Christmas at Helligen Stud
Dear Readers, your roving reporter Letitia Wellbeloved is coming to you today from Helligen Stud in the Hunter, (that's Australia) home of the Kilhamptons. The chief editor of The Lady’s Magazine has commissioned me to visit the homes of several well known and respected members of society and share with you, dear readers, a little about the Christmas traditions of these grand homes.
The small matter of the daughter of the house marrying an accused horse thief caused no end of a furore but what can you expect from these colonials? They take the law into their own hands and flout tradition at the first possible moment. And then, in less than four minutes all is forgive when their horse, Jefferson wins the Melbourne Cup. The Sport of Kings? Phat! The Sport of Scoundrels more like.
Nevertheless my curiosity was aroused and I have with me, Peggy (yes, they use her Christian name, whatever next?), the housekeeper and cook at Helligen Stud.
L.W.: Peggy, I believe you attended this, this travesty of a race? Was it rigged?
Peggy: And what business would it be of yours…
L.W.: Well, if you're going to take that approach…
Peggy: All's well that ends well, I say. We had a difficult year what with Mr James being incarcerated and all those accusations. It's all sorted now. My girls are married and India's expectin' so we are looking forward to a peaceful and happy Christmas.
L.W: Speaking of Christmas – are there any particular traditions that are observed here at Helligen.
Peggy: Oh my yes. I'm looking at reinstating some of the old ways that went by the board when poor Mrs Kilhampton had her accident all those years ago. We'll be eating some of the more traditional dishes. We just have to make sure we keep Mr Kilhampton away from the rum. He can be a bit difficult when he's had a bit but young Mr James will keep him in hand this time, I hope.
LW: I see. I do hope he succeeds. Now Peggy you did promise to share a favourite recipe of the Kilhamptons with our readers.
Peggy: Indeed I did. I have Mrs Kilhampton's favourite recipe for Roasted Black Swan. It goes back to the early days and Mr Kilhampton likes to see it served with a nice side of Slippery Bob.
LW: Slippery Bob?
Peggy: Hmmm - it's one of those things you're better off tasting before you ask too many questions but since you're so keen on a recipe here it is ... you better write it down for me. I'm not too good with me letters.
RECIPE FOR SLIPPERY BOB…
- 4 kangaroo brains (or lambs' brains will do)
- 1 tbsp butter or duck fat
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp cold water
- salt and pepper, to taste
Make a batter with the flour and water. Add the kangaroo brains and seasoning and put to the side to rest.
Heat the butter or duck fat in a medium-size pan over a medium heat. When the fat is starting to crackle, shape the mixture to small-size fritters and place in the pan.
When they are a nice golden brown colour, turn them over to cook the other side.
To test the fritters, lightly press on them and if they are raw, you will feel that they are soft.
And Bob's your Uncle! 'Ave a good Christmas, dears.
If you'd like to read more about the Kilhamptons of Helligen Stud, you'll find their story inTHE HORSE THIEF by Tea Cooper
You can buy the book HERE or at any Australian & New Zealand book retailer…
Or if you have one of those newfangled devices HERE...