The Country Housewife, by Richard Bradley


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.

Trouts are now in good perfection in the South parts of our Country; that is, where the Weather has been favourable in the former Month; and then besides the common way of boiling them we may have them potted, which will make them as valuable as potted Charrs, which are a sort of Trout.

To pott Trouts. From Mrs. R. S. of Preston in Lancashire.

Scale and clean your Trouts very well, wash them in Vinegar, and slit them down the Back, after which put Pepper and Salt into the Incision, and on their Outsides, and let them lie upon a Dish three Hours; then lay them in an earthen glaz’d Pan, with pieces of Butter upon them, and put them in an Oven two Hours, if they are Trouts fourteen Inches long, or less in proportion, taking care to tie some Paper close over the Pan. When this is done, take away from them all the Liquor, and put them in a Pot, and as soon as they are quite cold, pour some clarified Butter upon them to cover them: These will eat as well as potted Charrs. Some will take out the Bone upon slitting the Back, and these have been often taken for Charrs; tho’ I don’t know above two Places where the Charrs are, one is a Pool where a River or Brook runs thro’ in Lancashire, and the other is in a Pool at Naant, within four Miles of Caernarvon. But the Charr is of the Trout kind, and it must be a good judge in Fish to distinguish one from another; however, there is some small difference, which the Criticks in fishing take notice of.

Fish may also be kept in Pickle several Weeks, as the Jack and Trout especially are agreeable Varieties.

This time is a proper Season for making a pleasant and strong Wine of Malaga Raisins, which will keep good many Years, and among the best Judges of Wine is much admired; it is not unlike a strong Mountain Wine: at this time also the Raisins are very cheap.

To make Raisin Wine.

Take half a hundred weight of Malaga Raisins, pick them clean from the Stalks, and chop the Raisins small, then put them into a large Tub, and boil ten Gallons of River Water, or such Water as is soft, and pour it hot upon them; let this be stirr’d twice or thrice every Day for twelve Days successively, and then pour the Liquor into a Cask and make a Toast of Bread, and while it is hot, spread it on both sides with Yeast or Barm, and put it into the Vessel to the Wine, and it will make it ferment gently, which you may know by its making a hissing Noise; during the time of working, the Bung of the Vessel must be left open, and as soon as that is over, stop it up close. This will be fine and fit for Drinking in about four Months time; but if you make twice the quantity, it should stand five or six Months before you broach it: Observe that you set it in a good Cellar, such as I have mentioned in the Month of March, under the Article of Brewing.

To make Fronteniac Wine.

The foregoing Receipt must be followed in every particular, only when you put it into the Vessel, add to it some of the Syrup of the white Fronteniac Grape, which we may make in England, tho’ the Season is not favourable enough to ripen that sort of Grape; for in a bad Year, when the white Fronteniac, or the Muscadella Grapes are hard and unripe, and without Flavour, yet if you bake them they will take the rich Flavour, which a good share of Sun would have given them. You may either bake the Fronteniac Grapes with Sugar, or boil them to make a Syrup of their Juice, about a Quart of which Syrup will be enough to put to five Quarts of the Raisin Wine. When these have work’d together, and stood a time, as directed in the foregoing Receipt, you will have a Fronteniac Wine of as rich a Flavour as the French sort, besides the Pleasure of knowing that all the Ingredients are wholesome.

This Month is the principal time for Asparagus, which every one knows how to prepare in the common way; but there are some particulars relating to the fitting them for the Table, which I had from a curious Gentleman at Antwerp, which I shall here set down.

To preserve Asparagus.

Cut away all the hard part of your Asparagus, and just boil them up with Butter and Salt, then fling them into cold Water, and presently take them out again and let them drain; when they are cold, put them in a Gallipot, large enough for them to lie without bending, putting to them some whole Cloves; some Salt, and as much Vinegar and Water, in equal quantities, as will cover them half an Inch; then take a single Linnen Cloth, and let it into the Pot upon the Water, and pour melted Butter over it, and keep them in a temperate Place: When you use them, lay them to steep in warm Water, and dress them as you would do fresh Asparagus. It is to be noted, that in Holland, and most places abroad, the Asparagus is always white, which is done according to a method that I have inserted in my other Works; the method of bringing them to Table the foreign way, is to serve them with melted Butter, Salt, Vinegar, and Nutmeg grated.

The Tops or Heads of Asparagus being broken in small pieces and boil’d, are used in Soups like green Pease.

Asparagus in Cream. From the same.

Break the Tops of your Asparagus in small Pieces, then blanch them a little in boiling Water, or parboil them, after which put them in a Stew–Pan or Frying–Pan with Butter or Hog’s-Lard, and let them remain a little while over a brisk Fire, taking care that they are not too greasy, but well drain’d; then put them in a clean Stew–Pan with some Milk and Cream, a gentle Seasoning of Salt and Spice, with a small Bunch of sweet Herbs; and just when they are enough, add to them the Yolks of two or three Eggs beaten, with a little Cream to bind your Sauce.

The Greens, which are now fit for boiling, are Sprouts of Cabbages, and young Cabbage–Plants, which every one knows how to prepare. There is also Spinage, which is best stew’d without any Water, its own Juice being sufficient; and we have still plenty of Lupines, that is, the flowring Stalks of Turnips, which eat very agreeably; they should be gather’d about the length of Asparagus, when the Tops are knotted for flowering, and the strings in the outside of the Stalks stripp’d from them; then tie them in Bunches, as you do Asparagus, and put them in boiling Water with some Salt, and let them boil three or four Minutes, then lay them to drain, without pressing, and serve them to Table as you would do Asparagus. The same way is used in the management of Brocoli.

The middle of this Month the Cowslip is in Flower, or as some call it the Peigle; and now is the Season to make a most pleasant Wine of the Flowers. This Receipt is the best I have met with.

To make Peigle, or Cowslip Wine, From Mrs. E. B.

To three Gallons of Wine, put six Pounds of fine Sugar, boil these together half an hour, and as the Scum rises, take it off; then set the Liquor to cool, and when it is quite cold, take a Spoonful of the best Ale–Yeast, and beat it well with three Ounces of Syrup of Citron, or Syrup of Lemon; mix these very well together with the Liquor; and then put into it a Pound and three quarters of the yellow part of the Cowflip, or Peigle Flowers, which must be cut from the Stalks a little beforehand, but no other part must be used: let these infuse and work three days in an Earthen Vessel, cover’d with a Cloth; then strain them, and put your Liquor into a clean dry Cask, and let it stand to settle three Weeks or a Month before you bottle it.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54