Culinary Hints

To clarify Butter: Put the butter into a saucepan, heat it slowly, removing the scum as it rises, and when quite clear, pour it carefully into clean and dry jars, leaving the sediment behind.

Clarified butter, or as it is sometimes called, oiled or melted butter, is often served instead of sauce with fish, meat and vegetables; it is also used to moisten the surface of many things grilled or cooked “au gratin”; for oiling moulds and baking-tins; and for sealing potted meats.

To de-salt Butter: Put into a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave until cold. The butter will then have risen to the top of the water and can be lifted off. The water will have washed out the salt.

To clarify Fat: To clean fat, put the fat in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to the boil, removing the scum as it rises. Strain into a bowl and leave to cool. When the fat has formed a solid cake, remove from bowl, and scrape off the impurities which will have settled at the bottom of the cake. Finally, put in a pan and heat slowly to drive off any water.

To clarify Margarine for greasing purposes: Heat the margarine in a saucepan until the sizzling sound has ceased—this means that the water has been driven off and the salt has fallen to the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour the fat which is left, through muslin into a bowl. The resulting clear oil is suitable for greasing purposes and should be kept liquid over a pan of warm water.

To render Fat or Suet: Cut the fat into small pieces, put into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue boiling until nearly all the water has evaporated, then cook more slowly, stirring occasionally. When the fat is ready it should be clear, and any piece of skin shrivelled and light brown in colour. Allow to cool slightly before straining through a fine strainer into a clean basin.

Fat may also be rendered in the oven. Cut it into pieces, place in a roasting tin in a warm oven until the fat has melted, and any piece of skin shrivelled. Strain into a clean basin, pressing the pieces of skin and tissue against the strainer to extract all the fat.
Do not have the heat too fierce for either method or the fat will burn and be spoiled.

To make Baking Powder: Mix well together 2 oz. ground rice, 2 oz. bicarbonate of soda and 4½ oz. cream of tartar or 2 oz. tartaric acid, and pass them through a fine sieve. Keep in an air-tight tin.

To make Breadcrumbs: Fresh white breadcrumbs: Remove the crusts from some bread that is at least 1 day old and either rub the bread through a fine wire sieve, or grate it; or rub between the palms of the hand until fine crumbs are obtained; the crusts are not used. Note: Fresh crumbs will not keep.

Dried white breadcrumbs are fresh white breadcrumbs which have been dried slowly. They may be dried in a very cool oven, or left in a warm place until thoroughly dry. They will keep for several weeks if kept in an air-tight tin or jar.

Any crumbs left over from egging and crumbing should be dried in the oven, passed through a sieve, and kept in an air-tight tin or jar for future use.

Browned breadcrumbs or raspings: Put the crusts or any pieces of stale bread in a moderate oven (350° F., Gas 4) and bake them until golden and crisp. Then crush them with a rolling-pin or put them through the mincer. Store in an air-tight tin or jar. Use for coating croquettes, fish cakes, rissoles, or for covering au gratin dishes.

Fried Breadcrumbs: Put some fresh, fine white breadcrumbs in a frying-pan or baking-tin, with a little butter; season with salt and pepper, and either fry or bake until well browned. Drain well on kitchen paper and serve hot with roast game.

Egging and crumbing: Food is often given a protective coating of egg and breadcrumbs before frying.

An egg, slightly beaten, is often used, but better results may be obtained by adding 1 teasp. salad oil, 1 dessertsp. milk and a little salt and pepper. Mix these together in a deep plate. Lightly flour the food to dry it, dip each piece individually in the egg coating and then toss lightly in plenty of crumbs held in a piece of kitchen paper, pressing them on firmly with the hand or knife blade. Shake off the loose crumbs. Use fine crumbs as they will adhere more firmly than coarse ones.
White breadcrumbs should be used for coating uncooked food and browned breadcrumbs (raspings) for coating food which is already cooked and only requires heating.

To make Egg Wash: Lightly beat together ½ teasp. salt and 1 egg with a fork. Use for glazing.

To mix Mustard: Mustard is usually prepared for use by simply mixing it smoothly with cold water, and it is generally considered of the right consistency when sufficiently moist to drop slowly from the spoon. A milder flavoured mustard may be obtained by mixing with cream or milk instead of water.

A more pungent mustard may be obtained by mixing a little chilli vinegar and cayenne with the mustard; add a good pinch of sugar to soften the flavour.
Mustard should be mixed only in small quantities, as it quickly loses its flavour and fresh appearance.

To make Panada: Put ½ pt. water, 1 oz. butter and a good pinch of salt into a small pan. When boiling, gradually stir in 4 oz. sifted flour and work vigorously with a wooden spoon over heat until the panada leaves the sides of the pan clear. Spread on a plate, and when cool, use as directed.

Panada is used to bind together ingredients which possess no adhesive properties themselves.

To make Quenelles: Use 2 dessertspoons. Dip one spoon into boiling water, shake off the surplus water, then fill it with quenelle mixture. Press the mixture from the sides and shape it into an oval shape with a knife dipped in hot water. Dip the second spoon into hot water and scoop the mixture carefully from the first spoon into the second, and place the quenelle in the pan.

To prepare Rice for Curry: Put ½ lb. Patna rice in a saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then strain, and hold the strainer under running cold water until the rice is thoroughly washed. Have ready 3–4 pt. boiling salted water, put in the rice, and cook for 12–15 min., then turn into a colander. Rinse with hot water, cover with a clean dry cloth, and leave in a warm place until dry (½–¾hr.), stirring occasionally with a fork.

The above is the better method of boiling rice for curry, but if time is short the following method cuts out the first boiling. Drop the dry rice into sufficient fast boiling salted water to keep it moving in the pan, boil for 7–10 min. Drain and dry as above.

To whisk Egg White: All utensils must be perfectly clean and free from grease, and once the process has been started it must be carried through without a break. Separate the egg whites from the yolks so that the whites are perfectly clean and free from egg yolk. Put the whites into a basin with a pinch of salt, then whisk until they stand up in firm peaks.

To make Meringue: To make meringue, whisk the egg whites as above and when stiff add half the quantity of sugar given in the recipe, one tablespoon at a time, whisking stiffly between each addition. Take out the whisk and lightly fold in the rest of the sugar with a metal spoon, taking care not to break down the meringue. Use at once.

Meringue is usually put into a cool oven to colour slightly, to set the egg, and to slightly caramelize the sugar.