Friday, 19 July 2019

Naval rations: Day 5


On Day 5 dinner was salt beef again, which this time was properly cooked. It was tender and tasty enough yet it still didn't fare too highly in the flavour stakes in comparison with the excellent preserved meat served the day before. The plum duff which accompanied the beef was this time a triumph - a notable improvement on the ship's cook's previous attempt.

In the absence of a properly sewn pudding bag, a linen tea towel was called to serve in its stead. The specified allowance of nine ounces of flour was thoroughly mixed with an ounce and a half of raisins and three quarters of an ounce of suet. Sugar was added plus a couple of ground allspice berries and a splash of rum before mixing with water to create a sticky mass which was rolled in the wetted and floured cloth.


After an hour's boiling the package was opened and pronounced to the finest example of a (simulated) mid nineteenth century Royal Naval plum duff known to history. In the photos the raisins appear somewhat sparsely distributed, after all they only account for one sixth the mass of the flour. However, the delicious essence of the fruit, was found to permeate throughout the whole to create a very well balanced and satisfying pudding. The quantity was sufficiently generous to provide a slice each to two visitors to the mess table, both of whom pronounced it to be first rate.

6 comments:

  1. Where did your recipe for plum duff come from? It looks pretty good and I wanted to make some myself, but all the recipes I can find online include a few more ingredients than what's mentioned here.

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    1. I just used the ingredients which are listed in the "Scale of Provisions in the Royal Navy" for 1844, which can be found on Google Books. Contemporary recipes include more fruit and things like milk or butter which weren't available onboard.

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  2. From my own cooking experience, raisins do add flavor ! I use ground beef , mix with raisins, roll the mixture into a sausage shape, wrap it all in aluminum foil ....and bake.

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  3. Pete, your duff looks tasty lol. When I made it years ago, I used a coffee can (the duff cooked inside the can) while the can sat in a pot of boiling water. In my recipe, I used molasses instead of white sugar so there was a large color difference. Cool post :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I have a jar of molasses in the cupboard so I may well try that version - probably in the winter.

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