7 November 1903

By Mrs Alfred Praga (“The Careful Cook”)

As a rule, the housekeeper with only a small allowance finds it far more difficult to provide an appetising breakfast than at any other meal. Eggs and bacon — that popular, too popular standby — are by no means a cheap dish; in country places fish is often unobtainable, and when obtainable frequently very dear and not over good. The following recipes will, I hope, offer a satisfactory solution of the problem.

This will often be relished when the ordinary kind would be rejected. Make some porridge in the usual way, ie use one part meal to two and a quarter parts of boiling salted water. Boil for twenty minutes, stirring all the time to avoid burning.

Meanwhile, place a bit of butter about the size of a large walnut in a clean frying pan. Directly it melts add to it two large or three medium sized onions, first peeled and thinly sliced. Fry till delicate golden brown.

As soon as the porridge is ready dish it up on a hot plate, and put it in the oven in order that it may dry a little. Then place the onions on top, and pour over the whole any butter which may remain from the frying. Dust with pepper, and send to the table at once. Any oatmeal may be used for the porridge that is liked.

Take half-a-pound of beef sausages. Free them from their skins and shape them into small rissoles, or small round balls, about the size of a tangerine. Dip these in egg and breadcrumbs, or, if economy has to be strictly studied, in breadcrumbs.

Place 1oz of clarified beef dripping in a clean frying-pan; directly it boils add the rissoles, and fry until of a golden-brown colour. Take out, dish up on a hot dish, and send to the table at once. Pork sausages may be used instead of beef if preferred.

Take a sufficient number of slices from a loaf of stale bread. Allow half a slice to each person.. Free it from crust; dip into milk. Have ready a plate containing savoury crumbs, and dip each slice into these on both sides.

Have ready a saucepan half full of absolutely boiling clarified beef dripping or lard from which the blue smoke is actually rising, add the slices a few at a time, and fry until of a bright golden-brown hue. Dish up on a hot plate, place a fried egg in the centre of each, and send to the table at once. The appearance of the dish is improved if a little finely-minced parsley is sprinkled on each egg.

The savoury crumbs referred to are made thus: Peel and mince an onion very finely, add to it a heaped spoonful of finely-minced parsley, a tiny pinch of powdered herbs, a spoonful of crumbs, and a well-beaten egg. Mix very thoroughly and use as before directed.

These are very good, and afford a nice way of using up any cold sausages which may have been left over from supper. Take two or three cold sausages, free them from their skins, and chop them up.

Take six hard-boiled eggs, halve them, and take out the yolks; add these to the chopped sausages and pound well together, in a mortar if possible, failing this on a pastry board, until thoroughly mixed and quite a paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and use to stuff the eggs.

Dip into savoury crumbs, place a bit of clarified beef dripping in a clean enamelled frying-pan, and fry to a golden-brown hue. Dish up on a hot plate and send to the table at once.

Take ½lb of boiled rice — it should be very dry. Place 2½ozs of either butter or clarified beef dripping in a clean enamelled frying-pan; directly it melts add to it a heaped tablespoonful of either chopped onion or minced shallots, the latter for preference. Fry for three or four minutes, and then add the rice and continue to fry until this is a pale fawn colour. It should be turned incessantly both to prevent burning and to ensure its being equally coloured. Then add pepper and salt to taste, dish up on a hot dish, garnish with little rolls of fried bacon, and serve at once.

When only a small number have to be catered for the rice can be prepared as follows: Cook the bacon first, dish up, then add the onions to the bacon fat in the pan. Fry them for three of four minutes, then add from 2oz to 4oz of cooked rice, and finish as directed.

Note: That flank of bacon freed from rind, etc, and neatly rolled, will do just as well for this dish as streaky or back bacon at quite twice the price.

When any cold potatoes remain over treat them in the following fashion: Mash from 1ib to 2ib of cold boiled potatoes with a fork. Place a bit of butter about the size of a walnut in a clean enamelled saucepan; directly it melts add to it the potatoes, and a wineglassful of absolutely boiling milk for each pound of potatoes — skim milk will do.

Beat up with a fork until quite white and light and very hot. Have ready ½lb of beef sausages freshly fried. Free them from their skins, chop them, then add them to the potatoes, and beat up for another two or three minutes..

Pile up on a very hot dish, and pull them into a conical shape with a fork. Place a few tiny bits of butter here and there, and brown in a hot oven for two or three minutes. Then serve at once. The appearance of this dish may also be much improved by being garnished with a little finely-minced parsley.

Take from 4oz to 8oz of any sort of white fish, either boiled or fried. Free it from skin, etc, and flake into neat pieces. Place ½oz of butter in a small stewpan; directly it melts add to it 1oz of finely-grated cheese — any sort will do. Let the cheese just melt, stirring all the time; then add the fish, and continue to stir until very hot.

Have ready some squares of buttered toast; arrange the mixture on these. Dust with pepper and salt and send to table at once. Some cooks add half a teaspoonful of made mustard to the cheese, etc, but it is matter of taste. Any pieces of dry cheese may be used for cooking which would otherwise thrown away.

Take from 4oz to 8oz of any sort of cold boiled (or fried) white fish; free it from skin and bone, and reserve on a plate. Place 2oz of cooking butter in a clean deep stewpan. Directly it melts add to it a finely-minced shallot and ½lb of well-boiled rice. Note: It should be very dry.

Fry all together for ten minutes stirring all the while in order to avoid burning. Then add the fish, and two tablespoonfuls of tomato catsup. Make very hot, pile up in the centre of a hot dish, garnish with some savoury crusts or with a border of fried potatoes, and send to the table at once.

Note: That by fried potatoes, cold potatoes, thinly sliced, dusted with minced parsley, and fried in a little butter, are meant; and that, with one or two exception, the whole of the foregoing dishes can be easily prepared overnight and left to be made hot in the morning, thus effecting a considerable saving of time — and probably temper!

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