Suggestions for a February menu

I’ve merged two previous posts because they seem to belong together. First:

Looking at Modern Practical Cookery and the suggestions for a February menu is crown roast of lamb. In those days lamb and mutton were cheap, these days they are too expensive to have on anything other than a special occasion. Maybe the roast crown of lamb was a special occasion  as it appears in the little dinner menu for the month.As usual, as well as the main course there is a starter, a dessert and a savoury – and suggestions for a table decoration:

Anemones – crimson, purple and every shade of mauve, arranged loosely in a cut-glass bowl.
N.B. – these flowers look lovely used in conjunction with vivid Chinese table-mats.

The menu:

Halibut and cheese sauce
crown roast of lamb
potatoes, turnip tops
Peach cream
Prune toast

It seems strange to me to serve fish and cheese; halibut is such a lovely fish I would want to serve it as simply as possible! Peach cream is made from tinned peaches – all they could find in the days before supermarkets and all year round availability of everything. Prune toasts would not appeal to everyone, prunes, almonds, cream cheese and streaky bacon… I can’t imagine anyone apart from me even trying them in our family!

… and second:

I have to say to begin with that I would never serve fish with cheese sauce, nor would I choose it if I were eating elsewhere… I’m sure it is delicious but fish and cheese? I don’t really fancy that! However ninety years ago it was a suggestion in the ‘Little Dinner – for every month of the year‘ section of my Modern Practical Cookery book. I mentioned yesterday that on the suggested menu for February was the halibut, crown roast of lamb, peach cream and prune toast as a savoury. The menu, for six, also had a table setting suggestion – this month anemones in a cut glass bowl set on vivid Chinese table mats.

Halibut and cheese sauce

    • 2 – 2½ lbs whole halibut, filleted, rinsed, dried
    • lemon, and lemon juice
    • butter
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 oz flour
    • 3 oz cheese
    • ¾ pint milk
    • 1 egg yolk, beaten
    • 1½ oz butter
    • salt and pepper
  1. place halibut in a well buttered dish and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, dab all over with butter
  2. cover and cook in a medium oven for 10 mins or until tender
  3. arrange in the cooking dish, or another, garnish with slices of lemon (I might use the zest as well or instead)
  4. in a separate pan, melt butter and stir in flour
  5. blend in milk, stirring well to make a smooth sauce and bring to the boil
  6. cook for a few minutes then add cheese and seasoning to taste
  7. cook a little longer until the cheese is melted and serve from a sauce-boat

I imagine this might be served with thin slices of bread and butter, without the cheese and with a very light, buttery sauce this would probably be to my taste!

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