Dining with History

No. 1

Mr and Mrs Charles Dickens

3 Chester Place, Regent's Park

May 1847

The housebreaker was lying in bed wrapped in his white greatcoat by way of a dressing gown and displaying a set of features in no degree improved by the cadaverous hue of illness and the addition of a soiled nightcap and a stiff black beard of a week's growth. .His dog sat at the bedside, uttering a low growl as Fagin hurried in attended by his two young henchmen, Dawkins ~ known as the Artful Dodger ~ and Charlie Bates. .Sikes got out a few appropriate oaths and tried a little blasphemy.
...."What evil wind has blowed you here?" asked Sikes.
...."No evil wind, my dear," replied Fagin. ."For evil winds blow nobody any good, and I've brought some good things with me. .Dodger, my dear, open the bundle and give Bill the little trifles that we spent all our money on this morning."
....Mr John Dawkins untied the bundle which was formed of an old tablecloth, and handed out the articles one by one. ."Sich a rabbit pie, Bill," he exclaimed, disclosing to view a huge pasty. ."Sich delicate creatures with sich tender limbs, Bill, that the wery bones melt in your mouth and there's no occasion to pick 'em"

 

Brill with Shrimp Sauce


Roast Rump Steak Rolled and Stuffed
Boiled Rabbits with Onions
Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts


Lemon Pudding
Spanish Pudding


Toasted Cheese
Watercress

 



The Regent's Park house was a temporary home, one made necessary by Dickens having let his Devonshire Terrace house to Sir James Duke for the duration of the family's stay in France, and then having to return home early for the imminent birth of his wife Katherine's next child, Sidney.
.

This dinner, rather shorter than many, preceded a visit to the theatre. The guests included the artist Daniel Maclise and a French actor, François Joseph Régnier.

Katherine Hogarth's recipe for the rabbits ~ Sich delicate creatures with sich tender limbs, Bill, that the wery bones melt in your mouth and there's no occasion to pick 'em ~ may be of interest.

1 rabbit 3 level tablespoons of flour 3/4 pint of water
6 rashers of bacon 1 bay leaf and 1 clove of garlic 1 chicken cube
2 very large onions 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme 2 teaspoons of salt and a little pepper

Boiled Rabbits with Onions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees C.

Disjoint the rabbit.

Remove the rind from the bacon and then fry.

Add chopped onions and fry them until lightly browned. Add flour and fry for another two minutes.

Add water, bay leaf, cube, thyme, salt and pepper, and one crushed clove of garlic.

Put the rabbit into a casserole and drown with the sauce. Then cover with the lid and cook for two hours ....... or until the rabbit is so tender that the bones promise to melt in the mouth.

A Spanish Pudding was not among Fagin's offerings to Bill Sikes, but Kate Hogarth's recipe suggests it would have been a welcome addition.
1 pound of flour 1/2 cup of milk 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of yeast 3 eggs 1/2 ounce of candied orange peel
1/2 pound of butter 6 ounces of sugar 1/2 ounce of lemon peel

Spanish Pudding

Mix the butter with a little milk, add to the flour and yeast and mix together. Take the eggs, yolks and whites, with a pinch of salt and beat into the butter. Mix the dough well until it will leave the basin and spoon clear. Rise for half an hour. Roll up with the sugar and cinnamon, and the orange peel and lemon peel.

Pour orange flower water over the pudding half an hour before it is served, and serve it with a sauce.




BEEF SWEET INFERNO
(SERVES FOUR)
1 1/2 pounds of premium braising steak 3 large flat or field mushrooms 1 glass of water
2 cloves of fresh garlic 2 large glasses of red wine 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
1 large red onion sliced 6 ounces of sugar Corn flour or alternative thickener


Pour approximately 50 millilitres of SWEET INFERNO Dressing & Marinade into a wok (or frying pan). Bring to a medium heat and begin to fry the diced braising steak in small amounts until brown.

When cooked, carefully lift the meat from the wok with a slotted spoon. Place the meat in a casserole dish and drizzle the fried marinade juices all over it.

Add some more SWEET INFERNO Dressing & Marinade to the wok and heat once more to a medium heat.

Begin to fry the reminder of the ingredients, starting with the onion. Then add the sliced mushrooms and crushed or chopped garlic. When cooked, place on top of the meat in the casserole dish. Sprinkle on the herbs and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the red wine and water, and stir. Place the lid on the casserole dish and cook in a preheated oven, 150 degrees C for approximately two hours or until the meat is tender. If desired, thicken the sauce with a little corn flour.

Serve with mashed potatoes and green salad.

We recommend a robust red wine.




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