#407 Seftons

The first Earl of Sefton


This recipe comes from the distinguished French Cook Louis Eustache Ude, chef to the Earl of Sefton. He came from good cooking stock himself; his father was chef to King Louis XVI.


Ude was quite a character, there’s a great story of him being hauled in front of a magistrate after he was found selling roast grouse on his menu before the 12th of August (the date from which the gamed season begins. See here for a post all about that). He was given a fine and sent on his way.


The next day, the Scottish Laird who had reported Ude to the police returned to Ude’s restaurant to make sure he was abiding by the rules. Pleased to see there wasn’t a morsel of the offending bird on the menu, he ordered Salami de fruit défendu, i.e. Salmi of Forbidden Fruit, which turned out – of course – to be grouse! The cheeky devil.

Louis Eustache Ude

There was none of this nonsense when he worked for the Earl of Sefton though as they goton like a house on fire, except for one day when he left his service because Ude spotted the Earl’s son adding salt to some soup he made. Offended by this, he turned on his heel and left.


This recipe is essentially a savoury custard. It could only work with a home-made stock though. I imagine it would be excellent nourishing food for someone that is ill. The little custards can be served in their ramekins or turned out onto a plate.


Jane suggests to use a veal stock, but any stock can be used. On the other blog I recently wrote up a recipe for such a stock. For these sorts of dishes where the stock is the star of the show, you need to make your own stock, otherwise you risk it tasting of Cuppa Soup.


Anyway, that’s enough waffle. On with the recipe!


Bring one pint of good, clear, home-made stock to a boil and whisk it into 6 beaten eggs just as you would with a regular custard. Add the grated zest of a lemon, ¼ tsp of ground mace and season with salt and Cayenne pepper, then and whisk in 4 tbs of clarified butter.




Place your ramekins – you’ll need 6 to 8, depending on size – in a deep roasting tin and pour the custard into them and cover with foil. Pour boiling water into the tin, technically turning it into a ban Marie, and carefully slide the tin into an oven already preheated to 180C and bake for 12 to 20 minutes, or until the custards are just set and still have a good wobble on them. Serve straight away with thin, crisp toast, says Good Lady Grigson.


#407 Seftons. These were great, light and satisfying, even though they sound a little odd. I’m thinking that should I ever get my premises, they will definitely go on the menu; they are delicious, light, subtle and very satisfying and could very easily made vegetarian. I imagine a good mushroom stock would work very well as an alternative to veal. 8/10


A Lamb Stock Recipe

Tomorrow I cook the 300th blog recipe – a dessert, but for #299 I am going to do a lamb dish which requires lamb stock. You don’t see lamb stock cubes in the USA very much so you can’t cheat if you need it for a recipe so I thought this might come in useful for anyone who may need it. It is adapted slightly from the book a Celebration of Soup by Lindsey Bareham. Unless Jane Grigson gives a specific recipe for stock, I always turn to this book to give me a helping hand.

Start with getting around a pound to a pound-and-a-half of lamb bones – I used the bones from the leg of lamb I am using for recipe #299 (I shan’t tell you what it is yet). The bones need to be broken in half at least, so wrap any in a teatowel and give them a good whack with a hammer until there is a snap. Put the bones in a roasting tin and place in a hot oven – around 200° (400°F) for around twenty minutes. Place the bones in your stock pot, drain off any fat and deglaze the roasting tin with half a pint of water. Pour the water in the pot and add a further two pints of water. Bring to a boil, skim and allow to simmer gently partially covered for an hour.

Meanwhile, peel and chop an onion and a carrot and chop a stick of celery. Put these in the roasting pan along with a little oil and roast until nicely brown. When ready, add them to the pot along with six peppercorns and some herbs – parsley stalks, a couple of bay leaves, a sprig or two of rosemary, some mint stalks etc. This will depend upon what the stock is for. If you are not sure, just put in your favourite herbs and spices.

Allow to simmer for a further ninety minutes then strain the stock. Let the stock cool completely before skimming it for fat. You can reduce it to make it stronger if you like, but I would recommend only adding salt once you have reduced the stock as it might end up too salty. You can add, but you can’t take away Grigsoners!

#283 Jellied Stock

If you are going to attempt to make a raised pie, then you need to make a jellied stock. The jelly in these pies is either loved or hated. Many people can’t stomach the thought of savoury jelly I think and either have to pick it out or avoid eating these delicious pies altogether. The jellied stock is very important though. The meat inside is cooked for a long time and can dry out a little – some water escapes through the hole in the top and some is absorbed by the pastry. The stock soaks into the meat, making it nice and juicy again and it fills any gaps made by the shrinking contents.
So here’s the recipe. You could, of course, just use some stock and gelatine, but that would be cheating!
First you need some bones that will release alot of gelatine, so use either two pig’s trotters or a veal knuckle – ask the butcher to cut them into several pieces for you. To these, add any bones you may have left over when you prepared the fillings. You’ll also need a sliced large carrot, a medium onion studded with three cloves, a bouquet garni and twelve black peppercorns. Place all of these in a big stockpot.

From this…
Now add four to five pints of water, bring to the boil, skim off any scum and cover and simmer for three to four hours.

…to this…
Strain the stock through some muslin into a clean pan and boil it down until it is a concentrated ¾ of a pint. Season it with some salt and more pepper if required. The stock is now ready to be funnelled or poured into the raised pie (see here for instructions).

…to this!

#283 Jellied Stock. I won’t write a review for this as it’s not a dish in itself, but I will say that it was a very satisfying process; condensing that big set of ingredients into the viscous well-flavoured stock. Made me feel like a real baker.

#282 Raised Pies

Is there anyone who doesn’t like a pie made with hot-water pastry? Everyone, I say, from the Mayor of Melton Mowbray to, er, Sweeney Todd. Oh, except for vegetarians. They’re so quintessentially English and I’ve not seen anything remotely close here in Texas. I must admit I’ve been putting off making these pies – I’d never made one before and I knew that it would take a lot of time, and presumably, effort. However, I felt I was ready – and so I should be because there are several to do in this book so I need the practice. Hopefully I’ll get it right first time.
So, for those of you not in the know, a raised pie is a pie made from pastry using boiling water and lard, unlike shortcrust pastry that is kept as cold as possible. Hot water pastry achieves a putty-like consistency that allows the pie mould or tin to be moulded and raised up the sides of the tin, rather than rolled. The hot water makes the pastry very absorbent too; you need this as the filling cooks and releases juices. Normal pastry that contains butter would just turn into a sloppy mess. Raised pies became crazily over-the-top in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Elizabeth Raffald’s receipt for a Yorkshire Goose Pie gives the following instructions:
Take a large fat goose, split it down the back and take all the bones out. Bone a turkey and two ducks the same way, season them very well with pepper and salt, with six woodcocks
You don’t get pies like that in Yorkshire nowadays, I can tell you. Imagine the meat sweats you’d get from a slice of that!
The raised pie hasn’t quite fallen out of favour in Britain these days – I’m sure Melton Mowbray pork pies are as popular as ever, but that’s all you generally see now. The book proffers more, and I shall be adding them as I go. The basics are: Pork Pie; Veal, Ham and Egg Pie; Raised Mutton Pies; and Game, Chicken or Rabbit Pie. They all have the same basic parts: the pastry, the jellied stock and the filling itself.
It all seems a bit complicated, but it’s not really. In this post I’ll deal with the construction and baking of the pie. The jellied stock and the fillings can have their own posts (these are coming in the next day or two).
Begin by making the hot water pastry. Bring a third of a pint of water and six ounces of lard to the boil. In the meantime, weigh out a pound of flour and place in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt. When boiling, tip the water and fat into the flour and mix quickly – electric beaters are the best for this, but don’t use a high speed as the pastry won’t bind properly. To enrich this pastry add an egg, or a tablespoon of icing sugar. Cover the dough and leave until it cools enough to handle, but don’t let it cool down completely. Take three-quarters of the pastry and put it in a six or seven inch cake tin with removable base. You can buy fancy hinged raised pie moulds – they are quite expensive though, but they are beautiful (see this link). Quickly, but carefully, mould the pie by gently pushing the pastry up the sides of the mould or tin until it overlaps the lip, making sure there are no holes or tears. If it just flops down, then it is too hot. Wait five minutes and try again.
If you want to make small pies, you can mould the pastry around the outside of a wide rolling pin or a jam jar. This method is required for the mutton pies. This is alot trickier apparently. So unless you can avoid it, do the big pie.
Now you can start on the jellied stock and prepare your pie filling. Pack the filling well into the raised crust.
…if it mounds up above the rim, so much the better.
Roll out a lid with the remaining pastry and fix in place with a little beaten egg, making a hole in the centre for steam to escape. Decorate the pie with leaves and roses using pastry trimmings. It’s strange that savoury pies have the ornate decorations in England and that the sweet ones are left plain. I don’t know why this is. Anyway…. Brush the lid with more egg (don’t throw unused egg away, you’ll need it later).
Bake in the oven for half an hour at 200°C (400°F) to colour the top, and then lower the temperature to 160°C (325°F) for two hours for large pies and just one hour for small pies – you need this time for the meat to cook and become tender. Watch the pie doesn’t brown too much though – if it needs a little protection, cover with some brown or wax paper. Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for thirty minutes before removing it from its mould very carefully. Brush the sides with beaten egg and return it to the oven for a final half an hour to brown and crisp up.
Whilst the pie cooked, the meat shrank, so the gaps need filling with the jelled stock. This can be carefully poured through the hole in the lid, or better using a small funnel. Let the pie cool and eat the next day. The pie will keep for days wrapped in wax paper and kept somewhere cool.
Phew!
#282 Raised Pies. It won’t write a review for this recipe – I’ll save that for the fillings. However, it is worth saying that although making a pie like this is no mean feat, it is worth having a go. I had such fun pottering about the kitchen making my first riased pie (the Veal, Ham and Egg Pie). But then, I am a great big geek. Anyway, hopefully I have inspired you to give it a go, if not at least appreciate how much effort goes into these beautiful and delicious artisan pies.

#216 Orange Sauce for Duck and Game

This is a sauce for any game and requires two things from The Freezer of Delights that have been sat there for a while: game carcasses for a game stock (see here for recipe) and two Seville oranges. It is very important that you save and bones and carcasses from your meat for stock-making at a later date. It is, of course, even more important that actually used the bloody things once you’ve saved them. I served this with the Mallards of Death.

Melt 1 ½ ounces of butter in a small saucepan and stir in a rounded tablespoon of flour. Stir and cook until the roux becomes golden brown. Now whisk in ¾ of a pint of game stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer for around 20 minutes. Whilst it is cooking away gently, pare thinly the rinds of two Seville oranges and slice them as thinly as possible (you can use an orange and a lemon if you can’t get Seville oranges). Add the rind along with the juice of the oranges to the sauce and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Add up to a tablespoon of sugar and four tablespoons of port, plus the skimmed roasting juices from the meat. That’s it! Easy.


#216 Orange Sauce for Duck and Game. A really good sauce this one; tangy, bitter, fruity, rich and a lovely red-brown colour with just the right amount of freshness and tang to cut through the very strong meat. If you don’t like bitter foods, use a normal orange and a lemon and perhaps less pared rind. 7/10.

How to Make Game Stock

This is a recipe for a good game stock – it is a modified version of one that appears in Lindsey Bareham’s very excellent book A Celebration of Soup. If you have some game carcasses left over from a meal, turn them into stock – you can either freeze the stock, or the carcasses, for whenever you need them. You don’t need many either – I managed to make a pint of good stock from a single woodcock carcass.
The amount of vegetables and spices etc indicated here will do for up to 4 small birds or 2 larger ones. You may want to increase or decrease the amount of water added though – don’t forget, you can reduce a stock so you can be quite liberal with the water. If you want to make more, you can just increase the ingredients.

First chop the carcass(es) and place them in an ovenproof casserole dish and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes at 200⁰C. Remove them and add a little wine – red or white is fine – or a little water to deglaze the dish. Add some chopped stock vegetables: a carrot, an onion, a celery stick, 2 tomatoes and one or two cloves of garlic. Return to the oven for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Now add a spring of rosemary, a bay leaf, five or six peppercorns and between one and two pints of water, depending on the amount of stock you want. It also depends on the birds being used – small partridges, woodcock or grouse produce a stronger stock than, say, pheasant. The stock needs to be cooked uncovered for at least two hours very gently; you can do this on the hob or in a low oven. Strain the stock, reduce if required, season with salt, then skim after it has been allowed to cool. Easy peasy.

#194 Almond Soup (White Soup)

Yes, another soup…

This recipe is the very first one that appears in English Food. Although it may seem rather odd nowadays, it is one of the most historical recipes there is. Almond soup, or almond milk as it was originally called goes right back to the Middle Ages. It was made with almonds, onions, wine and spices. More recently, it diverged into two completely separate dishes: almond soup and blancmange.

Griggers reckons that one of the reasons (apart from it tasting good) that it’s remained popular is because the ingredients are easy to come by; most being found about the house. Well, it is popular no longer – I’d heard of it, but only vaguely. Not all the ingredients are easy to come by these days either – the main reason I’ve only got round to making this now is that I managed to finally get hold of the veal knuckle required for the stock.

I always really enjoy making these sorts of recipes in the book – I don’t even mind if they’re not that nice – it’s just interesting cooking and tasting these old, old recipes. I’ve said it before, but it is great that such books like English Food exist, it’s also great to see that many of these unfashionably historical recipes are tasty and interesting. Does this one fit into that category though..?


To make the soup, you need to start the day before and get on with the task of stock-making. Start off by placing a small gammon hock (I made one myself in the brine tub!) and a good meaty veal knuckle that has been cut into three pieces in a large pan or stockpot. Add four pints of cold water and slowly bring to the boil; the slower you do this, the clearer the stock will be. When it does come to the boil, skim away any scum and add a quartered onion, a quartered carrot, four chopped celery sticks, a teaspoon of lightly-crushed peppercorns, two blades of mace, a bay leaf and a tablespoon – no, I didn’t misread the book, tablespoon – of salt. Bring back to the boil and then turn the heat right down so that the stock simmers gently away for four hours. Strain and chill overnight and skim the fat off the top. Bring back to the boil and reduce the stock until there is around 2 ½ pints remaining. Alternatively, if you simply cannot be arsed with all of that, use a light beef stock!

For the soup, place 2 ounces of blanched almonds and an ounce of white bread (crusts removed) into a blender along with a couple of ladlefuls of stock and liquidise the lot. Push the gloop through a sieve into the reduced stock. Turn the heat off under the pan. Next, beat an egg yolk into ¼ each of double cream and soured cream and whisk it into the soup, reheat, making sure the stock is not boiling, to prevent the egg from cooking and curdling. Now season with white pepper, salt (!), Cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Serve with fried croutons or fried almonds.

#194 Almond Soup (White Soup). Certainly not one for those on a low salt or low fat diet. It was very salty and rich. I assume that the tablespoon of salt listed in the ingredients is a typo since a ham hock is also used for the stock. I’m not convinced that I actually liked this soup, it was certainly nicer the next day when the flavours had time to develop. It’s certainly a posh soup, but I think it could’ve been improved by using a less salty stock. Perhaps after all this time-biding, it would have been better if I’d simply used a light beef stock as suggested in the recipe. 4.5/10.