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A recipe from 1905


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Just one of many

Marinated mackerel

Choose fresh, smallish mackerel. Grill then skin quite crudely and carefully remove the bones.

In a flat bottomed dish, place layers of mackerel and finely chopped onions. Add thyme, laurel, salt, pepper and a pinch of Cayenne pepper.

Cover with boiling vinegar and marinate for 48 hours.

To serve, place the mackerel on the plate without the marinade and garnish with beetroot marinaded in vinegar, sliced small tomatoes and pink shrimps. If you want to have a colour contrast use sliced gherkins instead.

(Translated from LFCE)
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Then u could try raw mackerel fillets simply marinated in white wine with a squeeze of lemon or lime. You can layer the fillets with onion and herbs of your choice. Put in fridge for 24 hrs and it is done. The wine and juice slowly cook the fillet.


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I thought I had just replied and it seems to not have posted, apologies if it comes up later.

I said, I am looking forward to seeing how it goes and more importantly how it tastes[:D]

Came back to this as I was wondering what you are going to serve with your fish. For all I would probably have some sort of salad, I would certainly have some potatoes, as I just love potatoes with oily fish.

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As the fish one is an entree, I am not sure that anything like spuds or anything alse would have been served with it, probably because it would have been too filling.

I am just gonna work down a long list of entrees, post many and make some, just as they were in 1905-1912. Maybe at rhythm of one per weekish.

If anyone chooses to make them , then please let's have your reactions.

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In truth we never had many decent restaurants near us in France, but one, up in the mountains was great, until they moved on to pastures new.

And one of their entrees was marinated herring or mackerel,  chopped into small pieces and mixed in the a potato salad, with a couple of leaves of lettuce as garnish, never a big plate full, but absolutely delicious. They did wonderful starters, but that was what I usually had, as it was my favourite.

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I have made both the mackerel recipes; they are delicious, but I added a few crushed baie de genievre. On reflection, I prefer my original one as the texture is rougher.

By the way, the mackerel seem to be really fat and tasty at the moment, better than the summer ones, IMNVHO.

The next recipe, below, I also made but poached it by popping the ramekin into the poacher for a few minutes. I prefer soft but others may not.

Decide which cream you like best, the thicker the better.

The French seem to love the eating the egg quite soft with a nice runny egg yolk, though they use a teaspoon.

Remember it is an entree

Here it is:

Oeufs a la creme (Poached eggs with cream)

Put a tea spoon of good quality fresh cream (you could substitute bechamel sauce but it will make the dish cruder) into each ramekin, one per person. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Now, break a very fresh egg into the ramekin being careful not to break the yolk and then pour over it another teaspoon of cream or bechamel.

Put them in a bain-marie. Leave to cook for five minutes in a hot oven. When the eggs are soft and milky they are ready. Serve immediately.

Comments please

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I'll look out for mackerel this week - as I wrote before (I think) it's one of our favourite fishes.

I usually just fry it gently on both sides, no oil needed. Like idun, I think you need some form of potatoes with it so I usuallyserve with some casseroled veg., majority potatoes.

Smoked mackerel is good too.

Recipes from 1905 - apart from Mrs. Beeton I've never had a recipe book that old. I had one of recipes from WW2 but lost it during one of our many moves.

It included creative ideas using the very limited food supplies of those days, mostly homegrown veg..The only recipe I remember from it was baby turnips with onions and black treacle. There was also a recipe for home-made baked beans. I've tried both, and they were good.

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Here is another entrée recipe from 1905. I will be trying it as soon as possible. Enjoy.

The lack of detailed ingredients lists is typical of early recipes I think.

Pain de foies de volaille

This entree is well suited either for a lunch or dinner.

Cut two raw chicken livers and one duck liver into small cubes and mix into a fine Bechamel sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Now pass the mix through a fine fine mouli or rub through a metal sieve .

Stir three egg yolks, one at a time into the mixture. In a clean bowl stiffly beat the three egg whites until very stiff and fold carefully into the mixture.

Butter a timbale mould (a small metal or silicon mould), pour in the mixture and cook in a bain marie in a moderate over for an hour. Serve with a tomato or cream sauce.

This recipe is very practical as it can be varied to taste using, for example, sheeps' or calves' brains though these will have to be blanched and the skin removed.

On days of abstinence you could use fresh or tinned salmon. The cream sauce can be varied by adding mushrooms.

It can be served cold with a Vincent sauce.

Should you choose to use game, veal, ham, rabbit, hare or poultry make sure that skin is removed from the meat.

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LOL just the idea of lumps in bechamel is rather yuk!

To anyone who makes lumpy bechamel, sauces or gravies........ buy a bloody good fine gauge sieve (know what 'fine' means in this sense)  and use a soup ladle back to push it through.

Has it happened to me, well yes, many reasons why some lumps can occur, phone ringing, door going, moments inattention, but then you whisk a little see if they'll go that way........and then if not, sieve to get rid of them and no one is the wiser, nor should they be[:D]

Incidentally when I cannot be bothered to use my mouli when I have made tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, I push it through a fine sieve with the back of a soup ladle.  Bit of elbow grease, but works just fine.

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Here is another recipe, in fact two.

I think that in the past goose was eaten more than today as it was often present in the basse cour as much for itself as for the eggs which are excellent, though you may have to find them. I guess that turkey and cheap chicken may have pushed goose to the sidelines.

These recipes are from an earlier century when cooks did not require that every step be given in great detail.

Comments welcome.

Goose confit and Consommé à l'oie (goose)


Start off by plucking and singing your goose, then place three or four sage leaves inside plus some salt. As the soup requires only the carcass and some skin, you can also prepare some excellent goose confit as well with the following recipe:

Roast the bird for an hour, if possible on a spit, otherwise on a grill in a deep dripping pan so that the fat is saved. Pour off the fat as necessary into a bowl. Only baste if the bird carcass seems to be drying out.

Now take the carcass out of the oven and carefully remove the wings and the legs so that only the carcass remains.

Put the fat from the bird into a cooking pot with some lard and boil for ten minutes.

Place the thighs in a stoneware pot next to each other Add salt and pepper and a laurel leaf on each piece of goose; do the same with the wings. Fill up the pot with the boiling fat and leave to rest for 12 hours. If you are using two or more geese, the meat can be layered but the top layer must be covered by a layer of fat of at least two to three centimetres.

Seal the pot with greaseproof paper, tie it down and store in a cold, dry place.


Brown off some finely chopped onions with a little goose fat in a pan. Place them in a large cooking pot and add the broken up goose carcass, the bones, the remains of the meat, a bouquet of parsley, a couple of branches of thyme, a small laurel leaf and, particularly, a sprig or two of sage. Cover with water and cook for a couple of hours at least (the original just says 'longtemps'). Instead of using water a good stock can be substituted. The pieces of goose will give it a richer flavour.

Now remove the carcass, and solid waste, pass the liquid through a fine sieve and add a quantity of tapioca. When serving, add to the soup the crushed and chopped goose liver, or some roughly chopped roast chestnuts.

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Wooly - I won't be trying your chicken liver recipe because I don't like raw liver!

We have some in the freezer.

I fry or grill them, then mince and mix with fried onions, chicken fat and hard boiled eggs.  To make a paté.

As for the goose - I know goose and duck fat is supposed to be healthy, but not in big quantities. Don't fancy it.

ps I bought a very large mackerel after your first recipe, it was very fresh and very tasty! Filleted and fried.

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