Enough of my medical dramas - the important thing is that I'm healthy and I'm back in the swing of things.
I've been wanting to start this series for some time now. It's very special to me because the recipes I will be basing the series on come from a handwritten recipe pocketbook written by my great great grandfather, William Timothy Kerrisk, circa 1901. It was one of the belongings handed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother, many years ago.
The information I have on William is limited. I know he was born in 1861 in Bermuda; he lived in New York before marrying Edith Holyoak in Quorn, SA. William also lived and worked in the township of Farina, SA for some time, and this is where the recipe book was written. He probably worked at one of the two local pubs, or in the kitchen of a farming station. The township is no longer inhabited.
I have spent some time transcribing the recipes in this book, as well as some of the notes found in a pocket at the front. I find this book so special as it gives me an insight into my ancestry, and the sort of cooking he did all that time ago, and in a very isolated and rural township.
I hope to test many of these recipes and share them with all of you. But before we get on to the recipes, I want to post a few pages of notes I found in the pocket. It took me a long time to piece together these pages, which had separated at the creases after being folded for so long. The notes are of kitchen and cooking terminology, which were obviously common during the time.
Aside from the difficulty of reading the beautifully scripted cursive, many of these terms are also very foreign to me, so I spent a long time googling what I thought the words were, essentially ruling words out letter by letter. An 'r' and an 'n' can be deceivingly similar when you haven't been brought up reading and writing 'real' cursive. I only wish I had the penmanship of my great great grandfather!
Terms used in Cooking and in the Kitchen
By William Timothy Kerrisk
Allemande: Reduced white sauce thickened with cream and yolk of eggs and seasoned with lemon juice
Angelica: A preserve used for decorating
Aspic: A savoury jelly
Assiette: Small entrées and Hors d'oeuvres, not more than a plate will hold
Assiettes Volantes: Dishes handed out and not put on the table
Atelets: Small silver skewers used in garnishing
Au Bleu: Fish dressed in such a manner as to have a bluish appearance
Au Gras: Dressed with meat gravy
Au Jus: In the original juice or gravy
Au Naturel: Plain simple cooking
Baba: A kind of light sweet cake
Bain Marie: A metal pan which has a loose bottom to hold water into which small saucepans can be put for keeping warm
Bacole: A thin slice of fat bacon placed over steak folds instead of larding
Batterie de Cuisine: A complete set of necessary apparatus for all culinary purposes
Bechamel: A rich white sauce made with cream
Beignet: A French pastry
Bisque: A soup made with shellfish
Blanc: White broth
Blanch: To par boil to scald vegetables in order to remove skins and to whiten poultry
Blanquette: A kind of fricassee made with white sauce and thickened with yolks of eggs
Bligner: To fritter anything in butter and fry
Boudoir: A rich mixture of different minced meats
Bouilli: Beef much boiled
Bouillon: Thin soup or broth
Bouquet Garni: The same with the addition of cloves
Bourguignote: A ragout of truffles
Braise: Meat cooked with bacon in a closely covered pan to prevent evaporation
Braissiere: A saucepan with ledges to the lid so as to put on top
Brider: To truss foul with a needle and thread
Brioche: A kind of light strong cake
Buisson: A cluster or bush of anything piled on a dish
Callipash: The glutinous flesh of the turtle found on the upper shell
Callipee: The same found on the underflesh
Canneloni: Small rolls of anything filled with meat, fruit or minces
Capilotade: A hash of poultry
Caramel: Burnt sugar
Casserole: A crust of rice, which having been moulded to the required shape is filled with mince fricassee
Charlotte: Thin slices of bread steeped in clarified butter and placed in a plain mould with fruit and ice cream
Chartreuse: An ornamental entrée composed chiefly of quornelle forcemeat and arranged in a plain mould
Chemiser: To line a mould
Civet: A dark thick stew
Compote: Stewed fruit served with syrup
Confiture: Preserves, sweets, jams, etc
Consomme: Strong clear gravy or broth
Contise: Small scallops of truffles as inlaid as ornaments by incision in fillets of any kind
Couli: A rich brown gravy
Couronne: To dish up entrees in the form of a crown
Croquons: A bright mixture of fruit and boiled sugar
Croquettes: Mixes of meat, fish or foul made into various shapes rolled in egg and bread crumbs and fried crisp
Croustades: Fried bread upon which various entrees are served
Croutons: Fried snippets of bread used for garnish
Dariole: A sweet tart baked in a mould
Daube: Meat, foul or game stewed in sauce
Daubiere: An oval stewpan
Desosser: To bone poultry, game, fish etc
Entrée: Dishes handed around after the fish comprising cutlets, chartreuses and all made dishes
Entremes: Second course dishes comprising dressed vegetables, savouries and sweets of all kinds
Escalopes: Dollops, small thin round pieces of meat, poultry or fishEspagnole: Brown sauce very thick
Sadly, this is where the list ends. I imagine there are some pages missing as I'm sure there would have been an entire alphabet full of terminology.
I find it interesting that there is such a strong French influence in this list, and it comes as no surprise that many of these words come back with very few results in a google search, except for in the French language.
As I said, many of these words are foreign to me and I am sure that I have probably gotten some of the transciptions wrong. There were some words I couldn't even translate so I had to make meaning of the sentences as best I could. If there is something I've gotten wrong - please correct me!
I feel so blessed to have something so personal and well maintained in my posession, which tells me so much about one of my ancestors. Especially now that my grandmother's memory is becoming less clear.
So tell me reader, are you interested in researching your family history? Or maybe you have something prescious handed down to you from an ancestor? If so, I'd love to know what it is and how it is special to you.