Monday, July 29, 2013

The Royal Cookbook; Favorite Court Recipes...

I know I said I would be here on Sunday with some recipes from The Royal Cookbook but, on Thursday of last week, Marion received a call from her grandson saying he was coming to visit for the weekend with his wife and their baby Michael. She was delighted! We had a wonderful weekend. As a matter of fact, we had such a great weekend that they didn't decide to leave until Monday morning. Hence, the delay in this post.

Quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed with the offerings of The Royal Cookbook. Don't get me wrong, the book does share some favorite recipes from the world's royal families, it just doesn't share enough of them and there could be a few more pictures too. I guess I should be thankful I have such a cool cookbook after all, it was published in 1971. Each chapter is written by a different author which is kind of special. For today's post, we have English author Sheila Hutchins, who was once food editor of the Daily Express and published many books on the regional food of England. I wasn't able to find much about the author online which is rather unfortunate. From the list of cookbooks credited to her we do learn though that she knew her stuff when it came to traditional English cookery.

"Sheila Hutchins, author of the chapter on England, is the cookery writer for the London Daily Express. She also writes a daily column on cooking and gastronomy that appears in other British newspapers. Miss Hutchins, who speaks French, German, and Hungarian, owns a large collection of cookery books in six languages, including more than two hundred valuable English books dating to the 16 century. She was first taught to cook at convent school in Switzerland. "All the rest," she says, "is the result of an inquiring mind and a healthy appetite."

The chapter on English cookery begins in the Middle Ages and ends with a short paragraph on the eating habits of Elizabeth II. I know nothing about the "chain of command" when it comes to royalty so I'm best just quoting from the author.

Elizabeth II likes simple, nonfattening foods, and some years ago cancelled the weekly order for her favorite chocolate coated violet creams. Prince Philip is a "hearty, unfussy eater" who likes "good red meat." No oysters have been served at the Palace since the reign of Edward VIII (later the Duke of Windsor), who was very fond of them. The Queen enjoys barbecues at Balmoral, at the picnic parties that follow royal shooting expeditions. In the past, queues of servants used to lay out quantities of food on checkered tablecloths; now, however, Queen Elizabeth likes to cook at the barbecue, and serves her guests with her own hands. One wonders what her ancestors would have said!"

The recipe picture selection in The Royal Cookbook is pretty limited. I've chose two recipes from the book to share with you today. The first is an English Comadore which is basically a Fruit and Nut Tart.

Comadore (Fruit and Nut Tarts)
1/2 cup sweet wine
10 dried figs, finely chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 firm apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 firm pear, peeled, cored, and diced
Puff pastry
Cooking oil
Heat the wine and drop in the figs and raisins to soften for a few minutes. Lightly brown the pin nuts in the oil. Add the nuts to the wine with the remaining 8 ingredients. Stir over medium heat and cook until all the wine has evaporated and the apple and pear are soft but not mushy. Spread on a plate to cool.

Roll out puff pastry to 1/16 inch thick. Cut in 3-inch squares and place not more than 2 teaspoons of the filling down the center of the square, leaving 3/8 inch on each end and ½ inch on the sides. With a pastry brush moisten the edges with water. Roll tightly and pinch the ends to seal. Fry in deep fat (375°) seam side down until golden, turn and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 40 finger shaped tarts.

I just couldn't resist sharing this recipe for Rhenish Wine Cream.

Rhenish Wine Cream
1 cup Rhine wine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
1-inch stick cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water
Boil the wine, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick together for 10 minutes. Beat the egg yolks until very thick and lemon colored. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the hot wine slowly to the yolks. Blend well and stir in the confectioners’ sugar and orange flower water. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into the wine mixture. Ladle from the bottom into goblets or compotes. Makes 6 servings.

It appears there has already been a cocktail created in honor of the future King; The George Royale recipe can be found at the Daily Express.

Royal Chef-Darren McGrady was personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Diana, Princess of Wales and Princes’ William and Harry for fifteen years. Not only does he have a cookbook and a website, he also offers a recipe for Bananas Flan which according to Marion, (yes, my Marion who caught a bit of food trivia on the news) is a favorite of Prince William.

Thank you for your patience everyone. I'll be out blog visiting tomorrow. "See" you then! Louise

FYI: Don't forget, tomorrow, July 30th, is National Cheesecake Day!