Roses proudest and best!

Looking at my nearly ninety year old cookery book and I can see they have a rather splendid menu for June! The monthly menus all have a suggested table decoration, and doesn’t this sound simple yet effective:

Roses – and they will look their proudest and best if they are in a bowl of cut crystal. (Choose thick-stemmed roses, and scrape the ends) It is best to buy the day before, so that they have time to open a little.

The menu ends with a savoury, which I think we would find strange – unless it was cheese and biscuits. The starter is asparagus, ‘the perfect beginning for a little dinner in June. Here you will find it, the first of our four delightful dishes in a menu arranged for six people.


MIlannaise cutlets
Potato chips
Caramel trifle
Eggs on cocottes

The asparagus should be simply served, the recipe suggests with oiled butter – which we would call clarified butter. I’d not heard of Milannaise cutlets, but they are trimmed, egged, breaded, fried cutlets, served with thick gravy poured around them and a white sauce on top. The white sauce isn’t just a plain white sauce, it’s flavoured with onion juice, 2 oz each of  ham, mushrooms and broken spaghetti pieces.

If I were to use this menu, I would choose a different, fresher dessert, however caramel trifle does sound rather nice – but would I want to follow it with eggs en cocottes with cheese sauce and slices of tomato and gherkin!

If you fancy the caramel trifle, here’s the recipe:

Caramel trifle

  • square sponge cake sliced into four, or eight sponge fingers
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pint milk
  • cooking sherry or rum
  • apricot jam
  • 1 dsp castor sugar
  • 2 castor sugar
  • whipped cream
  • walnut halves
  1. make a caramel with the 2oz sugar and 1/8 pt water, let cool
  2. heat the milk and add the caramel and dissolve
  3. add beaten eggs to caramel milk, strain and heat it over hot water or in a bain marie until it thickens
  4. add the 1dsp castor sugar and leave to cool
  5. place sponge in a serving dish and spread with jam, then soak with sherry/rum
  6. pour over cooled custard
  7. when set and chilled, decorate with cream and walnuts

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