Archie’s back! And not without the usual and almost expected dramas. His flights were all cancelled due to Hurricane Irene.
Archie phoned us from London in a great state, shouting down the receiver that he only had about a minute’s life left on his phone and there’d be no resurrection because he’d lost the charger. He was on the phone to the airline and they couldn’t get him on a flight for another week unless of course we coughed for one of those seats where Archie would be addressed as ‘sir’, the seat would morph into a downy bed and Archie could stroll the wide aisles in a pair of complimentary pyjamas.
‘Mum, they need your credit card, my phone’s about to die, can I board the plane or not?’
I was at a dinner party. I’d been enjoying myself up until then.
‘Mum, it’s the last seat left. She needs to know if we’re taking it.’
I’d been thinking how nice it was for him to phone me. Hadn’t heard from him in over a week. ‘Enjoy your flight. Phone me when you get to New York’.
But he didn’t.
But he did bring me back a very special cookbook. While stranded in London, Archie went to Titanic – The Artefact Exhibition. There he bought me the book, ‘RMS Titanic – Dinner is Served. Menus from the great liner revisited and updated by Yvonne Hume, great niece of Titanic’s first violinist John Law Hume.’
Everyone’s heard the speculation that the band ‘played until the end’ and wondered whether they played the bandleader’s favourite
hymn, ‘Nearer My God to Thee’. Yvonne Hume says, ‘My personal view is that if they had stopped an hour or more, as has been suggested, before Titanic slipped beneath the surface, there would have been time to put their lifejackets on. The fact that none of the musicians whose bodies were recovered were wearing lifejackets suggests that they played until it was impossible to carry on because of the angle of the deck.’ After the sinking only three of the musicians’ bodies were recovered; John Hume, bandleader Wallace Hartley and bass viola player, Fred Clarke. John Hume was 22 years old.
As you enter the exhibition you are presented with a boarding pass. On the reverse side are the details of a passenger and you assume that persons identity as you wander through the exhibition. At the end of the exhibition you look for your passenger’s name on the Memorial Wall to have their fate revealed.
Archie was Mr William H Harbeck, 44 years of age from Paris, France. He was accompanied on the voyage by Henriette Yrois. He was a second-class passenger in an unknown cabin. He was traveling to the Hotel Cadillac in New York. He was returning from Paris where he had studied with a master filmmaker. William had been hired by White Star Line to film Titanic’s maiden voyage. His next project in North America was a film of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. William traveled with Henriette Yrois, a
William Harbeck’s life was lost along with 1,500 other souls. Miss Yrois was one of the 706 who survived.
Yvone Hume’s cookbook contains all the recipes that were served on that fateful ship from steerage to first class. This recipe is ‘Duck Liver Pate with Toast Points’. It was served as an entrée to first class passengers on 14th April, 1912. You could have enjoyed this pate with a glass of champagne from a selection that included Cliquot 1900, Pommeroy Naturel 1900, Moet & Chandon 1898, Heidsieck 1898, Mumm’s Extra Dry 1900, Perrier Jouet extra Dry 1898 or a Ruinart Vin Brut.
And so Reader…do let me know if you would like me to share more recipes from RMS Titanic.
Duck Liver Pate with Toast Points
Degree of difficulty: 1/5
Serves 4 (I was serving as pass-around-food so put the pate into 2 larger ramekins instead of 4 smaller ramekins for individual serves)
225g duck livers *
100g melted butter
25ml double cream
1/2 tbspn brandy
1/2 tbspn chopped rosemary
8 slices of bread, crusts removed
Heat 40g of the butter in a saucepan, add the drained livers and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. The livers should be cooked on the outside but a little pink on the inside.
When the livers are cooked, place them into a processor and process until smooth.
Add the brandy and rosemary to the saucepan then heat gently, scraping up the residue of the livers.
Add the heated brandy and rosemary to the liver in the processor, together with another 40g of the melted butter, cream and seasoning. Process until smooth.
Place the pate into individual ramekins, pour the remaining melted butter over the top of the pate to seal, cover and place in the fridge to chill.
Slice the bread to make two very thin slices. To do this place your hand, palm down, onto the bread and with a sharp knife gently and carefully ease the knife through. Cut the slices into triangles, place on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and salt then bake in a hot oven 200°C until golden and curled up at the edges.
* I was unable to buy duck livers so substituted chicken livers
** I omitted this step as you don’t need to soak chicken livers overnight in milk