117.—CUCUMBER CREAM, INDIAN STYLE. (Fr.—Crême de Concombre à l'Indienne.)
Ingredients.—1 cucumber, 2 onions (medium size), 1 calf's brain, 2 quarts of stock, 1 teaspoonful of mulligatawny paste, ½ a gill of cream, 1 oz. of fresh butter, the yolks of 3 eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Method.—Peel the cucumber, cut it up into short pieces, and cook in salted water till tender; peel the onions, slice them, and cook them in the same manner as the cucumber. Blanch the calf's brain and cook likewise. Drain the onions and the brain, and pound them together in a mortar, add the mulligatawny paste and the butter. Put this in a stewpan with the stock, add the cucumber, and boil for 20 minutes. Rub the whole through a sieve, return to the stewpan, re-heat, add the yolks of eggs and the cream, season to taste with salt, pepper, a tiny pinch of sugar, and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir long enough to bind the eggs, and serve.
Time.—1 hour. Average Cost, 2s. 6d. to 3s. Sufficient for 8 persons. Seasonable from May to September.
118.—CUCUMBER SOUP. (Fr.—Purée de Concombres.)
Ingredients.—2 pints of white stock, 1 pint of milk, 2 large cucumbers, 2 ozs. of butter, 2 ozs. of flour, the yolks of 2 eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, salt and pepper.
Method.—Peel the cucumbers, cut into thick slices, quarter them and remove the seeds. Have ready a saucepan of boiling water, put in the cucumber and a little salt, boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Melt 1 oz. of butter in a stewpan, put in the cucumber, cover and let it steam in the butter for about ½ an hour, then rub through a hair sieve. Melt the remaining oz. of butter in the stewpan, add the flour, pour in the stock and milk (hot), and stir until boiling. Add the purée of cucumber, simmer for a few minutes, then let the soup cool slightly. Beat the yolks of the eggs and cream together, pour the mixture into the soup and stir until it thickens, taking care that it does not boil, or the eggs will curdle. Season to taste, and serve with croûtons of fried bread.
Time.—1 to 1¼ hours. Average Cost, 2s. 6d. Seasonable from May to September. Sufficient for 6 persons.
The Cucumber (Fr.: Concombre).—This plant or fruit belongs to the order of the Cucurbitaceae or gourds. It is of great antiquity, and is a native of Egypt and Asia. As in ancient times, in Egypt and the East the cucumber, with other fruits of its class, constitute a large portion of the food of the people. It was cultivated in England in the fourteenth century, but it is only since the reign of Henry VIII. that the cucumber came generally into use as a table vegetable. It is much used as a salad, and young cucumbers, known as "gherkins," are made into pickles. The cucumber in its raw state is not very digestible.