Saturday, May 23, 2020

Potage Printanier or Spring Soup Recipe, May 1869

Today we made the second recipe for May 1860 in the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine.
Ingredients-
1/2 pint (1cup) of peas, if in season
A little chevril
2 shredded lettuces
2 onions (I halved and thinly sliced these to match the lettuce as there were no directions)
A very small bunch of parsley
2oz (60g) of butter
3 egg yokes
1 pint (2 cups) of water
2 quarts (1.9L) of stock 
Method-
(Prepare the vegetables)
Put in a very clean stewpan, the chevril,  lettuces,  onions, parsley, and butter in 1 pint (2 cups) of water,  and let them simmer till tender.
Season with salt and pepper; when done,  strain off the vegetables and put two thirds of the liqour they were boiled in to the stock. 
Beat up the yokes of the eggs with the other third, give it a toss over the fire, and at the moment of serving, 
Add this with the vegetables which you strained off, to the soup. 
Time- 3/4 hour
Serves 8 people

Summary-
This is a lovely light soup. It is very simple and easy to prepare. I would definitely recommend this soup in spring,  over the more common modern heavy soups. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Pioneer Women's Walking Trail pt 2

Today we were blessed enough to have a child free afternoon, as Amelia had a playdate.  This was the perfect opportunity to walk the next stage of the Pioneer Women's Walking Trail. This stage was 7kms one way. We began in Bridgewater where we stopped for lunch on the first stage. For this walk I squeezed myself into my 1865 skirt with only petticoat supports. There are a lot of blackberries on the path, which are not kind to crinoline sized skirts.  I paired the skirt with a blouse and Spanish jacket as I wanted a more "activewear" look. This was also the first opportunity to wear my new hat.  I am very proud that it was very comfortable and stable on my head. 
We made our way from Bridgewater to Stirling. This was a long stage,  so we only walked one way.  There is a bus that goes past both points making it easy to return to your vehicle.  The bus goes every half an hour.
This stage is beautiful for the first 3kms. Once you leave the mill you walk along a path at the top of an amazing stone wall with a creak at the bottom. 
There is a fairy garden a little further up the trail and then a beautiful uphill walk through a national park. 
After the incline,  there is a decline that skirts past a golf course.  Once you cross the golf course the remainder of the walk is along roads and not as pleasant.  There was a gem of a bridge. 
I'm glad we were able to complete the 7kms of this stage in 2 hours,  but I doubt we will walk the whole distance again.  In future we will probably turn back at the golf course and return top Bridgewater.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Soup a la Julienne May 1860

Soup a la Julienne - May 1860
For my birthday this year,  Nicolas purchased a copy of May 1860 to April 1861 Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine. As you can imagine I was excited to begin reading and cooking now that Nicolas had finished installing my wood oven. 
There was a delay in beginning as I found that I needed to grow some French herbs. The first recipe from May is Soup a la Julienne. This recipe is 160 years old this month. 
To preserve the book,  I transcribed the recipe onto recipe cards. 

Ingredients-
1/2 pint or 1 cup of carrot
1/2 pint or 1 cup of turnip
1/4 pint or 1/2 cup of onions
2-3 leeks
1 head of celery
1 lettuce
A little sorrel and chervil
2oz or 57g of butter
2 quarts or 1.9 litres of stock

Method-
Cut carrots, turnips, leeks, onion and celery into very thin strips of 1 1/4 inches long or just over 3cms in length.  Be particular they are all the same size, or some will be hard whilst others will be done to a pulp. (Keep the carrot separate.)  Cut the lettuce,  chervil and sorrel into larger pieces.
Fry the carrots in the butter,  and pour the stock boiling to them. When this is done,  add all the other vegetables, and herbs, and stew gently for at least an hour. 
Skim off all the fat, pour the soup over thin slices of bread, cut round about the size of a shilling and serve. 
(mine were a tad larger than my shilling. We also decided to serve our soup on soup plates made by Copland Spode in the Itallian pattern dated from 1816 to 20th century)
Summary- this is a delicious vegetable soup that requires a skillful hand with a knife.  Well worth the effort. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pioneer Women's Walking Trail

Over the years we have moved away from organised events and towards more private living history experiences.  Lately,  we have found these to be more enjoyable and fulfilling.  I hope that by blogging our adventures we may help to inspire others to enjoy their lives and love of history without being limited to attending events. I often see comments online
similar to,  "I wish I had somewhere to wear historical clothes...". We only get one life,  so as long as no one is being hurt,  I want to live my life to the fullest. 
Near our home in the Adelaide Hills there is a famous historical walking trail.  The first German Lutheran settler women would walk this trail from Hahndorf into the city of Adelaide to sell their produce. The full trail was over 35kms one way.  In the 1980s the trail was identified and parts of it were repaired and marked for modern pedestrian use. We hope to one day walk the full trail in period.
Today we walked the 3km section of the trail between Verdun (originally known as Grunthal) and Bridgewater (6kms return). This track is stunning at this time of year.  The recent rains meant that the creek and waterfalls were flowing. 
The Autumn leaves also made for a very picturesque scene. The walk had multiple steep inclines and even a stone creek crossing. 
Near the start of the repaired trail at Verdun we found the most amazing giant red mushrooms. 
There was also a miniature steed.
This was a beautiful walk and we should highly recommend it for either historical or modern adventurers. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

1850s Walk up Mount Barker

Today we decided to go on an ISO walk up Mount Barker. The walk is 1.2kms from the road to the summit. It is quite an incline,  but has an amazing road to walk on. The small stones are more hazardous on the decent. 
We were blessed with a beautiful sunny Autumn day in the 20sC. 
The last .2kms of the walk is a narrow path with a variety of native trees.
Miss Amelia May even found one that she could hide in. 
At the Summit,  we had a picnic lunch and water from our torpedo bottles. 
Nic brought his telescope and went exploring while we sat and attempted painting watercolour paintings. 
On our return walk Nic made Amelia a hankie flag that made her extremely happy. 
I love our living history walks. We always have an amazing time. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Re Shaping A Straw Hat c.1860s

I've been needing a new hat for a while now.  Most of my straw hats are late 1850s and early 1860s. Lately, I've been focusing on 1861-1866. My wide brim hats,  while beautiful and suitable in the Australian heat, are not as fashionable. 

I found 2 very damaged straw hats in an op shop for very little a few years ago.  They had a circular high crown with a circumference too small for my head. 
I needed to make it larger,  flat on top and oval.  I pulled out all the thread and soaked the straw in hot water. 
Once wet I pinned the straw with long quilting pins. I then sewed the straw into shape.  When wet the straw is very flexible.  It will even dry warped if you leave the pins in.  Thankfully another soaking will help smooth it out. 
Once it was sewn I steamed it smooth and into the desired shape. 
My hats get a lot of use and from experience I've learnt to always reinforce my straw shapes.  I tacked milinary wire to the inside of the brim.
Next is my favorite part.. trimming. I reused ribbon from a bonnet with too long ties. It was too short, so I left a gap in the front.  I tacked the ribbon and added extra gold ribbon from my scrap stash.
Next I placed flowers from my milinary box.  Most were birthday gifts from my husband when I was pregnant. I twist and pin the flowers until I have a design I like. 
Once nice I tack them on, not worrying about how neat it is inside. 
The reason it does not need to be neat is because I will line the brim with silk.  I cut a strip of silk the width of the brim with seam allowance included.  
I then ran a single father stitch and tacked it just inside the edge of the brim. 
Once fully attached you can pleat or gather the silk into the crown. I like to pleat and I'm not over careful as the brim is curved which changes the way it appears anyway. I tack the silk down with a curved needle. 
From here I have 3 options depending on how OCD I feel about a part of the hat no one will ever see.  I can full bag line it on cotton,  I can trim and bias tape the silk edge or just whip stitch the silk ends in place.
As the silk is shedding bad I decided to bias tape the edge as leaving the top unlined will hopefully help with air flow when it is very hot.