Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Almond Soup

From Mrs Beeton's Household Management
INGREDIENTS:
4 lbs. of lean beef or veal 
1/2 a scrag of mutton 
1 oz. of vermicelli 
4 blades of mace, 6 cloves 
1/2 lb. of sweet almonds
 the yolks of 6 eggs
1 gill of thick cream
rather more than 2 quarts of water.

Mode.—Boil the beef, or veal, and the mutton, gently in water that will cover them, till the gravy is very strong, and the meat very tender; then strain off the gravy, and set it on the fire with the specified quantities of vermicelli, mace, and cloves, to 2 quarts. Let it boil till it has the flavour of the spices. Have ready the almonds, blanched and pounded very fine; the yolks of the eggs boiled hard; mixing the almonds, whilst pounding, with a little of the soup, lest the latter should grow oily. Pound them till they are a mere pulp, and keep adding to them, by degrees, a little soup until they are thoroughly mixed together. Let the soup be cool when mixing, and do it perfectly smooth. Strain it through a sieve, set it on the fire, stir frequently, and serve hot. Just before taking it up, add the cream.

Time.—3 hours.

Average cost per quart, 2s. 3d.

Seasonable all the year.

Sufficient for 8 persons.

THE ALMOND-TREE.—This tree is indigenous to the northern parts of Asia and Africa, but it is now cultivated in Europe, especially in the south of France, Italy, and Spain. It flowers in spring, and produces its fruit in August. Although there are two kinds of almonds, the sweet and the bitter, they are considered as only varieties of the same species. The best sweet almonds brought to England, are called the Syrian or Jordan, and come from Malaga; the inferior qualities are brought from Valentia and Italy. Bitter almonds come principally from Magadore. Anciently, the almond was much esteemed by the nations of the East. Jacob included it among the presents which he designed for Joseph. The Greeks called it the Greek or Thasian nut, and the Romans believed that by eating half a dozen of them, they were secured against drunkenness, however deeply they might imbibe. Almonds, however, are considered as very indigestible. The bitter contain, too, principles which produce two violent poisons,—prussic acid and a kind of volatile oil. It is consequently dangerous to eat them in large quantities. Almonds pounded together with a little sugar and water, however, produce a milk similar to that which is yielded by animals. Their oil is used for making fine soap, and their cake as a cosmetic.
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