Sauce has been only made of the Neck of a Fowl. This Sauce, in my Opinion, has a very rich Taste, and has been well approv'd of by some curious Travellers: Where we could have this, we rather chose it than Wine-Sauce. Capons, Pullets, or others of this sort of Fowl, may be also larded with Bacon, if they are roasted; but the Gentleman aforesaid, who gave me this Receipt, told me that no Water-Fowl must be larded with Bacon.
To farce or stuff a Fowl. From Mr. Agneau.
When your Fowl is made ready for Roasting, take the Liver boil'd, a Shallot, a little Fat of Bacon, some grated Bread, the Bottom of a boil'd Artichoke, and some Mushrooms, chop these very small, and make a forc'd Meat of them, season'd with Salt and Spices at pleasure; fill the Belly of the Fowl with this, and then truss it, covering the Breast with a thin slice of fat Bacon, and over that put a piece of writing Paper. Roast this, and serve it up with the following Sauce: Make a hash of Mushrooms, an Anchovy, a few Capers and some Gravy, boiled together with such Seasoning as you approve; the Sauce should be thicken'd or brown'd, and it is fit for the Table.
To farce Fowls another way. From the same.
Take Pullets and roast them, then take the Flesh of the Breast, and mince it small, with some Fat of Bacon boil'd, a few Mushrooms, a little Onion and Parsley, and some Crumb of Bread soak'd in Cream over a gentle Fire; when all these are well minc'd, add the Yolks of two or three Eggs, and mix all together; then with this forced Meat fill the Breast of the Fowls in their proper shape, and beat some Whites of Eggs to go over them, and then cover them thick with Crumbs of Bread, having first laid your Fowls commodiously in a Dish, and then put them in the Oven till they have taken a fine brown Colour. If you have more of this farced Meat than you use in making good the Fowls, either make it into Balls and fry them, or else make a Batter of Eggs, Milk, and Wheat-Flower, and dip small parcels of the Farce into it to fry for garnishing. You may make a Sauce to these farced Fowls with stew'd Mushrooms toss'd up with Cream; the same may be done with Turkeys, Pheasants, &c.
To make a brown or white Fricassee of Chickens. From the same.
Strip the Chickens of their Skins as soon as they are kill'd, and when they are drawn, cut their Wings, Legs, and most fleshy parts in Pieces, then fry them a little in Hog's-Lard; after which, put them to stew with a little Butter and Gravy, for a brown Fricassee, or Butter and Water for a white Fricassee; to either of these add a Glass of White Wine, with a Seasoning of Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cherville cut small, and three or four young Onions whole, that they may be withdrawn when the Fricassee is enough: Then brown the Sauce with some of the same Lard the Chickens were fry'd in, and thicken it with burnt Flower; to this you may add fry'd or stew'd Mushrooms. But for a white Fricassee, instead of the browning with the Lard and burnt Flower, thicken the Sauces with three or four Yolks of Eggs, and a little Verjuice; or else when the Fricassee is stew'd enough, take off the Fat as much as possible, and toss it up with Cream; this will serve to fricassee Rabbits.
In Lent, and on Fast-days, I have eaten very good Soups abroad, that were made without any Flesh. And as that is not very common in England, I thought it convenient to bring over the Receipts with me, that we may know how to make the best of every thing about a Farm.
To make Fish-Gravy for Soups.
To make this Fish-Gravy, which may serve for a Foundation of all Fish Soups, take Tench or Eels, or both, well scour'd from Mud, and their Outsides scour'd well with Salt; then pull out their Gills, and put them in a Kettle with Water, Salt, a bunch of sweet Herbs, and an Onion stuck with Cloves; boil these an hour and a half, and then strain off the Liquor thro' a Cloth: add to this the Peelings of Mushrooms well wash'd, or Mushrooms themselves cut small; boil these together, and strain the Liquor thro' a Sieve into a Stew-Pan, upon some burnt or fry'd Flower, and a little Lemon, which will soon render it of a good Colour, and delicate Flavour, fit for Soups, which may be varied according to the Palate, by putting in Pot-Herbs and Spices to every one's liking; this will keep good some time. When you make any of this into Soup, remember to put a Glass of white Wine into your Soup a little before you serve it.
A Foundation for Herb Soups.
Take a quantity of good Herbs, such as Cherville, Spinage, Sallery, Leeks, Beet-Cards, and such like, with two or three large Crusts of Bread, some Butter, a bunch of sweet Herbs, and a little Salt; put these, with a moderate quantity of Water, into a Kettle, and boil them an hour and half, and strain off the Liquor thro' a Sieve, and it will be a good Foundation for Soups, either of Asparagus Buds, Lettuce, or any other kind, fit for Lent or Fast-days. These Herb Soups are sometimes strengthened with two or three Yolks of Eggs, a little before they are serv'd to the Table.
As in this Month there is plenty of Oranges, so it is a proper Season to make Orange-Wine, which is a most pleasant and refreshing Liquor in the Summer Season. The following Receipt is an approved one for it.
To make Orange Wine. From Mrs. E. B.
Take twenty Gallons of Water, and forty Pounds of fine Sugar, mix these together, boil and clarify it with the Whites of Eggs: against this is done, have two hundred middling Oranges, pared so thin that no White appear upon the Rinds; and as soon as the Syrup is taken off the Fire, put the Peels of five and twenty Oranges into it; and when the Liquor is quite cold, put in the Juice of the Oranges, with some fresh Ale-Yeast spread upon a warm Toast of white Bread; let this work two days, and then put it into the Vessel or Cask, adding at the same time, two Gallons of white Port Wine; and then to every Gallon of Liquor, add an Ounce of Syrup of Citron, or Syrup of Lemon, and in two Months time it be fit to bottle.
In this Month it may not be unneccessary to observe that Oranges are declining, and waste apaces; but they are commonly very cheap, and therefore such as have a great Call for Orange-peel, as Confectioners, &c. now buy them in quantities; but a little Carriage by Land will contribute to their quicker decay. The Orange, tho' it is not found in every Garden, yet I esteem it as a necessary Fruit in many Cases, and what a Family can hardly be without; and truly considering how good Oranges we might have in our Gardens, and how easily they may be cultivated against Garden-walls, I much wonder that they are not more generally planted with us. There is a very good Instance of their prospering well against a Wall, and thriving in the natural Ground, at Mr. Heather's, a curious Gentleman at Tiwittenham, which Trees bear very well, and bring very large Fruit.
But as I have observ'd above, that this is the Season when foreign Oranges are generally in the greatest plenty about London, it is a good time to preserve their Juice; especially it may prove useful to such as have opportunities of vending Punch in large Quantitles, or for such who find that Liquor agreeable to them: For tho' I have known several who have express'd the Juice of Oranges and Lemons, and bottled it up against a dear Time, yet such Juice has turn'd to be of a very disageeable Sourness in a short season. The Method which I have taken to preserve this Juice to be used in Punch, was to express the Juice, and pass it thro' a Jelly-bag, with about two Ounces of double-refined Loaf-Sugar to each Pint of Juice, and a Pint of Brandy, or Arrack; bottle this up, and cork it well with sound Corks, and you may keep it a Year. Before you pass this Liquor thro' the Bag, you may put about the Rind of two Oranges to steep for two Hours, into each Quart of Liquor, which will give it a rich Flavour. When you have occasion to use it for Punch, it is at the discretion of the Maker to add what quantity of Brandy, or Arrack, he thinks proper, only remembring that there is already a Pint in each Bottle. This may be of good advantage to Inn-keepers, &c. who live remote from London; and by this way they need not run the hazard of losing this sort of Fruit, by bruising or rotting, which they will be subject to, if they are not well pack'd, and have bad Roads. And besides, considering the vast difference that there is in the Price of Oranges, so much, that at some Seasons you must pay as much for one, as will at another time purchase near a Dozen, it is the best to consider of this when they are at the cheapest Price. We may likewise use the same Method with Lemons; but it is not convenient to steep any of the Peels in the Liquor, for they will give it a disagreeable Flavour. But it is to be understood also, that Lemons are to be met with in perfection all the Year; only this Season they are at the cheapest Price. The Peel of an Orange or two may be put to each Quart of Juice, to steep as above directed, bruising every piece of Peel as you put it into the Juice. Note, that the Lemon and Orange Juice must not be mix'd together in the same Bottles.
* * * * *
This Month all sorts of Pond-fish are in Season; viz. the Jack, the Carp, the Tench, the Perch, and the Eel; but it must be noted, that both the Males and Females of every kind of Fish are in their greatest Perfection before the Spawning-time, and they are sick and unwholesome for three Weeks after Spawning. The Eel, indeed, has not yet been known to lay any Spawn, but is likely to be Viviparous, as I have mention'd in the Month of January. The Jack, or Pike, this Month runs, as the Sportsmen call it; that is, they retire into the Ditches, if there are any in their way, and feed upon Frogs; or else, in warm Days, lie upon the top of the Waters, and are easily taken by Snares: However, they are this Month full row'd, and are then in their greatest Strength, and in the best condition for the Table. We judge those are the best which are broad-back'd, and deep Fish; for those that are long and slender, have not their Flesh firm, which is reckon'd the Perfection of a Fish. The way of preparing this Fish in the best manner, in my Opinion, if it is large, is to roast it according to the following Receipt, which I had from Mr. John Hughs, an excellent Cook in London.
When a Jack or Pike is discharged of its Scales and Entrails, and well clean'd, prepare a Mixture in the following Manner, to be sew'd up in the Belly of the Fish: Take of grated Bread about one third part, the Rivet, or Liver of the Fish cut small, with Oysters chopped, or the Flesh of Eels cut small; mix these with three or four Eggs butter'd in a Sauce-pan, to which add Pepper and Salt with some dry'd Sweet Marjoram well pouder'd, or such other Sweet-herbs as are most grateful to the Palate, an Anchovy shred small, and fill the Belly of the Fish with the Preparation, and sew it up. When this is done, cut two small Laths of Willow, or any other Wood, except Deal, or such as has a Turpentine Juice in it, of the length of the Fish, and lay the Fish upon the Spit, with the two Laths upon the Fish, and bind them together with a Fillet of Linnen, about an Inch wide, which must be wrapp'd round them in a Screw-like manner, and then laid down to the Fire, and basted very well with Butter, and drudged with Crumbs of Bread, and the same sort of Sweet-herbs that were used in the Mixture abovemention'd. Where you have not the conveniency of Oysters, or Eels, to compose the aforemention'd Mixture, you may add a larger quantity of butter'd Eggs. Where there is the conveniency of an Oven, we may bake such a Fish with less trouble than roasting it; and in that case rub the outside with the Yolk of an Egg, and roll it in some of the Mixture abovemention'd, the Anchovy and butter'd Eggs excepted, putting some Vinegar and Butter in the Pan. The Sauce to this Fish is Butter melted, a little White-wine, and mix'd with a third part of season'd Beef Gravy, with a Spoonful or two of Mushroom Ketchup, and an Anchovy or two dissolved.
The smaller Sort of these Fish, i.e. such as are about a Foot long, are most commonly boiled, but they will do well baked, as above directed. The same Sauce may be used with the boil'd Fish; or instead of Beef Gravy, may be used the Mushroom Gravy, as directed in this Work, which will have a much finer Relish than the Beef Gravy.
In this Month likewise, the Carp is fit for the Table, and is commonly much admir'd, if it be well stew'd; otherwise I think it makes but an indifferent Dish, being a Fish full of Cross-bones. The Head is accounted much the best part of the Fish, and is therefore presented as a Compliment to the greatest Stranger at the Table. The Carp, as it is a Fish which thrives best in black, deep, standing Waters, is therefore commonly given to taste of the Mud; but to cure this, those Carps you intend for the Table should be put into a clear Water for a Week before you use them, that they may purge themselves. You may keep two Brace of large Carps well enough in a two-dozen Hamper, plung'd into any part of a River where there is a clear Stream, or Trench that is fed by a Spring, and they will become of an extraordinary sweet Taste. And so we may do with Tench and Eels, when we catch them in foul feeding Waters. When your Fish are thus purify'd, dress your Carps after the following manner:
To Stew Carps or Tench.
Take a Brace of live Carp, scale them, gut and wash them, and bleed them in the Tails, so that the Blood be not lost; for according to all the Receipts for stewing this kind of Fish, the Blood, however small the Quantity is of it, must make part of the Sauce: Lay these in a Stew-Pan with the Blood, a Pint of Beef-Gravy, a Pint of Claret, a large Onion stuck with Cloves, three large Anchovies, a Stick of Horse-radish sliced, the Peel of half a large Lemon, Pepper and Salt at pleasure, a Bunch of Sweet-herbs, two or three Spoonfuls of Vinegar. This Liquor should nearly cover the Carps; so that if the Gravy and Claret, mention'd above, be not sufficient, add equal quantities of each till you have enough; cover this close, and set the Stew-pan over a gentle Fire, till the lower-side of the Fish are stew'd enough; then turn them, and keep them stewing as before, close cover'd, till they are enough; after which, lay them in a Dish upon Sippets of fry'd Bread, and strain off the Sauce to be thicken'd and brown'd with burnt Butter. This must be poured over the Fish, and the Dish garnish'd with the Row or Milt, Barberries, and Lemons sliced.
The same Method is also used for stewing of large Roach, Dace, and Chubb; but a Tench stew'd this way, is much better than a Carp, The Back of this Fish, and the Head, are the Pieces which are most in esteem.
It is worth our remark, that when we find our Tench cover'd with black Scales, they Will always taste muddy, which is the fault of the River-Tench about Cambridge; but where we find Tench of a golden Colour, we are sure of good Fish, that will eat sweet without the trouble of putting 'em into clear Water to purify.
As there is some trouble in the dressing of this Fish, they may be stew'd the Night before they are to be eaten, and will keep very well; and half an hour before they are to be serv'd up, set them over the Fire to be thoroughly hot, and then brown their Sauce as before directed.
It is to be observ'd, that to bake these Fish with the above Ingredients is as good a Way as the stewing them. It is likewise necessary to observe, that all Fish which will keep a long time alive out of Water, will sicken, and their Flesh become unfirm by lying in the Air; therefore, if Fish are to be sent a Day's Journey, or kept a Day before they are used, kill them as soon as they are taken out of the Water, and the Flesh will be firm.
I shall add one thing more concerning the boiling of Fish, which was communicated to me by a very ingenious Gentleman, who has made Fishing his Study for many Years: He says, that the Goodness of boil'd Fish consists chiefly in the Firmness of the Flesh; and in the next place, that the Flesh parts easily from the Bone; to do which, he directs to kill the Fish immediately after they are taken out of the Water; and when you design to boil 'em, put a large handful of Salt into about two or three quarts of Water, and so in proportion: Put in the Fish while the Water is cold; then set them over the Fire, and make them boil as quick as possible, without any Cover over the Pan. This is approved to do very well. This Receipt is particularly good for boiling of Flounders. His Receipt for Sauce for boil'd Fish, is the following.
Sauce for boil'd Fish.
Take Beef-Gravy, an Onion, a little White-wine, some Horse-radish sliced, Lemon-peel, an Anchovy, a Bunch of Sweet-herbs, boil them well together, and strain off the Liquor, then put a Spoonful of Mushroom Ketchup to it, and thicken it with Butter mix'd with Flower: or for Fast-days the Gravy may be omitted, and in the place of it put Mushroom-Gravy, or a larger quantity of Mushroom-Ketchup, or some of the Fish-Gravy mention'd in February, which is good to put in Sauce for any sort of Fish.
As this is the Month when Eels begin to be good, I shall give two or three Receipts for the Dressing of them in the best manner: The first for Roasting of Eels, or Pitchcotting them, I had from the Crown at Basingstoke some Years ago; and that for Collaring of Eels, from Mr. John Hughs, a celebrated Cook in London. But I shall first observe, that the Silver Eel is counted the best; and that all such as lie and feed in clear Streams, may be used without purging them, as I have directed above; but all Pond Eels must be put into clear Waters for a Week, at least, before they are used, if you would have them in perfection. And now to the Receipts.
To Roast or Broil an Eel, from the Crown at Basingstoke, An. 1718.
Take a large Eel, rub the Skin well with Salt, then gut it and wash it well; cut off the Head and skin it, laying by the Skin in Water and Salt; then lay your Eel in a clean Dish, and pour out about a Pint of Vinegar upon it, letting it remain in the Vinegar near an hour; then withdraw your Eel from the Vinegar, and make several Incisions at proper distances in the Flesh of the Back and Sides, which Spaces must be fill'd with the following Mixture:
Take grated Bread, the Yolks of two or three hard Eggs, one Anchovy minced small, some Sweet-Marjoram dry'd and pouder'd; or for want of that, some Green Marjoram shred small: to this add Pepper, Salt, a little Pouder of Cloves, or Jamaica Pepper, and a little fresh Butter, to be beat all together in a Stone Mortar, till it becomes like a Paste; with which Mixture fill all the Incisions that you cut in the Eel, and draw the Skin over it: then tie the end of the Skin next the Head, and prick it with a Fork in several Places; then tie it to a Spit to roast, or lay it upon a Grid-iron to broil, without basting. The Sauce for this is Butter, Anchovy, a little Pepper, and Lemon-juice.
To Pitchcot Eels.
Take a large Eel, clean well with Salt and Water both the Skin and the Inside, then pull off the Skin, and prepare the following Mixture of Bread grated, Sweet-herbs pouder'd, or minced small, such as Sweet-marjoram, Sage, and some Pepper and Salt; then rub your Eel with Yolks of Eggs, and after that, roll it in the Mixture, then draw the Skin over it, and cut your Eel in several pieces about three Inches in length, dipping them again in Yolks of Eggs, and after that, in the above Mixture: then lay them on the Gridiron, and when they are enough, serve them to the Table, with the Sauce prescribed for the roasted Eels, abovemention'd.
To Collar Eels, from Mr. John Hughs, a famous Cook in London.
Take a large Eel, and scour the Skin and the Inside very well with Salt, cut off the Head, and split it down the Back, then lay it abroad upon your Dresser, and season it well with Spice, Salt, and a good quantity of Red Sage minced small: mix these well, and sprinkle the Mixture thick upon your Eel, then roll it up, and tye it close in a thin Cloth at each end, and in the middle; boil it then in a strong Pickle of Vinegar, Water, Salt, some Spice, and a Bay-leaf or two; and when it is boiled enough, take out the Eel, and let it stand till it is quite cold, and when the Pickle is cold likewise, pour the Pickle into a glazed Earthen-Pan, and put your Eel into it to keep for Use; this will remain good several Weeks, if it is kept close cover'd. When the Eel is quite cold, take off the Cloth.
The Eel is also good in Pyes, fry'd and boil'd, which every one knows how to prepare.
About the end of this Month, the Trout begins to come in Season; for before this time, its Body is cover'd with little Insects, which is a Demonstration of its being sick and unwholesome. The best way of eating this Fish is to boil it, and serve it with Butter and an Anchovy for Sauce; as is commonly practis'd about Hungerford, Spenham-Land, and other noted Places for Trout.
If the Season is now mild, about the end of the Month the Sap in the Birch-Tree will begin to be very fluent. And so in the Choice of Fish to be seasonable, we must have regard to the Temper of the Air; for if the Air be mild and gentle, sooner or later all parts of the Creation are govern'd by it: but when I direct for this Month or another any thing to be done, I suppose the Temper of the Air to be what it is for the generality; but the Birch-Tree Sap we will suppose begins now to flow, and then we are to take the opportunity of making Wine of it. The best Receipt I have met with for making this Wine, is the following.
To make Birch-Wine. From Lady W.
When the Sap of the Birch-Tree will run, cut a large Notch in the Bark of the Trunk of the Tree, in such a place as one may conveniently place a Vessel to receive the Sap; which Will flow at the Incision very plentifully, without doing any harm to the Tree. If the Trees are pretty large, you may expect about a Gallon of Liquor from each of them, which must be order'd in the following manner. Take five Gallons of the Liquor, to which put five Pounds of Powder-Sugar, and two Pounds of Raisins of the Sun stoned; to this, put the Peel of one large Lemon, and about forty large fresh Cloves: boil all these together, taking off the Scum carefully as it rises; then pour it off into some Vessel to cool, and as soon as it is cool enough to put Yeast to it, work it as you would do Ale for two days, and then tunn it, taking care not to stop the Vessel till it has done Working, and in a Month's time it will be ready to bottle. This is not only a very Pleasant, but a very Wholesome Wine.
This Month is esteemed one of the principal Seasons for brewing of Malt Liquors for long keeping; the Reason is, because the Air at this time of the Year is temperate, and contributes to the good Working or Fermenting the Drink, which chiefly promotes its Preservation and good Keeping: for very cold Weather prevents the free Fermentation or Working of Liquors, as well as very hot Weather; so that if we brew in very cold Weather, unless we use some Means to warm the Cellar while new Drink is Working, it will never clear itself as it ought to do; and the same Misfortune will it lie under, if in very hot Weather the Cellar is not put in a temperate state, the Consequence of which will be, that such Drink will be Muddy and Sour, and, perhaps, never recover; or if it does, perhaps not under two or three Years. Again, such Misfortunes are often owing to the badness of the Cellars; for where they are dug in springy Ground, or are subject to Wet in the Winter, then the Drink will chill, and grow flat and dead. But where Cellars are of this sort, it is adviseable to make your great Brewings in this Month rather than in October; for you may keep such Cellars temperate in Summer, but cannot warm them in Winter, and so your Drink brew'd in March will have due time to settle and adjust itself before the Cold can do it any great harm. It is adviseable likewise to build your Cellars for keeping of Drink, after such a manner, that none of the external Air may come into them; for the variation of the Air abroad, was there free admission of it into the Cellars, would cause as many Alterations in the Liquors, and so would keep them perpetually disturb'd and unfit for drinking. I know some curious Gentlemen in these things, that keep double Doors to their Cellars, on purpose that none of the outward Air may get into them, and they have good reason to boast of their Malt-Liquors. The meaning of the double Doors, is to keep one shut while the other is open, that the outward Air may be excluded; such Cellars, if they lie dry, as they ought to do, are said to be cool in Summer, and warm in Winter, tho' in reality, they are constantly the same in point of Temper: they seem indeed cool in hot Weather, but that is because we come into them from an hotter abroad; and so they seem to us warm in Winter, because we come out of a colder Air to them; so that they are only cold or warm comparatively, as the Air we come out of is hotter or colder. This is the Cafe, and a Cellar should be thus dispos'd if we expect to have good Drink. As for the Brewing Part itself, I shall leave that to the Brewers in the several Counties in England, who have most of them different Manners even of Brewing honestly. What I shall chiefly touch upon, besides what I shall speak of Cellaring, will relate to Water, Malt, Hops, and the keeping Liquors.
The best Water, to speak in general, is River Water, such as is soft, and has partook of the Air and Sun; for this easily insinuates itself into the Malt, and extracts its Virtue; whereas the hard Waters astringe and bind the Parts of the Malt, so that its Virtue is not freely communicated to the Liquor. It is a Rule with a Friend of mine, that all Water which will mix with Soap is fit for Brewing, and he will by no means allow of any other; and I have more than once experienc'd, that where the same Quantity of Malt has been used to a Barrel of River Water, and the same to a Barrel of Spring Water, the River Water Brewing has excell'd the other in Strength above five degrees in twelve Months, as I prov'd by a small Glass-Tube with a Seal, and was much preferable to the Taste, I must observe too, that the Malt was not only in Quantity the same for one Barrel as for another, but was the same in Quality, having been all measur'd from the same Heap; so also the Hops were the same both in Quality and Quantity, and the Time of boiling, and both work'd in the same manner, and tunn'd and kept in the same Cellar. Here it was plain that there was no difference but the Water, and yet one Barrel was worth two of the other.
There is one thing which has long puzzled the best Brewers, which I shall here endeavour to explain; and that is, where several Gentlemen in the same Town have employ'd the same Brewer, have had the same Malt, the same Hops, and the same Water too, and brew'd all in the same Month, and broach'd their Drink at the same time; and yet one has had Beer which has been extremely fine, strong, and well tasted, while the others have hardly had any worth drinking. I conjecture there may be three Reasons for this difference: One may be the different Weather which might happen at the different Brewings in this Month, which might make an Alteration in the Working of the Liquors: Or, secondly, that the Yeast or Barm might be of different sorts, or in different states, wherewith these Liquors were Work'd: And, thirdly, that the Cellars were not equally good: for I am very sensible, the goodness of such Drink, as is brew'd for keeping, depends upon the goodness of the Cellars where it is kept; for at a Gentleman's of my Acquaintance, who for many Years has used the same Brewer, and the same Method, his Beer is always of the same Taste, his Cellars, or Vaults, are very dry, and have two or three Doors to them.
The Dorchester Beer, which is esteem'd preferable to most of the Malt-Liquor in England, is for the most part brew'd of chalky Water, which is almost every where in that County; and as the Soil is generally Chalk there, I am of opinion, that the Cellars being dug in that dry Soil contributes to the good keeping of their Drink, it being of a close texture, and of a drying quality, so as to dissipate Damps; for damp Cellars, we find by experience, are injurious to keeping Liquors, as well as destructive to the Casks. The Malt of this Country is of a pale Colour; and the best Drink of this County that I have met with to be sold, is at a small House against the Church at Blackwater, four Miles beyond Dorchester, in the Road to Bridport, in Dorsetshire; they broach no Beer till it is a Year old, and has had time to mellow. But there must be such Cellars as I speak of, which inclose a temperate Air, to ripen Drink in; the constant temperate Air digests and softens these Malt Liquors, so that they drink smooth as Oil; but in the Cellars which are unequal, by letting in Heats and Colds, the Drink is subject to grow stale and sharp: For this reason it is, that Drink, which is brew'd for a long Voyage at Sea, should be perfectly ripe and fine before it is exported, for when it has had sufficient time to digest in the Cask, and is rack'd from the Bottom or Lee, it will bear carriage without injury. It is farther to be noted, that in proportion to the quantity of Liquor, which is enclosed in one Cask, so will it be a longer or a shorter time in ripening. A Vessel which will contain two Hogsheads of Beer, will require twice as much time to perfect itself as one of a Hogshead; and from my experience I find there should be no Vessel used for strong Beer, which we design to keep, less than a Hogshead: for one of that quantity, if it be fit to draw in a Year, has Body enough to support it two, or three, or four Years, if it has strength of Malt and Hops in it, as the Dorseshire Beer has; and this will bear the Sea very well, as we find every day.
There is one thing more to be consider'd in the preservation of Beer; and that is, when once the Vessel is broach'd, we ought to have regard to the time in which it will be expended: for if there happens to be a quick Draught for it, then it will last good to the very bottom; but if there is likely to be a slow draught, then do not draw off quite half, before you bottle it, or else your Beer will grow flat, dead, or sour. This is observed very much among the Curious.
One great piece of Oeconomy is the good management of Small Beer; for if that is not good, the Drinkers of it will be feeble in Summer-time, and incapable of strong Work, and will be very subject to Distempers; and besides, when Drink is not good, a great deal will be thrown away. The use of Drink, as well as Meat, is to nourish the Body; and the more Labour there is upon any one, the more substantial should be the Dyet. In the time of Harvest I have often seen the bad Effects of bad Small Beer among the Workmen; and in great Families, where that Article has not been taken care of, the Apothecaries Bills have amounted to twice as much more as the Malt would have come to, that would have kept the Servants in strength and good health; besides one thing more, which I observed above, good wholesome Drink is seldom flung away by Servants, so that the sparing of a little Malt ends in loss to the Master. Where there is good Cellaring, therefore, it is adviseable to brew a flock of Small Beer, either in this Month or October, or in both Months, and to be kept in Hogsheads, if possible: The Beer brew'd in March to begin drawing in October, and that brew'd in October to begin in March, for Summer drinking; having this regard to the quantity, that a Family of the same number of working Persons, will drink a third more in Summer than in Winter,
If Water happens to be of a hard nature, it may be softened by setting it exposed to the Air and Sun, and putting into it some Pieces of soft Chalk to infuse; or else when the Water is set on to boil, for pouring upon the Malt, put into it a quantity of Bran, which will help a little to soften it.
I shall now mention two or three Particulars relating to Malt, which may help those who are unacquainted with brewing: In the first place, the general Distinctions, between one Malt and another, is only that one is high dried, the other low dried; that which we call high dried, will, by brewing, produce a Liquor of a brown, deep Colour; and the other, which is the low dried, will give us a Liquor of a pale Colour. The first is dried in such a manner, as may be said rather to be scorch'd than dried, and will promote the Gravel and Stone, and is much less nourishing than the low dried, or pale Malt, as they call it; for all Corn in the most simple way is the most feeding to the Body. I have experienc'd too, that the brown Malt, even tho' it be well brewed, will sooner turn sharp than the pale Malt, if that be fairly brewed. I am told, that a Gentleman in Northamptonshire has dried Malt upon the Leads of a House, and has made very good Drink of it: And the Method of drying Malt by hot Air, which was once proposed to the Publick, will do very well for a small quantity, but 'tis much too tedious to be ever rendered profitable; however, any means that can be used to dry Malt without parching of it, will certainly contribute to the goodness of the Malt. At the Greyhound at Marlborough I have drank of the palest-colour'd Ale I ever saw, and the best tasted, and the strongest that I have met with. In that place they dry their Malt very tenderly, and brew with chalky Water, and their Cellars are dug in Chalk: So at the Crown at Hockrell near Bishop-Starford in Hertfordshire, is excellent Beer of a pale Colour, strong, and well tasted; there the Malt is tenderly dried and the Soil chalky: likewise at Nottingham and Derby they brew with pale Malt, chalky Water, and their Cellars are dug in Chalk.
These Places are noted for the Goodness of their Ale all over England, insomuch that it has been computed, that there has been above two Hundred Thousand Pounds worth of Ale sold in and about London, under the Denomination of Nottingham, Derby, Dorchester, &c. in one Year's time: but it is not in London that we must expect to taste these Liquors in perfection; for it is rare to find any of them there without being adulterated, or else such Liquors are sold for them as are unskilful Imitations of them; and I may add, are unwholesome into the bargain. While I am writing this, a Gentleman of good Judgment in this Affair informs me, that the Brown Malt he finds makes the best Drink, when it is brew'd with a coarse River Water, such as that of the River Thames about London; and that likewise being brew'd with such Water, it makes very good Ale: but that it will not keep above six Months, without turning stale, and a little sharp, even tho' he allows fourteen Bushels to the Hogshead. He adds, that he has try'd the high-dry'd Malt to brew Beer with for keeping, and hopp'd it accordingly; and yet he could never brew it so as to drink soft and mellow, like that brew'd with Pale Malt. There is an acid Quality in the high-dry'd Malt, which occasions that Distemper commonly called the Heart-burn, in those that drink of the Ale or Beer made of it. When I mention Malt, in what I have already said above, I mean only Malt made of Barley; for Wheat-malt, Pea-malt, or these mix'd with Barley-malt, tho' they produce a high-colour'd Liquor, will keep many Years, and drink soft and smooth; but then they have the Mum-Flavour. I have known some People, who used brewing with high dry'd Barley-malt, to put a Bag, containing about three Pints of Wheat, into every Hogshead of Drink, and that has fined it, and made it to drink mellow: others I have seen put about three Pints of Wheat-malt into a Hogshead, which has produced the same Effect. But all Malt-Liquors, however they may be well-brew'd, may be spoiled by bad Cellaring, and be now and then subject to ferment in the Cask, and consequently turn thick and sour. The best way to help this, and bring the Drink to it self is to open the Bung of the Cask for two or three Days, and if that does not stop the Fermentation, then put about two or three Pounds of Oyster-shells wash'd and dry'd well in an Oven, and then beaten to fine Pouder, and stirring it a little, it will presently settle the Drink, make it fine, and take off the sharp Taste of it; and as soon as that is done, draw it off into another Vessel, and put a small Bag of Wheat or Wheat-malt into it, as above directed, or in proportion, as the Vessel is larger or smaller.
Sometimes such Fermentations will happen in Drink, by change of Weather, if it is in a bad Cellar, and it will in a few Months fall fine of it self, and grow mellow.
It is remarkable, that high-dry'd Malt should not be used in Brewing till it has been ground ten Days, or a Fortnight, it yields much stronger Drink than the same quantity of Malt fresh ground; but if you design to keep Malt some time ground before you use it, you must take care to keep it very dry, and the Air at that time should likewise be dry. And as for Pale Malt, which has not partaken so much of the Fire, it must not remain ground above a Week before you use it.
As for Hops, the newest are much the best, tho' they will remain very good two Years; but after that, they begin to decay, and lose their good Flavour unless great Quantities have been kept together; for in that case they Will keep much longer good than in small Quantities. These, for their better preservation, should be kept in a very dry Place, tho' the Dealers in them rather chuse such Places as are moderately between moist and dry, that they may not lose of their Weight. I cannot help taking notice here of a Method which was used to some stale and decay'd Hops the last Year 1725, to make them recover their Bitterness; which was to unbag them, and sprinkle them with Aloes and Water, which, together with the badness of the Malt of the same Year's growth, spoil'd great quantities of Drink about London; for even where the Water, the Malt, and the Brewer, and Cellars are good, a bad Hop will spoil all: So that every one of these Particulars should be well-chosen before the Brewing is set about, or else we must expect but a bad Account of our Labour. And so likewise the Yeast or Barm that you work your Drink with, must be well consider'd, or a good Brewing may be spoil'd by that alone; and be sure that be always provided before you begin Brewing, for your Wort will not stay for it.
In some remote Places from Towns it is practised to dip Whisks into Yeast, and beat it well, and so hang up the Whisks with the Yeast in them to dry; and if there is no Brewing till two Months afterwards, the beating and stirring one of these Whisks in New Wort, will raise a Working or Fermentation in it. It is a Rule that all Drink should be work'd well in the Tun, or Keel, before it be put in the Vessel, for else it will not easily grow fine. Some follow the Rule of beating down the Yeast pretty often while it is in the Tun, and keep it there working for two or three Days, observing to put it in the Vessel just when the Yeast begins to fall. This Drink is commonly very fine; whereas that, which is put into the Vessel quickly after 'tis brew'd, will not be fine in many Months.
We may yet observe, that with relation to the Season for brewing of Drink for keeping, if the Cellars are subject to the Heat of the Sun, or warm Summer Air, it is best to brew in October, that the Drink may have time to digest before the warm Season comes on: And if Cellars are inclinable to Damps, and to receive Water, the best time is to brew in March, and I know some experienced Brewers, who always chuse the brewing of Pale Malt in March, and the Brown in October; for they guess that the Pale Malt, being made with a lesser degree of Fire than the other, wants the Summer Season to ripen in; and so on the contrary, the Brown having had a larger share of the Fire to dry it, is more capable of defending itself against the Cold of the Winter-Season. But how far these Reasons may be just, I shall not pretend to determine; but in such a Work as this, nothing should be omitted that may contribute to give the least Hint towards meliorating so valuable a Manufacture; the Artists in the Brewing Way are at liberty to judge as they please.
But when we have been careful in all the above Particulars, if the Casks are not in good order, still the Brewing may be spoil'd. New Casks are apt to give Drink an ill Taste, if they are not well scalded and season'd several days successively, before they are put in use; and for old Casks, if they stand any time out of use, they are apt to grow musty: unslack'd Lime, about a Gallon to a Hogshead, with about six Gallons of Water put in with it, and the Hogshead presently stopp'd up, will clear it of its Taint, if the same be repeated four or five times; or burning of Linnen dipp'd in Brimstone, to be close stopped in a Cask, three or four times repeated, will do the same: or else put Water in your Vessels, and throw in some burning Coals, and stop them close, will do the like, if it be often repeated.
I have now but little more to say about the Management of Drink, and that is concerning the Bottling of it. The Bottles first must be well clean'd and dry'd; for wet Bottles will make the Drink turn mouldy, or motherry, as they call it; and by wet Bottles, many Vessels of good Drink are spoiled: but if the Bottles are clean and dry, yet if the Corks are not new and found, the Drink is still liable to be damaged; for if the Air can get into the Bottles, the Drink will grow flat, and will never rise. I have known many who have flatter'd themselves that they knew how to be saving, and have used old Corks on this occasion, that have spoiled as much Liquor as has stood them in four or five Pounds, only for want of laying out three or four Shillings. If Bottles are cork'd as they should be, it is hard to pull out the Corks without a Screw, and to be sure to draw the Cork without breaking, the Screw ought to go through the Cork, and then the Air must necessarily find a Passage where the Screw has pass'd, and therefore the Cork is good for nothing; or if a Cork has once been in a Bottle, and has been drawn without a Screw, yet that Cork will turn musty as soon as it is exposed to the Air, and will communicate its ill Flavour to the Bottle where it is next put, and spoil the Drink that way.
In the choice of Corks, chuse those that are soft, and clear from Specks, and lay them in Water a day or two before you use them; but let them dry again before you put them in the Bottles, lest they should happen to turn mouldy: with this care you may make good Drink, and preserve it to answer your expectation.
In the bottling of Drink, you may also observe, that the top and middle of the Hogshead is the strongest, and will sooner rise in the Bottles than the bottom: And when once you begin to bottle a Vessel of any Liquor, be sure not to leave it till all is complcated, for else you will have some of one Taste, and some of another.
If you find that a Vessel of Drink begins to grow flat, whilst it is in common draught, bottle it, and into every Bottle put a piece of Loaf-Sugar, about the quantity of a Walnut, which will make the Drink rise and come to itself: and to forward its ripening, you may set some Bottles in Hay in a warm Place; but Straw will not assist its ripening.
Where there are not good Cellars, I have known Holes sunk in the Ground, and large Oil Jars put into them, and the Earth filled close about the sides: One of these Jars may hold about a dozen quart Bottles, and will keep the Drink very well; but the tops of the Jars must be kept close cover'd up. And in Winter time, when the Weather is frosty, shut up all the Lights or Windows into such Cellars, and cover them close with fresh Horse-Dung, or Horse-Litter; but 'tis much better to have no Lights or Windows at all to any Cellar, for the reasons I have given above.
If there has been opportunity of brewing a good stock of Small Beer in March and October, some of it may be bottled at six Months end, putting into every Bottle a lump of Loaf-Sugar as big as a Walnut; this especially will be very refreshing Drink in the Summer: Or if you happen to brew in Summer, and are desirous of brisk Small Beer, bottle it, as above, as soon as it has done working.
* * * * *
From the beginning of this Month the Perch is in great Perfection, and holds good till Winter. One of the ways of dressing this Fish, according to the Hollanders, and which is much admired by Travellers, is after the following manner, and is called Water-Soochy.
To make a Water-Soochy.
Take Perch about five Inches long, scale and clean them well; then lay them in a Dish, and pour Vinegar upon them, and let them lie an Hour in it; after which put them into a Skillet with Water and Salt, some Parsley Leaves and Parsley-Roots well wash'd and scraped: let these boil over a quick Fire till they are enough, and then pour the Fish, Roots, and Water into a Soop-Dish, and serve them up hot with a Garnish about the Dish of Lemon, sliced. These Fish and Roots are commonly eaten with Bread and Butter in Holland, or there may be melted Butter in a little Bason for those who chuse it. It is to be noted, that the Parsley-Roots must be taken before they run to Seed; and if they happen to be very large, they should be boiled by themselves, for they will require more boiling than the Fish, This I had from Mr. Rozelli at the Hague.
The following Receipt for dressing of Perch, I had likewise from the same Person, and is an excellent Dish.
To prepare Perch with Mushrooms.
Pick, and clean, and cut your Mushrooms into small pieces, and put them in a Saucepan to stew tender without any Liquor, but what will come from them; then pour off their Liquor, and put a little Cream to them; having ready at the same time a Brace of large Perch well scaled, wash'd, and cut in Fillets or thick Slices, and parboil'd: Put your Perch thus prepared to your Mushrooms, and with them the Yolks of three Eggs beaten, some Parsley boil'd and cut small, some Nutmeg grated, a little Salt, and a little Lemon-Juice: keep all these stirring gently over a slow Fire, taking care not to break your Fish; and when they are enough, garnish them with Slices of Lemon and pickled Barberries.
The following general Sauce I had from the same Person; it is always ready to be used with every kind of Flesh, Fowl, or Fish that require rich Sauces, and will keep good twelve Months.
A Travelling Sauce.
Take two Quarts of Claret, a quarter of a Pint of Vinegar, and as much Verjuice; put these together in a new Stone-Jar that will admit of being stopp'd close: Put to this a quarter of a Pound of Salt that has been well dry'd over the Fire, an Ounce of Black-Pepper, a Drachm of Nutmeg beaten fine, and as much Cloves, a Scruple of Ginger, two or three little Bits of dry'd Orange-Peel, half an Ounce of Mustard-Seed bruised, half a dozen Shallots bruised a little, five or six Bay-Leaves, a little Sprig of Sweet Basil, or Sweet Marjoram, a Sprig of Thyme, and a little Cinnamon; then stop your Jar close, and let the Mixture infuse for twenty-four Hours upon hot Embers: when this is done, strain your Composition through a Linnen Cloth, till you have express'd as much Liquor as possible, and put it in a dry Stone Bottle or Jar, and stop it close as soon as 'tis cold. You must keep this in a dry Place, and it will remain good twelve Months. This is a good Companion for Travellers, who more frequently find good Meat than good Cooks. My Author adds, that those who are Admirers of the Taste of Garlick, may add it to this Sauce, or diminish, or leave cut any particular Ingredient that they do not approve of. It may also be made of Water only, or of Verjuice, or of Wine, or of Orange or Lemon-Juice; but if it is made of Water, it will keep but a Month good: if it be made of Verjuice, it will last good three Months; if we make it of Vinegar, it will last a Year; or of Wine, it will last as long. Use a little of this at a time, stirring it well when you use it.
In this Month I likewise judge it will be a good Season to make the following curious Preparation for the use of Gentlemen that travel; the use of which I esteem to be of extraordinary Service to such as travel in wild and open Countries, where few or no Provisions are to be met with; and it will be of no less Benefit to such Families as have not immediate Recourse to Markets, for the Readiness of it for making of Soups, or its Use where Gravey is required: and particularly to those that travel, the lightness of its Carriage, the small room it takes up, and the easy way of putting it in use, renders it extremely serviceable. This is what one may call Veal-Glue.
To make Veal-Glue, or Cake-Soup, to be carried in the Pocket.
Take a Leg of Veal, strip it of the Skin and the Fat, then take all the Muscular or Fleshy Parts from the Bones; boil this Flesh gently in such a quantity of Water, and so long a time, till the Liquor will make a strong Jelly when 'tis cold: this you may try by taking out a small Spoonful now and then, and letting it cool. Here it is to be supposed, that tho' it will jelly presently in small quantities, yet all the juice of the Meat may not be extracted, however, when you find it very strong, strain the Liquor thro' a Sieve, and let it settle; then provide a large Stew-pan with Water, and some China-Cups, or glazed Earthen-Ware; fill these Cups with the Jelly taken clear from the Settling, and set them in the Stew-pan of Water, and let the Water boil gently till the Jelly becomes thick as Glue: after which, let them stand to cool, and then turn out the Glue upon a piece of new Flannel, which will draw out the Moisture; turn them in six or eight Hours, and put them upon a fresh Flannel, and so continue to do till they are quite dry, and keep it in a dry warm Place: this will harden so much, that it will be stiff and hard as Glue in a little time, and may be carry'd in the Pocket without Inconvenience. We are to use this by boiling about a Pint of Water, and pouring it upon a piece of the Glue or Cake, of the bigness of a small Walnut, and stirring it with a Spoon till the Cake dissolves, which will make very strong good Broth. As for the Seasoning Part, every one may add Pepper and Salt as they please, for there must be nothing of that kind put among the Veal when we make the Glue, for any thing of that sort would make it mouldy. Some of this sort of Cake-Gravey has lately been sold, as I am inform'd, at some of the Taverns near Temple-Bar, where, I suppose, it may now be had. As I have observ'd above, that there is nothing of Seasoning in this Soup, so there may be always added what we desire, either of Spices or Herbs, to make it savoury to the Palate; but it must be noted, that all the Herbs that are used on this occasion, must be boiled tender in plain Water, and that Water must be used to pour upon the Cake Gravey instead of simple Water: so may a Dish of good Soup be made without trouble, only allowing the Proportion of Cake-Gravey answering to the abovesaid Direction. Or if Gravey be wanted for Sauce, double the Quantity may be used that is prescribed for Broth or Soup. I am inform'd by a Person of Honour, that upon this Foundation, there has been made a Cake-Gravey of Beef, which for high Sauces and strong Stomachs, is still of good use; and therefore I shall here give the Method of it.
To make Cake-Soup of Beef, &c.
Take a Leg, or what they call in some Places a Shin of Beef, prepare it as prescribed above for the Leg of Veal, and use the muscular Parts only, as directed in the foregoing Receipt; do every thing as abovemention'd, and you will have a Beef-Glue, which, for Sauces, may be more desirable in a Country-House, as Beef is of the strongest nature of any Flesh. Some prescribe to add to the Flesh of the Leg of Beef, the Flesh of two old Hares, and of old Cocks to strengthen it the more; this may be done at pleasure, but the Foundation of all these Cake Graveys or Glues is the first. These indeed are good for Soups and Sauces, and may be enrich'd by Cellary, Cherville, beat Chards, Leeks, or other Soup-Herbs. A little of this is also good to put into Sauces, either of Flesh, Fish, or Fowl, and will make a fine mixture with the Travelling Sauce. So that whenever there is mentioned the Use of Gravey in any of the Receipts contained in this Treatise, this may be used on Feast-days, and the Mushroom Gravey, or Travelling Sauce on Fast-days.
This is also a time of the Year when potted Meats begin to come in fashion; to do which, the following Receipt may be an Example.
To pot a Leg of Beef to imitate potted Venison, from Col. Bradbury of Wicken-Hall.
Provide a Leg of Beef, and take off the Skin as whole as you can, then cut off all the Flesh, and season it with Pepper, Salt, and Allspice; then break the Bones and take out what Marrow you can to mix among your slices of Beef, which must be put in a deep Earthen Pot; cover then the whole with the Skin, and lay the Bones over that, covering all with Paper, and tying it down close; after which, bake it with great Bread, and let it stand in the Oven all Night. When this is done, take off the Bones and the Skin, and clear it from the Liquor as well as you can, then put the Meat into a Wooden Bowl, and beat it as small as possible with a Wooden Pestle, often putting in some Butter, and some of the Fat of the Marrow, which will swim upon the Gravey, but suffer none of the Gravey to go in with it: when this is beat enough, while it is warm, butter the Bottom and Sides of the Pan which you design to keep it in, and press down your Meat in it as hard as possible; when that is done, cover it with melted Butter. If you would have your Meat look red, rub it with a little Salt-peter before you season it. By the same Method you may pot Venison, Mutton, or what Flesh else you please, observing that 'tis only the fleshy or muscular Parts that are used in that way; and that they must be season'd and baked till they are tender, and then beat into a sort of Paste, with a little Butter added now and then while the Meat is beating. Keep these Meats in a cool dry Place, and you may preserve them good several Weeks. If you desire to pot a Hare, take the following Receipt.
To Pot a Hare, from the same.
Take a Hare and bone it, then mince the Flesh very small, with a Pound of the Fat of Bacon; after which, beat these in a Mortar, and then season your Meat with Pepper, Salt, Cloves and Mace, adding to it an Ounce of Salt peter: mix all these well, and let the Meat lie twenty-four Hours, then put it in an earthen glazed Pot, and bake it three Hours; after which, take it out, and dry it from the Gravey, then return it to the Pot again, and then cover it with clarified Butter. This Receipt might have been put in some of the former Months, as the Hare is then in season; but as it depends upon the foregoing Receipt, I thought convenient to insert it in this Place: however, a Jack-Hare may now be dress'd in this fashion, but the Doe-Hares are now either with Young or have Young ones, so that they are out of Season. These Potted Meats are useful in Housekeeping, being always ready for the Table: So likewise the following Receipt for Collar'd Beef is of the same service.
To Collar Beef.
Get the Rand or Flank of Beef cut about a foot in length; bone it, and then mix two Ounces of Salt peter, with a good handful of common Salt: after which, carbonade the outward Skin of the Beef, and rub the whole well with the Salts, letting it lie for twenty-four hours in Salt before you collar it; but observing to turn it twice a day, at least, whilst it is in Salt. When it has lain thus to season, get some Sweet-Marjoram, a little Winter-Savoury, some Red Sage-leaves, and a little Thyme, and shred them small; among which put an Ounce of Pepper ground small, half an Ounce of Cloves and Mace beat, and a Handful of Salt; mix these together, and stew the mixture thick over the inside of your Meat, that when it is roll'd up, it may be equally bound in with the Turnings of the Beef: then provide some thin Slices of the same Beef to lay before the first Turn, that the Collar may not be hollow in the middle. This must be roll'd as hard as possible, so that every Part is equally press'd to each other; then get some Tape about an Inch wide, and bind it hard about your Collar of Beef, in a Screw-like manner, till you have closed your Collar from top to bottom as tight as can be; observing to bind the top and bottom in an extraordinary manner with strong Packthread. Put this in a glazed earthen Pan, with as much Claret as will cover it, putting over the whole some coarse Paste, and send it to the Oven to stand five or six Hours. When it is baked enough, take out your Collar, and set it upright till it be cold, and then take off the Fillets, or the Tape that braced it together, and keep it for use. This is cut in thin Slices, and eaten with Vinegar, as are most of the Collar'd meats and Potted meats. This Example is enough for any one either to Collar other Meats by, only observing that such Flesh as is tender, as Pig and a Breast of Veal, must not be salted before they are collar'd, and the Spice or Herbs to be roll'd up with them, may be at discretion; but for the boiling or baking, the Time must be in proportion to their Size, or natural Tenderness. It must nevertheless be observed, that they must be baked or boiled till all the Gravey is out of them; for the Gravey being in them, will contribute to their spoiling by growing musty, or otherways foetid.
We have now Flounders in good Perfection, and besides the common Way of Dressing them, either by boiling them, as mention'd in the former Months, they are also sometimes fried, and sometimes broil'd; but the following is after such a manner, as is extremely agreeable, and will preserve them good a long time. These, or other Fish fry'd, are kept after the same manner: the Receipt I had from a worthy Gentleman, where I eat some in great Perfection.
Pickled Fish. From Aaron Harrington, Esq.
Let the Fish be fry'd after the common manner, and when they are cold lay them in a Dish, and pour on the following Pickle: Water and Vinegar equal quantities, Jamaica Pepper, Pepper and Salt, a little Mace, a few Bay-leaves, and some White-wine: when these have boiled together, pour the Pickle on the Fish while it is not too hot; these eat extremely well.