Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Monday 2 March 2020

A Meal For...THE 1950s

I was recently given this wonderful old book.
It is true that some of the recipes are fairly uninspiring and it is easy to see why English cuisine was not highly respected 70 years ago. But, it is a snapshot of an age and there are plenty of examples of good, wholesome food which make the most of a limited number of ingredients.
I was able, therefore, to put together a two course vegetarian meal by mixing and matching ideas from within its pages. 

Mixed Hors d'Oeuvre

Main Course: 
Pasty Envelopes with Mushroom Stuffing
Cheese Pudding

Served with: 
Duchess Potatoes 
Braised Carrots
Baked Stuffed Onions
Parsley Sauce

N.B. I have kept all ingredients, measurements and methods as close as possible to the originals, making changes only when necessary for number of portions or updating ingredients.

Hors d'Oeuvre
Hors d'Oeuvre - a popular way of presenting a first course, especially when entertaining. The book says they should be small, attractive and appetising.
I made two selections.
Plate One
Radish flowers
Macaroni and Sauce
Cheese Straws
Cheese Sauce

Radish Flowers
Cut several times across each radish and leave in cold water for half an hour.

Macaroni and Sauce
Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water.
Drain and allow to cool.
Mix with ketchup and chopped parsley.

Cheese Straws
3oz/ 85g plain flour
2oz/ 55g grated cheese
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp mustard
1½oz butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 egg yolk

Mix the flour with the salt and cayenne pepper.
Rub in the butter and then stir in the cheese.

Add the yolk, the mustard and a little water and mix to make a stiff dough.

Roll it out and cut into straws and a couple of rings.
Place on a greased baking tray
Bake at at 425°F/ 220°C/ Gas 7 for 
5 – 7 minutes until golden and firm.

Allow to cool.
Then assemble.

Cheese Sauce
Use half one portion of white sauce (the rest will be used later in the meal)
Add 2oz/ 55g of grated cheese, ½tsp of mustard and a few drops of vinegar.

(White Sauce)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns
1pt milk
2oz/ 55g butter
2oz/ 55g flour

Chop the vegetables into small pieces.
Add to the milk with the garlic, bayleaf and peppercorns.
Bring to the boil and let stand.
Strain and discard the vegetables.
In a separate pan, melt the butter and cook the flour for a couple of minutes.
Add the strained milk, stirring slowly.
Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. 

Plate Two
Grated Carrot
Milk Rolls
Tomato Salad
Curry Sauce

Milk Rolls
1lb/ 450g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2oz/ 55g lard*
½oz yeast = 7g dried yeast
½pt/ 280ml milk, heated until tepid
beaten egg to glaze

*Lard is obviously not vegetarian, but there are vegetarian alternatives such as ‘Trex’ in the UK. For ease, I have still referred to it as ‘lard’ throughout.

Mix the flour and salt and rub in the ‘lard’.
Add most of the milk to the yeast and give it a minute.
Then add it to the flour and mix to make a soft, elastic dough (with more milk if required).
Knead and allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Knock back and knead again.
Shape into rolls and allow to prove for 20 minutes.
Glaze with the beaten egg.
Bake at 450°F/ 230° C/ Gas 8 for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tomato Salad
4 tomatoes
½ onion, chopped finely
salt and pepper
2tbsp oil
1tbsp vinegar
chopped parsley
Slice the tomatoes thinly.
Top with the onion and the seasoning.
Mix the oil and vinegar together and pour over.
Sprinkle with parsley.

Curry Sauce
½oz/ 28g cooking fat (again I used ‘Trex’)
1tbsp chopped onion
1tbsp chopped apple
1tsp curry powder
½oz 28g flour
½pt/ 280ml stock
pinch of salt
1tbsp chutney
1tsp table sauce (I used brown sauce)
1tbsp sultanas

Melt the fat and fry the onion lightly, then add the apple, along with the curry powder and flour. Cook for a minute more.
Gradually add the stock and the salt.
Bring to the boil. Skim off any residue from the top. Then add the remaining ingredients.
Simmer with the lid on for about an hour, stirring frequently.

Main Course:
Pastry Envelopes with Mushroom Stuffing
Cheese Pudding
Served with:
Parsley Sauce
Duchess Potatoes
Braised Carrots
Baked Stuffed Onions. 

Pastry Envelopes with Mushroom Stuffing (based on Fish Envelopes but filled with mushrooms instead)

You need:
¾lb/ 350g of shortcrust pastry
¾lb/ 350g of filling
salt and pepper
egg to glaze

First make the Shortcrust Pastry
8oz/ 225g flour
½ tsp salt
4oz/ 125g fat (lard or cooking fat mixed with margarine) – I used stork
Sieve flour and salt. Rub in the cut-up fat.
Mix in the water with a knife, then use fingers to make a firm dough.

Then make the Mushroom Stuffing
4oz/ 125g mushrooms
1 onion
1oz/ 30g margarine
1tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2oz/ 60g breadcrumbs
beaten egg to bind

Chop the mushrooms and onion finely.
Fly in the fat for a few minutes.
Add the parsley, seasoning and breadcrumbs and bind with a little beaten egg.

Then roll out the pastry and cut into six squares.
Put mixture in the middle of each.
Dampen the edges and fold the corners to the centre, envelope fashion.
Cut leaves from the pastry scraps.
Brush the undersides with water and place over the joins.
Glaze with beaten egg.

Bake at 450°F/ 230°C/ Gas 8 for 15-20 minutes.

Cheese Pudding
6 slices of bread and butter
2 eggs
1 pint milk
4oz/ 120g grated cheese
1oz/ 30g breadcrumbs
2tbsp piquant sauce
a little mustard

First make the piquant sauce by mixing together
2tbsp mustard
2tbsp brown sugar
2tbsp tomato sauce
2tbsp red wine vinegar
1tbsp oil
1tbsp Worcester sauce (I used Henderson’s Relish which is vegetarian)

Cut up the bread and butter.
Arrange in a greased ovenproof dish.
Beat the egg, and add the milk, seasoning, mustard, sauce and three quarters of the cheese.
Pour over the bread and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350°F/ 180°C/ Gas 4 for 35-45 minutes until risen.

Parsley Sauce
Use half of the white sauce made previously.
Chop 2tbsp fresh parsley.
Add it to the sauce with a dash of vinegar.

Duchess Potatoes
Peel and chop potatoes.
Boil in salted water until soft.
Drain and allow to steam.
Mash with pepper, margarine and a little milk.
Pipe onto a greased tray.
Brush over with beaten egg.

Cook at 230°C/ Gas 8 / 450°F for about 10 minutes.

Braised Carrots
Scrape and cut into even slices lengthways.
Place in a pan and cover with cold water. 
Bring to the boil.

Drain. Heat butter, add the carrots and fry until golden brown.
Add ½ pint/ 285ml vegetable stock and a pinch of caster sugar.
Cook gently for about 30 minutes until tender, adding more stock if required.

Baked Stuffed Onions
4 even sized onions
2tbsp breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
4 oz/ 110g grated cheese
a little of the white sauce

Peel and boil the onions for about 25 minutes.
Drain and scoop out the insides with a knife and spoon.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, seasoning and most of the cheese.
Add a little white sauce to moisten.
Fill the onions.
Put in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake at 220°C/ 425°F/ Gas 7 for 30 - 40 minutes until the onions are tender when pierced. 

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