I have been busy with classes at Southern New Hampshire University where I will soon earn my Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. This fact has certainly contributed to my lack of blogging on “Preserved and Pickled”. I won't graduate until the spring of 2017, but will continue to add to this blog when the muse and the moment arrive. In the meantime, please bookmark my page; come back to visit and explore all the posts whenever you can.
My intention has always been to preserve the traditional. With that in mind, I offer the following post for potting up an old Victorian favorite, Gentleman's Relish. Of course, you can always browse through my old favorites, cataloged to the right of the page, as those I have posted here are tried and true favorites. Whatever your pleasure may be, I hope you enjoy my offerings.
RELISH THE TASTE OF GENTLEMAN'S RELISH
The English seem to love condiments. In fact, when I think of definitively English foods, besides roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, tea and scones, I think of of English pickles and sauces: Branston Pickle, HP Sauce, Piccalilli, Marmite, Coleman's Mustard, Lea & Perrins. It would seem that no other country, except the United States, has such a diversity of sauces, relishes, conserves, jams, jellies, pickles and condiments, than England who is also influenced by many different cultures. So here, then, is condiment from English days of yore, a salty blend of anchovies, butter, herbs and spices epitomizing the height of good taste for yesteryear's elite, Patum Peperium, also known as "Gentleman's Relish", whose recipe has remained a closely guarded secret since it was first created by John Osborn in 1828.
Traditionally spread on toast, it also adds a "kick" to other sauces or gravies and can even be spread on sandwiches. It is an ingredient for Scotch Woodcock - a Victorian snack served at the end of a meal (recipe below). I discovered this 'Patum Peperium' knock-off recipe when researching Victorian foods and recipes, as Paul and I are slowly restoring a lovely Victorian home in the Lime Rock section of Salisbury in Connecticut's Northwest Corner.
In the 'olden' days, lean meat was preserved by cooking, then grinding or finely chopping it into a paste using a mortar. Salt and spices were added before the spiced meat paste was tightly packed, or potted, and covered with a thick layer of melted butter or lard. Gentleman's Relish uses fish instead of meat, so I believe topping with a clarified butter before popping into the refrigerator is best.
Osborn’s secret recipe was passed from father to son for more than a century until 1971 when the last two brothers sold the company to the jam manufacturers Elsenham. Elsenham has kept the tradition of secrecy, with reportedly no single company member knowing the full ingredients of the recipe, but there are several knock-offs for Gentleman's Relish bouncing around the internet.
I adore salty little fish on my Caesar Salad, on pizza, or on a cracker with sharp Vermont cheddar. When I found this recipe by French Tart on Food.com. I had to try it. I've converted the recipe to U.S. measurements.
For a clearer understanding of what exactly this relish is and how to use it this article published by the Daily Mail and written by Tom Parker Bowles is quite helpful.
7.5 ounces anchovies , drained coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
1/3 pound unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground mace
1 pinch ground ginger
1 dash fresh black pepper
Using a food processor blend the anchovies and butter until they resemble a smooth paste.
Incorporate the spices ( I first blended them all together first ) into the anchovy paste. Spoon the paste into a large ramekin. Cover with clarified butter and chill.
Stores in refrigerator for up to a month.
This savory dish was popular in Victorian and Edwardian days when it was served at the end of a meal. This recipe was published on All British Food.com
2 large slices whole grain bread
Sweet Butter for spreading
4 - 6 tbsp fresh Raw Milk
Dash cayenne pepper
1 can anchovies (1 3/4 oz), drained or fresh White anchovy fillets
1. Toast the bread, remove the crusts and spread with butter. Cut in half and spread with Gentleman's Relish.
2. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan. Whisk together the milk, eggs and cayenne pepper, then pour into the pan and stir slowly over a gentle heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir until creamy.
3. Divide the mixture between the anchovy toasts and top with thin strips of anchovy fillet, arranged in a crisscross pattern.
CHEESE AND MUSHROOM CANAPE
Thoroughly mix cream cheese with Gentleman's Relish, lemon juice, chopped olives and chopped parsley. Cap a raw mushroom and stuff with the mixture.