Turning out the dumpling

I seem to be on a bit of a roll with finding interesting things from recipe books which in a way are nothing to do with food – and actually, from other practical books too. Earlier I was writing about shoddy and shoddy material which I discovered in a gardening book. My dioscvery comes towards the end of what I’m about to share.

This comes from a little BBC Scotland cookery booklet from the 1950’s or 60’s, by Janet Murray:

A meaty dumpling

I first met this dish in a gamekeeper’s house in Sutherland and it was made with venison. I have used this recipe many times since and find it very good with the sort of mixture that would normally go into a shepherd’s pie or rissoles.

  • 12 oz cooked meat, reasonably free from fat, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 onion, parboiled and grated or chopped
  • 4 oz grated raw potato
  • 2 oz fat
  • ½ lb flour
  • 1 tsp salt, pepper
  • i heaped tsp baking powder
  • gravy
  1. rub the fat into the flour with the salt, pepper and baking powder
  2. mix all the ingredients together and add the gravy to make a firm dough
  3. steam the mixture in a greased bowl for 2½ hours and serve with gravy
  4. or/  it can be boiled in a cloth.

I find that many of those who have tried boiling dumplings in a cloth have difficulty in turning them out, so here’s how:
     lift the dumpling out of the pan, plump (plunge) it for a second only into a bowl of very cold water, then put the dumpling into a bowl that holds it and no more; undo the string, fold back the cloth, put the ashet for the dumpling face down on top of it and neatly turn the bowl upside down. The dumpling will rest on the ashet. The cloth will come away cleanly after the shock tactics of the cold water.

And there’s my newly discovered word – ‘ashet’, meaning a serving dish or platter, and which comes from the french assiette!


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