Tea jelly, ribbon jelly and snowflake jelly

Whoever the writer or writers, the compilers of Modern Practical Cookery in the late 1920’s early 1930’s, loved their jelly. There is every sort of jellied cold sweet imaginable, and some unimaginable… I rather balked at chocolate fish jelly… until I realised it was ‘a pretty party dish for children’ and the fish were made in fish-shaped moulds from chocolate cream jelly and served on a bed of lemon jelly – the fish with tiny pieces of glacé cherry for eyes!

Tea jelly? really? Yes, really, made with ½ pint strong tea and unsweetened Ideal milk. There is also sherry jelly made with sherry and mottled jelly (which doesn’t sound pleasant) made with cherry jelly and milk. I thought the ribbon jelly would be cut in ribbon strips… but no, one-third of raspberry jelly – made with gelatine and raspberries, is set as normal, the other two-thirds is whisked until frothy and then poured on top of the ordinary jelly in moulds. Disappointingly, snowflake jelly is just red jelly and desiccated coconut. I think I’d give rice jelly and d=sago jelly a miss, and pretty certain my family would too!

But how about this:

Macaroon fruit jelly

  • 1 pint packet of red jelly dissolved in 1 pint hot water
  • 9 macaroon biscuits (medium-sized)
  • a few white grapes
  • 1 gill of cream, whisked
  • 1 banana, split in half and divided in three to give six pieces
  • 1 white of egg, whisked until stiff
  • 1 dsp castor sugar
  • a few pistachio nuts, scalded, blanched and cut in strips
  1. arrange 8 macaroons in the bottom of a glass or silver dish with the banana pieces and grapes arranged on top
  2. slowly pour over the jelly and leave to set
  3. lightly mix the whipped cream and egg white, adding the sugar
  4. shake onto the top of the set jelly
  5. decorate with the remaining macaroon finger and the nuts

I think I would slice the banana – the combination with grapes is nice, I think but it would be better to have something like raspberries in the ‘red’ jelly. We wouldn’t blanch pistachios, we might chop them, but we would scatter them, lovely and green across whatever we were decorating. However, it is interesting that pistachios, which seem to have been a recent thing, in fact were used in British cooking ninety years ago1




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