30.4.10

Carta da Musica and Pane Frattau

In my web browsing I came across this recipe and it sounded interesting!  I really like have crisp breads on hand for snacks and to serve with pates or dips.  This one, from Italy, sounds very interesting.

These really tested my patience! The dough is soft and beautiful to work with and very forgiving.  I just got a brand new pizza stone and used it.  It worked beautifully.  But rolling the circles to 18" was beyond my ability this first time making them.  To make the larger circles, a pizza peel is essential.  I made circles about 6".  It is critical that the dough rounds be flat, without folds and tears or they won't puff up.  They are really a lot like making pita!

Carta da musica or 'music sheet' in English, called pane carasau in the Sardinian language, is staple of Sardinian shepherds, who rely on this flat, crisp, long-lasting bread for nourishment when they head into the mountains with their flocks. It forms the foundation of many Sardinian dishes: It can be broken up to take the place of rice in soups; softened using broth or water to replace pasta in dishes such as pane frattau; or deep-fried to become dessert fritters.  (from Epicurious)

For the Sponge
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup very fine semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-grained salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water, or warm water if using dry yeast
  • 1 ounce fresh compressed yeast or 2 packages active dry yeast

For the Dough
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup for kneading
  • 1/2 cup very fine semolina flour
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

29.4.10

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

 Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
 
To make two 4 inch diameter cakes.

For the cheesecake filling:
1 cups cream cheese
1/2 cup cajeta or  dulce de leche
2 eggs

For the crumb crust:
3/4 cup plain cookies
2 tablespoons butter


Preheat your oven to 350F.
Prepare your baking rings or spring-form pans: Cover the base of the spring-form pan with a sheet of baking paper, and close the pan around the paper and the base.

Prepare the crust: Blend the cookies and butter in a food processor. Dump into the pans, and pack into an even layer with a spoon or your fingers.

Prepare the filling: Beat together the dulce de leche, cream cheese and eggs. Pour into the pans.

Bake the cakes: Bake 4-inch cakes for 30 minutes. Cover with tinfoil after the first 10 minutes to keep the top from browning. (I completely forgot about covering with foil.  That along with my fast oven, it had a lot of cracking.)

After baking time is done, let cool for 30 minutes to an hour in the oven, with the door cracked open. Once cakes are cool enough to handle, remove from the oven and let cool completely to room temperature. (The slow cooling process keeps the cheesecakes from cracking on top.)
Once the cakes are cool, remove the sides of the spring-form pan.  I made a simple blackberry sauce by boiling blackberries with a little water and sugar.  Thickened with a cornstarch slurry and added a squeeze of lemon.  It was so good without being really sweet.

I know these look like cherries!  Honest, they are cooked blackberries.  I prefer blackberries when they are cooked rather than fresh.

Half of this recipe is definitely enough for 2 people.

28.4.10

Get Ready for Cinco de Mayo with Dulce de Leche

I like having a well stocked larder.  I cannot buy dulce de leche in my little town so I thought I would make it and keep it to use when the urge strikes me.  And being the Type A person that I am, I made a double batch.  Why heat your oven again when dulce de leche keeps so well in the refrigerator?  With the 2 cans of milk, I baked it for 2 hours.
Dulce de Leche or Confiture de Lait
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)

Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).

Pour one can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt. 
Cook in a bain-marie.  Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.

Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).

Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Don't worry if it looks all lumpy.  Just give it a whirl in the food processor and it is smooth and creamy.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.



Dulce de Leche Liquor

2 cups dulce de leche
1 cup vodka
2 cups cream (I used 33% fat)

Measure ingredients into a clean jar. Mix well and chill.  Store in the fridge. This is so very rich and boozy so would ideal served over ice or with your coffee.

 

27.4.10

Never Too Early to Make Your Plum Pudding

I know, Christmas planning already?  I am not that organized but The Daring Bakers' Challenge for April is to make a steamed pudding.  This pudding is really best when made a year in advance and allowed to mellow. It was customary to make it early in Advent — the religious season before Christmas — and use it the following year. Everyone in the family was supposed to stir the pudding once for good luck. If you can't make it the year before, at least give it a few weeks to age.

I used my vintage pudding mold from Shelley, England.  This is the same mold I used for the Champagne and Raspberry Congealed Salad!
I made carrot pudding, like my Mom used to, and it will sit in my cold room until Christmas.  This is a recipe that I found while reading old community cookbooks about a month ago.  Of course it had no booze in it.

The carrot pudding doesn't fulfill the complete requirements for this challenge however, so I also made an English Plum Pudding.  It has all the booze and suet that will make it lovely and also fulfill the requirements for this challenge.  (Which is to use suet)

The April 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen.  She challenged everyone to make a very traditional British pudding using, if possible, a traditional British ingredient: suet.

Superb English Plum Pudding            from www.epicurious.com

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)
  • 1 pound seedless raisins
  • 1 pound sultana raisins
  • 1/2 pound currants
  • 1 cup thinly sliced citron
  • 1 cup chopped candied peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound finely chopped suet - powdery fine
  • 1 1/4 cups cognac

Pudding
  • 1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1 cup sherry or port
  • 12 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cognac
Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce.


This next recipe is from an old community cookbook.  My mother made this a lot and she would steam it in glass quart sealers (what we used to call canning jars).  That was before we converted to metric!  The recipe does not give a lot of direction regarding steaming.  I guess back then everyone knew how to cook.  I was afraid of the pudding rising (note the baking soda) so I split this between two quart sealers.  Yes, I found some quart (not litre) sealers!  We usually just had it with a brown sugar hard sauce.  I have a recipe for Stem Ginger Hard Sauce here.

I put a piece of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and covered with the glass top and loosely put on the screw-ring.  I put the jars in a stock pot with a rack on the bottom and filled with hot water to almost halfway up the jar.  Then I steamed them for 3 hours.



Carrot Pudding        adapted from The New Eastern Star Cookbook  1952

½ c butter
1 c sugar
1 c grated carrots
1 c grated potato
1 ¼ c flour
1 t baking soda
¼ c hot water
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ t allspice
¼ t salt
1 c raisins
½ c chopped walnuts
1 t vanilla

Cream butter; beat in sugar.  Add carrots, potato and flour.  Dissolve soda in hot water; add to mixture.  Blend in remaining ingredients in order listed.  Pour into well-greased mold.  Place waxed paper over pudding; cover with lid.  Steam for 3 hours.


 Brandy Sauce                 from Spoonful of Thyme
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 1/2 T milk
1 egg beaten
1/4 c brandy, or to taste

In medium saucepan, cook over low heat the sugar, butter and milk until the sugar dissolves.  Cool 5 minutes.  Stir in beaten egg and liquor to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

25.4.10

My 6th Photo

Grace, from Sense and Simplicity, invited me to play the bloggy game that is making the rounds.  You are to show your 6th photo.

I have been looking for a place to live for quite some time.  In 2007 I took three months off from my work and drove out to Nova Scotia.  I rented a quaint little house in Annapolis Royal for 2 months.  I was checking out the Maritimes as my possible new home.

This picture is probably about the sixth picture that I took as I left off on that journey.  I left Calgary and headed east.  This is Saskatchewan, of course.  It was August. I loved the landscape enough to stop and lay on the ground to get this view.

I should have known right then and there to just stop here!  But it took me three more years to realize that.  This picture was taken very near to Swift Current on the TransCanada Highway where I am now living.

Now I'm to pass this on to seven other bloggers so they, too, can look into their files and show us their 6th photo and tell us its story.  I hope you want to come out and play!

Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks
Nana at La Table de Nana
Velva at Tomatoes on the Vine
Pam at The Gypsy Chef
Memória at Mangio da Sola
Mags at Other Side of Fifty
Ozoz at The Kitchen Butterfly

23.4.10

Ideas with Stem Ginger

Ever since I had a Christmas part-time job at Williams Sonoma and saw their wonderful Stem Ginger Christmas Pudding Sauce, I have been curious about what stem ginger really is.

Stem ginger is really just fresh ginger stewed in a sugar syrup.  It isn't candied ginger.  Just cooked and sweetened ginger.

Stem ginger is most often used in sweet sauces like these and baking.  However it can also be used in savoury dishes like chicken, fish or curries.  It is nice to have a jar in the refrigerator, so I am reading. 

Peeling ginger was never my favourite kitchen task until I learned how to do it.  Put away all your knives!  Just use a spoon.  Scrape the skin off with a spoon.  It can get into every nook and cranny and you don't waste any of the wonderful flesh.

 Stem Ginger in Syrup


  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch ginger for 10 seconds.
  2. Drain and repeat 2 more times.
  3. In a medium saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil.
  4. Add blanched ginger and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour into a container and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Toffee and Stem Ginger Sauce

1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup stem ginger, chopped
1/4 cup syrup from the jar of stem ginger

1. Carmelize the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan until it is completely dissolved and turns brown, forming a caramel.
2. Remove from the heat and very carefully add a knob of butter.
3. Whisk in the double cream. Once all the bubbles have gone, add the chopped ginger and syrup. Return to the heat to dissolve any remaining caramelized sugar, stirring occasionally.
4. Cool slightly before serving over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Stem Ginger Hard Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon of stem ginger syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped stem ginger
Combine all ingredients in small bowl; stir to blend well. (Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

I Think I Have Mastered Scalloped Potatoes

I had a wonderful chat with my friend Eileen awhile ago.  Of course the conversation always ends up in the kitchen.  She was bemoaning her scalloped potatoes for her Easter dinner.  I, too, have never been able to accomplish this simple and ubiquitous dish.  Now that I am in small town Saskatchewan I must at least know how to make scalloped potatoes.  So began my quest.

The biggest problem that we both have is that the milk curdles.  I mean, why does it seem so difficult to us and the rest of the farm ladies just throw it together so easily.  They don't even begin with a roux.

One of my favourite on-line sources of recipes is Epicurious.com.  They  had about 3 pages of recipes but I don't want a fancy city style scalloped potatoes with exotic cheeses.  When I was a kid, cheese was not even seldom used, it was never used.

Perhaps I was slicing the potatoes too thickly.  The recipes all seem to say 1/8" thick.  That is very thinly sliced.  And I have seen reference to "drying with a kitchen towel" before assembling.


Take #1              This recipe says not to use a glass dish so I used my adorable little individual cast-iron Le Creuset pots.  I love these little cocottes.  I use them for roasted vegetables, stews, hot dips...absolutely everything.  Makes serving a snap and keeps the food hot.

Scalloped Potatoes               adapted from Gourmet magazine 2008

     3/4 t grated nutmeg
     2 t salt
     ¾ t pepper
     3 pounds large boiling potatoes (about 6)
     3 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
     2 c half and half cream

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in upper third. Generously butter a 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish (not glass).

Stir together nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Layer potatoes in baking dish, overlapping slightly and sprinkling each layer with some of salt mixture and some of butter. Pour cream over potatoes, pressing down gently to submerge potatoes in liquid.

Cover with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Remove gratin from oven and discard foil. Turn broiler on and broil gratin 2 to 3 inches from heat until top is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Cooks' note: Potatoes are best the day they're made but can be baked and broiled 2 days ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered. Reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven about 40 minutes.
 



Critique:  The flavour was good and there was very little curdling.  So much of the cream bubbled out during the cooking that it was very dry and dense.  It was not as creamy as I would like.  I am using a different oven so perhaps it is too hot.  This would cause excessive bubbling over.  But, honestly, it there were a few onions in it and a tad more pepper, it would be very good.  This picture is the same scalloped potatoes, reheated.  I added a little cream and put a slice of provolone cheese on top.  Much better but a little curdling.



Take #2    Fennel seems to be a common ingredient these days.  And, it is readily available, even here in the small town.  I like the idea of fennel. 



As I read many comments from people who truly make good scalloped potatoes, I still couldn't recognize what I was doing wrong.  The most common threads were:
   - slice the potatoes evenly
   - don't use an oven temperature that is too high.  350F is the maximum that is mostly successful
   - use a high fat cream.  The higher the fat content, the less protein and the less chance of curdling.  I used half and half (10%) in this recipe
   - it didn't seem to matter what flavourings you like, onion, fennel, cheese
   - don't layer the potatoes too thick. Layer only 3 slices deep.
   - only add the milk or cream to just below the surface of the potatoes.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes so the top can brown.

Scalloped Potatoes with Fennel      serves 4

2 potatoes
1/2 fennel bulb
salt and pepper
1 cup half and half cream
1/4 cup butter, diced

Slice the potatoes and fennel thinly.  I used my food processor.  Using a gratin pan or shallow casserole, layer the potatoes by overlapping slightly.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Add half of the fennel.  Add the next layer of potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Add the top layer of potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the cream into the pan up to about halfway.  Top with butter.  Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Critique:  These were just about perfect!  They did boil over a bit even though I didn't overfill with cream.  I guess you really only fill to the halfway mark.  Add some cream near the end so they are moister.  There was no curdling and the texture was great.  The fennel flavour was very mild but 'there'.  You could easily substitute with sweet onion.  I baked at 325F because I don't trust this oven.  I thought better to be too low than too high a temperature.

22.4.10

An Award from Lazaro


My newest blogging friend, Lazaro, from Lazaro Cooks has honoured me with this award!  He always has very creative food ideas and is a writer, so the stories are good, too. 

With this award, comes the requirement to list 10 things that make me happy!  I am always happy!  How can I narrow this down to only ten?

1.  Hearing my Miss Sugar purring with contentment.
2.  Listening to the birds and watching the butterflies.
3.  Cooking something new.
4.  Cooking something that is a favourite.
5.  Cooking for people.
6.  Meeting new people.
7.  Having meaningful work to do.
8.  Having my own home.
9.  A small grocery bill.
10. Friends and family.


I would like to pass this award on to some new friends and would ask that you check out their blogs -
Joumana at A Taste of Beirut
The Gypsy Chef
Buffalo Dick at Opinions and Rectums, We All Got One
3 Hungry Tummies
Home For Dinner

For those of you to whom I have 'passed this on', here are the rules:
1    Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2    List who gave the award to you and use a link to his or her blog (or hyperlink).
3    List 10 things that make you happy.
4    Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know about the award.

21.4.10

A Workout in My Garden

I am spending way more time outside, working on my garden, than I am in the kitchen these days.  After a few hours outside, I have no energy left for cooking.

Remember those three columnar cedars?  Well, they are gone!

I am removing all the red shale from my beds.  There was a kiddie pool once upon a time in the back yard with a beach!  Must have been fun but now I have to move all of that sand out! They are now in piles on my driveway - clean red shale, dirty red shale, sand.







And that little crabapple tree that they planted 40 years ago grew up.  The interlocking bricks were so close around the little tree that when the trunk expanded, they all moved around and became too tight.  So I removed some. That was two days work for that little pile of pavers.

I am watching the garden.  So far there are some tulips and crocuses and this little flower whose name I do not know coming up.  Leaves on the trees are beginning to bud out. 






 I decided to make a cold frame with my brick planter.  I found some glass panes in my basement and they will work great to create the mini greenhouse so I can plant now.  Bonus.

19.4.10

Fish and Seafood on the Prairies

There IS a local fishmonger.  It isn't the type of place you would find by the water or in the city.  All of their product is frozen.  But I would rather have good frozen fish and seafood than poor fresh fish.  So I bought a local favourite, pickerel.  This is true Canadiana.

The best and only way to serve pickerel is to pan fry in butter.  (Although my recently deceased uncle, Doc, liked to dip pickerel cheeks in batter and fry them.  My cousin, Joy, liked to call him the Master Baiter because he lived to fish.).  It is a delicate and flavourful fish.  I pan fried in brown butter and added a squeeze of lime juice, sprinkled with Maldon salt.  Add some pan fried potato chips and steamed brocciflower.  I have no idea what you call it!

Tastes like home...yumm

And bonus, I found a Filipino grocery store.  It has a ton of stuff.  I think I'll be learning about Filipino food now!  If you know any wonderful Filipino blogs, please let  me know.  Thanks!

18.4.10

Prairie culture and hospitality

The time has come that I must share my experiences, here, in my new hometown.  The day I moved in there was a welcome card from my south neighbour.  It was a sweet card "Welcome to the Neighbourhood" from Mr. & Mrs. Wotherspoon who have probably been there since they left the farm.

Soon I met my 'north' neighbour.  They have two boys, 11 and 14.  They are the neighbours who lost a 40 year old fir tree in the recent wind storm.  I think there is damage to their pool, I am afraid.

Tonight I am reading the local newspapers.  They are delivered free, to my door, with a whack of advertising inserts.  In the city this would annoy me.  But here, it is one way to learn about the services and culture.  I bought my television from one of these ads!  Obviously they work.  The only things I found tonight were a rain barrel and some kitty litter.

But, alas!  Can you believe it?  There is an unreserved antique and collectible auction on May 8 with a large assortment of Southern Antiques, from down south in Georgia, North and South Carolina and Kentucky!  I think I'll go.  There must be a story in that!

And the president of my university, the University of Saskatchewan, will be at a special event on April 20 at the Art Gallery of Swift Current.  Who knows, I might run into someone I know!  I would love to go.

And there is a young local playwright whose performance of "The Day the Rhubarb Fell from the Sky" is playing for the week.

As I read through the advertising and newspaper, the doorbell rings.  It is my neighbour on the corner, Anthea.  I am cordially invited for coffee on Monday at 10am to meet my neighbours!

"Can I bring anything?"  "No",  she smiles.

I didn't realize at the time that she was the artist of the gift card.






But I know I will be bringing a treat.  I think it will be Cherry Rose Rolls.   What do you think?

17.4.10

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Although the origin of this nursery rhyme has nothing to do with gardening, but rather thought to perhaps describe the reign of Bloody Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII's daughter or to chide the heirless Queen Mary of England.  It was the same Mary, by the way!
It has a nice lilt and when I was a child I was certainly not thinking about any queen when I rhymed it.
I am planning my first garden in eons.  As gardens should, it will evolve over the years and this is only year one.  I have a planter beside the patio and I plan to make that my kitchen garden.  It will be filled with aromatic lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage.  I will have edible nasturtiums and some feathery corianders and parsleys.
Hopefully I can find a sunny spot for some sunflowers and sweet peas.  Geraniums are a must and they will probably grace my front steps. I have the perfect spot for Scarlet Runner Beans.  I have spinach, lettuce and beet seeds.  And, not to forget, I have shallot sets.
  
I think that is enough for year one.  The climate is great but I will be watering.  As I write this I am listening to winter storm warnings.  
Ya gotta love Canada!  That is why we have a hard and fast rule for most of the country that we don't plant tender things until the May long weekend.   The Victoria Day weekend holiday is also celebrated after a queen.  Queen Victoria was a much more loved monarch than Queen Mary.

Are you planting anything new this year?  Is anyone in Zone 3?  I would love suggestions because I am also in a Zone 3 area.



15.4.10

Champagne and Raspberry Congealed Salad


I have had this Shelley's of England mold for over 20 years and I have never used it.  I bought it at an auction because I thought it was quaint.  Research tells me that  these ironstone molds were produced between 1912-1925, hence the somewhat Art Deco patterns.  They say it can also be used as a steamed pudding mold.

Finding a modern and interesting jellied salad that you would actually want to eat can be a challenge.  Most recipes call for packaged jelly products.  Victorian congealed salads were very complicated and ornate.  But this isn't a Victorian era mold.  However, the shape does suggest a layered salad to some degree.

Removing jellies and creams from moulds can be difficult, especially those with a great deal of detail. Ceramic moulds in particular can be very awkward. From the eighteenth century onwards, professional cooks brushed the inside of the mould with a little 'sweet oil' (almond oil), turning the mould upside down on a plate to allow the excess to drain away.

They also embedded the moulds in bowls of crushed ice to speed up setting. By leaving the moulds in the ice for a few minutes before pouring in the jelly, the almond oil congealed on the inner surface of the mould preventing it from floating to the top of the liquid jelly. When the jelly was completely set, the mould was dipped in hot water - just a few seconds for copper and tin, up to thirty seconds or more for ceramic moulds. The wet mould was then wiped dry and a plate put on top. 

The mould was then inverted and lifted and if everything went well, the jelly came out. This was very straightforward with copper moulds, but sometimes a finger had to be gently inserted between jelly and mould to allow the air to dispel the vacuum. Some skilled cooks demoulded the jelly directly on to their hand, rapidly conveying it to the centre of the dish. The dish was usually wetted with a little water to enable the jelly to be slid gently into the middle. 

Jelly moulds were actually used for a variety of purposes. As well as being used for making jellies, creams, bavaroises and other cold puddings, they were utilized for steaming puddings, baking cakes and also for poaching both savoury and sweet dishes. Some were used for making ices, but these normally were equipped with a tight fitting lid and a screw to allow for easy demoulding. 

Savoury jellies were just as popular as sweet jellies and the high-class cookery books of the nineteenth century are full of artistic dishes based on aspic, like Agnes Marshall's balletes de foie gras à la Imperiale and the swans à la luxette. These dishes were very time consuming and testify to an age when middle and upper-class kitchens were often generously staffed and well-equipped with specialist moulds. Though they are visually delightful, the excessive use of gelatine and purees in this dishes makes them unattractive to most modern palettes. 

Mrs Marshall's recipes were aimed at young housewives married to professional men, who though probably well-off, could not afford the extensive kitchen staff found in the great houses. 

Gelatine-based dishes had a great attraction, as they could be prepared the day before a dinner party, freeing up time on the day itself for cooking the other items of the meal. Her two cookery books are full of recipes which require moulds, which the enterprising lady offered for sale at her premises in Mortimer St.    (from www.historicfood.com)    1912-1925


Champagne and Raspberry Congealed Salad
               adapted from Southern Living June 2005 and TOO HOT TAMALES from the Food Network

This salad is made in three layers.  The base is a champagne jelly, then a layer of a creamy gelatin.  Picture this in your mind as the 'salad dressing'.  The top layer is the raspberry gelatin with fresh raspberries.

Of course, when you are making a molded salad, you begin with the top layer in the mold.

Raspberry Layer
1 pkg of raspberry jelly powder
2 c boiling water
1 pint fresh raspberries

Place the raspberry jelly powder in a bowl and add boiling water.  Stir to mix.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  This will take about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, brush the inside of the mold with almond oil (or canola oil if you have no almond oil).  Invert the mold on a baking sheet so the excess oil can drip out.

When the jelly has thoroughly chilled and begun to slightly set, place fresh berries in the bottom of the mold.  Carefully place the mold in a dish of ice cubes.  This will make the oil solidify slightly so that it doesn't simply rise to the top when you add the chilled jelly.  Add jelly to the desired level.  Allow to thoroughly set.  The time will vary depending on the size of your mold and the amount of jelly you are using in this layer.  Estimate about 30 minutes.  Reserve the leftover raspberries for garnishing the finished salad.

There is no need to completely cover the raspberries.  They will just be embedded in the following layer.

Because I let mine set up in the pan of ice and this first layer was quite thin, I knew it wouldn't take long.  I began the creamy layer immediately and the timing worked out well.

Creamy Layer
1/2 c half and half (10% milk fat)
1/4 c cold water
1 pkg unflavoured gelatin
1/2 c sugar
1/2 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
1/4 t vanilla

Stir together half-and-half and 1/4 cup cold water in a medium sauce-pan. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (blooming the gelatin), and stir. Place pan over medium heat; stir in 1/2 cup sugar, and cook, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar and gelatin dissolve. (Do not boil). Remove pan from heat.

Microwave cream cheese at MEDIUM (50% power) 45 seconds or until very soft; stir until smooth. Whisk cream cheese into half-and-half mixture until smooth.  Getting it smooth is important.  It may take a bit of whisking.  I also gently warmed the mixture a bit and continued whisking until there were no lumps.  This layer is slightly translucent so lumps may show.  Whisk in vanilla extract, and chill 30 minutes or until slightly cool. Spoon about 1 inch of this mixture over the firm raspberry layer in mold; chill until firmly set. Be sure that the fruit is now covered by the gelatin.  The next layer is translucent and you want a nice appearance.

I left my mold in the ice for this layer, too.  After this layer, I took a break and just put the mold in the fridge and put my ice bowl in the freezer.

Champagne Jelly Layer
2 pkg unflavoured gelatin
1 1/2 c water
1 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2 c champagne
edible gold foil

In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in 3 tablespoons of the water. In a saucepan, heat the remaining water over low heat and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves and add the sugar, lemon zest, and juice. Heat to just below the boil and remove from the heat. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a shallow metal bowl. Discard the lemon zest and leave the liquid to cool. Watch it carefully and, when it is quite cool and just about to set, stir in the champagne.  Also put a sheet of gold foil in champagne jelly at this time.  If you add the edible gold while the jelly is still hot, it will just melt and not hold its shape.  When jelly is almost set, whip it up and break the gold into pieces.  Then pour into mold for last layer. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.



Cooks notes: 
Don't cover bowls or glasses during each chill time (except at very end). This shortens the required time in the refrigerator as you move through the steps.

Be sure your work surface is level as you set the layers.

Definition of "Blooming" gelatin:
As the gelatin absorbs the liquid, each granule becomes enlarged; this is known as "blooming."  Blooming gelatin is a step integral to ensuring the smooth texture of a finished product. It involves sprinkling the powdered gelatin into a liquid and letting it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, when the mixture is heated, the gelatin will dissolve evenly.

If any gelatin mixture sets too quickly and you can't pour it, then gently reheat to bring back to the consistency you want.  It will reset.

1 package of unflavoured gelatin is approximately 1 tablespoon.

Any bubbly wine would work if you don't want to use champagne.  Don't use an expensive champagne.  I used prosecco.  Even a bubbly non-alcoholic would be fine. 

Golda's Kitchen in Canada sells edible gold flakes.  I think I bought my sheets of gold through the U.S. and it was a fortune just to get it into Canada.  Chocolat-Chocolat in Montreal has edible gold and silver sheets.  Even though still expensive, better to buy this in your own country no matter where you live.

Enjoy the rest of the bottle of champagne while you make this!  It makes the time go by so much more pleasantly!