Modern Practical Cookery has a chapter of suggestions of a menu for each month; it is not as extensive as the recipes and suggestions given in The National Mark Calendar of Cooking which was published in the same year. Modern practical Cookery offers a complete meal for six people plus a table decoration – in July what could be sweeter than sweet peas! “Sweet peas – shall they be pink or spiritual mauve? Shades of one colour with a little fairy-like greenery make a gracious summer centre-piece.”

Whether it is the type of sweet peas we now grow, or the effects of climate change, sweet peas now blossom from May to June… Or so I’ve heard!

So here is the menu:

salmon mayonnaise
roast loin of lamb
new potatoes, peas and carrots
gooseberry pie and cream
tomato toast

Proof readers were so good in times gone by, and yet in the actual menu the book suggests a ‘lion of lamb’ – an accidental Biblical connotation! The actual recipe for the lamb has it correctly as ‘loin’. The salmon, when cooked is decorated with slices of hardboiled egg, a few capers and a dish of sliced cucumber, on a bed of lettuce and endive, and the mayonnaise is home-made with tarragon vinegar. The five or six pound loin of lamb should be cooked for an hour and three-quarters, which sounds as if it will be nice and pink. and served with mint sauce and a thin gravy made from the drippings and stock. The new potatoes will be served with butter and chopped parsley, the carrots should be cubed and mixed with the peas and tossed in butter when cooked.

The gooseberry pie, dredged with castor sugar is served cold with cream. and the tomato toast, which I don’t think would appear on any menu as the finale of a dinner, is made with crisp cooked bacon, cooked slices of tomato, cheese and plenty of pepper, garnished with parsley.

although there are things we might not serve, or we may do things differently, the amount of herbs gives a lovely fresh feel to this menu… I bet the food smelt lovely! Tarragon, mint, parsley – summer cooking!

2 thoughts on “A little dinner for July

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