Today is Saturday and my family is still in that post-Christmas holiday mood. No one has to go to work yet so we’re doing puzzles, playing music and relaxing. We are also beginning to tire of duck leftovers so it is time to make something completely different from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I’ve picked a recipe To Curry Eggs from the Eggs section contributed by Mrs. Sheldon. Since I’m not fond of eggs I’m trying it when there are plenty of taste testers around. I thought it might go nicely with a salad. I’ve selected Shrimp Salad since I don’t like shrimp either and several of my tasters love seafood. The recipe was contributed by the mysterious S.B.C.
First I put a dozen (12) eggs in cold water and turned up the heat. Ten eggs are for the curry recipe while the other two will be for the salad. Apparently the eggs need to simmer for 8 minutes to be hardboiled. Check out this site for more about how to boil eggs. Next I started the salad since the dressing needed time to cool. I sliced one peeled hardboiled egg in half horizontally and removed the yolk to mash it.
Then I put 1 gill (5 fluid ounces) of vinegar in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon of mustard, a pinch of sugar and the mashed egg yolk. I heated the mixture until it boiled and then set it aside to cool. I prepared the glass dish for the salad by lining it with some lettuce leaves. The shrimp was already prepared so I put the shrimp around as well as two stalks of celery chopped and a pinch of salt sprinkled on top. I cut the white of the egg into rings and but was unable to find a jar of olives. I had the egg white rings ready to arrange once the dressing was poured on top just before serving.
Once the eggs were boiled and the salad dressing cooling, I started the curry sauce. I chopped 2 small onions and fried them in butter until the pieces were nice and brown. Then I added 2 dessertspoons (2 teaspoons) of curry powder. I debated using the duck broth but instead used almost 1 pint (2 cups) of chicken broth. I left it to simmer gently while I cooled and peeled the hard boiled eggs. I sliced them in half vertically before setting them aside until the sauce was ready. I measured ¼ pint (½ cup) cream and added a teaspoon of cornstarch since we didn’t have any arrowroot powder. Once the onions were tender I carefully added the cream mixture to the broth. I let it simmer and thicken just a few minutes before adding the peeled and sliced hard boiled eggs. I removed the eggs and set them on a platter and poured the sauce over top. I attempted to arrange the sliced eggs as described but I wasn’t entirely sure what was meant by the flat ends. I poured the dressing on the shrimp salad and added the egg rings and olives to decorate the top of it. It was time to eat!
Unfortunately S.B.C. remains a mystery but Mrs. Sheldon is interesting. I’ve pulled this information from primary sources on ancestry.ca and some family trees posted there. Mrs. Sheldon was Juliet Mary Demster (or Dunster) and born in Dorset England in 1846. Her father was a bookseller and stationer but her mother Rebecca died when Juliet was just two years old. Most of her brothers and sisters died when they were babies so the 1861 census in England shows her with one sister and her father. However, life must have taken a different turn because her marriage in 1872 to Joseph William Sheldon took place in Madrid Spain! Joseph was also born in England and their marriage was registered in England but they continued to be mobile. Their first four children were born in Bucharest Romania between 1873 and 1878. One of the children died as an infant. The next child was born in Breman Germany in 1881. By 1884 they were in London England and then in 1886 their son Edward was born in Galt Ontario. Their final child Ethel was born in 1889 also in Galt. Their birth certificates list Joseph’s occupation as Gentleman and yet the 1891 census lists Joseph as a farmer and they have seven children at home. Then in 1892 Joseph died of appendicitis! He was just 42. What was this like for Juliet? In 1901 she’s listed as head of household and six of the children are there too. The older boys are listed as manufacturers or machinists. They also have three domestic servants, two women named Jane and a man named Robert. She was still at Lot 12 Con 10 in North Dumfries Township in 1911 but with just a few of the children and a domestic servant. One of her sons lived nearby with his family. Eventually by 1921 Juliet lived alone in a stone house near her son. She died of arteriosclerosis in 1923 in Galt.
Some of my tasters really like the eggs. They felt the curry had flavour and a little hit of spiciness. The onions were great with it and the sauce worked well with the eggs. I tasted the sauce and it is okay on its own but I think it would be better with coconut milk rather than cream and perhaps using a curry paste instead of the curry powder but then I like Thai food. I wonder if Mrs. Sheldon developed taste for curry while living in Eastern Europe. That area was still part of the Ottoman or Turkish Empire at the time.
The shrimp salad seemed to be more about the presentation than the taste of the food. My tasters liked the shrimp (it is the type they use all the time) but we had to dig to the bottom of the bowl to get any of the dressing. The dressing is a bit thin for this salad but it tastes good.
TO CURRY EGGS
Ten eggs, one onion, two dessertspoonfuls of curry powder, quarter pint of cream, some arrowroot, nearly a pint of medium stock or good gravy. Fry one large onion or two small ones, a nice brown in butter, then add the curry powder and stock, or good broth, and set it over the fire to stew slowly until the onions are tender. Thicken the cream with a little arrowroot, stir it in and let all simmer for a few minutes, then add ten or twelve hard-boiled eggs cut in halves. Make them hot without allowing them to boil, and arrange them on the flat ends on a dish with the sauce over them.
Line a glass dish with crisp lettuce leaves. Mix together one plate prepared shrimps (boiled and picked), two stalks celery, pinch salt. Place among the lettuce leaves. Pour this dressing over: One gill cider vinegar, one teaspoonful mustard, pinch sugar, yelk one hard boiled egg, mixed and well mashed. Bring to a boil, then cool. Cut white of egg into rings, place an olive in each, and arrange about the salad.