Monday, February 22, 2016
Recently I've gotten a bee in my bonnet. And you know what happens when you get a bee in your bonnet? It stings you when you're not looking! Well, this time it stung me in a good way: I've become fascinated with Marguerite Patten's cookbooks.
Marguerite Patten was an English home economist who passed on last year at the venerable age of 99. I happened to discover her when I watched a couple of British TV shows online recently. In the show The 1940's House, Mrs. Patten talked about how she "made do" herself during the war and about how she worked with the Ministry of Food to make innovative recipes during times of severe food rationing. She was also a presenter on BBC radio during the war and became an author of cookbooks after.
Thanks to listings on eBay and Half.com, I've been able to find very good used copies of three of her cookbooks (for less than $4 each, including shipping). When the Complete Book of Teas arrived just the other day, I was fascinated. And I saw near the back of the book a recipe for something I almost never eat: eggs. It's not that I don't like eggs; I do but I have to be careful with them because I can have an odd allergic reaction (my head swells up). So I can eat something which has egg as an ingredient mixed well in but actually having an egg is rare, and I haven't for more than two years. I decided to risk it. Yeah, well, I'm not much of a daredevil, am I, but that's life.
I won't share the actual recipe since I'd prefer not to cause a bother with copyright but I will tell you what I did. I cut down the original recipe (it was family-size and I just need a single portion) and I had to substitute onion for leek. (It's rainy today so I wasn't going to the grocery anyway and certainly not just to buy one item.) Basically, I cooked potatoes with onion, mashed them, and lined a small casserole with the mash, building up at the sides. Hard-cooked an egg; sliced it. Made a small amount of white sauce with extra sharp cheddar. Layered the cheese sauce and sliced egg in the mashed potato nest. Topped it all with a bit more shredded cheddar and popped it in the oven for 25 minutes to get all bubbly and hot. Anglesey Egg. It was really tasty but it still made more than I could eat!