Some appetising savoury

I mentioned yesterday that I’m fascinated by the idea of an expanded biscuits and cheese course – expanded to include all sorts of fish, shellfish, meets and dairy to make a savoury course.

In 1889, in her Cookery Book, Agnes Bertha Marshall – Mrs A.B. Marshall, commented on the change in eating and dining habits and the transition from just a lump of Cheddar, to a whole range of little dishes to complete the meal.

There are very many diners – I might say all who know how to dine – who would consider they had fared but poorly unless some appetising savoury formed the conclusion of the repast, to give the palate some stimulus to the enjoyment, and to add a piquancy at the end of the meal.

I do feel a little as if, along with all the delicious and varied food she ate, Agnes also swallowed a thesaurus!

It is almost impossible to overrate the importance of this part of the dinner. The appetite is satiated with the delicacies which have already been partaken of, and something very tempting is necessary, hence the best efforts both of hostess and cook should be put forth that the guests’ last impressions may be pleasurable.

Since I am Cambridge born and bred, although I haven’t lived there since I was sixteen, here is her recipe for sardines. I love sardines, but I an’t imagine many others would fancy this… however here’s her recipe…

Sardines á la Cambridge

  • 12 sardines skinned, filleted, rubbed through a sieve, all bones removed  (for 6-8 persons)
  • 6 raw bearded oysters, minced, reserving their liquor
  • 2 yolks of hard-boiled eggs
  • tiny dust of coralline pepper (paprika)
  • 3 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1½ oz soft butter
  • 2 raw egg yolks
  • 1-2 whole eggs, beaten
  • fine flour
  • extra fresh white breadcrumbs
  1. mix the first seven ingredients together, divide into portions and roll into balls about the size of a Spanish nut (a walnut maybe?)
  2. roll in flour, dip in beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs
  3. fry for 3-4 minutes
  4. serve garnished with fresh parsley

I wonder if the flavour of the oysters come through with sardines, which a quit a strong flavoured fish? I think I might prefer a white fish rather than an oily fish to compliment the oysters!


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