Submitted by Editor on Mon, 11/11/2019 - 08:56


Today we present the second in our series of recipes first published in the pages of Mrs Williamson’s 1854 book The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life

For more on this remarkable local figure, see Barclay Price’s article in Issue 289.


Have a good large calf’s head. Scald and clean the head, lay it in cold water, wash it well, put it on in a large stew-pan, and cover it with cold water and a little salt. Skim it very clean when it comes to the boil.

Let it boil for one hour, then take out the head. Add to the water in which you have boiled the head: four pounds of lean veal cut in pieces, or an old fowl, small bit of bacon, or ham bone, one parsnip, one turnip, two large onions, a quantity of herbs, and a handful of parsley, a little whole white pepper, three blades of mace.

Put all in your stew-pan, add boiling water, so as you may have plenty of stock. Put it on the fire.

When the head is cold, take the meat from the bones, split the head in two, and take out the brains.

Put the bones of the head into the stock, boil it till the meat is all boiled to rags. Take care your stock is not too much reduced. Strain it through a sieve. The day you are to use it, skim it well, put the stock in the stew-pan, take care to keep back the sediment.

Cut all the meat in pieces about an inch and half square. Skin the tongue, trim it neatly, and cut it in slices. Add all the meat to your stock. Let it boil slowly one hour. Add one and a half dozen force meat balls (see below), six egg balls. Add a little spoonful of ketchup, salt it to taste, a little cayenne.

Put a tea-cupful of Madeira wine in your tureen. Dish it hot. Send up brain cakes.

This is a very rich soup. You can have a good soup with half of the head by keeping the other half and the tongue for dressed calf’s head.

[Image top right: Wikimedia, creative commons.]