Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mrs Beeton

In our home a culinary triumph is known as "doing a Mrs Beeton"! If you don't know who Mrs Beeton is, she is probably the closest thing to a food blogger as you could be in late 19th century.

Isabella Beeton was the young wife of a publisher and was aware of the difficulties faced by young wives who needed to look after (manage) their own homes for the first time. I am proud to say that Mrs Beeton's Book of Cookery ( a modernised version) was the first cookbook I bought for my new home.

The pages are littered with tears and gravy, but without which I would never have become a Foodie. I would still be making boxed fish and baked beans for supper.

The original Mrs Beeton's was published in 1861 and I now own what is called a facsimile edition. "It offers a wealth of original Victorian recipes for the cost-conscious wife - recipes to help people live, in Mrs Beeton's words "economically, tastefully and well"".
It even offers advice for household maintenance (how much to pay the help and what the footmen's duties are et. el.) and the best way to treat your children (from discipline to health questions).

One of the first recipes I ever tried was Hanover Rouladen. It is a variation on a beef olive.
I have made this many times since and while I now am confident to play around with the flavours, the basics however remain the same.

Hanover Rouladen

6 Beef Schnitzels (you can cut your own from a slice of rump, but I buy mine already cut)
45ml Oil
1 Onion
1 Green pepper (this is my addition of late)
45ml Flour
600ml Beef Stock (Cube is fine)
1 peeled and chopped Tomato (out of season I also add 15ml tomato paste)
15ml Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
2 sprigs Lemon Thyme or any Thyme if you don't grow you own

1 Large gherkin thinly sliced
Finely Chopped onion
Finely Chopped Capers
Smoked Sliced ham or streaky bacon (I often leave this out if I don't have any on hand)
String or Toothpick to secure

Make your beef olive parcels by laying the schnitzels out flat and placing 1 piece of gherkin, a little onion, capers and ham (optional).
Roll up and secure either with string or a toothpick.

Warm your pan and a little oil and fry the rouladen until browned on the outside.
Remove from the pan.
Fry the onion and green pepper until the start to get some colour.
Add the flour and fry for a minute.
Slowly add the stock and get the flour worked in, work out the lumps.
Add the rest of the ingredients and rouladen and turn the heat down and cook on low for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with rice and vegetables.


Jeanne said...

Mts Beeton is a classic! I've more than once stood with a copy in my hand in a second-hand bookstore and wished I had the cash. Love the recipe and I'm intrigued by the stuffing. The beef olives I grew up with always had some sort of sausage stuffing but this sounds far more interesting!

Rose&Thorn said...

Jeanne - I've never seen an original, I know the temptation to buy it would be overwhelming!

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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