An Alphabet of Valuable Information on the Preparation of Food A LMONDS may be blanched by putting them to soak for a quarter of an hour in boiling water, and afterwards plunging them into cold water, when the skin may be removed quite easily.
Apples will peel easily if scalding water is poured over them. The skins may be easily slipped off, and much labour and waste saved.
If you find a difficulty in making your apples cook in a pudding, instead of adding sugar, which is the usual way, put in a small piece of butter. DfAGON should be soaked in cold water – for three or four minutes before frying. This will prevent the fat from running, and will make the bacon go much further. On the other hand, the oil which comes from it may be used for pastry making and frying fish.
Bacon fat should be used for basting or frying chicken or game. It imparts a delicate flavour.
Beef should be a deep red colour, and the fat a pure white. The finer pieces are generally veined with fat. No mark should remain when pressed with the finger, and the flesh should be quite firm.
Bread crusts or crumbs of bread left over should be dried, put aside for rolling and dipping, or be used in scalloped dishes.
Browning may be made by putting half a pound of brown sugar into a pan and stirring steadily over the fire till it becomes a deep, dark-brown colour. Then add one cupful of boiling water and a tea-spoonful of salt, boil for a minute longer, bottle, and keep corked.
Butter should never be used for frying purposes, except when expressly stated in a recipe.
Butter may be tested by smearing a little of it on a clean piece of paper, which should be rolled up and set alight. If the butter is pure the smell is pleasant, otherwise it is decidedly tallowy.
If in doubt whether you are getting genuine butter or margarine, jou can settle the question by holding a level spoonful of the substance above a gas flame. If the contents shows a sort of foam when heated it is real butter. Otherwise, the cow had little or no part in its manufacture.
ABBAGE WATER must not be poured down sinks, as it causes an offensive smell. When cool pour it on the ground; it is an excellent fertilizer.
Cheese-gratings, kept in well-corked bottles, will be found useful for omelets, macaroni, etc.
No scraps of cheese should ever be wasted. The very driest can always be grated and used in soup or omelets, or served with lettuce, or spread on sandwiches.
Citron should be cut small – that is, in pieces not over half an inch square and a quarter of an inch thick. Candied lemon or orange peel should be treated in the same manner.
Coffee should never be ground long before it is required for use. It should also be kept closely covered, as it not only speedily loses its strength, but quickly absorbs the flavour of anything near it.
Coffee made with a judicious blend of different kinds produces a better beverage than any single coffee. Add a pinch of salt to it before pouring on the boiling water. This brings out the aroma in a wonderful way. __,
Colouring will not be required for hashes, soups, and stews if the onion used has its outer skin left on.
Cream is sometimes difficult to whip up properly, but if a few drops of lemon-juice are added it will soon become thick. Care must be taken not to add too much, as that would make it curdle.
Currants must be thoroughly cleaned and dried before using for puddings, cakes, or mincemeat. Spread them out on a damp cloth, and pick out all stalks and bits. Afterwards rub them well in the cloth, then put a little flour over them, and rub them dry in a clean cloth or on a sieve.
Curries will never be failures if the cook remembers that slow, steady simmering is absolutely necessary.
Custards should be cooked gently in a moderate oven, or they will become watery. When baking a custard, place the dish in hot water in a larger pie-dish. This will prevent the custard being full of tiny holes when sufficiently baked. Use milk which has been boiled, as it will be richer, and also set quite firm.
RRIPPING may be clarified by pour– ing it while hot into a basin containing cold water. When hard, remove the top, scrape underneath, and it is ready for use.
Dripping can be substituted for butter for cakes and buns by adding the baking-powder to it and beating it to a cream, which disguises any strong flavour. te GGS with thin shells are less liable to r crack when boiled if put in cold water and slowly brought to the boil.
An egg is fresh when the inside does not shake; when it will not stand up or float in water; when the shell has a clear, semi-transparent look if hold before a candle.
When boiling eggs, put on the lid of the saucepan, and the eggs will have a much finer flavour.
When an eggshell is cracked, the white usually comes out when the egg is boiled. This can be prevontcd by wrapping the egg in tissue paper. As soon as the paper gets wet it will seal the crack.
If a hard-boiled egg is plunged into cold water immediately it is taken from the saucepan, the yolk will not become black on the outside.
To improve the flavour of scrambled eggs, add a dessertspoonful of rich brown gravy just before they are served.
A pinch of salt added to eggs when beat-ing will make them froth much more quickly. Rinse the bowl they are beaten in in cold water before using.
Always use a silver fork for beating an egg instead of a steel one, as the phosphorus of the yolk attacks the stoel and forms a disagreeable salt.
Crack hard-boiled eggs at each end and the shells will peel off easily. 17 AT should always go in tin, never in earthenwaro.
Flour for pastrj should have a faint yellowish tint, and when pressed in the hand should lump. Keep in a dry place. Damp flour makes heavy bread and cakes.
Fruit that has been stewed should have sugar added after the fruit is cooked. 9Tir it gently with a wooden spoon.
Fruit will require less sugar for sweeten-ing if, when it is stewed, a pinch of car-bonate of soda be added to it to lessen the acidity of the juico.
GREENS will preserve their colour if – plenty of salt is put into the water in which they are boiled. T_TAM is greatly improved if, after being boiled, it i8 wrapped in buttered paper and baked for an hour. To keep it fresh and moist after being cut, cover with lard or dripping.
Hashes of cold meat, if made in a casserole, will always be much nicer than when made in a saucepan.
Herbs should be gathered in dry weather, early in the morning. Dry them
slowly in the sun or a cool oven, and tie them up in bags mado of newspapers.
Honey, if kept in a dark place, as the bees keep it, will not granulate.
JAM may be kept from mildew by dipping rounds of white paper into the white of an egg, and laying them on the tops of the jars or pots. Cover closely, and the jam will keep perfectly clear.
Jelly should not be put into the mould until it is on the point of setting. If there is any difficulty in turning it out, place a hot cloth round the mould for a few seconds. TXIDNEYS should not be touched with a fork when being turned. Toss or shake them in the pan; this will retain the gravy.
T EMONS may be kept fresh for several – weeks if placod in a jar and covered with water. The water must be often changed.
Weekly will save much anxiety and valuable timo as to each days catering.
Milk may be boiled without risk of scorching if the saucepan is well rinsed in cold water before using.
A tiny pinch of carbonate of soda or salt put into the milk as soon as it arrives will help to prevent it from turning sour. Milk keeps better in a shallow pan than in a jug.
Mint may be chopped quickly if it is sprinkled with sugar.
Mushrooms, or dishes containing them, should never be warmed up. After getting cold they are liable to develop injurious properties and to become hurtful. Therefore, when cooked, they should be served and eaten at once.
Mutton dripping may be made soft and usable for pastry if it is clarified with about half a pound of lard to one pound of dripping and a few drops of lemon-juice added.
NJUTMEGS should be selected by A pricking them with a pin. If they are good the oil will instantly spread round the hole.
ONIONS will not hurt the eyes if they are peeled in a basin of water or under a running tap.
Ovens may be tested for correct heat by placing a sheet of white paper inside. If it burns or turns black, the oven is too hot; if brown, it is right for pastry; if dark yellow, cakes may be baked; and if light yellow, biscuits can be put in.
If the oven gets too hot while you are baking cake or bread, put a basin of cold wator in it instoad of leaving the door open to cool it.
Oysters may be opened easily by placing them on the warm stove for a second, then inserting the knife between the thin portions of the shell.
DARSLEY that has drooped may be A restored to its original colour by placing in a basin with a small piece of salt. Pour over boiling water, and the parsley will quickly pick up.
Pork when in prime condition is very elastic, and when the flesh is pressed with the finger the surface quickly becomes level again, and the flesh feels cool and firm. Pork that shows small white specks in the flesh should be rejected.
Potatoes can be prevented from turning black by adding a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water in which they are cooked.
When mashing potatoes, to make them light and creamy, beat well with a fork, adding a little hot milk. If cold milk is used it will make them heavy.
Potatoes that are boiled in their skins have a much better flavour than those which are peeled before cooking.
Prick potatoes with a fork before baking, so that the air may escape and the tubers not burst. The oven should be only moderately hot at first.
Potatoes that have been cooked and left over may be utilized by mixing with the meat for croquettes instead of breadcrumbs.
If potatoes are placed for a few minutes in boiling water in which a pinoh of soda has been dropped they can be scraped with ease.
F AISINS may be stoned quite easily. Have ready a basin of hot water to keep dipping the fingers in. It keeps them clean, and the stones sink to the bottom of the basin, saving time and trouble.
Refrigerators are cxponsivo, and in warm weather it is difficult to keep milk fresh. It is a good plan to stand a jug containing milk in a large earthenware dish of cold water, covering the jug with clean muslin which has been previously saturated and wrung out, bnt allowing the edges of the muslin to remain in the water. Stand the whole in a place where there is likely to be a steady draught. Butter may also be kept in this way. Place it in a pie-dish in the water, cover it with a clean flower pot first and then with the muslin.
Rhubarb which is young and tender only needs wiping with a damp cloth before using. It docs not require peeling.
Rice cooked in milk instead of water has a much richer flavour. It must be watched closely while cooking, as it will burn quickly, and should not be stirred.
SALMON will keep its beautiful colour if a pinch of carbonate of soda is put in the water when boiling.
Salt is apt to become cakod in its cellars. Put into thorn a pinch of ground arrowroot, and the salt will remain perfectly dry and fine.
Sardine oil may be used for frying fish if the flavour is liked.
Sausages should be rolled in flour before being cooked. It will provent them breaking, and also improve the flavour.
Suet may be kept for a week or ton day3 if all the skin is removed and it is chopped quite finely and mixed with a quarter its weight of flour. Mix the two woll together, and keep in a large uncovered basin or jar.
Another method is to chop the suet up as if for use, and put it in a basin or stew-jar. Place this in the oven until it is melted, taking care not to lot it scorch. It will then keep good for several weeks. THINNED FOODS should be kept as A cold as possible. Never open the tin until required for use at once. To test the quality of the food within, press the bottom of the tin. If it makes a noise like the rattle of a sowing-machine oil-can when pressed it is not air-tight, and must not be used.
Tomatoes may be peeled easily by scalding them in boiling water and then dipping them into cold water.
If they are a little over-ripe, tomatoes should be placed in a basin of cold water to which a pinch of salt has been added, and allowed to stand for a short time. The salt will mako them firmer. 7EAL should be white, smooth, and juicy, the fat firm, white, and abundant. Stale veal is moist and clammy, and there is a faint, musty smell.
Vegetables should be washed in lukewarm water. After thorough washing, a soaking in cold water crisps them considerably.
Vegetables with a pronounced odour should be kept apart from those that have no definite odour. Looks or celory, if kept in the same basket as salads, cauliflowers, etc., will quickly ruin their flavour.
Vinegar should never be kept in a stone jar. The acid will affect the glazing, and the vinegar be rendered unwholesome. W7ASTE LEAVES of vegetables and potato-peelings should be burned; if thrown into the dustbin they will decay, and help to create bad smells and fever.
Wooden spoons are best to use in mixing foods.