Norfolk is a county in the South-east region of England, and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Norfolk area. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
NORFOLK DUMPLINGS – ‘Fillers’ & ‘Swimmers’
8 oz (225g) Self Raising flour; 1 teaspoonful salt, water
Mix the flour and salt (sifted) with water to make a dough. Mould pieces of the dough into balls, a good way of doing this is in the floured palm of your hand. Put in a steamer and steam for exactly 20 minutes. Do not remove the lid during the cooking time or the dumplings will spoil, and remember that dumplings are like soufflés – they will not wait. They are eaten both as ‘before’ and ‘afters’. Called ‘fillers’, they are served with gravy or with butter, or brown sugar. Called ‘swimmers’, they are served with jam or syrup.
Mackerel, vinegar, water, peppercorns
Start with very fresh mackerel. Remove heads and gut the fish. Split and remove the backbones. Roll from tail upwards and put in an earthenware dish. Just cover with a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and water to which should be added 1 pepper corn per fish. Cook for at least 2 hours in a simmering oven. Soused mackerel may be eaten hot or cold.
1 fresh rabbit, carrots, onions, white sauce, cheese, seasoning.
Joint a fresh rabbit, and stew for 1 hour with carrots, onions and seasoning. Then put the rabbit into a fireproof dish without the vegetables and cover completely with a thick white sauce very full of grated cheese. Cook in a moderate oven, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes. The sauce should brown but not boil. The carrots and onions are meanwhile kept warm and served separately when the rabbit is cooked.
NORFOLK MILK PUNCH (1827)
Cut the peeling of six Seville oranges and six lemons extremely thin. Pound it in a stone mortar. Add thereto a pint of brandy, and let it remain about six hours; then squeeze the juice of six Seville oranges and eight lemons into it. Stir it well, and pour into it three more pints of brandy, three pints of rum, and three quarts of water. Make two quarts of skimmed milk boiling hot; grate a nutmeg into it; mix it gradually with the other ingredients; add a sufficient quantity of fine loaf sugar to sweeten it, (about two pounds.) Stir it till the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture stand twelve hours, then strain it through a flannel bag till it is quite clear. It is then fit for use. It has been said, that if this Punch is bottled oft’ and well corked, it will keep in any climate, and for any length of time. The bottles it is put into must be perfectly dry.
BEEF OR MUSSEL PUDDING COOKED IN PAPER
Crust: 1/2 lb (250g) Self Raising flour; 3 oz (85g) finely-chopped suet; pinch salt water.
For beef: 3/4 lb (725g) stewing steak; 1 shallot, pepper, salt, a little water.
For mussels: mussels, pepper salt.
Method 1: Make the suet crust. If using beef, cut up the meat and shallot and season. Roll out the suet crust and lift it onto a piece of greased greaseproof paper. Put the meat and a very little water on this, tie up in a cloth, and steam for 3 1/2 hours.
Method 2: With mussels. Make the suet crust, roll out and put on the paper as in Method 1. Wash the mussels very well and remove bears. Put them in a pan on the stove- a very low heat so that the pan will not burn – and they will open almost immediately. Scoop them out onto the dough, season, wrap up as in method 1, and steam for 1 1/2 hours.
NORFOLK FOOL (1664 A.D. ROBERT MAY)
Take a quart (1.1 Litres) of good thick sweet cream, and set it a boiling in a clean scoured skillet (saucepan), with some large mace and whole cinamon; then having boil’d a warm or two take the yolks of five or six eggs dissolved and put to it, being taken from the fire, then take out the cinamon and mace; the cream being pretty thick, slice a fine manchet (white bread) into thin slices, as much as will cover the bottom of the dish, pour on the cream on them, and more bread, some two or three times till the dish be full, then trim the dish side with fine carved sippets (toasted bread), and stick it with slic’t dates, scrape on sugar, and cast on red and white biskets (red and white coloured almond biscuits or wafers).