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Easter Special: Part 2 – Eggs in Green Sauce: Cooking and the Recipe

The recipes I found for green sauce seemed to vary wildly between sources, but the one I went for was from the ever reliable Hannah Woolley in The Accomplish’d Lady’s Delight (1675). I’d hoped to use a a recipe from the Elizabethan period to match the source for the Easter banquet (see part 1), I found a few but they all involved ingredients I couldn’t get hold of. Sorrel is usually the herb involved in the sauce, this proved a little tricky to find in itself – thankfully a very kind person donated some from her garden – thank you Maggie! Now, without further ado, here is my Easter recipe – eggs in green sauce:

To make Green Sauce.

Take a good handful of Sorrel, beat it in a Mortar with Pippins pared, and quar|tered, with a little Vinegar and Sugar; put it into Saucers.

First, I hard-boiled the eggs.

Then I washed the sorrel, and put it with a pealed and quartered apple with 1 teaspoon each sugar and vinegar.

I then began to squash and pound it in a pestle and mortar.

I pounded it for about 10 minutes, until it began to turn into a green pulp.

I hard boiled the eggs, then pealed and sliced them and put the green sauce on top.

I quite enjoyed this dish, the green sauce is sharp and sweet and quite tasty. My mum tried them too and said they were rather nice. It would make a nice addition to an Easter buffet. It’s also very easy to make if you don’t mind a bit of work with the pestle and mortar. It is worth seeking out sorrel for this – it’s an underrated herb/vegetable in my opinion.

Eggs in Green Sauce

3 Eggs (hardboiled)

1tsp sugar

1tsp white wine vinegar

1 handful sorrel (you could use spinach or watercress if you don’t have sorrel, but try to seek it out if possible)

1 apple, pealed and cored

Put the sugar, vinegar, sorrel and apple in a pestle and mortar and pound until the mixture turns into a pulp. Put the eggs on a dish and dollop the sauce on top.

So there you have it – festive eggs! Happy Easter everyone!

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Valentine’s Special – Asparagus Part 2: Cooking and the recipe

Here’s the recipe I used for my special Valentine’s Day chicken and asparagus. It’s from Hannah Woolley’s 1675  The Accomplish’d lady’s delight in preserving, physick, beautifying, and cookery.

To boyl a Capon with Asparagus

Boyl your Capon, or Chicken in fair water, and some salt, then put in their bellies a little Mace, chopped Parsley, and sweet Butter; being boyled, serve them on Sippets, and put a little of the Broath on them: Then have a bundle or two of Asparagus boyled, put in beaten butter, and serve it on your Capon, or Chicken.

A capon, incidentally, is a castrated rooster. They are not readily available in the UK, but if you are particularly keen to try one there are some places online you can find them, such as here: http://www.keevilandkeevil.co.uk/christmas/free-range-corn-fed-capon/. According to that website, it is actually illegal to produce them in this country. I never knew that – you learn something new every day!

Not having access to a capon, I started with a small chicken (free-range and corn-fed). The recipe is a little confusing with regard to when you stuff the chickens, I opted to do this before cooking. I mixed 3 heaped teaspoons of butter with a teaspoon of mace and a chopped bunch of parsley.

I then put this into the cavity of the chicken. The chicken was trussed with a piece of elastic, so I just took this off and then put it back when I was done stuffing it. I then put the chicken in my largest saucepan. It was a bit of a tight fit and the lid only just squeezed on. I added as much cold water as possible and a few grinds of the salt mill. Then I put the lid on and brought the pan to the boil. Once it boiled, I turned it down to a low simmer and I let the chicken cook for an hour, periodically turning the chicken over as it came of the water at the top a little.

Once the chicken was almost ready it was time to make the sippets and cook the asparagus. Sippets are similar to croutons, but they are fried in butter rather than baked as croutons usually are. The asparagus just needed blanching for 5 minutes in a pan of boiling water, then after draining I added a knob of butter to the pan and left it to melt (off the heat). I then melted even more butter (it’s a pretty butter heavy dish as you might have gathered), a couple of teaspoons worth, in a frying pan. I tore up 2 large thick slices of day old bread (actually same-day bread that had been left out for a few hours) and fried them for a few minutes on each side in the butter.

I put the sippets at the bottom of a large shallow bowl (a pasta bowl), then sliced off a chicken breast and laid that on top. I took about two tablespoons of the cooking liquid and drizzled this over the top, then finished with the asparagus.

I would certainly recommend cooking this, it was very tasty indeed. The boiled chicken, which was really poached as it was cooked on a lower heat, was very tender and full of flavour.  If you fancy cooking up this for Valentine’s Day or otherwise, you can find the recipe below. The will serve two people generously with leftovers if you have a small chicken. For a more filling meal, I’d suggest cooking some potatoes and carrots with the chicken.

Boiled chicken with asparagus

1 small chicken

1 bunch parsley

1 bundle asparagus

About 50g butter

2 slices thick, crusty bread (crusts removed), preferably slightly stale

Salt

1 tsp mace

Chop the parsley into small pieces and mix with the mace and just under half the butter. Put this butter mixture into the chicken cavity, then put the chicken into a large saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and fill the saucepan with cold water until the chicken is just covered. Cook uncovered until the water comes to the boil, then turn down the heat and put the lid on. Cook for another 50 minutes or so, remove from the saucepan to check that the juices are running clear. If not, return to the pot until ready.

When the chicken is ready, remove from the pan at put on a carving board. Melt half of the remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the bread for a few minutes on either side until it starts to brown. Meanwhile, bring another pan of water to the boil and blanch the asparagus for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain, then return to the pan with the remaining butter, leave off the heat with a lid on so that the butter melts and coats the asparagus. Carve the chicken, removing the skin.

Divide the sippets (the bread) between two wide, shallow bowls or plates, then top with some of the carved chicken. Put half the asparagus on top of each, then drizzle over a few tablespoons of the buttery cooking liquid from the chicken.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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