Recipes from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) 1828

To sweeten Meat, &c. that is tainted.

Meat, fish, or poultry, that has been flyblown, or become tainted, may be effectually restored, by putting a few pieces of charcoal into the pot or saucepan to boil with the fish or flesh, which will be found to come out perfectly sweet, frequently when it has appeared to have been too far gone to be eatable.

To preserve Fruits, &c.

Take 8 lbs. molasses, bright New Orleans or Sugar House; 8 lbs. pure water; 1 lb. coarsely powdered charcoal; boil them together for twenty minutes, then strain the mixture through fine flannel, double—put it again in the kettle with the white of an egg—boil it gently, till it forms a syrup of proper consistency, then strain it again.

To make English Coffee or Breakfast Powder.

Roast any quantity of rye or wheat in a common, but clean frying pan, over a clear fire, till it begins to darken in colour; then, from the point of a knife, continue putting small bits of honey or butter, stirring it all the time, till it becomes of a deep chestnut brown. On taking it off the fire, stir it about till cool. After being ground, and made like real coffee, few persons can discover any difference.

Substitute for Tea.

A correspondent informs us that a composition of the following dried herbs is much superior to coffee or tea, inasmuch as the infusion will invigorate, instead of debilitating the nervous system, and of course strengthen the stomach:— Rosemary leaves, 2oz., sage leaves, 4 ditto rose leaves, 4 ditto, peach leaves, 3 ditto, hyssop leaves, 4 ditto, balm leaves, 4 ditto, male speedwell, 4 ditto; a wine glass is sufficient to make a pint infusion.

A cheap method of making Bread.

Twelve lb. of boiled potatoes, to 20 lb. of wheat flour. The potatoes should be boiled over-night, and stand near the kitchen fire in a cullender (sic) all night to drain. In the morning they are quite dry; and, broken carefully, and reduced to flour, nothing else is to be done but to mix them with the wheat flour, and make the bread in the usual way. I can assert from experience, that the only difference between this, and bread made entirely of wheat flour, is, that the potato bread is sweeter and lighter, and has been invariably preferred.—Economist.

Ginger Beer.

Get a gallon of fine soft water, and put into it about 2 lb. of the best-refined lump sugar; a couple of fresh lemons finely sliced; two ounces of the best fresh powdered ginger; and a dessertspoonful of cream of tartar. Let these simmer over the fire for half an hour, taking care not to let them boil. Then add a tablespoonful of yeast, ferment it in the usual way, and bottle it for use. You will thus have a gallon of excellent and wholesome beer, which will strengthen the stomach, dispel wind in the bowels, and give new life to the constitution.

To make Currant Wine.

Take the currants when fully ripe on a dry day, pick them from the stalks into a tub, bruise them well with a wooden bat or mash stick until every berry be broken. Let them stand for twenty-four hours, then run them through a hair sieve, not touching them with your hands, and put to every gallon of juice two pounds and a half of fine Lisbon or Siam sugar well dried.— Stir this well in and work it. When the fermentation is over, put it in your casks with a small portion of brandy about one gill to a gallon of wine. This will be fit to bottle off in two months, at which time it may be used. 

To improve water for drinking.

Boil the water, and put it in common barrel churn, where it may be agitated to any degree that may be wished for. In the course of its being thus agitated, it will absorb atmospheric air and other elastic fluids with which it may come in contact. It will thus become a liquor, safe, palatable, and wholesome, to be obtained with little trouble and expense, and accessible to everyone. Another method to render water truly delicious is, after having it boiled and filtered, to cause it to be churned as above directed, and then bottled, with a couple of dried raisins in each bottle. This will give it a sufficient quantity of fixed air.

Mustard.

Why buy this, when you can grow it in your garden? The stuff you buy is half drugs and is injurious to health. A yard square of ground, sown with common mustard, the crop of which you would grind for use, in a little mustard-mill, as you wanted it, would save you some money, and probably save your life. Your mustard would look brown instead of yellow, but the former colour is as good as the latter; and, as to the taste, the real mustard has certainly a much better flavour than that of the drugs and flour, which go under the name of mustard. Let anyone try it, and I am sure he will never use the drugs again. The drugs, if you take them freely, leave a burning at the pit of your stomach, which the real mustard does not.— Cobbett’s Cottage Economy.

To preserve Butter.

Take two parts of the best common salt, one part good loaf sugar, and one part saltpetre; beat them well together. To sixteen ounces of butter thoroughly cleansed from the milk, put one ounce of this composition; work it well, and pot down when [it’s] become firm and cold. The butter thus preserved is the better for keeping, and should not be used under a month. This article should be kept from the air and is best in pots of the best-glazed earth, that will hold from ten to fourteen pounds each.

To preserve Butter for Winter, the best way.

When the butter has been prepared as above directed, take two parts of the best common salt, one part of good loaf sugar, and one part of saltpetre, beaten and blended well together. Of this composition put one ounce to sixteen ounces of butter, and work it well together in a mass. Press it into the pans after the butter is become cool; for friction, though it be not touched by the hands, will soften it. The pans should hold ten or twelve pounds each. On the top put some salt; and when that is turned to brine, if not enough to cover the butter entirely, add some strong salt and water. It requires only then to be covered from the dust.

Salting Mutton and Beef.

Very fat mutton may be salted to great advantage; and also smoked, and maybe kept thus a long while—not the shoulders and legs, but the back of the sheep. I have never made any flitches of sheep-bacon: but, I will; for, there is nothing like having a store of meat in a house. The running to the butcher’s daily is a ridiculous thing. The very idea of being fed, of a family being fed, by daily supplies, has something in it perfectly tormenting. One-half of the time of a mistress of a house, the affairs of which are carried on in this way, is taken up in talking about what is to begot for dinner, and in negotiating with the butcher. One single moment spent at table beyond what is absolutely necessary is a moment very shamefully spent; but, to suffer a system of domestic economy, which unnecessarily wastes daily an hour or two of the mistress’s time in hunting for the provision for the repast, is a shame indeed; and, when we consider, how much time is generally spent in this and in equally absurd ways, it is no wonder, that we see so little performed by numerous individuals as they do perform during the course of their lives. Very fat parts of beef may be salted and smoked in like manner. Not the lean; for that is a great waste, and is, in short, good for nothing. Poor fellows on board of ships are compelled to eat it; but, it is a very bad thing.—Cobbett’s Cottage Economy.

Yeast Cakes.

The materials for a good batch of cakes are as follows:—Three ounces of good fresh hops, 3½ pounds of rye flour, 7 pounds of Indian cornmeal, and one gallon of water. Rub the hops so as to separate them; put them into the water, which is to be boiling at the time; let them boil half an hour, then strain the liquor through a fine sieve into an earthen vessel. While the liquor is hot, put in the rye-flour; stirring the liquor well, and quickly as the rye-flour goes into it. The day after, when it is working, put in the Indian meal, stirring it well as it goes in. Before the Indian meal is all in, the mess will be very stiff; and, it will, in fact, be dough, very much of the consistency of the dough that bread is made of. Take this dough; knead it well, as you would for pie-crust. Roll it out with a rolling pin, as you roll out pie-crust, to the thickness of about a third of an inch. When you have it (or a part of it at a time) rolled out, cut it up into cakes with a tumbler-glass turned upside-down, or with something else that will answer the same purpose. Take a clean board (a tin may be better) and put the cakes to dry in the sun. Turn them every day; let them receive no wet, and they will become as hard as ship biscuit. Put them in a bag, or box, and keep them in a place perfectly free from damp. When you bake, take two cakes, of the thickness above-mentioned, and about three inches in diameter; put them in hot water, over-night, having cracked them first. Let the vessel containing them stand near the fire-place all night. They will dissolve by the morning, and then you use them in setting your sponge (as it is called) precisely as you would use the yeast of beer.—Cobbett’s Cottage Economy.

How to make Ale.

A gentleman, who has given many methods of making ale a trial, has informed us that he has found the following to answer best. The ale is not only more fine and pleasant to the palate than that prepared from malt and hops in the usual manner, but certainly much more salubrious; the decoction of bran prevents the liquor from advancing to the acetous fermentation in the stomach, and at the same time tends to obviate costiveness. He states that he had suffered many years from the effects of indigestion, viz. flatulence, heartburn, costiveness, and general nervousness, all of which have left him since he adopted this liquor. Two great recommendations are, the simplicity and cheapness:—Boil two bushels of bran in twenty gallons of water for two hours; then strain off the liquor, while boiling, on a bushel of malt. After standing four hours (closely covered), draw off the liquor, and dissolve in it eight pounds of good moist sugar, and two pounds of good honey.— Then boil it gently for half an hour. Infuse a pound and a half of the Mathon white hop, in three gallons of boiling water closely covered, for four hours, and then press off the liquid, and add to it the above. The infusion should be made early, that the hops after the liquor is strained off, may be boiled with a decoction of bran, sugar, &c. When the liquor is reduced to the temperature of 65 deg. add a pint of yeast, then put it into an eighteen-gallon cask, and fill it up with water of the same temperature that has been boiled. If more than two gallons be required, it may be poured over the remaining grains. It should then be fermented for four days in an atmosphere of the temperature of sixty. This gentleman has found the Mathon white hop superior to any other. It not only affords a more pleasant and mild bitter, but much more aroma than the Kent or any other Worcestershire hop. He agrees with us, that the intense bitter extract which some species of the Kent hop affords is poisonous. The Mathon white is unquestionable, on account of its mild bitter, and a great proportion of aroma, very superior to any other we have examined.—Gazette of Health.

Source:  Domestic Economy and Useful Family Receipts. (1828, April 1). Colonial Advocate, and Tasmanian Monthly Review and Register (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1828), p. 30.

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