Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Way Back Wednesday: Hannah Woolley's Poached Fish

Hannah Woolley's Poached Fish

Here's another recipe I've adapted from Hannah Woolley's The Cook's Guide. I've borrowed the method from Mastering the Art of French Cooking because (a) Hannah Woolley is totally vague and (b) my kitchen is very similar to a 1961 kitchen and not at all similar to a 1664 kitchen!

The fish turned out very moist and succulent and I really enjoyed the combination of lemon, cloves and mace for the flavor. This recipe is also quick and easy. Neither of us found the shallots terribly fabulous to actually eat, but they give such flavor. You can strain them out when you strain out everything else. You can also use a cut-up onion instead. About the mace--my health-food store only had ground mace, so I added it to the sauce later, but if you can find blades of mace, add them when you add the cloves.
Hannah Woolley’s Poached Fish

Poached Fish How-to 2

Above: You'll want to make sure to use a cooking vessel that can go on the stove and in the oven.  This Le Creuset oval gratin dish works really well.

Below: My kitchen helper (Paul, of course) covers the dish with a waxed-paper cutout before putting the dish in the oven.

Poached Fish How-to 4


I thought you might be interested in English household items from the time Hannah Woolley's book was published. All are from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and if you click on the links, you'll find lots of great info from the museum's website.  Don't you just love museums?

Anthony Ficketts: Dish, 1664-65

All my embroidery projects are unfinished, too:

Unfinished Cabinet Panels, ca. 1660

Detail, magnified thirty times

Detail, magnified thirty times

Movement by Ahasuerus: Hooded Wall Clock with Calendar, ca. 1660-65

I'm always trying to work on my photography, so I like the idea of composing photos in black and white. Takes me back to my high school photography course, although I'm certain I've forgotten most of it! If anyone's interested, this was taken using the Hipstamatic app with the John S lens and Claunch 72 Monochrome film.

Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook hosts Black and White Wednesday.

My photo is a preview of Friday's post:
Black & white Wednesday Boiled Ham


  1. Love the decorative arts pictures from the Met. Gorgeous objects, and very evocative.
    The fish sounds very nice. My grandmother used to make a poached salmon with spices (cloves coriander and other pickling spices), lemon, sugar, vinegar--this reminds me of that a little.

  2. I was thinking about you today, and I noticed how much effort goes into a cooking blog. Good on you :D I just had to let you know.

    and I'm sure this would be a great recipe if I liked fish ;)

    xxx irinja (

  3. The fish, while old fashioned, sounds wonderful. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some extra time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. You've created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. I do love your black and white photos...they seem perfect for your blog. At first I thought that silver tray was one of your "finds," and I was going to have to invite myself shopping with you :)

    Great fish dish, the look with the shallots. Mmmmmm....

  5. So, mace. Sure I've heard of it for self defense but for cooking?! I had no idea that mace is the coating on nutmeg seeds!

    I really love these household items especially the cabinet panels, so neat!

    Now I'm off to research what a 1664 kitchen actually looked like.... your posts always inspire a little curiosity. : )

  6. I'm always looking for new fish recipes since we eat so much of it. This looks like a lovely one!

    The detail of the embroidery is stunning! I don't know that I would have the patience to create something like that.

  7. Your fish looks so pretty - the purple onions look like rose petals! Love the 1664 objects too.

  8. Such beautiful pieces from the Met and such a beautiful recipe!

  9. Yum! Your boiled dinner reminds me of a St. Pat's feast. Thanks for sharing your tasty BWW dish, Lauren!


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