Musings of a Lady

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Margaretta Achworth's Pan Roasted Chicken

I have been using my vacation to play around with creative endeavors that include cooking.  I have Margaretta Achworth's Georgian Cookery Book, edited by Alice and Frank Prochaska.  Great book!  The Prochaska's discovered the recipes that Mrs. Achworth collected and used in her house hold in the mid to late 18th century.  I have tried a recipe called Pot Roasted Chicken or Guinea Fowl.  I used a Cornish Game hen - small bird to try the recipe.

The recipe called for using the following spices, salt, pepper, sage, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.  Bay leaf, garlic cloves, lemon rind and bacon is also used to flavor the meat.  The spices were rubbed under the skin as well as over the top of the skin.  The cloves of garlic were suppose to be wrapped with bay leaf and sage leaves.  I didn't have sage leaves so used powdered sage as part of the rub. The bay leaf I inserted in a slit in the clove of garlic.  The garlic went into the  cavity of the hen.

I didn't have mace and my cloves were whole.  So, I crushed the cloves in a mortar with peppercorns and the other spices. I cut into strips bacon and lemon rind and stuffed that under the skin.

The fragrance of browning the hen in the butter (1/4 cup) was so fabulous.

After browning the hen, I then added the wine which was something I had in the refrigerator.  I used a fruity, white wine - about a cup and half.

Turning the hen till brown on all sides, the steam was fragrant with the different spices - whoa, it was pretty mouth watering - I had to put oven/stove top casserole into the oven at 350 F covered ( the recipe called for 300F) - I took the chance of speeding up the cooking.  So, in about an hour the hen was ready.

The recipe called for 1.5 hours but that was for a larger hen.  Anyway, the meat was tender and moist and totally fragrant.  The cooking liquid in the pan could be skimmed of its fat and used to make a gravy - I didn't do it tonight. 

In anycase, I have used this book before for period recipes for events.  The editors essentially took a woman's work and picked out recipes that they were able to make using modern methods and using as 'period' ingredients as possible.  This is a definite book to add to your library if you are into period cooking.  It is English but I have seen Colonial and French recipes similar to this so it can be used as a basic recipe. 

Here is the information about the book (I don't know if it it still in print): Copyright 1987.  Printed in Britain.  ISBN 185145 124 2 hardback, ISBN 1 85145 227 2 Paperback. The publisher was Pavilion Books Limited.  I think I got this when I was in England or Colonial Williamsburg ages ago - alas I can't remember.

Oh, I also tried another recipe prior to this:  Lemon Brandy and it turned out really good!  Same book. 

So simple, too!  Lemon rind with as much pith removed soaked in brandy for 2 days.  You make a syrup of water and sugar and add it to the brandy and lemon rind.  Let it sit for 2 days or so.  Then decant in a sterilized bottle.  Supposedly you can heat it and add it to a 'punch'.  This is a nice aperitifs or post-dinner digestive.  Bon appetite!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award - Merci!

Two wonderful ladies have nominated me for this award.

Thank you, Mme. du Jards as well as another follower of my blog FashionK (whom, alas I do not have a link for).

Here are 7 things about me:

1.  My love of historical costuming is born of two inheritances I was blessed to receive.  My paternal grandfather fueled my interest in history.  It was he who gave me books to read about Marie Antoinette, the Sun King and Queen Elizabeth I.  He was an amazingly self taught gentleman who loved history and I miss our chats.  From my maternal and paternal grandmothers I learned to sew.  My Nana was a professional seamstress in Atlanta, Georgia way back in the teens through the 1940's.  She was amazing and taught me many things.

2.  I live in California - specifically in the Bay Area and love being here.  Our weather is predictably unpredictable but mild year round. If I could live else where I might pick:  Boston/Cape Cod area, New Orleans, Williamsburg, Va,  and/or Cotswold Area in England.  I have been to Paris once many years ago - I think I need to go again to see if I would like to live there since I don't remember much about it.  I loved Copenhagen, Denmark (went in 1977) - I'd like to be there again.

3.  My favorite period of time is the 18th century.  I love that I am a 21st century woman but fantasize going back to the 18th century with my Visa card and go shopping.  LOL

4.  Next to historical costuming, I love doing research about historical food and housekeeping.  I am totally amazed and in awe of what women had to do to maintain their homes and feed their families.

5.  I am an educator by profession.

6.  I am an artist - currently enjoying combining my skills in drawing and painting with mix media work.  Please visit my other blog  I haven't blogged there in a while but hope to have something to share soon.

7.  I got involved in reenactment way back in 1980.  I began at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire at Agoura and Black Point, California. Became one of the court dancers.  I also worked with the Dicken's Christmas Faire way back when it was at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  I left most of that due to health reasons but never lost touch with my friends and continue to join in on more social events focused on a historical period.  Currently my focus in 18th century and Art Deco (1930's).  I think I will make a late Tudor ensemble for next spring.

Now, I am to nominate 7 others for the award.  Well, many of the ones I follow have all been nominated and awarded.  So, let me think about this...mmmmm.  Ah, I think I can nominate 3 for sure:    Nicole does a beautiful job of sharing a versatile amount of information about 18th century costuming and has been generous with her thoughts.   Madame Berg at Costumes, Cats and the 18th Century.  Shares many pics of events, her costuming and other fun things.  Mantua Maker in Cairo is really fun to follow as she lives in Cairo, Eygpt and still continues her colonial interests.  Fuchsia's 18th Century Dress blog belonging to Maria has been fun read to follow as well.  Her work and creativity has been a joy and source of inspiration.

So, that makes 4.  All others that I would nominate like American Duchess, Lady of Portland House, Mme du Jards Atelier, Jane of all Trades, Staying alive: 18th Century have already been nominated and awarded.  So, cheers ladies!  I am proud to have been recognized amongst a fabulous group of creative women. 

I hope that I did this correctly.  I wasn't sure how I was suppose to go about this once I received the two nominations.  If I have not followed through correctly, many apologies.

Best wishes to you all and keep coming back to visit.  Angela