THE BELGIAN COOKBOOK
THE BELGIAN COOKBOOK
David Starner Sergio Cangiano and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE BELGIAN COOK-BOOK
MRS. BRIAN LUCK
"Lucullus whom frugality could charm
Ate roasted turnips at the Sabine Farm."
The recipes in this little book have been sent by Belgian refugees from
all parts of the United Kingdom and it is through the kindness of these
correspondents that I have been able to compile it. It is thought also
that British cooking may benefit by the study of Belgian dishes.
The perfect cook like Mrs. 'Arris or the fourth dimension is often
heard of but never actually found so this small manual is offered for
the use of the work-a-day and inexperienced mistress and maid. It is not
written in the interests of millionaires. The recipes are simple and
most inexpensive rather for persons of moderate means than for those who
can follow the famous directions for a certain savory: "Take a leg of
mutton" etc. A shelf of provisions should be valued like love-making
not only for itself but for what it may become.
SAVORIES: If you serve these let them be like an ankle small and neat
and alluring. This dish is not obligatory; recollect that it is but a
culinary work of supererogation.
SOUP: Let your soup be extremely hot; do not let it be like the
Laodiceans. You know what St. John said about them and you would be
sorry to think of your soup sharing the fate which he describes with such
saintly verve. Be sure that your soup has a good foundation and avoid
the Italian method of making _consomme_ which is to put a pot of
water on to warm and to drive a cow past the door.
FISH: It is a truism to say that fish should be absolutely fresh yet
only too many cooks think during the week-end that fish is like the
manna of the Hebrews which was imbued with Sabbatarian principles that
kept it fresh from Saturday to Monday. I implore of you to think
differently about fish. It is a most nourishing and strengthening food
--other qualities it has too if one must believe the anecdote of the
Sultan Saladin and the two anchorites.
MEAT: If your meat must be cooked in water let it not boil but merely
simmer; let the pot just whisper agreeably of a good dish to come. Do you
know what an English tourist said looking into a Moorish cooking-pot?
"What have you got there? Mutton and rice?" "For the moment Sidi it is
mutton and rice" said the Moorish cook; "but in two hours inshallah
when the garlic has kissed the pot it will be the most delicious
comforter from Mecca to Casa Blanca." Simmer and season then your
meats and let the onion (if not garlic) just kiss the pot even if you
allow no further intimacy between them. Use bay-leaves spices herbs of
all sorts vinegar cloves; and never forget pepper and salt.
Game is like Love the best appreciated when it begins to go. Only
experience will teach you on blowing up the breast feathers of a
pheasant whether it ought to be cooked to-day or to-morrow. Men as a
rule are very particular about the dressing of game though they may not
all be able to tell like the Frenchman upon which of her legs a
partridge was in the habit of sitting. Game should be underdone rather
than well done; it should never be without well-buttered toast underneath
it to collect the gravy and the knife to carve it with should be very
VEGETABLES: Nearly all these are at their best (like brunettes) just
before they are fully matured. So says a great authority and no doubt he
is thinking of young peas and beans lettuces and asparagus. Try to dress
such things as potatoes parsnips cabbages carrots in other ways than
simply boiled in water for the water often removes the flavor and leaves
the fiber. Do not let your vegetable-dishes remind your guests of
Froissart's account of Scotchmen's food which was "rubbed in a little
SWEETS: It is difficult to give any general directions for sweets. They
should be made to look attractive and they should be constantly varied.
The same remarks apply to savories which last ought always to be highly
seasoned whether hot or cold.
MADE DISHES are a great feature in this little book. I have tried to help
those small households who cook let us say a leg of mutton on Sunday
and then see it meander through the week in various guises till it ends
its days honorable as soup on the following Friday. Endeavor to hide from
your husband that you are making that leg of mutton almost achieve
eternal life. It is noticeable that men are attracted to a house where
there is good cooking and the most unapproachable beings are rendered
accessible by the pleasantness of a _souffle_ or the aroma of a
roast duck. You must have observed that a certain number of single men
have their hearts very "wishful" towards their cook. Not infrequently
they marry that cook; but it is less that she is a good and charming
woman than that she is a good and charming cook. Ponder this therefore;
for I have known men otherwise happy who long for a good beef-steak
pudding as vainly as the Golden Ass longed for a meal of roses. Try
these recipes for really good rissoles and hashes. Twice-cooked meat can
always be alleviated by mushrooms or tomatoes. Remember that the
discovery of a new dish is of more use than the discovery of a new star
--besides which you will get much more praise for it. And if on Wednesday
you find that you have to eat the same part of the very same animal that
you had on Monday do not pray become exasperated; treat it
affectionately as I treat my black hat which becomes more ravishing
every time that I alter it. Only do not buy extravagant make-weight for
a scrap of cold meat that would be best used in a mince patty or you
will be like a man keeping a horse in order to grow mushrooms.
And lastly the good cook must learn about food what every sensible
woman learns about love--how best to utilize the cold remains.
After you have boiled a cauliflower it is a great extravagance to throw
away the liquor; it is delicately flavored and forms the basis of a good
soup. Wash well your cauliflower taking great care to remove all grit
and insects. Place it to simmer with its head downwards in salted water;
and when it is tender remove it. Now for the soup. Let all the outer
leaves and odd bits simmer well then pass them through a sieve. Fry some
chopped onions add the liquor of the cauliflower and the pieces that
have been rubbed through the sieve add a little white pepper and a slice
of brown bread. Let all cook gently for half-an-hour then just before
serving it take out the slice of bread and sprinkle in two teaspoonfuls
of grated Gruyere cheese.
When you buy fish and have it filleted ask for the bones and trimmings
to be sent also. Put a quart of milk to heat and add to it a bunch of
mixed herbs a few minced shallots parsley pepper and salt. Throw in
your fish and cook for an hour. If you have any celery put in a piece or
two or three white artichokes. Strain the soup taste it and add more
salt or more milk as you think necessary. Return to the pan. Take the
yolk of an egg and just before taking the soup from the fire stir it
quickly in. This soup must never boil. It should be made out of the very
white fish excluding herring and mackerel.
If you have a pork-bone from the fresh meat let it boil in water for an
hour. Put the pan to cool and take off the fat and remove the bone.
Replace the pan on the fire and throw into it two pounds of Brussels
sprouts. Do not add onions to this soup but leeks and the hearts of
cabbage. Pepper and spice to taste. Rub it through a sieve and let it be
thick enough to form a thin puree.
IMMEDIATE SOUP OR TEN MINUTES SOUP
Into a quart of boiling water throw two tablespoonfuls of either semolina
or tapioca: let it boil for eight minutes with a dust of salt and pepper.
Meanwhile take your tureen put quickly into it two yolks of very fresh
eggs add two pats of butter and two small spoonfuls of water to mix it.
Stir quickly with the spoon and when the soup has done its eight
minutes' boiling pour it on the egg and butter in the tureen. This is an
extremely good soup. It is rendered still better by a small quantity of
Put a bone of veal on to cook in water with four or five potatoes
according to the quantity desired. When these are tender pass them
through the tammy and return them to the soup. Chop up the chervil
adding to it half a dessert-spoonful of cornflour. Quarter of an hour
before serving put in the chervil but take the cover off the pot so
that it remains a good green color. Pepper and salt to be added also.
[_V. Verachtert Cafe Appelmans Anvers._]
A GOOD PEA SOUP
Soak your dried peas over-night. The following day boil some fresh water
and throw in the peas adding a few chopped onions and leeks with pepper
and salt. Let the soup simmer for three hours on the top of the stove
giving it a stir now and then. If you have a ham-bone that is a great
improvement or the water in which some bacon has been boiled is a good
foundation for the soup instead of the fresh water.
[_Mdlle. M. Schmidt._]
This is an essentially Flemish soup. One uses carp eels tench roach
perches barbel for the real waterzoei is always made of different kinds
of fish. Take two pounds of fish cut off the heads and tails which you
will fry lightly in butter adding to make the sauce a mixed carrot and
onion three cloves a pinch of white pepper a sprig of parsley one of
thyme a bay-leaf; pour in two-thirds of water and one-third of white
wine till it more than covers the ingredients and let it simmer for half-
an-hour. Then the pieces of fish must be cut an equal size and they are
placed to cook quickly in this liquor for twenty minutes. Five minutes
before serving add a lemon peeled and cut into slices and the pips
removed. Some people bind the sauce with breadcrumbs grated and browned.
You serve with this dish very thin slices of bread and butter. For
English tastes the heads and tails should be removed when dressing the
A GOOD BELGIAN SOUP
is called _creme de saute_. Itself one of the most wholesome of
vegetables watercress combines admirably with potatoes in making soup.
Wash dry and chop finely four ounces of the leaves picked from the
stalks fry slowly for five minutes with or without a thinly-sliced
onion add one pound of potatoes cut in small dice and fry still very
slowly without browning; pour in one quart of water or thin stock
simmer gently closely-covered for from thirty-five to fifty minutes
rub through a hair sieve and having returned the puree to the saucepan
with a half-teaspoonful of castor sugar and salt and cayenne to taste
thicken with one table-spoonful of flour stirred smoothly into one
breakfast-cupful of cold milk; boil up sharply and serve sprinkled with
Cook two pounds of Brussels sprouts in boiling water. Take them out
drain them and toss them in butter for five minutes sprinkle them with a
teaspoonful of flour and then cook them in gravy (or meat extract and
water) fast boiling over a good fire and keep the lid of the saucepan
off so that they may remain green. Pass them through the sieve leave
them in ten minutes bind the mixture with the yolks of three eggs a
pint of milk; then at the last minute one dessert-spoonful of butter for
each pint and a half of soup.
A pint and a half of either fresh peas or of dried peas that have been
soaked for six hours in cold water; a leek and three onions chopped
finely. Simmer till the peas are tender then pass all through the sieve.
Well wash some sorrel and chop it and add as much as will be to your
taste. In another pan cook five tablespoonfuls of rice and add that
to your soup. Simmer up again stirring it all very well. This soup
should be of a green color.
[_Mme. Georges Goffaux._]
CRECY SOUP (BELGIAN RECIPE)
Take ten carrots two onions one leek five potatoes and cook all
gently in water with salt and pepper; when they are tender rub them
through the sieve and serve it very hot.
To two pounds of washed and picked Brussels sprouts add ten potatoes two
onions two leeks salt pepper. Cook all gently and pass through a
sieve. Add at the last moment a sprinkle of chopped chervil.
Begin by cleaning four potatoes two leeks a celery four carrots three
pounds of big tomatoes; well wash all these vegetables and cut them in
dice the tomatoes a little larger. Cook them all gently for an hour in
nearly two pints of gravy to which you have already added two thick
slices of bread and a pinch of salt. Take care that your vegetables do
not stick to the bottom of the pan. When all is well cooked pass it
through a fine tammy. Add more gravy or water and meat juice; make it of
the consistency that you wish. Bring it to the boil again over the fire
adding pepper and salt and just before serving a bit of fresh butter
also. It is a great improvement to add at the last minute the yolk of an
egg mixed in a little cold water quickly stirred in when the soup is
off the fire.
The three recipes for seven or eight persons.
Mince some thick onions five or six and let them color over the fire in
butter. Add a dessert-spoonful of flour sprinkling it in and the same
amount in gravy; thicken it with potatoes and when these are cooked
peas all through a sieve. Bring the puree to the right consistency with
milk and let it simmer for a few minutes before serving adding pepper
Make a good gravy with one and one-half pounds of skirt of beef. With one
half of the gravy make a very good puree of peas--if possible the green
peas--with the other half make a good puree of tomatoes. Combine the two
purees adding pepper and salt and a dust of cayenne. For each guest add
to the soup a teaspoonful of Madeira wine beat it all well and serve
quickly. Or add instead of Madeira one dessert-spoonful of sherry wine.
This celebrated soup is honored by the name of the glorious defender of
Boil together six medium potatoes a celery two leeks two carrots and
a pound of fresh tomatoes with pepper salt and a leaf of bay. Pass all
through the sieve. Fry two or three chopped onions in some butter and add
the soup to them. Boil up again for twenty minutes before serving. If you
have no fresh tomatoes the tinned ones can be used removing the skin
at the same time that you add the fried onions.
[_Mme. van Praet._]
SOUP CREAM OF ASPARAGUS
Boil some potatoes and pass them through the sieve add the asparagus-
tops with a pat of butter for each four tops; thin the soup with extract
of meat and water and at the last moment stir in the raw yolks of two
eggs and a little chopped parsley.
[_Mme. van Praet._]
GREEN PEA SOUP
Put half a pound of dry green peas to soak overnight in water with a
teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda in it. In the morning take out the
peas and put them on the fire in about three-and-a-half pints of water.
When the peas are nearly cooked add five big potatoes. When all is
cooked enough for the skins to come off easily rub all through a sieve.
Fry in some butter four or five onions and five or six leeks till they
are brown or failing butter use some fat of beef; add these to the
peas and boil together a good half-hour. If possible add a pig's trotter
cut into four which makes the soup most excellent. When ready to serve
remove the four pieces of trotter. Little dice of fried bread should be
handed with the soup.
Fry four onions till they are brown. Add them to three pints of water
with four carrots a slice of white crumb of bread five potatoes a
celery and a bunch of parsley which you must take out before passing the
soup through the sieve. A few tomatoes make the soup better; if they are
tinned do not add them till after the soup has been passed through the
tammy; if they are fresh put them in with the other vegetables. Simmer
for an hour add pepper and salt before serving.
MUSHROOM CREAM SOUP
On a good white stock foundation for which you have used milk and a bone
of veal sprinkle in some ground rice till it thickens stirring it well
for twenty minutes. Wash and chop your mushrooms and fry them in butter.
Add the yolk of an egg and bind it. This is a delicious soup.
[_Mme. van Marcke de Lunessen._]
THE SOLDIER'S VEGETABLE SOUP
(Eight to ten persons)
Peel three pounds of vegetables. Put them in a large pot with all the
vegetables that you can find according to the season. In the winter you
will take four celeries four leeks two turnips a cabbage two onions
pepper and salt two-penny-worth of bones and about five and one-half
quarts of water. Let it all boil for three hours taking care to add
water so as to keep the quantity at five quarts. Rub all the vegetables
through a tammy crushing them well and then let them boil up again for
at least another hour. The time allotted for the first and second cooking
is of the greatest importance.
Cut up two onions and fry them till they are brown; you need not use
butter clarified fat will do very well. Clean your leeks washing them
well; cut them in pieces and fry them also; add any other vegetables that
you have two medium-sized potatoes pepper salt and a little water.
Let all simmer for three hours and pass it through a fine sieve. Let
there be more leeks than other vegetables so that their flavor
[_Mme. Jules Segers_.]
CELERIS AU LARD
Take one pound of celery cut off the green tops cut the stems into
pieces two-thirds of an inch long; put into boiling salted water and
cook till tender. Take one-half pound potatoes peel and slice and add
to the celery so that both will be cooked at the same moment. Strain and
place on a flat fire-proof dish. Prepare some fat slices of bacon toast
them till crisp in the oven; pour the melted bacon-fat over the celery
and potato adding a dash of vinegar and place the rashers on top. Serve
Leeks may be prepared in the same way.
CABBAGE WITH SAUSAGES
Cut a large cabbage in two slice and wash put it into boiling water
with salt and when partly cooked add some potatoes cut into smallish