Do you know which is the one aspect of the Regency Era that we rarely pay attention to?

Food!

How could we, I wonder…

We are so caught up in imagining elaborate gowns, grand halls, and heart-stopping romances that we fail to notice one of the most important parts of Regency culture. Of any culture, for that matter!

Part of our connection with food does come from our primitive animal brain. Having a strong desire and connection with food makes seeking it out a priority.

For humans though, it goes further.

Food is love.

From our mother’s breast milk that nurtures us during those crucial first months of our lives to grandma’s baked pies that we weren’t allowed to eat until it had cooled down, food is a way we connect and show love for others.

You know the rule, right?

When a significant other offers to cook for you, then my dear, things are serious!

Food is memory.

You cannot tell me that certain flavors and smells don’t send you back to particular moments in your life. We apply so much emotional importance to food, it only makes sense that it would become an important part of our memory, inextricably connected to certain moments in time.

Most, if not all, important events in our lives, whether good or bad, are connected to food in one way or another. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, career success. We gather and we celebrate -or comfort each other- around a table.

Food has the ability to activate multiple senses—smell, sight, and of course taste—to help us remember some of life’s most meaningful and magical moments.

And why would the people of the Regency Era be any different?

How many romances started during dinner? Or while drinking a hot cup of tea? What about offering a box of rich chocolate?

That’s why today, my wonderful adventurers in our world of all things Regency, I’ve assembled something special.

This is for all you foodies out there! 

(But let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love food?)

A complete menu straight from a Duke’s kitchen, including a main dish, a side, a dessert, and a beverage.

Shhh! The Duke’s cook gave me her recipes in confidence so don’t tell anyone! 😉

Beef Steak

Georgian England was famous for its beef. People loved it and Jane Austen loved it too! I don’t know about you, but it seems that the ever-famous Mr. Darcy had quite an appetite for it!

Georgians used every part of the animal, each used to prepare different dishes. Soups, pies, sausages, ragout, and of course, steaks!

Recipe:

Number of servings: 4

  • 1 lb Rump Steaks
  • 2 tbsp Butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Beef Broth
  •  3 shallots, sliced in fine rings
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over a medium to high heat. Add your steaks and salt and pepper them to taste. Fry them 3-5 minutes per side, turning once, until they are completely brown and crispy. Remove them from the pan to your serving plate

Add the broth to the pan and allow it to come to a boil. Roll the remaining tablespoon of butter in the flour and add to the hot broth, stirring well to avoid lumps. Add the shallots, salt and pepper to the gravy and boil them all together for 2 minutes. Pour this sauce over the steaks and serve them immediately.

Scotch Eggs

Alright, this is one of my favorites!

Eggs? Check!

Pork? Check!

Sage? Check!

Bread crumbs? Check!

Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?

As simple as these ingredients might seem, the end result will positively excite you!

Get those pots and pans ready!

Recipe:

Number of servings: As many as you make!

(You’ll be making a lot of these…trust me…)

  •      8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  •      Flour
  •      1 lb. bulk pork sausage
  •      ¾  c. bread crumbs
  •      ½  tbsp. sage
  •      ¼  tbsp. salt
  •      Dash of pepper
  •      2 eggs, well beaten
  •      Vegetable oil

Roll each hard boiled egg in flour. Form a large, flat patty out of 2 ounces of the sausage. Carefully work the sausage around one of the floured eggs. Repeat with other eggs. In a shallow bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, sage, salt, and pepper. Dip each sausage egg in the beaten egg and roll it in the bread crumb mixture. Heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a 3 quart saucepan to 360 degrees. Fry the eggs in the oil 4 to 6 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

A recipe as easy as they come, but definitely one delicious treat!

Butter Bread Pudding

Bread and butter pudding is a bread-based dessert popular in many countries’ cuisine, including that of Ireland, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Malta, Argentina, Louisiana Creole, and the southern United States. 

There is no fixed recipe, but it is usually made using stale (usually left-over) bread, and some combination of ingredients like milk, egg, suet, sugar or syrup, dried fruit, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace or vanilla. The bread is soaked in the liquids, mixed with the other ingredients, and baked.

This recipe for “Bread and Butter Pudding” comes from Maria Eliza Ketleby Rundell’s “A New System of Domestic Cookery”, 1814, and features currants in a starring role.

Recipe:

Number of servings: 1 – 2 depending on how much you eat.

  •      Few slices of French loaf, about ¼ of a stick
  •      Some butter softened for spreading
  •      150ml milk
  •      75ml whipping cream
  •      1 egg
  •      Few drops vanilla extract
  •      3 tbsp sugar
  •      2 tbsp currants or raisins

 

Spread the butter over the bread slices. Oh, please be generous. Carefully arrange the bread slices into a lightly buttered baking dish and sprinkle them with raisins or currants. In a bowl, combine the milk, the whipping cream, the vanilla and the egg. Pour ¾ of it over the arranged bread slices and then sprinkle sugar over them. Let the bread soak for a few minutes before pouring the rest of the egg mixture. Bake in a preheated oven of 160C in a water bath for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread soak and soak, then pour the balance of the custard in.

Negus

Negus, a beverage made of wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg was created by Colonel Francis Negus in the early 18th century. Though Col. Negus died in 1737, his namesake drink remained a popular fortifier on cold evenings. During the early Regency Era it was practically expected, along with White Soup at balls.

Recipe:

  •  Wine
  •  ¼ lb. of sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • Nutmeg to taste

To every pint of port wine, allow 1 quart of boiling water, ¼ lb. of sugar, 1 lemon, grated nutmeg to taste.

Put the wine into a jug, rub some lumps of sugar on the lemon-rind until all the yellow part of the skin is absorbed, then squeeze the juice, and strain it. Add the sugar and lemon-juice to the port wine, with the grated nutmeg; pour over it the boiling water, cover the jug, and, when the beverage has cooled a little, it will be fit for use.

Negus may also be made of sherry, or any other sweet white wine, but is more usually made of port than of any other beverage.

Well, well! 

Aren’t you just dying to run to the kitchen and make these?

I know I’d like a bit of butter bread pudding right now. 

And a cup of negus…or two…or three! 

What are you waiting for?!

 

Get the pots and pans out!

 

Written by Hanna Hamilton

35 COMMENTS

  1. Well, you’ve definitely whet my appetite. Those steaks and the egg I think I’ll try. I like bread pudding but not much for currents. I might have to try the wine just to see how rubbing a cube of sugar on the lemon peal will change its color. guess it is a way to zest the peel.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Of you would prefer not to include currents or raisins in this recipe, try other dried fruit; cherries, cranberries, or even apricots.

      The “catch” is you will likely need to either chop them or cup them smaller, but they do substitute very well. Although this version is not as economical to make.

      Happy baking!

  2. Wow! I’m ready to make everything on this menu. Especially the butter bread pudding. Thanks Hannah for a “taste” of Regency England.

  3. Hanna, where were you when I was young with a family to feed?! The food looks so good. Thanks for it all.
    Dorothy Jensik

  4. Too true– we don’t think of food in historical times; mainly just the etiquette involved or the conversation of the characters if meals are even discussed by the author. Thanks for the recipes– I am thinking of giving the Scotch eggs a try!!

  5. How simply delicious!! I have a recipe for a bread & butter pudding which is for Hot Cross Buns & is very similar to the recipe you have given. More custard was required & perhaps a little more cream to make it really moist & easier to slide down the throat!! I really think the fried steak is a tad too well done for my taste as I prefer my steak to be medium rare. AS for the Negus, I was pleasantly surprised by how simple this is to make & why it hasn’t really taken off today. I will certainly put this recipe to the test over the Christmas holidays. Thank you for the well researched recipes. Well done!!!

    • All of these are delicious! We have tried them! The negus is simply the most Christmas-y beverage you’ll ever drink! 😉

  6. Can’t wait to try the Scotch eggs. My grandkids will get a kick out of making them with me !! Thanks. This was another fun article !!

  7. The Scotch eggs sound delicious but then all of the recipes do. I actually think a lot about their recipes but I’ve never researched them. Thanks for getting me started on my research! And by the way, I LOVE your books!

  8. Yum Yum, these recipes sound delicious. I will have to try them out, I love to try new recipes. You are right about foods, some foods remind me of my mother or my Grandmothers. In fact I still cook some of their recipes.. Thank you for sharing.

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