Submitted by Editor on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 11:09


Now that the colder weather is upon us, many readers are doubtless looking for simple, wholesome, and comforting meals the whole family will enjoy without breaking the bank. 

Here instead is the first in a forthcoming series of recipes found in the pages of Mrs Williamson’s 1854 book The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life. (For more on this remarkable local figure, see Barclay Price’s article in Issue 289.)

Spurtle has occasionally adjusted the measurements and punctuation for a modern audience.

Today we begin with an ‘economical and elegant’ autumn warmer.


Take the two points of the hind houghs of an ox, from twelve to fourteen [pounds] in both. Wash them well, put them to boil in a large stew-pan, cover them with water and a little salt. Skim clean when comes to the boil.

Add one ounce of whole white pepper, one handful of sweet herbs, one handful of parsley. Let it boil slowly for four hours.

Take out the meat, cut off the grisly parts, lay them aside. Put back the bones into your stock.

Have a young fowl ready. Put it into the stock and let it boil for one hour. Take out the fowl, take all the fleshy parts off the breast, put the bones of the fowl back to the stock. Boil it another two hours. Take care not to reduce it too much; if it is, add a little boiling water, strain it through a sieve.

All this should be done the day before it is wanted.

When you are to use it, skim your stock clear, keep back the sediment, then trim all the grisly parts, cut them in small bits one inch square, add them to your soup.

Take the breast of the fowl and pound with a little lean ham. Season with white pepper, a little nutmeg, a very few bread crumbs. Mix them all together, drop in an egg and beat them up. Roll them up in small round balls, brown them a little in the frying pan, add two dozen to your soup.

Put in six egg balls. (See Egg Balls.) Have some girkins, cut them in small bits and add them to the soup.

Add one hundred of oysters, put them on the fire in their own liquor. Let them just come to the boil. Put them through the sieve; take off their beards. Just before you dish the soup, add them to it.

Do not let the soup boil after you have put in the oysters, otherwise it will spoil them.

Salt to taste, put a tea cupful of Madeira wine into the tureen. Make the soup very hot, serve it up.