Christmas Pudding with Dickens

Traditional British Christmas Pudding Recipe by Pen Vogler from the Charles Dickens Museum

Ingredients

  • 85 grams all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 170 grams Beef Suet
  • 140 grams brown sugar
  • tsp. mixed spice, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, &c
  • 170 grams bread crumbs
  • 170 grams raisins
  • 170 grams currants
  • 55 grams cut mixed peel
  • Gram to Cup conversion tables.

Method

Mix together well, add 1 medium grated apple, mix again, beat three eggs plus 140ml brandy, add to dry mixture, stir together well.

Grease pudding basin with butter, cut a small piece of grease proof paper to cover bottom, pack in pudding, cover with parchment another round of grease proof paper, cover with large squares grease proof paper and tin foil, tie up tightly with string and make string handle to prevent water from invading pudding.   Set on saucer in large covered pan, water half way up pudding basin and boil for 3 ½ hours.

To learn more about Mrs. Vogler and her cooking adventures, click here.

Click here to purchase a copy of Christmas with Dickens by Pen Vogler.

 

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Country House Christmas Pudding

Country House Christmas Pudding

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Christian Bros Brandy
  • ½ cup Myer’s Dark Rum
  • ½ cup  Jim Beam Whiskey
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • 1 cup pitted prunes finely chopped
  •  1 med. apple peeled and grated
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup candied orange peel finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (freshly baked bread is best)
  • 1 cup Crisco vegetable shortening(freeze and grate)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup black strap molasses
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 orange plus juice
  • 3 large eggs

Method

  1. Soak all fruit in Brandy for a week.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine brandied fruit with remaining ingredients, add cup of dark rum.
  3. Mold and steam for 3 ½ hours.
  4. Remove pudding, poke holes in top with fork, pour over Jim Beam Whiskey, cover tightly in parchment paper and foil, serve when ready. Will last up to six months in refrigeration.
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Sir Joshua Reynolds – Notes from Rome

Titian – Charles V

The Leda, in the Colonna palace, by Correggio, is dead-coloured white and black, with ultramarine in the shadow ; and over that is scumbled, thinly and smooth, a warmer tint,—I believe caput mortuum.  The lights are mellow ; the shadows blueish, but mellow.  The picture is painted on  panel, in a broad and large manner, but finished like enamel : the shadows harmonize, and are lost in the ground. Continue reading Sir Joshua Reynolds — Notes from Rome

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Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Memoranda on Painting – December 1755

SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS‘ WORKING COLOURS, WITH

THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY WERE ARRANGED

ON HIS PALLETTE.

For painting the flesh, black, blue black, white, lake, carmine, orpiment, yellow ochre, ultramarine, and varnish.

“To lay the pallette:—first lay carmine and white in different degrees: second, lay orpiment and white, ditto: third lay blue black and white, ditto.

“The first sitting, make a mixture on the pallette for expedition, as near the sitter’s complexion as you can. Continue reading Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Memoranda on Painting — December 1755

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Making Quality Linen and Canvas Painting Panels

Gary Kravit is an airline pilot and artist.  He also owns and operates https://theultimatetaboret.com.  You may view Gary’s art at https://garrykravitart.blogspot.com/

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Method of Restoration for Ancient Bronzes and other Alloys

Cannone nel castello di Haut-Koenigsbourg, photo by Gita Colmar

Without any preliminary cleaning the bronze object to be treated is hung as cathode into the 2 per cent. caustic soda solution and a low amperage direct current is applied.  The object is suspended with soft copper wires and is completely immersed into the solution.  In case the object is very soft and fragile or completely mineralized, fine annealed copper wire is wrapped around the object, one to two turns per inch, and electrical connections are made with several turns of this wire.  Where there is danger that object might not hold together upon the removal of the hard supporting shell, we have found it advisable to to pack the whole object in clean white sand, after making proper electrical connections, and then filling the containers with the caustic soda solution. Continue reading Method of Restoration for Ancient Bronzes and other Alloys

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Artist Methods

Como dome facade – Pliny the Elder – Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Work in Progress…

THE VARNISHES.

Every substance may be considered as a varnish, which, when applied to the surface of a solid body, gives it a permanent lustre.  Drying oil, thickened by exposure to the sun’s heat or a fire, is a varnish and as such has often been employed.  It is, however, probable that varnishes, composed of resins dissolved in oil, have been used in very ancient times.

But it is beyond all doubt, that when the arts flourished in Greece, the composition of varnish had long been known in India, Persia, and China.  It is not then to be supposed that the Greeks were unacquainted with this art.  Yet such would have been the case if we give credit to a paragraph in Pliny, who tells us that Apelles was indebted for his unequalled colouring to the employment of a liquid which he calls “Atramentum,” with which he covered his pictures when they finished, and with which substance no other painter was acquainted.  Pliny observes, “that there is in the pictures of Apelles a certain effect, that cannot be equalled, and that tone was obtained by means of atramentum, which fluid he passed over his pictures when the painting was completely finished. Continue reading Artist Methods

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Rendering Amber Clear for Use in Lens-Making for Magnifying Glass

Pencil sketch of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake by John Partridge (Queen Victoria’s favourite portrait painter), 1825

From the work of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake entitled Materials for a history of oil painting, (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846), we learn the following:

The effect of oil at certain temperatures, in penetrating “the minute pores of the amber” (as Hoffman elsewhere writes), is still more strikingly exemplified in an invention, or perhaps and old method revived, Christian Porschinen of Königsberg, at the close of the seventeenth century (June, 1691).  He succeeded in rendering amber colourless, so as to employ it as substitute for magnifying glasses.  Zedler ( Grosses vollständiges Univ. Lexicon, art. Bersteinerner Brenn-Spiegel) describes the process.  The manufacturer placed the amber, already formed and polished for the intended use, in linseed oil exposed to a moderate fire, and suffered it to remain till it had entirely lost its yellow colour, and had become quite clear and transparent.  Zedler states that lenses so prepared are more powerful than those made of glass in igniting gunpowder (welche viel schneller in Brennen and Pulver-anzunden sind als die glasernen).

The same process was afterwards adopted for clarifying amber beads, so as to render them transparent like glass.  The method is probably most successful when the substance is not very thick.  For a further account of this invention Zedler refers to Hen. von Sanden, Disp. de Succino Electricorum principe, Königsberg, 1714.  Dreme (Der Virniss-und Kittmacher) alludes to similar methods.  “Amber boiled in linseed oil is softened so that it may be bent and compressed: opaque or clouded amber by this process becomes light and transparent.  The oil should be heated gradually, otherwise, the pieces of amber are liable to crack. ”  Such modes of clarifying amber might be employed with effect, preparatory to its solution by some of the means before indicated.

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Books of Use to the International Art Collector

Before meeting with an untimely death at the hand of an unknown assassin in Rome on January 11th, 1996, master forger Eric Hebborn put down on paper a wealth of knowledge about the art of forgery.   In a book published posthumously in 1997, titled The Art Forger’s Handbook, Hebborn suggests the following three books as being the cornerstone to any good art forger’s library:

Thus it would stand to reason that the same books should be of great interest to the international art collector.

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The Shirk – An Old but Familiar Phenomena

STORE MANAGEMENT—THE SHIRK.

THE shirk is a well-known specimen of the genus homo. His habitat is offices, stores, business establishments of all kinds. His habits are familiar to us, but a few words on the subject will not be amiss. The shirk usually displays activity when the boss is around, and masterful inactivity when the boss is out of sight. Some times he makes a pretense of working, for the benefit of his fellow clerks. Now and then he comes out boldly and loafs openly, except on those occasions when the boss is in the neighborhood and perhaps not feeling any too indulgent. The shirk is quick to detect these changes in the official barometer. The shirk, of course, is always the last one at work and the first to depart. He takes all the sick leave permissible and generally manages to get a few days extra. Continue reading The Shirk — An Old but Familiar Phenomena

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Formulaes for Re-Creating the Old-Fashioned Drug Store Counter

FORMULAS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES.

Pineapple Frappe.

Water, 1 gallon; sugar 2 pounds of water. 61/2 pints, and simple syrup. 2 1/2 pints; 2 pints of pineapple stock or 1 pint of pineapple stock and 1 pint of grated pineapple juice of 6 lemons. Mix, strain and freeze.

Roman Sour.

Wild cherry syrup, 1 ounce; lime juice 1/2 ounce, and the half of a fresh lime. Place in a suitable glass, and cracked ice and fill the glass with carbonated water. Top off with a maraschino cherry and a toothpick.

Hot Weather Delight.

Into a 10-ounce glass place half an ounce of strawberry syrup, half an ounce of raspberry syrup, half an ounce of grape syrup, one egg, one and a half ounces of plain cream. quarter glassful shaved ice. Continue reading Formulaes for Re-Creating the Old-Fashioned Drug Store Counter

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Cleaning Watch Chains

To Clean Watch Chains.

Gold or silver watch chains can be cleaned with a very excellent result, no matter whether they may be matt or polished, by laying them for a few seconds in pure aqua ammonia; they are then rinsed in alcohol, and finally. shaken in clean sawdust, free from sand. Imitation gold and plated chains are first cleaned in benzine, then rinsed in alcohol, and afterwards shaken in dry sawdust. Genuine gold chains are first dipped in the following pickle: Pure nitric acid is mixed with concentrated sulphuric acid in the proportion of ten parts of the former to two parts of the latter; a little table salt is added. The chains are boiled in this mixture, then rinsed several times in water, afterward in alcohol, and finally dried in sawdust.

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Origin of the Apothecary

ORIGIN OF THE APOTHECARY.

The origin of the apothecary in England dates much further back than one would suppose from what your correspondent, “A Barrister-at-Law,” says about it. It is true he speaks only of apothecaries as a distinct branch of the medical profession, but long before Henry VIII’s time they were recognized as a distinct branch, though the distinction may not have been a legal one.

The earliest mention I remember to have seen in English of an apothecary is one I have cited before in these notes, from Bardsley’s “English Surnames.” In 1273, says Bardsley, “the Mayor of York was one John Le Espicer, aut Apotecarius.” Here “spicer” and “apothecary”‘ appear to be convertible terms, but it is clear, from the passage in Chaucer alone. “Ful redy hadde he hise apothecaries,” that these were a distinct class, and Caxton distinguishes the “physician, spicer, apotiquare” from one another.

In England as in France, “Qui est espicier n’est pas apothicaire, et qui est apothicaire est espicier,” and as time went on the difference between them grew, the apothecaries confining themselves particularly to drugs. Your correspondent is rather unfair to the apothecarics when he says, speaking of them as a separate class, that they began as quacks. They began as assistants to the physicians. Earle, in describing the physician of his day, speaks repeatedly of “his” apothecary’s shop. They were subject to the supervision of the physicians, and stood to them in much the relation enjoined by the law of the Emperor Frederick II. regulating medical practice in the Sicilies.—Chem. & Drug., Sept. 1921

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Napoleon’s Pharmacists

NAPOLEON’S PHARMACISTS.

Of the making of books about Napoleon there is no end, and the centenary of his death (May 5) is not likely to pass without adding to the number, but a volume on Napoleon”s pharmacists still awaits treatment by the student in this field of historical research. There is no lack of material. Not that Napoleon had any faith in drugs. Even during his fatal illness at St. Helena he caused his doctors ceaseless anxiety by his petty tendency to offer any or every excuse for shirking regular doses. But he knew that others thought differently, and delighted to tell the tale of a certain bread pill administered to the Empress Marie Louise by Baron Corvisart, and its marvellous effects. He seems to have taken an intelligent interest in chemistry, and even to have studied its rudiments with Bouillon-Lagrange in his earlier days. W’hen he reorganized France after the Revolution he appreciated the collaboration of men like Chaptal, and gained their devotion and admiration by his own wonderful intellectual activity and physical energy. Continue reading Napoleon’s Pharmacists

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Mocking Bird Food

Mocking Bird Food.

Hemp seed……….2 pounds
Rape seed………. .1 pound
Crackers………….1 pound
Rice…………….1/4 pound
Corn meal………1/4 pound
Lard oil…………1/4 pound

 

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Furniture Polishing Cream

Furniture Polishing Cream.

Animal oil soap…………………….1 onuce
Solution of potassium hydroxide…. .5 ounces
Beeswax……………………………1 pound
Oil of turpentine…………………..3 pints
Water, enough to make……………..5 pints

Dissolve the soap in the lye with the aid of heat; add this solution all at once to the warm solution of the wax in the oil. Beat the mixture until a smooth cream is formed, and gradually beat in the water until the whole is completely emulsified.

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You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

— Sir Winston Churchill