21 April 2011

Dinner and the love of old cookery pamphlets

Well we have hit a bit of warm weather here in normally cool England. It got up to about 23-24 here in Southend which means everyone is complaining about how hot it is but this old Florida girl says it's just right!

Anyway, dinner tonight was everything from the stores of the cupboard/freezer. I used to be a vegetarian but we still eat that way about 3-4 times in the week. Tonight was Quorn fillets that are plain - and I usually just cover them in BBQ sauce but tonight I wanted to use up some potatoes and an onion that was sitting in the fridge - I want nothing to go to waste in this house. So thought I'd make a white mushroom sauce that goes over the fillets and cooks into a gravy in the oven. I know - the oven on with that kind of temperature?! But it wasn't in for long - only about half an hour at most.

So my basic sauce was 1 ounce of butter in a sauce pan, to which I added my chopped onion. I let that sit for about 1-2 minutes just until they begin to soften - not brown! I then added about 1 ounce of flour to this and let it cook for 2 minutes until it just turns a bit darker in colour. I then added some water and then stirred. I must be lucky when I do this as everyone complains that they get lumps - I somehow do not. I then added the mushrooms (they came from the cupboard) and then added some Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon (about 1/4 teaspoon) to the now sauce. I love Marigold - I use this for my doodle-noodles as I call them (yet another idea to post about!) and just about anything I want to add flavour to without having to cut a bouillon cube. I then added a bit of salt and pepper along with a bit of ground coriander, and a pinch of cumin. I let this cook for about 5 minutes and voila - mushroom sauce for the Quorn as you can see below - pre-cooked in the oven.
OK - I'm not a professional photographer nor do I make the item I'm cooking just so - I don't have time for that. While some do - and hats off to you I am all about the real thing - it might not be five-star presentation but it's GOOD and works for this house.

This is the end product - the gravy as it turns to once in the oven for a bit was put over the potatoes and some steamed veg. As you can see - just a rustic on the plate - I'm not that into the looks. Something can look amazing and not be what you want. This is OK and is what I want.
Now for the cookery pamphlets. I don't know why I collect them - now I only pick up ones that really interest me in one way or another. The older the better and as usual these are just a very small sample of what I have. The Trex one is obviously British (it's comparable to US Crisco), the other one from Rochester came from my friend TOV, and the other was my Aunt's which I inherited.
I love how they often have helpful charts - often you find a lot of English recipes will refer to a hot oven, or gas mark 3. These were meaningless terms to me but as you live here you begin to understand what they mean. I think most cooks now do a Celsius or Fahrenheit temperature - the only one to keep to the old terms is Delia Smith.
I also love some of the really odd names for the recipes - it just makes you want to try each one out to figure out how the name came about...
I remember the day I found this cookbook. It was in Brandon, Florida in this book store that had all manner of books - new and used. I wandered those shelves many a day and never tired of it. But the title said it all for me! So of course you know I had to have it. I don't think I paid more than $10 for it and while that's a princely sum in my book it was worth it for the cover alone.
I saw a show recently - Cook's County which showed this book or at least a similar vintage which was apparently first published in 1901. This edition is a 1930's edition.
I love that this cook book looks like it has been well used. To some this is a detraction and wouldn't even consider buying it. I look at it as someone must have loved making that recipe and that they really got into their cooking. I'm rather the same - you'd never believe the state of some of my t-shirts which are really terrible when I've really gotten into something! All I can say is that I keep pre-wash spray in business! =)

So now go off and find something that you love and begin a collection, you never know where it will lead and isn't that the best thing? I think so.... Enjoy!


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