Cut into Julienne strips equal quantities of carrots, onions, turnips, and celery. Fry lightly in butter till a good colour. Add fresh tomatoes, peeled and with the seeds taken out. Cut them in slices before adding to the other vegetables. Moisten with a glass of white Sauterne wine and a little German sauce (see 'Dainty Dishes') to bind the vegetables, a little veal gravy, a little salt, a pinch of sugar; and leave the whole to cook for twenty to twenty-five minutes till of a good consistency.
Meanwhile take the fillets of a moderate-sized turbot without bones or skin. Butter freely a rather shallow sauté-pan, place the fillets in it, season with salt and white pepper, moisten with one or two glasses of Sauterne wine, and bring to the boil on the fire. Cover with a round bit of buttered paper, and finish cooking them inside the oven. Baste them constantly, so that they should not get dry. They will take from twenty to twenty-five minutes to cook.
Serve the fillets in a silver dish - whole or in slices. Add to the vegetables the gravy of the fillets of turbot which remains in the sauté-pan. Cook these to a turn, add a good bit of fresh butter and a little Hungarian 'paplika'; in default of which a little cayenne pepper can be used. Pour the vegetables over the turbot, to hide the fillets. Place for a few moments in a hot oven, and serve.
When mushrooms are small or not very fresh, they are best chopped fine, warmed up with a little butter, pepper and salt, and poured on to some squares of hot toast. The yolk of an egg is an improvement for non-vegetarians. For broiling mushrooms in the oven they are much better if done in bacon-fat instead of butter.
Sutton's winter salad is now getting rather old. If it is cut up in small shreds, and a raw leek and beetroot added (also shredded fine), and the whole mixed together with a little half mayonnaise sauce or plain oil and vinegar, it makes a very good salad.
We get the seedling lettuces in boxes a little earlier year by year, as it is such a pleasure to get back to a really fresh salad. It always recalls to me the young spring salads the monks used to bring to my mother at Cimiez, and which she attributed to some mysterious monkish secret. The fact is, the climate there enables lettuces to be sown out of doors very early.
It is well to know that rhubarb can be made to take the flavour of anything you cook with it; but with forced young rhubarb, when the flavour is delicate, it is a mistake to put anything except a little sugar. Cooks can be reminded at this time of year, when dried fruits are so useful as compotes - apricots, prunes, apples, etc. - that it is a great improvement in the stewing of them to add occasionally a tablespoonful of cold water, to prevent their cooking too fast. Bleached almonds are a pleasant addition as a change in these compotes.
I read with regret the other day in a leading evening newspaper of the authoritative revival of the notion that eating tomatoes is the cause of the increase of cancer. This theory seems likely to deprive the poorer public of one of the best and cleanest blood-purifiers within reach of the inhabitants of our towns. It seems to me on a par with Swift's idea that his life-long headaches were in a great measure due to a surfeit of fruit consumed when very young at Moor Park, and which, naturally enough, brought on the first attack, as a dish of strawberries will upset a meat-eating and gouty patient - this state of the blood being produced by eating, not too much, but too little fruit. The population of the whole South of Europe has eaten tomatoes from time immemorial. Would it not be far more sensible to look for the cause of cancer in the great increase of meat-eating, especially in towns, the over-fed and diseased cattle, tinned and other preserved animal foods, and the much-consumed modern stimulant, beef-tea?
I do not vouch for the absolute correctness of the following statements, but I find them among my notes, and I think there is some truth in them:
Lettuce is calming and beneficial to anyone suffering from insomnia.
Honey is wholesome, strengthening, cleansing, healing, and nourishing.
Lemons afford relief to feverish thirst in sickness and, mixed with hot water, are a help in biliousness, low fever, colds, coughs, rheumatism, etc.
In cases of disease of the nerves and nervous dyspepsia tomatoes are a powerful aperient for the liver, and are invaluable in all conditions of the system in which the use of calomel is indicated.
Onions are useful in cases of nervous prostration, and will quickly relieve and tone up a worn-out system. They are also useful in all cases of coughs, colds, and influenza.
Apples are nutritious, medicinal, and vitalising. They aid digestion, clear the voice, and correct the acidity of the stomach.