Friday, 19 June 2009
A diet fit for Royalty and other weird food
I have been thinking for two weeks about my 100th post on this blog. I wanted it to be something really profound. I haven’t come with anything nearly weighty, philosophical and reflective enough to be termed profound though... What about something fun however? Yeah! Let’s do another weird food! I have a small selection of rather unusual cookbooks. I find them in dusty old second hand bookshops. If you browse through all the Microwave cookbooks (which came standard with microwave ovens in the 80’s) you’ll find some unexpected treasures. There was one Microwave Oven brand and I think it was Sharp which came with a cookbook called Bon Appetite. I have yet to come across a second hand bookshop which does not at least proudly sport one copy! Back to old cookbooks though, many times their worth are not much to use for cooking from, as for making a fascinating read instead. One of my little treasures is Mrs McKee’s Royal Cookery Book. The caption below the title describes the book as: A day-to-day cookery book by the former cook to H.M. The Queen and H.M. The Queen Mother. The book was published in 1964 by Arlington Books. References in her book makes me suspect that she was of Swedish origin. She states that she learned to cook in Sweden. Here then, two weird recipes from Mrs McKee’s Royal collection: NETTLE SOUP (Nessel Kal in Swedish) If you have a garden with a stinging nettle problem, don’t despair – eat them. In Sweden nettle soup is quite a delicacy; (why is weird food always a delicacy somewhere?) Nettle tops have a light delicious taste rather like asparagus; and people say they are good for you, I can’t remember why, something to do with rheumatism, I think. However, they are certainly good made into soup. Snip off tender nettle tops in April or early May, cook and sieve them and make according to the following recipe which has been handed down through many generations in Sweden. ½ pint cooked and sieved nettle tops 1 pint good stock made from veal and pork bones 1 tablespoon cold butter ½ tablespoon finely chopped chives 1 tablespoon flour, Pepper, salt and a pinch of sugar Bring the stock to the boil and thicken with the flour diluted in a little water. Simmer for ten minutes. Add the seasoning and sugar, the sieved nettles and chives. Simmer for twenty minutes. Add the butter, remove from heat and stir with a whisk. Keep warm. And another treasure from Mrs McKee BEEF TEA (Beats any diet for weight loss) Preparing Beef Tea is another thing which makes you feel wonderfully virtuous and Mrs. Beetonish. Originally, of course, it was designed for invalids but it is also excellent when you want to go on a crash diet and still preserve your energy. Drink nothing but beef tea for two or three days and you will be strong as well as slim: 2 lbs shin of beef A root and two springs of parsley 2 pints of water Salt to taste Cut the meat into small pieces and free from fat. Place in an earthenware jar or pot with water and a little salt. Clean and cut the parsley root and add to the meat with the springs. Allow to stand for half an hour. Then cover the jar and place in a pan of water. Boil for five or six hours. Strain through a muslin cloth. Nou ja, daar het jy dit!