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189
RECIPES FOR PURÉES

Time.—About 1¼ hours. Average Cost, 9d., exclusive of the stock. Sufficient for 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.

The Cocoa-nut or Coco-nut (Fr.: Noix de coco).—This is the fruit of a species of palm, a native of the Indian coasts and the South Sea Islands, from whence it has been introduced and become naturalized in most parts of the tropical regions. It flourishes best in the vicinity of the sea-shore. The tree grows frequently to the height of 50 to 100 feet. The trunk is straight and naked, and is about two feet in diameter, the feather-shaped leaves forming the top or crown, from which the nuts hang in clusters. The fruit itself, covered by a hard shell, is inclosed in a fibrous husk; within the nut is a clear sweet liquid. Few plants possess so many and useful properties as the cocoa-nut. From its wood the natives obtain the building material for their houses and canoes. The leaves are used for thatching roofs, making baskets and articles of clothing. Coir for making ropes, brushes, and mats is obtained from the fibre of the husks. The hard shells are polished and made into drinking cups, lamps, and various domestic and other useful articles; the hard wood of the tree, known as "porcupine wood," is employed for a variety of ornamental purposes. The kernels, dressed in various ways, are used as food, and the expressed oil of the nut is exported for use in the manufacture of candles, soap, and pomades; the oil when fresh is used in cookery. In southern India and other countries the cocoa-nut forms one of the staples of life. From the white sweetish sap toddy is made, and from it by distillation 2 variety of the spirit arack is obtained. Vinegar and sugar are also products of this juice. The terminal buds of the cocoa-nut tree when boiled resemble cabbage. The milk of the cocoa-nut supplies a refreshing beverage.

115.—CORN SOUP.

Put the corn removed from 3 cobs of corn (or Indian maize) into 1 pint of fast-boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain them and cook till tender in 2 pints of stock and ¾ of a pint of milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a small piece of butter just before serving.

Time.—About 1 hour. Average Cost, 1s. 6d. to 1s. 9d. per quart. Sufficient for 5 persons. Seasonable at all times.

116.—CUCUMBER CREAM. (Fr.Crême de Concombre.)

Ingredients.—1 large or 2 small cucumbers, 2 lettuces, 3 ozs. of fresh butter, 1 quart of white stock, the yolks of 3 eggs, 1 gill of cream, 1 tablespoonful of patent cornflour, salt and pepper, a handful of fried bread croûtons.

Method.—Peel the cucumbers and cut them into slices. Trim, wash, drain, and coarsely shred the lettuces; blanch the cucumber and lettuces in salted water containing a very small piece of soda. Strain off the water, and put the vegetables in a stewpan with the butter; stir for a few minutes, then add the stock. Mix a tablespoonful of cornflour with a little cold milk, and stir into the soup. Cook for about 30 minutes, rub it through a fine sieve, then return to the stewpan and reheat. Stir the yolks of the eggs and the cream together, pour this into the soup, and stir over the fire for a few seconds longer. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Put the fried bread croûtons in a soup tureen, pour the soup over them, and send to table.

Time.—About 1 hour. Average Cost, 2s. 9d. per quart. Seasonable, May to September. Sufficient for 5 persons.