I came across some Australian recipes from 1933; my attention was drawn by Nottingham pudding, and I wondered if it involved a Nottingham jar which was like a casserole dish – a ceramic pot with a lid in which delicious things could simmer and cook. Well, no; a Nottingham pudding is a sweet, spiced batter poured into a well buttered dish (it sounds a bit like a clafoutis) and peeled, cored whole apples set into it and cooked until they are soft and the batter is crispy and light… sounds very nice, actually!
On the same page was a recipe for candied lemon peel which involved a lot of processes including brining the lemons for four days and cooking them for two hours before anything else happened. There was another recipe, for Worcestershire sauce which seemed mainly vinegar and mushroom ketchup boiled for many hours with spices and lemon then left to stand for a week before bottling… then, the recipe tells us, it will keep indefinitely.
A boiled fruit cake and an apple yeast cake, are both what you would expect, both sounding as if they would taste very good with a nice cup of tea… maybe they are the sort of things I could take on the family holiday next year!
Then came a recipe which sounds most intriguing, but I don’t think I will ever try, partly because it involves young, green almonds before the kernels have set… which I can’t imagine me ever coming across! At home as a child there was often a jar of pickled walnuts in the cupboard, my dad and I both loved them – you never see them these days; I have occasionally bought a jar but they are just sour and nasty… maybe it is time playing tricks, but I remember they had ‘bite’ and a distinctive flavour.
So if I – or you should ever come across some young, green almonds before the kernels have set, here is the recipe you need:
- young, green almonds before the kernels have set (no quantities are given so just use your instincts!)
- salt for brine
- vinegar (enough to cover almonds)
- pickling spices
- wash the almonds thoroughly and prick with a darning needle (if you haven’t a darning needle, and I’m not sure any of us have such things these days, use a skewer or fork)
- . throw into a strong brine of salt and water (about a cup of salt to every quart of water) and leave for 24 hours
- heat the amount of vinegar required (enough to cover almonds), season with spices (as for pickled onions)
- bring to the boil and pour over the almonds
- put into jars and when cold tie down
- leave for at least a fortnight before using
I love recipes like this because it shows how people never used to waste anything; whatever the product or stage of its growth, or state of its condition it could be used for something.