Sunday, 31 October 2010

All Hallows

Well, what I wanted to write about was All This and Heaven Too.  But when I went to pull it down from the shelves, it wasn't there.  This of course gives the illusion that I have well ordered shelves, possibly alphabetised. but I don't.  Far from it.  I have loose sections - like, Travel, Food and Famous Old Dyke's, or Witty Queens in the 30's or Comfort re-reads or People I Know Who Have Written A Book and Might Come Round So It Has To Stay On The Shelf.... Anyway, I felt murderous rage when I couldn't find said book as it has a simply wonderful paragraph on roasting apples in a bonfire on the All Hallows Eve in the country home in France and I thought it would be topical.... but it's not to be. 
But I did come across what was the Family Bible in my childhood kitchen.  Sheila Hutchins Daily Express Cook Book.  Wonderful.  Really wonderful and fun.  With the sweetest illustrations. The pages are falling out, everything is stained, and I cannot find a publishing date, but it must be late sixties.  Poached eggs in red wine served with fried onions. (Don't knock it till you've tried it - along with some crusty bread and a glass of Burgundy.  Sheila was big on Burgundy.  "It slips down the gullet as easily as a little Jesus in velvet breeches" she says quoting a wine expert in Dijon)  She has great chapter headings: You Must Love A Man to Cook Bubble & Squeak in the Mornings, Ice Cold Venus from the Naughty Nineties, or Lyons: Where The City Map is Made of Lentils.  It was a real delight and I have so many happy memories of tootling around in the kitchen with my mother making something garlicky and with wine and that smelt delicious thanks to Sheila. 
She knew her food.  Some of it now is quaintly old fashioned, but all of it is something that I would happily eat.  Mussel soup, Normandy Omelette (stuffed with apple puree and drenched in calvados) Tea ice cream, Parkin, Brown Cucumber Sauce and many more that will fill you with the desire just to try them out.
To Poach Eggs in Burgundy
First brown a minced onion in butter.  Add three cloves of minced garlic, then add 3/4 pint (everything is in Imperial measurements - what a relief!)  Add a glass of water, salt pepper, thyme and a bay leaf.  Boil for five minutes.  Strain.  Poach eight eggs.  Remove eggs and keep warm, reduce liquid by boiling hard.  Thicken with a bit of butter and flour.  Place eggs on toasted bread and pour sauce over.
Really rather yummy and rather suitable for many reasons (symbolic eggs, colour of sauce) for this time of year.
I leave you as I am on all things foody with a picture of a cake I commissioned by Jessica Haggerty here of Rose, Blackberry and Almond.  Now that was bloomin' gorgeous.

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