Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Voile Undersleeves

I had a slow day at the Fort yesterday (at least in the morning), so I decided to sew some undersleeves by hand.

White voile undersleeves for 1850s wear.

The voile is delightfully light, but starts looking wrinkled the second I take the iron off of it.  It didn't fray very much, and so far was more pleasant to work with than the batiste I used on my last set of undersleeves--it was also less droopy, so I am hopeful that it will wear a bit more nicely.  The ease with which it wrinkles is a bit disconcerting, however...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Historic Food Fortnightly Challenge #6: Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The Challenge: Seasonal Vegetables

The Recipe: Economical Vegetable Pottage accompanied by A Plain Salad (& Egg Dumplings, roughly based on the recipe from Godey's, reproduced in Civil War Recipes)

Date/Year & Region: English, 1852; American, 1860s

How Did You Make It: Started a broth with 4 oz. butter in 6 pints of water; added salt, pepper, winter savory*, parsley* and thyme*.  Allow that to boil while cutting vegetable: red potatoes*, gold potatoes*, golden beets*, tete noir cabbage*, carrots*, welsh onions*.  Added the shallots and (some type of) fresh bean whole.  Allowed the whole thing to simmer for a while, adding mint near the end.   For the salad, I layered green and red cabbage leaves, added some red lettuce, and decorated with slices of golden beet and mint leaves.  Dressing of apple cider vinegar & olive oil (ran out of butter) with salt and pepper.  Dumplings made of flour & salt, worked to a dough with egg* yoke and then boiled.

Time to Complete:  From digging the potatoes until the dishes were washed, about 5 hours.  I was making this in order to demonstrate the period kitchen in use, so it filled the time wonderfully.

Total Cost:  All ingredients to hand.  Asterisked items were from the Fort's period garden (or period chickens residing therein).

How Successful Was It: My best stew yet (probably because the instructions informed my seasoning choices, and I didn't put in too much pepper this time).  The visitors commented favorably on the smell, and the reenactors seemed to favor the dumplings.

How Accurate Was It: I confess I just hunted through the available recipes looking for guidelines by which I could justify improvising (having not exactly prepared for the task at hand).  That being said, the period instructions offer great latitude to use whatever vegetables are available--and for what it's worth, veggies and herbs used were all heirloom varieties dating no later than 1855.

Soup cooking on wood-burning stove.
Soup on the Stove

Colorful Victorian salad.
Egg dumplings, c.1860s recipe.
Egg Dumplings

Historic Food Fortnightly Challenge #5: Pie

The Challenge: Pie (made during the challenge fortnight, August 9th)
The Recipe: Open Tart of Blackberry Preserves from Mrs. Beeton
Date/Year & Region: English, 1861 (Crust: American, 1860)
How Did You Make It: Made up the puff paste from Practical American Cookery just as in Challenge #3.  Rolled it out and lined the bottom of a pie pan (having no tart pan), then cut stars from the scraps using a cookie cutter.  Baked about 15 min at 350F until the paste appeared to be cooked.  Before serving, I spread the preserves over the crust and topped with the stars.
Time to Complete:  Half an hour, at the outside.
Total Cost:  $5.00 for the nice preserves (no HFC), on sale.  Flour & butter on hand.
How Successful Was It:  Took it to a potluck, and didn't even get piece.
How Accurate Was It:  Very, though I did purchased the preserves, rather than making them.

Puff paste for jam tart, 1861.
Baked Paste; I can't find my picture of the completed tart