18 May 2009

Seven Centuries of English Cooking

Last week Maxine de la Falaise McKendry died. You can read our post with the obituary at Lucindaville. We often run a Famous Food Friday section at Lucindaville and we used Maxine de la Falaise’s book Food In Vogue a collection of recipes from the famous people who graced the pages of Vogue while McKendry was the food editor.

McKendry was the daughter of portrait painter, Sir Oswald Birley. Her mother, Rhoda Birley, was famous for cooking Lobster Thermador and feeding it to the roses. Her brother, Mark, founded Annabel’s Club, still the “in” spot in London. Her daughter, Loulou, was the muse of Yves Staint-Laurent, and her granddaughter , Lucie, is a top model. She vacillated between "Maxime" and "Maxine" and which last name to stick with.

Her first cookbook, Seven Centuries of English Cooking, is an exhaustive survey of British Cooking from The Forme of Cury compiled by the chef of Richard II to recipes by Alexis de la Falaise, the author’s son who was at one time a sous-chef at Annabel’s.

Here is a recipe from her mother, Lady Birley, a recipe that was presumably fed to her children and not her roses. Charleston was the Birley's family home where, evidently, redcurrants grew. This is the most iconic photo of Lady Birley, decked out for gardening.

Redcurrants Charleston

1 lb (2 cups) redcurrants
Whites of 4 large eggs
1/2 lb (1 cup) sugar
2 oz (3/4 cup*) mint, very finely chopped
1/2 pint (1 1/2 –2 cups) whipped cream
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp almond essence
2 oz (1/2 cup*) crystallized fruit

Pick small bunches of redcurrants and leave them on their stalks. Mix equal quantities of egg white and sugar in a shallow dish. Coat the berries in this and put them in the refrigerator. Chop some fresh mint very finely and mix with the remaining egg and sugar mixture. Coat the berries again in this and chill very thoroughly. Strip the currants from their stalks very quickly with a fork. Put them into a cut-glass serving bowl, cover with whipped cream flavoured with vanilla and almond essence and arrange some small pieces of crystallized fruit on top.

* neither of the 2 ounce calculations appears to be correct. 2 ounces would be 1/4 cup. Neither “2 oz” measurement is consistent, so stick with the cup measurements.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin