Last night I couldn't sleep so I searched through my many bookshelves and found this old cookery dictionary - Cassell's Cooking Dictionary by Neil Heaton. It was published in 1953 and makes for highly interesting reading - well it does to someone like me anyway! I thought I'd put a few of it's recipes here, anyone brave enough to give them a try then please let me know...
So, anyone for brain cakes??????
BRAINS (Fr. cerveaux)- See, you get to learn French too! Brains must be thoroughly cleansed of blood and skin before use.
Salt and pepper
1tsp chopped parsley
1 saltspoon each mace and cayenne
Method: Blanch the brains by soaking in salted water for 3 hrs, then boil for 15 mins to get them firmer. Chop up, place in a mortar with the parsley, mace, cayenne, salt, pepper and eggs. Pound together until a stiff paste is formed. Lay out the paste in small rounds 1½" in diameter, dip in egg and breadcrumbs and fry to a light brown.
Well, I don't know about you but the thought of making brain paste kind of goggles my, erm brain!
I found this one slightly more disturbing though - that's right, it's time for...
...Boiled Calf's Head!
Are you still with me or do you need a minute in the bathroom?
CALF'S HEAD (Fr. tete de veau)
TO PREPARE. The calf's head requires considerable attention on the part of the butcher before the cook can deal with it. The head is soaked and scalded so that the hair can be removed, the bones are cut down and the eyes removed. The cook can then remove the brains and tongue. The brains are blanched and the tongue soaked in salted water until the blood is disgorged. The head is plunged into scalding water containing salt and vinegar. After a few minutes in this it can be taken out, again put into cold water, or dried with a cloth and left until wanted.
Calf's Head, Boiled
Half or a whole head
Vegetables, herbs and peppercorns
Method: Take the soaked head, place in a saucepan with sufficient water to cover. When it boils, add salt and remove scum as it rises. Add vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, and simmer gently for 2-3 hrs until tender. The brains must be removed, tied in muslin and boiled. Take out head, remove all bones and tongue. Place the head on a hot dish, coat well with Parsley Sauce, garnish with the skinned sliced tongue, chopped brains, fried bacon, quarters of lemon and parsley. Sufficient for 7 or 8 persons.
To be fair, this book covers the whole alphabet of cooking terms and ingredients so lots to learn along the way, and this stuff only seems gruesome to a modern cook like me! For instance did you know the term "barbecue" comes from the French barbe a queue which means beard to tail? No, I didn't either.
Let me know if there's any cooking terms or recipes you'd like me to look up, I'm sure I'll find an interesting answer ;)