The Queen's Pottage
Toasting the Queen's Pottage with a red hot fire shovel
This delicious soup is French in origin, the first printed recipe appearing in La Varenne's Le cuisinier françois published in Paris in 1651. A few years later it appeared in print in London in an English translation of this seminal work. The pottage was rapidly adopted by the English, appearing under various names in cookery books over the next 180 years. This delicate almond flavoured broth eventually became the White Soup so frequently encountered in the novels of Jane Austin. Sometimes it was called Hedgehog Soup because it was often garnished with little bread rolls spiked with almonds.
La Varenne's original recipe instructs us to toast the surface of the soup with a red hot fire shovel and to garnish it with pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts.
In addition our version of the pottage is served in a dish garnished in the English fashion with a ring of pastry round the soup and the rim of the dish decorated with shapes cut from carrots, turnips and spinach.
John Thacker's method of garnishing the rim of a soup dish
Clear Soup à la Princesse
(Consommé à la Princesse.)
Have some clear soup and garnish it with blanched and picked tarragon and lettuce (cut in Julienne strips), and savoury custard coloured red, yellow, and white and cut in any fancy designs. Serve very hot, putting in the garnish, which should have been rinsed in warm water, just at the last.
Savoury Custard (enough for eight persons). - Make a custard with four whole eggs, four tablespoonfuls of cream, milk, or clear stock, a little salt, coralline pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Divide it into three parts; colour one with Marshall's saffron yellow, one with Marshall's carmine, and leave one plain; tammy each separately and steam in buttered moulds. Do not let the custard boil, and when it is firm take up and leave till cold before cutting.
From A .B. Marshall Cookery Book (London: nd c.1880)
Garnished with pomegranate kernels and pistachio nuts, this almond and partridge soup is served here in a dish decorated with an ornamental collar of parboiled turnip, carrot and spinach. It is based on a design in John Thacker's The Art of Cookery (Newcastle: 1758).