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RABBITS 

Wild ones have the finest flavor, and are by far the best. Tame rabbits are scarcely eatable, unless kept delicately clean. The doe brings forth every month, and must be allowed to go with the buck as soon as she has kindled. The sweetest hay, oats, beans, sow-thistle, parsley, carrot tops, cabbage leaves, and bran, should be given to the rabbits, fresh and fresh. If not carefully attended, their own stench will destroy them, and be very unwholesome to those who live near them. Constant care is requisite to prevent this inconvenience.

When rabbits are to be dressed, they may have gravy and stuffing like hare; or they may be larded, and roasted without stuffing. For the manner of trussing a rabbit, either for roasting or boiling, see the Plate. If boiled, it should be smothered with onion sauce, the butter to be melted with milk instead of water. If fried in joints, it must be dressed with dried or fried parsley, and liver sauce made for it, the same as for roasting. Chop up the liver with parsley, and put it into melted butter, with pepper and salt. If fricasseed, the same as for chickens. Young rabbits are good in a pie, with force-meat as for chicken pie.

When rabbits are to be purchased for cooking, the following things must be observed. If the claws are blunt and rugged, the ears dry and tough, and the haunch thick, it is old. But if the claws are smooth and sharp, the ears easily tear, and the cleft in the lip is not much spread, it is young. If fresh and newly killed, the body will be stiff, and in hares the flesh is pale. They keep a good while by proper care, and are best when rather beginning to turn, if the inside is preserved from being musty. To distinguish a real leveret from a hare, a knob or small bone will be discovered near the foot on its fore leg._

Tame rabbits may be bred with much success and ornamental effect in a small artificial warren, in a lawn in the garden, made in the following manner. Pare off the turf of a circle about forty feet diameter, and lay it on the outside; then dig a ditch within this circle, the outside perpendicular, the inner sloping, and throw earth sufficient into the middle to form a little hill, two or three feet higher than the level of the lawn; the rest must be carried away. Then lay down the turf on the hill, and beat it well to settle. The ditch at bottom should be about three feet wide, and three and a half deep, with two or three drains at the bottom, covered with an iron grate, or a stone with holes, to carry off the hasty rains, in order to keep the rabbits dry. In the outside bank should be six alcoves, the sides and top supported, either by boards or brick-work, to give the rabbits their dry food in; by their different situations some will always be dry; six boxes or old tea-chests, let into the bank will do very well. If the ground be very light, the outside circle should have a wall built round it, or some stakes driven into the ground, and boards or hurdles nailed to them, within a foot of the bottom, to prevent the bank from falling in. The entrance must either be by a board to turn occasionally across the ditch, or by a ladder. The turf being settled, and the grass beginning to grow, turn in the rabbits, and they will immediately go to work to make themselves burrows in the sides, and in the hill. 

By way of inducing them rather to build in the sides, to keep the turf the neater, make a score of holes about a foot deep, and they will finish them to their own mind; and if there be a brick wall round it, it should be built on pillars, with an arch from each, to leave a vacancy for a burrow. Lucern, parsley and carrots are very proper food for them; and they should also be fed upon some of the best upland pasture hay. Rabbits are subject to several diseases, as the _rot_, which is caused by giving them too large a quantity of green food, or the giving it fresh gathered, with the dew or rain hanging in fresh drops upon it, as it is over-moisture that always causes the disease; the green food should therefore always be given dry, and a sufficient quantity of hay, or other dry food, intermixed with it, to counteract the bad effects of it. And a sort of _madness_ often seizes them: this may be known by their tumbling about; their heels upwards, and hopping in an odd manner into the boxes. This distemper is supposed to be owing to the rankness of their feeding; and the general cure is the keeping them low and giving them the prickly herb called tare-thistle to eat as much as possible. They are also subject to a sort of scabby eruption, which is seldom removed. These should, however, be directly separated from the rest of the stock.

RABBIT LIKE HARE 

Choose a full-grown young rabbit, and hang it up three or four days. Then skin it, and without washing, lay it in a seasoning of black pepper and allspice, in very fine powder. Add a glass of port wine, and the same quantity of vinegar. Baste it occasionally for forty hours, then stuff and roast it as hare, and with the same sauce. Do not wash off the liquor that it was soaked in.

RADISHES 

These are raised from seed by different sowings from the end of October till April, or the following month. They should have a light fine mould, and the more early sowings be made on borders, under warm walls, or other similar places, and in frames covered by glasses. The common spindle-rooted, short-topped sorts are mostly made use of in these early sowings, the seed being sown broadcast over the beds after they have been prepared by digging over and raking the surface even, being covered in with a slight raking. Some sow carrots with the early crops of radishes. It is usual to protect the early sown crops in the borders, during frosty nights and bad weather, by mats or dry wheat straw, which should be carefully removed every mild day. By this means they are brought more forward, as well as form better roots. When mats are used, and supported by pegs or hoops, they are readily applied and removed. A second more general sowing should be made in January or February. 

When the crops have got their rough leaf; they should be thinned out, where they are too thick, to the distance of two inches, as there will be constantly more thinning by the daily drawing of the young radishes. When the weather is dry in March, or the following month, the crops should be occasionally well watered, which not only forwards the growth of the crops, but increases the size of the roots, and renders them more mild and crisp in eating. And the sowings should be continued at the distance of a fortnight, till the latter end of March, when they should be performed every ten days, until the end of April or beginning of the following month. In sowing these later crops, it is the practice of some gardeners to sow coss-lettuces and spinach with them, in order to have the two crops coming forward at the same time; but the practice is not to be much recommended, where there is sufficient room. But in sowing the main general crops in the open quarters, the market-gardeners generally put them in on the same ground where they plant out their main crops of cauliflowers and cabbages, mixing spinach with the radish-seed as above, sowing the seeds first, and raking them in, then planting the cauliflowers or cabbages; the radishes and spinach come in for use before the other plants begin to spread much, and as soon as those crops are all cleared off for use, hoe the ground all over to kill weeds and loosen the soil, drawing earth about the stems of the cauliflowers and cabbages. 

The turnip radish should not be sown till the beginning of March, the plants being allowed a greater distance than for the common spindle-rooted sort. The seeds of this sort are apt to degenerate, unless they are set at a distance from that kind. The white and black Spanish radishes are usually sown about the middle of July, or a little earlier, and are fit for the table by the end of August, or the beginning of September, continuing good till frost spoils them. These should be thinned to a greater distance than the common sort, as their roots grow as large as turnips, and should not be left nearer than six inches. To have these roots in winter, they should be drawn before hard frost comes on, and laid in dry sand, as practised for carrots, carefully guarding them from wet and frost; as in this way they may be kept till the spring. 

In regard to the culture of the general crops, they require very little, except occasional thinning, where they are too thick, when the plants are come into the rough leaf, either by hoeing or drawing them out by hand: though for large quantities, small hoeing is the most expeditious mode of thinning, as well as most beneficial to the crop by loosening the ground; in either method thinning the plants to about two or three inches distance, clearing out the weakest, and leaving the strongest to form the crop. In order to save the seed, about the beginning of May some ground should be prepared by digging and levelling; then drawing some of the straightest and best coloured radishes, plant them in rows three feet distant, and two feet asunder in the rows; observing, if the season be dry, to water them until they have taken root: after which they will only require to have the weeds hoed down between them, until they are advanced so high as to overspread the ground. When the seed begins to ripen, it should be carefully guarded against the birds. When it is ripe, the pods will turn brown: then it must be cut, and spread in the sun to dry; after which it must be thrashed, and laid up for use where no mice can come at it. 

In order to have the roots early, as in January or the following month, the method of raising them in hot-beds is sometimes practised. They should have eighteen inches depth of dung to bring them up, and six or seven inches depth of light rich mould. The seed should be sown moderately thick, covering it in half an inch thick, and putting on the lights: the plants usually come up in a week or less; and when they appear, the lights should be lifted or taken off occasionally, according to the weather; and in a fortnight thin the plants to the distance of an inch and half or two inches, when in six weeks they will be fit to draw. Where there are no frames to spare, the beds may be covered with mats over hoops, and the sides secured by boards and straw-bands. And when in want of dung, if the beds be covered with frames, and the lights put on at night and in bad weather, the plants may be raised for use a fortnight sooner than in the open borders.

To raise them in constant succession, steep the seed in rain water for twenty-four hours, tie it up in a linen bag, and hang it in the sun all day. The seed beginning to shoot, is then to be sown in fresh earth well exposed to the sun, and covered with a tub. In three days the radishes will be produced fit for salad, and much more delicate than those grown in the common way. In the winter the seeds should be steeped in warm water, and the bag put in a place sufficiently hot to make them sprout. Then fill a tub with rich mould, sow the seeds in it, and cover them over closely with another tub, taking care to sprinkle them now and then with warm water. The two tubs closely joined should be set in a warm place, and in about a fortnight some fine salad will be produced. Radishes may be raised in this manner all the year round, and by the quickness of their growth they will be rendered fine and delicate.

RAGOUT OF EGGS 

Boil eight eggs hard, then shell and cut them into quarters. Have ready a pint of good gravy, well seasoned, and thickened over the fire with two ounces of butter rolled in flour. When quite smooth and hot, pour it over the eggs, and serve them up. By using cream instead of gravy, this will make a fricassee.

RAGOUT OF MORELS 

Cut them in long slices, then wash and drain them well. Put them into a stewpan with a piece of butter, some chopped parsley, a bunch of herbs, and some gravy. Simmer them over a gentle fire, and when nearly done, add a little pepper, salt, and flour. Set them over the fire, till the sauce is properly thickened. Stewed with a little water and a blade of mace, and thickened with cream, and yolks of eggs, they make a white ragout. Serve them with sippets of bread toasted.

RAGOUT OF TRUFFLES 

Peel the truffles, cut them in slices, wash and drain them well. Put them into a saucepan with a little gravy, and stew them gently over a slow fire. When they are nearly done enough, thicken them with a little butter and flour. Stewed in a little water, and thickened with cream and yolk of egg, they make a nice white ragout. Truffles, mushrooms, and morels, are all of them very indigestible, and therefore not to be recommended to general use.

RAISED CRUST 

For meat pies or fowls, boil some water with a little fine lard, and an equal quantity of fresh dripping or butter, but not much of either. While hot, mix this with as much fine flour as is necessary, making the paste as stiff as possible, to be smooth. Good kneading will be required for this purpose, and beating it with a rolling-pin. When quite smooth, put a part of it into a cloth, or under a pan, to soak till nearly cold. Those who are not expert in raising a crust, may roll the paste of a proper thickness, and cut out the top and bottom of the pie, then a long piece for the sides. Cement the bottom to the sides with egg, bringing the former rather farther out, and pinching both together. Put egg between the edges of the paste, to make it adhere at the sides. Fill the pie, put on the cover, and pinch it and the side crust together. The same mode of uniting the paste is to be observed, if the sides are pressed into a tin form, in which the paste must be baked, after it is filled and covered; but in the latter case, the tin should be buttered, and carefully taken off when done enough; and as the form usually makes the sides of a lighter colour than is proper, the paste should be put into the oven again for a quarter of an hour. The crust should be egged over at first with a feather.

Another. Put four ounces of butter into a saucepan with water; and when it boils, pour it into a quantity of flour. Knead and beat it quite smooth, cover it with small bits of butter, and work it in. If for custard, put a paper within to keep out the sides till half done. Mix up an egg with a little warm milk, adding sugar, a little peach water, lemon peel, or nutmeg, and fill up the paste.

Another way. To four pounds of flour, allow a pound of butter, and an ounce of salt. Heap the flour on a pie board, and make a hole in the middle of it, and put in the butter and salt. Pour in water nearly boiling, but with caution, that the crust be not too flimsey. Work the butter with the hand till it is melted in the water, then mix in the flour, mould it for a few minutes as quick as possible, that it may be free from lumps, and the stiffer it is the better. Let it be three hours before it is used.

RAISIN WINE 

To every gallon of spring water, allow eight pounds of fresh Smyrnas, and put them together in a large tub. Stir it thoroughly every day for a month, then press the raisins in a horse-hair bag as dry as possible, and put the liquor into a cask. When it has done hissing, pour in a bottle of the best brandy, stop it close for twelve months, and then rack it off free from the dregs. Filter the dregs through a bag of flannel of three or four folds, add what is clear to the general quantity, and pour on a quart or two of brandy, according to the size of the vessel. Stop it up, and at the end of three years it may either be bottled, or drank from the cask. If raisin wine be made rich of the fruit, and well kept, the flavour will be much improved.

To make raisin wine with cider, put two hundred-weight of Malagas into a cask, and pour upon them a hogshead of good sound cider that is not rough; stir it well two or three days, stop it up, and let it stand six months. Then rack it into a cask that it will fill, and add a gallon of the best brandy. If raisin wine be much used, it would answer well to keep a cask always for it, and bottle off one year's wine just in time to make the next, which, allowing the six months of infusion, would make the wine to be eighteen months old. In cider counties this way is found to be economical; and if the wine is not thought strong enough, the addition of another stone or two of raisins would be sufficient, and the wine would still be very cheap. When the raisins are pressed through a horse-hair bag, they will either produce a good spirit by distillation, if sent to a chemist, or they will make excellent vinegar.

Raisin wine without cider. On four hundred-weight of Malagas pour a hogshead of spring water, stir it well every day for a fortnight, then squeeze the raisins in a horse-hair bag in a press, and tun the liquor. When it ceases to hiss, stop it close. In six months rack it off into another cask, or into a tub; and after clearing out the sediment, return it into the cask without washing it. Add a gallon of the best brandy, stop it close, and bottle it off in six months. The pressed fruit may be reserved for making vinegar.

RAMEKINS 

Scrape a quarter of a pound of Cheshire cheese, and the same of Gloucester cheese, and add them to a quarter of a pound of fresh butter. Beat all in a mortar, with the yolks of four eggs, and the inside of a small French roll boiled soft in cream. Mix the paste with the whites of the eggs previously beaten, put it into small paper pans made rather long than square, and bake in a Dutch oven to a fine brown. They should be eaten quite hot. Some like the addition of a glass of white wine. The batter for ramakins is equally good over macaroni, when boiled tender; or on stewed brocoli, celery, or cauliflower, a little of the gravy they have been stewed in being put in the dish with them, but not enough to make the vegetable swim.