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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fricasseed eggs

In her letter of advice, "Mrs E" did not send recipes, just hints about the arrangement of the table for guests.  In this case, there are two courses, both set around a stand of flowers or fruit. And it seems that if Maria's fancy stand broke on the voyage to Port Jackson, a tureen of soup would do for the first course, and a trifle for the second.  The lack of vegetables and the mixture of sweet and savory dishes seems strange to our modern eyes, but there you go.

One hopes that Maria (or her servants) knew the recipe for eggs fricasseed, but just maybe she was carrying William Verrall's cookery book.


Des oeuffs a la tripe en fricasée

Take about seven or eight eggs, and boil hard, but not too hard, for there is nothing has a more offensive smell than eggs boiled too long, ten minutes is enough; put them into cold water, and peel them nicely, cut each into about six slices, melt a bit of butter in a stewpan, put in a little minced onion and parsley, pepper, salt and nutmeg; put your eggs gently in, that the yolk may not separate from the white, put in half a ladle of broth, with a morsel of butter and flour, boil it very softly, prepare a liaison of eggs &c. and a minute or two before your dinner time pour it in, gently moving it over a slow fire, squeeze in some juice, and send it up.

This is a favourite dish among the French and other foreigners, and some times done with a cullis instead of this white sauce, with a little oil and sweet herbs.

"Collops" were escalopes, or in the case of bacon, what we know as rashers.  They could be thin slices of any meat.  In Maria's case, they could well have been the sliced meat of rabbits, which were introduced to Australia with the First Fleet, in 1788. 

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