What is Taste of the Past?

Taste of the Past is where I share my love of traditional cookery. Recipes from the days before TV dinners and microwaves right down the ages to the earliest cook books that I can get my hands on. I hope you enjoy my experiments as much as I do. Please share your own ideas, efforts and feedback in the comments.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Real Gravy

Real, Old Fashioned Gravy

Ok, making gravy is really very easy as long you are willing to go through the basic first step of roasting a large chunk of meat.  That bit out of the way, the rest is simple.


1 Roast a chicken, keep it covered for most of the time and only uncover for the last 30 minutes when you want to give the bird a good baste with the juices anyway.
2 once cooked, remove the chicken to a plate, cover and leave for around 15 to 20 minutes to relax.
3 Put your roast tin on the hob over a very gentle heat
4 Add some liquid that will help de-glaze the pan.  I usually use a good slug of white wine here but you could also use, water from your boiling vegetable, beer (good if meat you roasted was beef), cider (pork) or red wine.  Even plain boiling water will do.  Use a good 4 tablespoons or so.
5 Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the liquids around and try to gently un-stick as much of the cooked on chicken as you can.
6 Let it simmer for a short while.
7 Pour the liquid through a sieve into a small sauce pan
Place back on the heat
Put 1 or 2 teaspoons of cornflour into a small, heat proof dish.
Bring the gravy back up to a simmer
Pour 1 tsp of gravy into the cornflour
Mix it up to make a paste, adding a little more as necessary.
You want a thick liquid.
The add a teaspoon of the cornflour paste back into the gravy.
As the cornflour boils it will thicken the gravy.
You will need to experiment with how much cornflour to add.
If you need more gravy then add more hot water, preferably from your boiling veg.

Adjust until you have a gravy consistency you like.  Try not to make more than you need as you will be watering down all that lovely chicken flavour.

Please, please. please do not add the cornflour straight into the gravy, it will be really lumpy and you will have to strain it again only this time your sieve will get really yucky with cornflour.  If you do do this, and to be honest, I have done it when in a rush, (big mistake), get the sieve into hot water immediately.

In theory it should be possible to thicken this with other types of flour such as potato flour or rise flour.  I haven't tried it but from using them to bake with I would try potato flour first.

Dairy Free Fish Pate

Hello, it's been awhile since I posted anything here, the time just seems to get away from me at the moment.  Anyway, this is more of a record for me but below is a rough recipe for dairy free fish pate.

My little boy can't really eat much dairy and lately I have been looking at ways of getting more fish into our diet.  Like a lot of English people I really am not that confident at cooking with fish.  I can take a large salmon, stuff with ginger and butter etc and produce a very nice dinner indeed.

In fact this general recipe of fish, stuffing, cover in pastry or wrap in paper and heat in some way is a good, basic recipe for a lot of fish I suspect.  However for those days when I don't want to spend most of the weekly shopping budget on one meal, I needed some new ideas.

So here it is:

1 tin of cooked butter beans
2 fillets of smoked fish (the kind you get vac-packed in the supermarket)
lemon juice
black pepper
olive oil or other oil

Blitz in the food processor.

That is really it.  I fond that I needed about 2 tablespoons of oil because the beans are so dry.  Be generous with the lemon and black pepper as well but leave them out if your family don't like them.

Spread on toast or stuff into pitta bread with some sliced cucumber and off you go.

Original recipe

1 small tub of soft cheese
smoked fish
black pepper
lemon juice

Blitze in food processor.

Both versions are delicious but the cheese based one is really creamy.

The bean based version is a bit lower in fat, dairy free and probably has a longer shelf life if stored in the fridge.

No photos today but the Cheese ones looks a pale cream colour and the bean based version looks a lot like humus.  It isn't very photogenic but my family just ate a lot of it.

Try adding your favourite combination of herbs to change the flavour.