The first thing visitor notice, as they enter the housekeeper’s room at 10 Brunswick Square are the cupboards. Cupboards everywhere and all of them have locks. Locked away in the housekeeper’s room were many things that servants could steal and sell. Porcelain, the finest table napkins, china and candles. And there were pickles. Hannah Glasse, the eighteenth-century cook I often turn to, had these wise words to say about pickles.
“Always use stone-jars for all sorts of pickles that require hot pickle to them. The first charge is the least; for these not only last longer , but keep the pickle better: for vinegar and salt will penetrate through all earthen vessels; stone and glass are the only things to keep pickle in. Be sure never to put your hands in to take pickles out, it will spoil it. The best method is, to every pot tie a wooden spoon, full of little holes, to take the pickles out with.”
I went for glass, stone jars are the next thing to find for the kitchen. I decided also to go for pickled grapes and pickled fennel. There would also be pickled cucumber. Cucumber with onion and ginger. The recipes appear almost modern.
400g black grapes
400g granulated sugar
350ml riesling white wine
I was unsure about the fennel. But I knew that it would be one of many pickles on a plate, so I thought I could get away with it. I also adore fennel, I love the taste. In the recipe there are also fennel seeds and pepper.
The guests for Lunch with the Curator loved it. I will cook the fennel slightly longer this time and I have added additional spices, more pepper. The recipe will follow below. Please adapt it as you will. Hannah Glasse, at the end of many a recipe has these last words of wisdom.
“but that you may do as you like”