Thursday, August 25, 2011

History of Pizza and Robiola, Portobello and Zucchini Pizza with Truffle Oil

I went to many different sources to discover the one true history of pizza since I love to find these things out –– only to find––there really isn’t one.

I found a multitude of possibilities just for the origin of word… like lexicographer Charles Earl Funk’s opinion that the word "pie" came from "magpie" (called only “pie” in English until the 16th century and one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet—part of the crow family). That connection was inspired by the assortment of objects the birds collect to decorate their nests as a pie has many ingredients within its crust.  Are you following? Magpie is “pica” in Latin, meaning black and white, and that became pizza in time.  A stretch, don’t you think?

The first written example of the word pizza (that has been discovered to date) comes from a 997AD document from the southern Italian town of Gaeta, very near Naples.  It records that a tenant will give the bishop “duodecim pizze” (12 pizzas) every Christmas day and every Easter.  Another theory, from Your Dictionary, postulated that that the word Pizza came from German domination of Italy in the later part of the 1st millennium -- from the Germanic Langobard or Lombard (hence Lombardy region of Italy) language’s “bizzo” or “pizzo”, related to bite. There are other ideas… some truly far-fetched, others reasonable, but none were definitive.

Honestly, I don’t think we will ever know for sure

There were also many attempts to create an ancient lineage for Pizza.  It is easy to find flatbreads in the most ancient cultures, and eating bread topped with the rest of your dinner is quoted in Virgil’s (70-19BCE) Æneid where he talks about eating bread plates, “See, we devour the plates on which we feed.” The great Roman gourmet, Apicius, one writer posited, made a proto pizza (# 126 in Book IV, De Re Coquinaria) –– although I thought that was again stretching it, if you ask me. The recipe reads that on a hollowed out loaf of bread you place chicken, sweetbreads, cheese, pignoli nuts, cucumbers, chopped onions … that sounds right, but the writer neglected to mention it was covered in a jellied broth then chilled and covered with a dressing made of crushed herbs and flavorings (celery seed, pennyroyal, mint, ginger, fresh coriander and raisins were mashed up), oil, vinegar and honey added.  Honestly, that sounds more like a terrine or even a composed salad to me… delicious, but nothing like a pizza.  

A carbonized bread was found in Pompei along with marble slabs that could have been used for making pizza-like breads. I know my ancestors used bread for plates called trenchers in England for a thousand or more years but that’s not quite pizza, is it? There are pitas in the mideast and parathas in India but they aren’t  pizza... that’s not cooking the bread with a topping of tomatoes and cheese… that started in Naples…as far as we know.

Our idea of pizza came from a peasant food that became popular as the tomato became readily available.  At first, it was only sold from stands and bakeries. Antica Pizzaria Port’Alba came about in 1830 and was the first Pizza restaurant  (still going strong) that famously served the Margherita pizza at the request of a slumming Queen Margherita in 1889.  The mozzarella, tomato and basil topped pizza honored the colors of the flag and the Queen.  It was said she enjoyed it very much.

American pizza started slowly in NYC with Lombardi’s in 1905 and still delicious today (although it closed up for a few years and was re-opened near the original Spring Street location in 1994 by a descendant of the original Lombardi).  Pizza was popular with immigrants and Lombardis began selling 5¢ pies… sounds cheap these days but wasn’t for poor immigrants at the time.  To accommodate empty pockets they sliced them up and sold the slices so you could get as many as you could afford.

After WW2, soldiers came back from the European theater having eaten pizza in Italy and they wanted more.  Pizza parlors began springing up all over America to satisfy the new appetites for Italian pizza.

I love pizza and have experimented with various doughs and toppings for years. About a dozen years ago I found a pizza recipe in Gourmet that I have been making ever since.  I thought the crust was really flavorful and the rich cheese and mushrooms with the wonder of “boskily perfumed” truffle oil, (as Nigella Lawson once said), put it over the top.  This is not uncle Luigi’s pizza.

The zucchini is a great simple addition too, amidst the other more luxurious toppings.  Instead of chopping everything as the recipe had requested, when I found the gadzukes zucchini variety with ridges at the farmer’s market –– they sort of asked to be sliced.  I decided to slice some of my mushrooms too… a little chopping and a little slicing for  a little variety in the texture.

And then there’s the truffle oil.  My friend Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks and I have talked about real vs chemical.  I remembered Daniel Patterson’s NYT’s article  from a few years back that threw me for a loop.  There I discovered most truffle oil had never been anywhere near a truffle.  The smell came from 2,4-dithiapentane. Hmmm.  Many chefs still use it, other chefs are horrified by it.  Serious Eats’ Ed Levine quotes “Comparing truffle oil to real truffles is like comparing sniffing dirty underwear to having sex.” OUCH! Well, I don’t feel quite that strongly about it, in fact I have 3 different bottles in my fridge… one that I keep meaning to toss that’s lost all it’s flavor, another is really too strong and chemical and the last one that is fine… you just can’t use very much or the phony comes out in a big way.  I have found the best way to use the faux version is to combine it with good olive oil and then drizzle that… it calms down the strength of the chemical.

But I wanted to know, what does real truffle oil taste like?

So, I went to Oregon Truffle Oil to investigate and then bought the real deal from Amazon.  Real white truffle oil is delicate – sort of the ethereal spirit of a truffle in the oil.  I thought it was marvelous.  It is a little more expensive… the best phony I had was $18 and this is $30… but not horrendous.  I’ve already used it on pizza and drizzled it on a mushroom omelette that was fabulous.  If you want to be knocked over the head with truffle-ishness... this is not for you.  It is subtle.

I also recommend, as all good pizzerias do, that the dough be allowed to rise overnight… it maxes out the flavor and makes it more digestible!

Robiola Pizza, makes 2 pies

2 t yeast
1 T  oil
pinch sugar
1 - 1½  c water depending on your flour
2 ½ c flour + 1 cup extra
¼ c cornmeal
3 T whole wheat
1 ½ to 2 t salt

2 portobello mushrooms, chopped and sliced
4 shitaki mushrooms, chopped and sliced
2 m zucchini, sliced very thinly on a mandoline

1 pound robiola cheese, that would be 2 cheeses usually, rind top removed and scooped out (I used Robiola Due Latti) but you could use a camembert or other soft creamy cheese since robiola is pricey.  You can also just slice them with the rind… your call.

5 T cornmeal
½ c chopped chives
¼ cup chopped thyme
smoked salt & pepper

3-4 T white truffle oil

Combine all the crust ingredients and blend for 8 minutes in a stand mixer… it will be a wet dough.  Let it rise for about an hour and then spread the dough out (you may need a little extra flour for this) to make 2 pizzas on cornmeal covered pans… make them as thin as you like put into the fridge, covered, overnight (lightly oil plastic wrap or it will stick.  Or, refrigerate the dough in the bowl and make the pizzas the next day.

Toss vegetables and ½ the chives with salt and pepper.

Spread the robiola cheese over the crusts, one cheese per pizza.  I took the cheese out of the rind but it’s fine to just slice it and lay it on the dough.  Sprinkle with the vegetables.

500º for 15 minutes or until the crust looks the way you like it.

Sprinkle with remaining chives and thyme and serve.

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Butter Burgers and a little Hamburger History

Let’s just get this straight from the beginning… I had no idea about the history of the hamburger –– criminal, but true.    I decided I would rectify that rather large gap in my food history knowledge base. 

Hamburg Market 1811

Firstly… the myth is true… hamburger, at least the word, does come from the beautiful city of Hamburg in Germany.  The inspiration is a little fuzzier.  When I read it was Hamburg sailors who got the ball rolling, I had to check my map because I could have sworn Hamburg was landlocked… and I was right –– sort of.  Although the city is not on a seacoast, it is the junction of many rivers including the Elba and that made Hamburg a major trade stop on the way to the North Sea and Baltic Sea. 

The city of Hamburg was named after Hamburg Castle (built in 808 and long gone). It has grown to become the second largest city in Germany and made the “Ten Best Places to Live in the World” list last year.

I sort of love the idea that the birth and evolution of the hamburger took place in Hamburg because of its location… a multi-cultural crossroads.  There are rumblings that the Russian influence of steak tartar (which in turn was absorbed by the Russians from the Tartars, or Tatars who used to put raw steak under their saddles, using the “pound while you ride” system to tenderize the meat and add a certain je ne sais quoi to the flavor) flowed into Hamburg.  The Hamburgians made a meat dish called frikadeller (pan-fried minced meat, egg, soaked bread, sautéed onion, salt and pepper usually served with fried potatoes).   Hamburgian sailors and travelers brought a more durable version of this on their journeys that was made of salted and smoked minced meat, first mentioned as Hamburg steak in 1802.

By 1894, Delmonicos immortalized Hamburg steak in The Epicurean cookbook, even though something like it had been served at the restaurant both cooked and raw since the middle of the century.

Fanny Farmer had a recipe for hamburger in her 1896 Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

But when did it get the bun???  One story has it that in 1885 a messy meatball at a Seymour, Wisconsin State Fair was tamed by putting it between 2 slices of bread. There was a bunned burger mentioned in 1891 but it was the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904 that really got the bun and burger idea rolling.

White Castle came along in 1906, McDonalds in 1956 and the rest is history…. Americans now eat 4 hamburgers a month… 13 billion a year. 

 Photo of DB Burger from DB Bistro Moderne in NYC

For the flip side of the economy –– the side that eschews fast food and loves excess, there’s a $5000 Fleurburger in Vegas (with a bottle of Chateau Petrus, one of the most expensive wines in the world served in a Ichendorf Brunello glass) made with kobe beef, foie gras and a truffle sauce OR for the gourmet burger lover there is the famous DB Bistro burger with foie gras, braised short ribs and truffles at their centers on parmesan buns from the wicked mind of Daniel Boulud (cheap at $32 –– $75 with shaved truffles).

What about Butter Burgers?  The name probably came from dairy country –– a place called Solly’s (formerly Solly’s Coffee Shop, now Solly’s Grille) in Glendale, Wisconsin that’s been around since 1936. There the butter is chopped into the meat and then the burgers are fried in butter and served with stewed onions –– all that for under $5 –– not bad. There's also a Kroll's Hamburger (East and West) in Green Bay that's famous for butter burgers.

I started making my butter burger after reading an article years ago that had a few famous chefs sharing their favorite burger recipes.  I can’t find it anywhere so I could be remembering this all wrong –– BUT –– I’ve been making this burger for years and I could swear it was Julia Child’s idea.  I never really wrote it down and just put them together, making the herb butter with whatever I have around.  It always has garlic and parsley but I have done it with many different combinations like jalapeno, chili powder, cilantro and lime or truffle butter with madeira and loved the result.  I include a honey bun recipe I found on Annies Eats  and loved it for a change from my regular bun recipe.

I can’t finish this without talking about the beef.  Butter is a fabulous addition but the quality of the beef is what makes a burger shine.

I had nearly stopped eating beef and pork until a few years ago.  I had gotten sick a few times with ground beef (do you know half the time you think you have flu you have food poisoning??) so that I always ordered my burgers well done –– YUK (and this happened in good NYC restaurants).  I am a girl who likes her meat “black and blue” (charred on the outside and just warm on the inside) so well-done was a drag.  I also didn’t like all the bad news about the state of the beef/pork industry.  I call that kind of beef or pork “misery meat” as the animal spends its life sick and stressed... I didn’t want to support it anymore.

Andrew “Chip” Chiapinelli of Grazin Angus Acres at Union Square

Then I found Grazin Angus Acres at Union Square Market in NYC.

Dan Gibson (picture from the Grazin Angus Acres Site)

Dan Gibson’s 450-acre farm (plus more acres for harvesting hay) in Columbia County, NY is home to big, beautiful Black Angus cattle as well as a windmill for electricity!  They use pastured chickens for pest control and fertilizer (yeah, I get my gorgeous, orange-yolked eggs from them too). Oh yes, they are going to be offering pastured organic pork raised the same meticulous way very soon… can’t wait!

(picture from the Grazin Angus Acres Site)

I know I’ve told you about the benefits of grass-fed beef.  I’ve told you that feeding an herbivore corn is bad for them and gives them ulcers that require antibiotics because corn makes their normal PH stomachs turn acid.  It changes their fat from healthy and full of Omega 3’s to unhealthy, bad cholesterol-inducing fat and feedlots are a nightmare.  

These babies live longer lives to develop flavor.  Instead of 1000 pounds, they are allowed to reach 1300 and that’s what gives the meat the fine marbling and flavor.

The fat even has beta-carotene, you can see in the yellow fat on the left side. 

Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma can tell you all about the virtues of grass-fed (and Grazin Angus has a great set of links on their site HERE to tell you more about it) much better than I can in a few paragraphs.   You can eat beef knowing that the animal led a good, healthy life–– that means a lot to me.

The bottom line for cooks is that it is well-marbled and delicious.  Owner of Grazin Angus Acres, Dan Gibson says: “Our Black Angus are born on the grass here and raised on the grass here in compliance with Animal Welfare Approved standards.  They roam until they are large enough to be thoroughly finished, well marbled and tasty.  We carnivores are “hard-wired” to enjoy beef raised this way.  When you take the time that we do, you get a tender delicious steak with all the environmental, ecological, social and health benefits of grass-fed.”

I know, it is more expensive but I figure, eat better meat, even if a little less if you have budgetary concerns. Think of it this way, would you rather have one pair of gorgeous well made and designed shoes that you will keep for years or a few pair of poorly made and designed numbers from SHOES –R-US that self destruct in a year and hurt your feet??? 

ALSO, eating locally and supporting farmers directly is a great model with no middleman or store profits to take away from the farmer or to pad a bottom line and a CEO”S pocket while paying employees minimum wage. More money to the farmer! This makes farming more profitable which is too often not the case with the product being bought below cost by big stores.  There is a human cost to cheap food as well as a horrible cost to the environment and the animal world (Mark Bittman talks about sustainable farming this week in the NYT HERE ). 

I just saw a video from The Perennial Plate about Magnolia Farm in Oregon.  They raise beautiful sheep there and the owner Alissa quoted naturalist Henry Beston  who said "We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth." Gorgeous, right?

(picture from the Grazin Angus Acres site)

OK, I’ll get down off my soapbox … your reward for reading is the Butter Burger… a spectacular treat!

Butter Burgers serves 4- 8

2 pounds hamburger, salt and pepper

1 stick butter
3 T chopped chives or sautéed shallots
3-4 T chopped rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley… whatever fresh herbs you have
a splash of lemon juice or a few gratings of lemon zest (optional)
1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced
s & p

Your choice of fixings. I used lettuce, tomato, pickles (Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen has a great pickle recipe)  and Ketchup

Blend when butter is soft and form into a log and freeze or refrigerate. Slice off 4- 8 slices depending on the amount of burger you are using.

Form 4 - 8 burgers and insert the butter into center of the paddy and close well.  Fry or grill to your desired degree of doneness.

Have all your fixing ready to go.

Put the fixings on the bun, then the burger and top with another thin slice of butter and top with bun top.

Honey Whole Wheat Buns (makes 10, they freeze well) from Annie’s Eats

1 ¼ c milk
2 t yeast
2 c flour (plus a little more if the dough is too wet)
1 c whole wheat
½ t salt
¼ c honey (this makes them sweet… taste the dough… you may want 2- 3 T Honey)

2T butter, melted
1 T honey
sesame seeds

Put the first 7 ingredients in a stand mixer and blend for 8 minutes… it will be quite sticky.  Then let rise till doubled in size (or do as I do and let rise an hour then put in the fridge for a day or two to let the dough develop more flavor).

Take the dough and divide into 8-10 balls and put on a parchment-lined pan.  Cover and let rise till double.

Brush with honey and butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Cook for 15 minutes in a 350º oven, turning midway

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday!

PS:  Congratulations to our friend Karen at Globetrotter Diaries for making it on Saveur's Sites We Love.  She has a fabulous site with GORGEOUS photos and food and a great attitude.  She was also kind enough to mention Lostpastremembered, for which we are most grateful.

I hear people are having trouble leaving comments... I've tried a change... hope this helps.  Sometimes  you have to click twice!

Hey guys,  visit my friend Deborah Chud and her great new ap for cooking on the fly: Trufflehead.  It's cool, it's hip and it's simple.  Check her out here too.  Deborah runs the great site  A Doctor's Kitchen.  She has even shown a butterhound like me the path to eating better.  You'll love what she does.

Thanks to eHow for mentioning my butter burgers in their Burger slideshow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Knole House, The Sofa and Beef and Lamb Sausage Pie in Paste Royale

The original 17th c. Knole sofa

You may ask, why is a sofa the first thing you see on a food blog?   Well….

Before I began writing about food I spent many years as a film designer and furniture plays a part in that life… a rather big part.  Added to that, I have been an antique lover most of my life, buying my first piece when I was 16 (it was a small, late 17th c cabinet on stand that I still own –– referred to as ‘baby monster’ because of its long legs, carved with pagan designs that always made it look like it could walk away if it wanted to!).  Some pieces just speak to me… like the Knole sofa.

I have dreamed of owning a Knole sofa forever it seems, since the first time I laid eyes on a 19th century beauty with an 18th century tapestry back when I was still a teenager.

a 19th c. version of what I had in mind for myself with finials and cords from Lucy Johnson, Burford, England

I came close to getting one once, a real giant of a thing from an old Park Avenue palace –– but the realization that I could not get it into my 5th floor loft via the elevator-from-hell or the twisty stairs left only the odious crane option (discussed before vis-à-vis a giant AGA stove)… so, no sofa –– sigh.

I finally saw the holy grail of Knole sofas at Knole Castle a few weeks ago. Odd thing is, I could have sworn I’d seen ‘the original’ before –– in my brain it was a soft green and quite long. The surprise was that the real McCoy was tiny and red and the design was definitely a prototype of what was to come. The lovely finials and cords that I thought were original to the classic Knole sofa were a later addition –– but no matter –– here I was, feet away from the origin of my hearts desire.  And I felt the love in so many ways.

Let’s be fair, there is so much more to Knole than the little red sofa, and I enjoyed every inch of the place.  The house holds centuries of acquisitions but the happy circumstance of the 3rd Earl being the King’s chamberlain in the 17th century and a marriage to Frances Cranfield (Frances’ father Lionel, Earl of Middlesex had been treasurer to James the 1st) by the 5th Earl led to an enormous transfer of discarded royal furnishings.  Many came from Copt Hall  to Knole (Copt hall is now a beautiful ruin).  The permission to take the royal goodies was a perk of the positions and many great pieces came as part of the deal.  These fine core pieces give a strong spine and heart to the interior landscape of the place.

Knole by Derry Moore, 1985

Make no mistake, because of a family’s distinctive personality and evolution, Knole is one of the great houses of England. It’s not just about having pots of money.  There is a spirit that you feel here, forged in the culture of the Tudors and the Renaissance that lives within the walls and animates the spaces.  I love the confidence and the sense of quiet exuberance in  the house’s decorations. The National Trust book on the house quotes Vita Sackville-West when she said that Knole  “has a deep inward gaiety of some very old woman who has always been beautiful, who has had many lovers and seen many generations come and go…. It is above all, an English home…. It has the tone of England: it melts into the green of the garden turf, into the tawnier green of the park beyond, into the blue of the pale English sky.”  If I may say, Vita nailed it.

As those who visit here often know, this blog is as much about people, places, decoration and time as it is about food and they are wholly integrated in my mind. Culture informs the kitchen, doesn’t it? I’d like to think of history as part of the environment of the eating experience –– from food to plate to place to personality to time. Think of it as another kind of terroir… the ground from which the cuisine springs.   Knole Palace is a great repository of history, art, architecture and furniture thanks to the remarkable Sackville family who has lived there for centuries and lives there still. 

Thomas Sackville 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608)

Thomas Sackville leased Knole beginning in 1570, and purchased it in 1605. Sackville began making glorious improvements and additions to the dilapidated house using the finest royal craftsmen in 1604.  The house was already hundreds of years old when Sackville’s renovations began.  The estate was begun in the reign of King John (1166-1216), bought in 1456 by Cardinal Bourchier (the oldest remaining parts of the house are from his tenancy) and ran through a few famous owners including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I before it fell into Sackville’s hands.  It has 365 rooms, 52 staircases and 7 courtyards–– for this reason it is called a calendar house.  You really can’t conceive how big it is even when you are there.

Early 18th c view of Knole
1922 photograph from Vita Sackville-West’s book on the house Knole and the Sackvilles

even my wide angle lens can’t contain it!

There’s a lot to love about the house… beginning with the famous staircase and the notorious life-size statue of the 3rd Duke’s nude mistress Giovanna Baccelli at its base.

The staircase is a great favorite of mine.  I am a huge fan of grisaille.  I can imagine colorfully costumed guests and hosts being beautifully set off against the quiet grays and beiges as they descend the stairs –– even with the ebullient design of the paint patterns, the whimsical trompe-l’oeil stair railing echoing the real one  –– it would provide an elegant background –– the architecture’s twists and turns are more visually arresting and idiosyncratic than a grand wide path that was soon to become the fashion for staircases. I love the reveals of the angles.  Derry Moore captures the staircase beautifully (once again, I encourage you to buy his book, In House his photos are inspirational… you can glimpse them on his website  ).

Knole stairway by Derry Moore, 1985
The Sackville Leopard photograph from Glenister 1936
Derry Moore photograph
Giovanna Baccelli, the dancer/mistress of the 3rd Duke of Dorset  1949 Photograph 
3rd Duke of Dorset, John Frederick Sackville by Reynolds (1745-99)
Cartoon Gallery, Derry Moore photograph 1985

I do love the grand public rooms but here the bedrooms really captured my heart… quiet elegance and subtle tones … I was crazy about them.

In Orlando, Virginia Woolfe said of the Venetian ambassador’s bedroom “ The room… shone like a shell that has lain at the bottom of the sea for centuries and has been crusted over and painted a million tints by the water, it was rose and yellow, green and sand colored. It was frail as a shell, as iridescent and as empty.”

The Venetian Ambassador’s Bedroom (1730)

Lady Betty Germain’s Bedroom, late 17th c with a very important carpet of the same vintage – it was my favorite.

The Kings Room, 17th C. (the bed curtains once had a brilliant red lining that disintegrated and was lost – 13 years were spent restoring the rest of glorious fabric)

So, after all this, how did they eat?

The original dining room… now ballroom

The ‘family’ dining room, with the gorgeous mermaid frieze of masterful carvings by William Portington, has become the Ballroom but the Great Hall is a pretty spectacular venue for dining and had been used for large dinners since the house was built.  It has seen banquets we can only imagine.

The Great Hall from 1920’s watercolor in Historic English Interiors 

The Knole booklet, published by The National Trust, recounts directives for a 3 July, 1636 banquet:

“To perfume the room often in the meal with orange flower water upon a hot pan.  To have fresh bowls in every corner and flowers tied upon them, and sweet briar, stock, gilly-flowers, pinks, wall-flowers and any other sweet flowers in glasses and pots in every window and chimney.”

The menu for the banquet involved 2 courses of 33 dishes each!

Knole’s banquet inspired me to go with a recipe from May’s Accomplisht Cook since May would have been active in the kitchen in 1636.  I can imagine the Sackvilles and their guests loving May’s dishes and imagine further that something like them would have been served at that very banquet.

Great hall by Glenister, 1936
19th century dining at Knole

This is the last 17th century recipe I’m going to share for a while, but it’s a doozy – really does befit one the grandest houses in England.  I’ve been eyeing the recipe for the pie crust called Paste Royale for sometime… I really wanted to know what it tasted like and finally took the plunge.  Although it can be made with rosewater, I used my favorite rose from Aftelier.  It also had ambergris and saffron…. it was divinely good… just by itself… even raw! It perfumes your mouth when you eat it.  You can do it without the exotic ambergris, of course, but I wanted to try it with all the bells and whistles just this once. I encourage you to try it too. The meat is delicious with the delicate acidity of the verjus and the sweetness of reduced orange (although from what I understand, oranges of the day were not sweet).  The saffron makes the crust nearly glow a warm gold … it is really a dish for a King … or at the least a Duke!

Steak Pies the French Way inspired by The Accomplisht Cook

½ pound filet mignon, NY strip or rib-eye—any well-marbled meat, cubed and partially frozen
½ t nutmeg
½ t salt
½ t pepper

½ pound ground lamb
¼ cup combination of parsley, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme, hyssop, pennyroyal, marigold leaves chopped
2 T raisins
12 sage leaves
2 egg yolks or 1 egg
2 T cream
1/3 c bread crumbs
2 T suet, lard or butter
½ c verjuice
1 c orange juice, reduced to 3/4c

Season steak with pepper nutmeg and salt and allow to rest

Add chopped parsley, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme hyssop, pennyroyal, marigold leaves, raisins and egg yolks, cream, bread crumbs to the lamb and blend.  Make into meat balls.

Brown the meat and then the meatballs. 

Heat the oven to 375º

Cool and put them, put the beef back in the freezer for ½ an hour to keep the meat from overcooking and then put them both in the pie. Add the verjuice to the pan juices and pour over the meat in the pie. 

Cover with crust lid.  I tried to make the pie free standing and the butter crust didn’t have the stability of the suet crust I had used for chewetts. I recommend putting it into an 8” removable bottom pan to give support or put a role of foil around it in a larger round pan.  You could fit the lid on the pie or do it as I have done leaving open spaces… you will need to pour the orange juice into the pie so however you do it you need to have large vents to pour the juice

Bake the pie for 45 minutes. Fry sage leaves in butter. Carefully remove the top (if it attached) and add the sage leaves and orange juice

Paste Royale

1 ½ c white flour
½ c wholewheat flour
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
pea sized piece ambergris, grated (optional) you can get it at Ambergris Co. NZ
2 drops Aftelier rose absolute or 2 t rosewater
10 T butter, frozen

1 egg yolk
hefty pinch of saffron—rounded ¼ teaspoon?
4 T almond milk (put the saffron in it to color the liquid)
 up to ¼ c water 

Put the first ingredients in a food processor and pulse till roughly blended.  Add the almond milk and egg yolk and pulse.   Add enough water to make the mass come together (I like to do this with a fork, removing the blade… more control that way).  Grab 8 or so fist fulls and place on well-floured parchment.  Smear each one flat and stack.  Press into a round and refrigerate for a few hours.

* Sadly, no photographs are allowed inside the house so I couldn’t chronicle the million gorgeous details that I saw that were lost in the big, overview photographs that I found – even if they were great photos.  All the interior photos are from Knole literature, magazines or books.