Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter Salad!

Last night's attempt at a winter salad was far more delicious than my soup. Here is the recipe:
1153. INGREDIENTS - Endive, mustard-and-cress, boiled beetroot, 3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs, celery.

Mode.—The above ingredients form the principal constituents of a winter salad, and may be converted into a very pretty dish, by nicely contrasting the various colours, and by tastefully garnishing it. Shred the celery into thin pieces, after having carefully washed and cut away all wormeaten pieces; cleanse the endive and mustard-and-cress free from grit, and arrange these high in the centre of a salad-bowl or dish; garnish with the hard-boiled eggs and beetroot, both of which should be cut in slices; and pour into the dish, but not over the salad, either of the sauces No. 506, 507, or 508.

Seasonable from the end of September to March.

I made a trek out into the cold to find vegetables, first to the local greengrocer (how cute is that?) Where I got the beetroot and celery. They sold cooked beetroot but I decided that we would eat it raw and risk it, because I can't stand cooked beets.

My second trip, to Morrisons, was less fruitful. I assume this is a winter salad because these were the only fresh veggies that one could procure in the Victorian winter; however, in a humorous reversal I could only find "summer vegetables" in the grocery store and not endive or mustard and cress. I ended up going with little gem lettuces because of the similar texture and overwhelming cuteness, and some plain salad cress (like bean sprouts in the States?)

I also bought a 'cucumber portion,' if only for the sheer novelty of buying half of a cucumber. I am constantly amazed at how inexpensive produce is here. Even considering the exchange rate, 30p for a bag of carrots and 78 p for a bag of lettuces is mind-boggling.

The beets, while extremely messy, were actually quite good raw rather than boiled. I arranged everything, then poured on dressing no. 506 (yes, poured on rather than under, sorry Mrs. Beeton...)

506. INGREDIENTS - 1 teaspoonful of mixed mustard, 1 teaspoonful of pounded sugar, 2 tablespoonfuls of salad oil, 4 tablespoonfuls of milk, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode.—Put the mixed mustard into a salad-bowl with the sugar, and add the oil drop by drop, carefully stirring and mixing all these ingredients well together. Proceed in this manner with the milk and vinegar, which must be added very gradually, or the sauce will curdle. In mixing salad dressings, the ingredients cannot be added too gradually, or stirred too much.

The stern warnings were for naught, as minimal effort produced a creamy, if not very watery, dressing. I was surprised at the addition of milk, but it really just ended up tasting mustardy. Mixed powdered mustard is some strong stuff.

See that seal? That means the MFin QUEEN uses this mustard. Tell me that's not ballin'.

Anyway, here is the spectacular result:
Looks good, tastes good...thanks Mrs. Beeton!

For another attempt on a Beeton recipe, see this article at It seems I'm not the only one without an appreciation for the Victorian palate.

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