Today it is 69th National Independence Day in India. It’s a national holiday and I got some time to post on my blog. Colette is a write, writing many blogs for my site as a guest. Thank you Colette for giving importance to my little blog. I wish her works will read and appreciated by all readers, food lovers and blogger friends.
Let us learn some of the delicious Indian recipes which experimented by our guest writer and culinarian Colette Ni Reamonn Ioannidou from the country of lovely beaches, Cyprus. She experimenting with the book titled THE INDIAN COOKERY BOOK THE KITCHEN IN INDIA was published by Wyman & Co., Publishers in 1879. There is an interesting story behind how she got this book. To read the preface about this guest post click here: The Anthropology & Some Indo-Cyprus Recipes by Colette.
Due to her age Collette is suffering from eye problems and I wish her good health.
KNIGHT OF THE BROOM
(Indo-Cyprus Recipes by Colette)
“Finally, one other suggestion is of no little importance, viz, cats, dogs, and sweepers, as a rule, have no business in the kitchen.”
Bear in mind here the ‘sweeper’ is a person. It continues: The sweeper, or, as he is elsewhere called, “knight of the broom,” should only be admitted either before the operations of the day have commenced, or after their final termination. Ninety-nine sweepers out of a hundred know that intrusions in the kitchen are against all established rule throughout the length and breadth of India; and yet, if the master or mistress be indifferent, not only the knight but his lady also will indulge their fingers in many a savoury pie. It is no uncommon thing to find them constantly in kitchens of houses of gentlemen ignorant of this rule, peeling potatoes, shelling peas, and performing other offices for the cook, in expectation of some return for such assistance or services rendered.
Can’t you almost feel the writer looking down a long aristocratic nose at the prospect of a common ‘sweeper’ daring to handle food, as that was written? I found this morsel on page 10:
1. RICE CONGEE:
The water in which rice is boiled should never be thrown away: it is nutritious and fattening for all cattle, horses included, and may be given daily to milch cows and goats with great advantage. That brought back a childhood in which nothing was wasted; the chicken stock was a favourite all-rounder. Mashed potatoes left over from a main meal were later mixed with sage or thyme, salt and black pepper, and fried in Irish butter till the outer layer turned rich crispy brown. Slivered onions and fresh parsley were favourite optional additions.
2. Ball Curry of Liver and Udder:
Get one pound each of liver and udder: thoroughly wash and parboil them, then cut them into pieces, put into a mortar, and pound them to a pulp; mix with pepper, salt, herbs, bread-crumbs, and an egg; make into balls, and curry them in the same manner as any other ball curries.
I’m sure there are people in India, depending on religious sensitivities, who would not dream of eating a cow’s udder. And, I think, there are quite a few Brits who wouldn’t eat one either! When we came to Cyprus there were so many delicious meals to be enjoyed and, having been a Yoga practitioner for years, I was well aware of the value given to organ meats. Cypriots too, know that value. When a true Cypriot eats a chicken, he even sucks the marrow from the bones! Years of poverty made people appreciate every scrap of food. An old man once told me of how he used to trap hedgehogs to eat.
I ate liver as an anaemic child only if it was totally disguised with onions and rich gravy cooked with all the guile my mother could bring to bear on making it taste less like bloody meat. In Cyprus, I politely declined to acquire a taste for animal testicles dressed up to look like potato cakes once I knew what they were. My young son took to them with sheer exuberance – until he found out what part of the animal he was tucking into.
3. FOOD COLOURING FOR JELLIES, CREAMS, ICES, AND CAKES
The fascinating thing about this book for me is the way it shows how much the people in charge of kitchens had to make for themselves and the utensils also show ‘age’. Boil very slowly in a gill of water, till reduced to one half, twenty grams of cochineal, and the same quantity of alum and cream of tartar finely pounded; strain, and keep in a small phial.
For yellow, use an infusion of saffron.
For green, wash well and pull into small bits, a handful of spinach leaves; put them into a closely-covered saucepan, let them boil for a sew minutes, and then press the juice.
Are there places in India where housewives still make their own colouring?
4. POOR MAN’S CHAMPAGNE
Put a pint of Scotch ale into a jug, and add a bottle of good ginger beer.
5. MANGO AMCHOOR
Peel and quarter some green mangoes; sprinkle with salt, and expose them to the sun until they begin to dry up; then rub them with dry pounded turmeric, chillies and dry ginger; sprinkle more salt and expose them to the sun again until they are quite dried up, when they may be bottled and kept for use.
In Lefkara, the village of my mother-in-law, many years ago, they used to dry fruits on the roofs of the houses. The villagers make wonderful fig cakes by mashing the figs into fat little circles and adding chopped blanched almonds to the mix. They also make a super sweet by repeatedly dipping a string of almonds into grape juice mixed with flour and allowing it to solidify. This long sausage-like treat goes down very well as a nibble to compliment a relaxing evening drink. The village is, however, mostly famous for its handmade lace, a skill taught to the ladies of Lefkara by the ladies of the Venetian court who fled the heat of the central plain in the summer for the blissful cool of hill villages like Lefkara. That lace is still made today.
One thing is sure no matter where we live the joy of having good food to eat and the blessings of nature in their purest state. It’s a sad thing that there are people in the world today with more money hoarded in banks than they could spend in three life times and children still go hungry.