If you want to read a crazy fun Welsh cooking textbook from 1867, in novel form, and written by somebody who was obviously a HUGE FAN of Gothic literature, this is the cookbook for you. It also includes some other interesting stuff, like an appendix of recipes and the best times to gather and dry herbs. There’s some very unusual food in this thing, like a mince pie made out of currants instead of raisins.
However, since leeks are in season right now, and since St. David’s Day is tomorrow, it’s important to note the recipe for Welsh Leek Soup on page 451. Dried plums (okay, prunes!) are also involved.
Anyway, Lady Llanover has thoughts on everything, including good menus for Lent:
“I should advise,” said the Hermit, “a plain poached egg on toast, without butter; a vegetable soup made of the jelly of bare boiled bones, without eggs and with new milk instead of cream… Meagre soups can be made with well-chopped and fried vegetables, provided they are fried in delicate top fat (which is allowed) instead of butter, so as to be both palatable and wholesome. A plain fruit tart with skim milk, and a plain rice pudding, needs no contrivance; and those who cannot eat simple stewed fruit alone, will find that it agrees perfectly well if mixed with skim or new milk and eaten with bread; but plain boiled or fried fish, with anchovy sauce, the melted butter part of which is prepared in the same way as the parsley sauce melted butter, is simple and innocent, for those who can take any sauce at all; but there are many persons with whom melted butter disagrees, however carefully prepared, and they should avoid it, and eat their fish with only a little salt or a little vinegar. Plain bread and cheese, bread and cold fresh butter where it agrees, water from the spring with hard biscuits….”