Thursday, July 24, 2008

#64 Soyer's Orange Salad

All is going well thus far re: fitness. I’ve been to the gym every morning so far this week and I’m determined not to eat to much fatty greasiness. That said, one must treat oneself, mustn’t one? So I’m sure that I’ll do something naughty later on in the week. By compromise at least one of my 5 a day will be included (does butter count?). For tea I had salady bits - a green salad, hummus, coleslaw, brown bread etc etc. For dessert, Soyer’s Orange Salad. The recipe is taken from his 1860 book Shilling Cookery for the People (full title, Shilling Cookery for the People: Embracing an Entirely New System of Plain Cookery and Domestic Economy). You can still buy it as a paperback. Odd though that there’s an orange recipe, as they were pretty expensive up until post-war times. Also it contains Madeira wine. Anyways, it’s very easy - all you need is a very sharp knife or a Japanese mandolin and time for the oranges to macerate. The quantities I give are for four people:

Thinly slice three oranges, making sure that you remove pips; don’t buy the great big warty navel ones, get the small thinner skinned ones. Don’t slice the ends as they’re too pithy. Arrange the slices on a large plate, keeping the best ones for the top. Next, sprinkle two ounces of sugar over them, and then 2 fluid ounces (80 mls-ish) of Madeira. Cover with cling film and chill for a few hours, or overnight.


FYI: Alexis Soyer is considered the first ‘celebrity chef’ and was an all-round nice chap: he took his travelling kitchen to Ireland during the potato famine to feed the poor, and to the Crimea and was a contemporary of Florence Nightingale.

#64 Soyer’s Orange Salad - 4/10. An odd creature. Not sure if I liked it, so I erred on the side of caution with score. The sweet Madeira is a treat and got easily drink a vat of it, but the oranges were odd - I don’t eat oranges like this normally - as the pith and peel were very tear and made my tongue a bit numb. That said, I couldn’t leave it alone. Maybe the slices weren’t thin enough, or perhaps I didn’t leave it long enough. I’ve got some in the fridge and will see what it’s like tomorrow.

2 comments:

wonderwally said...

How was it the next day? Any recommendations? Do you think these would keep in a jar to be used to present other dishes?
Simon

Neil B said...

Hey there Si! They were still very much the same the next day; the key is in the slicing - the really thin ones were really nice, but any that were thicker were too bitter for me. However, I do have a recommendation - MAngoes of the Sun. I made it the other day and it is brilliant - one of the most simple recipes and really delicious and summery. I'll post the recipe tomorrow for ye and do a review (if I get time!)