Luxury Lunches on the Rail

I’ve just submitted In Pursuit of a Bluestocking to my publisher, so I thought I’d share a meal I cooked as research for this book. I love cooking, which is quite useful given that there are many mouths to feed in my house, and have a food blog with my chef brother-in-law. Work Eat Laugh Repeat is on hiatus because our resident chef has been super busy with a head-chef job, but we do hope to pick it up again in the future.

In Pursuit of a Bluestocking contains quite a bit of train travel, as Marie and her hero chase a group of con-men. At one point, they are travelling from Paris to Calais and have dinner. Thanks to Food on the Rails: The Golden Era of Railroad Dining (Food on the Go), I found a lunch menu from 1897. Yes, it’s technically nine years after In Pursuit of a Bluestocking is set, but this is fiction. The truth gets a little stretched on occasion, and who is to say whether this meal wouldn’t have been eaten a few years prior to it’s appearance here.

I didn’t cook the pickled tongue (a step too far for my home kitchen). I did do the Filets de sole au vin blanc (fish in white wine sauce), and cotelettes de mouton (mutton chops), petits pois a l’anglaise (peas), and galantine de volaille (stuffed chicken).

Filets de barramundi au vin blanc
I altered this recipe by using local fish (barramundi and a King prawn) and also added a hint of chili to suit our more Australian/Asian palate. This was really great. I also added some wilted spinach for colour.

Cotelettes de mouton
I didn’t use a specific recipe for this. I rubbed lavender on the outside of a lamb rack, then shallow fried it before placing it in the oven on a low heat for 45 minutes. I did a quick mashed potato to use a bed for the sliced lamb.

And cooked:

Galantine de Volaille
Again, I did a simple version of this. I used chicken thigh because it is slightly richer and doesn’t dry out as easily as breast. I lined each thigh with prosciutto, and added a pile of spinach. Then I rolled them up, and tied with string. Each thigh was baked in the oven for about an hour at 180C.

I hope I’ve made you hungry, and now you’ll have to wait a few months* until you can read about Marie and her hero sharing this meal.
*Release date to be determined by Escape.

While you wait, you can read the first in my Bluestocking series, To Charm a Bluestocking, here.

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