Saturday, December 31, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brwes in lentyn - Broth in Lent

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brwes in lentyn - Broth in Lent 
I hope the holiday season has blessed everyone and that the New Year will bring a years' worth of health, wealth and happiness to you, but most importantly, time for you to share with others. Of course I had to try something with wine in it! Today I tried a rather interesting recipe from the "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin", which roughly interprets to a "Broth in Lent". I found it an interesting and delicious recipe and I would almost post this into the category of "found" recipes. Why? Most cooks who have prepared a feast will have some if not all of these ingredients left over, and with a bit of time could create this as an extra dish to serve at a meal. 

I think this would be an exceptionally forgiving recipe, for example, you could substitute broth for wine, and vary the spices. The taste testers and I put our heads together and even came up with some suggestions on how to serve it. My preference would be at the beginning of the meal with cheese pipes and a peppery arugula salad. Another suggestion was a side dish to be served with roasted beef and frumenty. Just a few thoughts to take into the new year with you :-)

Yes, this will definitely appear in a future feast---I better start putting in more bids I'm developing quite a list! Perhaps for next year I will start hosting small parties at my house, not only to share my passion with others, but to enjoy the company of good friends.

I have also hit a milestone with this post. I have interpreted or referenced approximately 57 of the 153 pottage recipes found in the Harleain MS 279. I am reaching the point where some of the ingredients are prohibitively expensive to make, or I can't get the ingredients for, or, are things I am not fond (like oysters!). I will continue to work on completing these recipes as best as I can.
.Cxlvij. Brwes in lentyn. — Take AVater & let boyle, and draw a Iyer ]7er-to of Brede, of j^e cromys, w/tA wyne y-now ; lete alle ben wyne almost ; j^en put Jjer-to hony a gode quantyte, l^at it may ben dowcet, j^an putte ponder Pcpir ]>er-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, & Salt, & skalde ]>m^ brewes tender, & serue f[orth].

Cxlvij - Brwes in lentyn. Take Water and let boyle, and draw a lyer ther-to of Brede, of the cromys, with wyne y-now; lete alle ben wyne almost; then put ther-to honey a gode quantyte, that it may ben dowcet, than putte pouder Pepir ther-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, and Salt, and skalde thin (Note: Thine) brewes tender, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

147. Brewes (broth) in lent - Take water and let boil and draw a mixture of bread, of the crumbs, with wine enough: let all be wine almost; then put there-to honey a good quantity, that it may be sweet, than put powder pepper there-to, cloves, mace, and sandalwood, and salt and scald your broth tender, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                     Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup wine -I used a beautifully fruity red
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp.  mace
2 cloves
1-2 tsp. saunders (opt.)

Soak bread crumbs in wine.  Meanwhile, bring water to boil and stir in honey and spices. Let steep until desired color is reach. Add bread and wine mixture and stir until it has thickened. Strain before serving.

As is, this is a lovely thickened wine sauce or broth.  As I've stated previously, I think it is beautifully versatile for a modern day kitchen.  I added ginger to this in addition to the other spices. This would make a lovely royalty luncheon, or you could throw it together in a pinch as a camp meal as well.  I urge you to experiment with this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Chykonys in bruette - Chicken in Broth

Add captionChykonys in bruette - Chicken in Broth
With the holidays fast approaching and -all- of the cooking forthcoming I am looking for quick, simple recipes. What could be simpler then pieces of tender chicken in a flavorful broth seasoned with pepper, saffron and ginger? I enjoyed this recipe as did my taste testers. There are many interpretations of this dish available through a search of the internet. I hope you enjoy mine. 

.lxxxxvij. Chykonys in bruette.—Take an [supplied by ed.] Sethe Chykonys, & smyte hem to gobettys; þan take Pepir, Gyngere, an Brede y-grounde, & temper it vppe wyth þe self brothe, an with Ale; an coloure it with Safroun, an sethe an serue forth.

lxxxxvij - Chykonys in bruette. Take an Sethe Chykonys, and smyte hem to gobettys; than take Pepir, Gyngere, an Brede y-grounde, and temper it vppe wyth the self-brothe, an with Ale; an coloure it with Safroun, an sethe an serue forth.

97 - Chicken in Broth - Take and boil chickens, and chop them to pieces; then take pepper, ginger, and bread ground, and temper it up with the self broth, and with ale; and color it with saffron and boil and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                                  Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound chicken (I used bone in, skin on chicken breast)
Water to cover the chicken you use
1/4 cup ale
1/8- 1/4 tsp. each pepper & ginger ( I went a bit closer to the 1/4 tsp.)
Pinch of saffron

I cooked the chicken in the water, then removed it and let it cool. I measured out 3/4 of a cup of the "stock" this created and added 1/4 cup ale to it. I removed the chicken from the bone, cleaned off any remaining fat, gristle and skin and cut it into bite sized pieces. While I cleaned the chicken, I brought the broth and ale to a simmer, added the pepper, ginger and saffron. When it reached the color I wanted I added the bread crumbs to thicken the broth and then returned the chicken to it.

This was beautiful, simple and will find its place at a future event. This could be used as a side dish, or part of a course featuring several variations of similar dishes. For example, I could see serving this dish with Gelyne in Dubbatte (Chicken in Wine Sauce), Henne in Bokenade (Stewed Chicken in an Egg and Broth sauce) and lastly, Hennys in Gauncelye (Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce) alongside a simple dish of rice cooked in almond milk and perhaps White Wortes (Greens Creamed with Almond Milk), or Lange Wortes de pesoun (Braised Greens with Peas). It would be a very simple yet filling meal for a lunch tavern, royalty luncheon too.

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Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

VII - HENNYS IN BRUET. Schullyn be scaldyd and sodyn wyth porke and grynd pepyr and comyn bred and ale and temper it wyth the selve broth and boyle and colowre it wyth safroun and salt it and messe it forthe.

Liber cure cocorum [Sloane MS 1986] (England, 1430)

Hennes in brewes. With porke þou sethe þo henne fatte, Grynde brede and peper and be not batte. And comyne also þou schalle grynde, Seson hom with ale, þat is hor kynde. With þo brothe of hennes þou temper hit shalle, Boyle hit, coloure hit, salt hit withalle. Serve hom forthe, as þou may see, Þese er hennes in browet, levys þou me.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak hennes in Bruet sethe hennes and freche pork to gedure then grind pepper bred and comyne and sesson it and temper it with the hennes brothe boile it and colour it with saffron salt it and serue it.




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye - Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

.lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye - Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce
This dish is unusual and distinguishes itself from other similar dishes found in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin. The first difference is the use of the garlic in the sauce. It is one of a handful of recipes in the book that calls for it. Secondly, this is one of the few dishes that I believe could be served either as a soup or as a dish of meat with a sauce--that could be me putting modern thought into this dish.

Garlic is a member of the same plant family as onions and like onions, its cultivation is so old as to make its origins unknown. Garlic has been found in Egyptian temples, and it has a long history of medical, not culinary usage. Hippocrates and Dioscurides recommend garlic as a way to treat parasites, respiratory conditions and poor digestion.

Some other items of note in my quick research of garlic and its usage. According to ancient Egyptian records, slaves were given garlic to ward off illness. Pyramid builders were given beer, flatbread, onions and garlic. During the reign of King Tut a healthy male slave could be purchased for fifteen pounds of garlic!

Garlic was placed on piles of stones at crossroads for Hecate, and to protect from demons. It was believes that garlic would cause evil spirits to lose their way. Before going into battle, Greek soldiers would consume garlic as did Greek athletes before a competition. Roman soldiers also ate garlic; it was believed that consuming garlic would inspire them and give them courage.

Many European stories attribute the ability to ward of the "evil eye", the devil, or to protect from evil spirits to garlic. We all know that wearing garlic or hanging garlic in windows, doorways and chimneys will keep vampires away.

.lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye.—Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe þin hennys þer-on with ȝolkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

lxxxx - Hennys in Gauncelye. Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe thin hennys ther-on with 3olkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

90 - Hen in Gauncelye - Take hens and roast them; take milk and garlic and grind it, and do it in a pan, and chop your hens there-on with yolks of egg, and color it with saffron and milk and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                          Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound of chicken (I used chicken breast that I had simmered)
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 egg, or 2 egg yolks
pinch of saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste

I say this phrase a lot, it couldn't have been simpler to put this together. I used a double boiler to heat the milk to a simmer along with the saffron, garlic salt and pepper. Once it was heated I tempered the egg yolks with a bit of the garlic cream and then continued to heat the sauce until it began to thicken. I added my precooked chicken to the sauce and continued to cook a few moments more.

Do not be hesitant with the garlic. I know it sounds like quite a bit, but the cream tempers it quite a bit. I had originally made this with 1 clove, afraid that I would keep away family members and vampires alike. It was ok, but amping up the garlic made the dish.

This could be served as a creamy soup, or, as a sauce on the side of a dish of chicken and therefore as a dish of meat served with a broth as opposed to a dish of meat served with a sauce. This makes the dish very versatile about where it can fit in the menu.

The taste testers and I both enjoyed this dish. I would serve this at a luncheon, a lunch tavern, or even at a feast. It has gone into my "must serve again" list.

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Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420 - Elizabeth Cook, trans.)

46. Now it remains to be known with what sauce one should eat the pilgrim capons: the pilgrim capons should be eaten with the jance, and to advise the sauce-maker who should make it take good almonds and blanch and clean them very well and bray them very well; and take the inside of white bread according to the quantity which he needs, and let him have the best white wine which he can get in which he should put his bread to soak, and with verjuice; and when his almonds are well brayed put in a little garlic to bray with them; and take white ginger and grains of paradise according to the quantity of sauce which he needs, and strain all this together and draw it up with the said white wine and a little verjuice and salt also, and put it to boil in a fair and clean pot.

And if the staffs are lampreys make lamprey sauce in the manner which is devised above under lamprey pasty.

And if they are eels, green garlic made with sorrel and verjuice.

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)

Gaunsell Gaunsell for gese. Take floure, and tempur hit with gode cowe mylke, and make hit thynne, and colour hit with saffron; and take garlek, and stamp hit, and do therto, and boyle hit, and serve hit fbrthe.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak hennes in gauncelle tak and rost your hennes then tak garlik and mold it with mylk and put it in a pan then hew your henne and put ther to and mele it withyolks of eggs and colour it with saffron and boile it well and serue it.

Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Netherlands, ca. 1510 - C. van Tets, trans.)

To make a ganselsie outside fasting time. Take bread, garlic, raw egg yolks and saffron. One shall grind this all together and pass it through a strainer with wine or with sweet milk and one simmers it over the fire until it is thick. With this one serves fried/roast chicken; in the winter, goose or capons.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxiiij - Arbolettys - Cheese Soup

lxxiiij - Arbolettys - Cheese Soup
It was snowing out today, grey and dreary, but a perfect day to cook up comfort food and what could be more comforting than something cheesy and warm? Again I veered off course from the planned dishes I had posted I was going to make to try another one that caught my interest from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin.  This dish is usually interpreted as a kind of a scrambled egg dish, and there are numerous interpretations posted online.  However, I chose to use the same interpretation as I did for Papyns, and instead created a luxuriously velvety cheese soup worthy to be served to any king. 

.lxxiiij. Arbolettys.—Take Milke, Boter an Chese, & boyle in fere; þen take eyroun, & cast þer-to; þan take Percely & Sawge & hacke it smal, & take pouder Gyngere & Galyngale, and caste it þer-to, and þan serue it forth.

lxxiiij - Arbolettys. Take Milke, Boter an Chese, and boyle in fere; then take eyroun, and cast ther-to; than take Percely and Sawge and hacke it smal, and take pouder Gyngere and Galyngale, and caste it ther-to, and than serue it forth.

74 - Arbolettys. - Take milk, butter and cheese, and boil in together: then take eggs, and caste there-to; than take parsley and sage and hack it small, and take powder ginger and galingale, and caste it there-to, and then serve it forth. 

Interpreted Recipe                                                         Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup or to taste cheese (I used a mixture of sharp and mild cheddar. Other period appropriate cheeses include; brie, camembert, cottage, emmenthal, gruyére, mozzarella; parmesan and ricotta)
2 eggs
1 tsp. each parsley and sage
1/8 tsp. ginger and galingale
**Salt and Pepper to taste - while not called for in the original instructions, modern tastes will appreciate the addition

As I have learned when cooking with milk based dishes it is always best to use a double broiler to prevent the milk from burning.  Add milk and butter to a double broiler and heat until the milk begins to simmer, add the cheese and stir constantly while the cheese melts into the milk and butter mixture.  Beat the eggs with the herbs and spices, temper with a little bit of the cheese mixture and return to the pan.  Cook until the soup has thickened to your desired consistency. 

One of my taste testers is a friend who very seldom says "This is delicious!" when it comes to testing food from this era.  Not only did I get that high praise, I also received instructions that this *MUST* be served at an event in the future. No fears there, I will be serving this again.  It was easy to put together and delicious.  Another taste tester has promised not to include this in the book he plans on writing on "How I Survived Being a Taste Tester". None of my teens were available--nobody complained it meant more soup for the adults.

I know that my interpretation is very different then what you will find if you research other interpretations.  Why? Because of the instructions themselves-we are told to boil together milk, butter and cheese and then to add eggs.  It does NOT specify how the eggs are to be added.  However, looking at similar recipes for papyns and cream boiled from the same manuscript led me to conclude that the end dish should resemble custard and not scrambled eggs. 

Papyns, which creates a sweet custard instructs us to "take the yolks of eggs drawn through a strainer and caste thereto" into a mixture of milk and flour that had been brought to a boil, and then allowed to cool. Similar instructions are found in the boiled cream recipe.  My conclusion then is that these three recipes should all yield similar consistencies with different flavors.  
20. Papyns - Take fair milk and flour, an draw through a strainer, an set it over the fire, an let it boil awhile: than take it out an let it cool: then take yolks of eggs drawn through a strainer and caste thereto; than take sugar a good quantity, an cast there-to, an a little salt an set it on the fire till it be somewhat thick, but let it not boil fully, an stir it well, an put it on a dish all broad, and serve forth running. 
13. Cream Boiled - Take cream or milk and bread of pandemain, or else of tender bread, an break it on the cream, or else in the milk, an set it on the fire till it be warm hot; and through a strainer throw it, and put into a fair pot, an set it on the fire, an stir evermore: an when it is almost boiled, take fair yolks of eggs, and draw them through a strainer, and cast them there-to, and let them stand over the fire till it boil almost, an till it be skillfully (reasonably) thick; than cast a ladle full, or more or less, of butter there-to, and a good quantity of white sugar, and a little salt, and then dress it on a dish in manner of mortrews. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - .xvij. Garbage - Stewed Chicken Offal

Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430) - .xvij. Garbage - Stewed Chicken Offal
I veered a bit off course recently from the recipes that I was planning on testing, and found myself with two roasting hens and giblets. This prompted me to try a dish from from "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55" by Thomas Austin. The dish is (appropriately) named garbage and it consists of those bits of the animal that most of us would not normally eat, but would end up in the garbage. I happen to like offal, the extremities and non-skeletal meat of animals, and was willing to give this recipe a try. I can say that it was not a favorite of the taste testers and they were very good sports about trying this.

As already mentioned, offal is any non-skeletal meat of an animal, this includes blood, brains, caul, ears, eyes, feet, giblets, heads, hearts, intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, marrow, spleen, sweetbreads, tails, testicles, tongues and tripe. Offal is difficult to keep well, so it must be prepared to be eaten almost as soon as the animal has been slaughtered.

Eating offal has a very long history, but the kinds of offal that are eaten and the types of offal eaten are cultural based. Dietary law also restricts the usage of offal. We tend to be a bit squeamish about eating some parts of the animals (head, eyes, testicles and wombs or udders) because they remind us of our food sources or are too strong in taste (Kidneys, gizzards, livers).

.xvij. Garbage. — Take fayre garbagys of chykonys, as J^e lied, J^e fete, ]ie lyiierys, an ]>e gysowrys ; washe hem clene, an caste hem in a fayre potte, an caste }7er-to freysshe brothe of Beef or ellys of moton, an let it boyle ; an a-lye it wyth brecle, an ley on Pepir an Safroun, Maces, Clowys, an a lytil verious an salt, an serue forth in the maner as a Sewe.

xvij - Garbage. Take fayre garbagys of chykonys, as the hed, the fete, the lyuerys, an the gysowrys; washe hem clene, an caste hem in a fayre potte, an caste ther-to freysshe brothe of Beef or ellys of moton, an let it boyle; an a-lye it wyth brede, an ley on Pepir an Safroun, Maces, Clowys, an a lytil verious an salt, an serue forth in the maner as a Sewe.

17 - Garbage - Take fair garbage of chickens, as the head, the feet, the liver, and the gizzard; wash them clean, and caste them in a fair pot, and caste there-to fresh broth of beef or else of mutton, and let it boil; and mix it with bread, and lay on pepper and saffron, mace, cloves, and a little verjuice and salt, and serve forth in the manner as a stew.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                                Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound of mixed chicken parts, I used a giblets package and added additional livers (feet and heads are difficult to come by in my area)
1 c. beef broth
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of saffron
1/8 tsp. each mace and clove
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

This was very easy to put together. I retained the giblets from two roasting chickens and then added additional livers. Be sure to clean your gizzards, removing the silverskin as it is inedible. Cook the giblets in the broth, with pepper, saffron mace and clove. While the meat is boiling you will want to soak the bread crumbs in the vinegar, it will become a kind of paste. Once the meat is cooked remove it from the broth and cut it into smaller pieces. Add the breadcrumbs soaked in vinegar a little bit at a time to the broth, and boil until it is thickened to your taste. Return the meat to the gravy, and season with the salt. Serve.

Unfortunately, I think this dish is going to be added to the "too period to serve" list. It was good, if you like to eat offal. I do, so I enjoyed it. However, several of my taste testers are not, and voiced a very loud "NO" when asked if they would try it at a feast. That being said, this could be a "found" dish that can be served at an event if you are using whole roasting chickens. There is no reason to throw out the giblet bags, serve it up like this. Adventurous feasters will try it, and you might find someone like me who enjoys offal, who will gobble up as much as they can get.

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Garbage - Dan Myers Interpretation

Enseignements qui enseingnent a apareillier toutes manieres de viandes (France, ca. 1300 - D. Myers, trans.)

To make false guernon - If you want to make false guernon take the livers and the gizzards, then chop small, grind bread and temper with broth, and put to boil, and after add beaten egg yolks and saffron, temper with wine, and then fry, and add milk, and chop meat in the crest, and put to boil, and stir all day, and then add the eggs and saffron, and mix in a bowl, and add ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves thereon.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak a garbage tak the heed the garbage the leuer the gessern the wings and the feet and wesche them and clene them and put them in a pot and cast ther tobrothe of beef poudere of pepper clowes maces parsly saige mynced then step bred in the sam brothe and cast it to pouder of guingere venygar saffron and saltand serue it.

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book (England, 1485)

Garbage. Tak fleysch & wasch it & do it to the fyer take percely & brek yt with thin honds & do in spices and saffron & wyn let it boyle wel non other lite but salt

Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Netherlands, ca. 1510 - C. van Tets, trans.)

To make a subbelet for organ meats [usually liver and stomach] of the goose or for venison or for meat of a wether. Take bread softened in the broth and ground up then passed together through a strainer and put it in the pot, then add to it wine, a little vinegar spices that belong to it and saffron with salt. Then let this all boil well together; so you shall lay it in the salted organ meats. So it is done.



Monday, November 21, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.xv. Bowres - Braised Fowl

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.xv. Bowres


This recipe came as a suprise! It was delicious and I am surprised that more people have not prepared it in the past.  I found it in "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55" Thomas Austin. It can be intrepreted in two different ways.  I chose to use the second interpretation of this dish, duck or goose served as a soup with a broth made of ale, seasoned with sage and salt.  However it was the first interpretation that leads me to do some brief research on the use of offal in the middle ages.

Offal references those parts of an animal that are not skeletal muscle, for example, brain, heart, kidneys, livers and gizzards. It also refers to giblets, "humbles", "umbles", "numbles", and the extremities of an animal such as tails, feet, testicles, ears and tongue.  Offal is an excellent source of protein but it does not keep well. Although it is not visible, we eat a lot of offal in processed food.

One point of interest I did find was that the church in Spain did not consider offal to be meat, so it was allowed to be eaten during lent and also on other meatless days along with bacon.

.xv. Bowres.—Take Pypis, Hertys, Nerys, Myltys, an Rybbys of the Swyne; or ellys take Mawlard, or Gees, an chop hem smal, and thanne parboyle hem in fayre water; an þan take it vp, and pyke it clene in-to a fayre potte, an caste þer-to ale y-now, & sawge an salt, and þan boyle it ryȝth wel; and þanne serue it forthe for a goode potage.

xv - Bowres. Take Pypis, Hertys, Nerys, Myltys, an Rybbys of the Swyne; or ellys take Mawlard, or Gees, an chop hem smal, and thanne parboyle hem in fayre water; an than take it vp, and pyke it clene in-to a fayre potte, an caste ther-to ale y-now, and sawge an salt, and than boyle it ry3th wel; and thanne serue it forthe for a goode potage

15 Bowres - Take lungs, hearts, ears, spleen and ribs of the swine; or else take mallard or geese, and chop them small, and then parboil them in fair water; and then take it up, and pick it clean into a fair pot, and caste thereto ale enough, and sage, and salt, and then boil it right well and then serve it forth for a good pottage.

Interpreted Recipe                                                         Serves 1 as Main, 2 as side

1/4 pound fowl of your choice (duck, goose, chicken etc.)
water to cover
1 cup ale
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. sage

Take your meat, in this case I used a Cornish hen, and cut it into chunks.  Cover it with water and allow it to cook until cooked completely through.  Remove it from the heat and allowing it to cool.  When cool, clean it and place it in a pot with your ale, salt and sage.  Cook till broth has reduced a little and alcohol has cooked off. 

This was a surprisingly simple to make recipe. It was quick to put together and as I've stated before delicious! I have been asked to make it again by the taste testers and that seldom happens.  Did I mention that they squabbled over who would get to eat the rest of it? It would be a very economical dish and it has an added benefit of creating a stock that can be used in another dish--do not throw the stock away!

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Liber cure cocorum [Sloane MS 1986] (England, 1430)

For bours. Take porke and gese, hew hom þou schalle On gobetes, with powder of peper withalle. Hom sethe in pot þat is so clene, With oute any water, with salt, I wene. Fro Martyn messe to gode tyde evyne, Þys mete wylle serve, þou may me lene, At dyner or soper, if þat hit nede. Þou take gode ale, þat is not quede, Þer in þou boyle þo forsayde mete Þo more worship þou may gete

Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)

Bourreys. Take pipes, hertes, neres, myltes, and of the rybbes of the Swyne, or elles take (if thou wilt) Mallard or Goos, and choppe hem small, And then parboile it in faire water, And take it vp, and pike it clene, And putte into a potte, And cast there-to Ale ynogh, Sauge, Salt, And lete boile right ynowe, &then serue it forth.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Quystis Scun - Pigeons Stewed

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Quystis Scun - Pigeons Stewed

Today I cooked a recipe from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin for a dish of pigeons stewed in a flavorful broth of beef, wine and vinegar seasoned with ginger and pepper. Unfortunately pigeon is difficult for me to come by in this area so I had to spend some time researching substitutes for game birds.  The suggested game bird from the "The Cook's Thesaurus" was Cornish hens, which are readily available in my area, but not even remotely period.  

Wood Pigeons
This recipe most likely refers to the wood pigeon, also known as the ring dove, wood-quist or cushat. This is based on information obtained from Robert Nares "A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions to   Customs, Proverbs, etc. Which Have Been Thought to Require Illustration in The Works of English Authors, Particularly Shakespeare, and his Contemporaries" which is available for free from Google Books.

Squab, the term used for young pigeons is described as tasting quite a bit like "dark meat chicken", which would be appropriate as the meat itself is a very dark.  Substituting the Cornish hen created a bit of an interesting dilemma.  The broth and wine colored the skin of the bird grey.  If I wasn't 100% convinced that the hen's I had purchased were fresh I would have been hesitant to serve them to my taste testers.  I believe that any cook would run into this same issue.  Some suggestions that were made to overcome this would be to cook the birds with the skin on and remove the skin prior to serving, or to bake the meat of your choice and serve it with a sauce made from the remaining ingredients.  You won't get the same texture but who wants to eat rubbery skin??

The Middle English Dictionary, Volume 8 by Robert E. Lewis suggests that the word "Scune" means Stew.  Unlike the word soup, whose etymology is clear, the word "stew" has a rather shady and twisted path.  The "Online Etymology Dictionary" gives the information below:

stew (n.) - c. 1300, "vessel for cooking," from stew (v.). Later "heated room," especially for bathing (late 14c.). The meaning "stewed meat with vegetables" is first recorded 1756. The obsolete slang meaning "brothel" (mid-14c., usually plural, stews) is from a parallel sense of "public bath house" (mid-14c.), carried over from Old French estuve "bath, bath house; bawdy house," reflecting the reputation of medieval bath houses.
late 14c., transitive "to bathe (a person or a body part) in a steam bath," from Old French estuver "have a hot bath, plunge into a bath; stew" (Modern French étuver), of uncertain origin. Common Romanic (cognates: Spanish estufar, Italian stufare), possibly from Vulgar Latin *extufare "evaporate," from ex- "out" + *tufus "vapor, steam," from Greek typhos "smoke." Compare Old English stuf-bæþ "hot-air bath;" see stove. 
Intransitive use from 1590s. Meaning "to boil slowly, to cook meat by simmering it in liquid" is attested from early 15c. The meaning "to be left to the consequences of one's actions" is from 1650s, especially in figurative expression to stew in one's own juices. Related: Stewed; stewing. Slang stewed "drunk" first attested 1737.
.xiiij. Quystis Scune.—Take a pece of beef or of mutoun, and wyne and fayre water, and caste in-to a potte, an late hem boyle, an skeme it wyl an clene; þan take quystes, an stoppe hem wyth-in wyth hole pepyr, and marwe, an þan caste hem in-to þe potte, an ceuere wyl þe potte, an let hem stere ryȝth wyl to-gederys; an þan take powder gyngere, and a lytel verious an salt, and caste þer-to, an þanne serue hem forth in a fayre dysshe, a quyste or to in a dysshe, in þe maner of a potage: an whan þowe shalt serue hem forth, take a lytil of þe broth, an put on dysshe wyth quystys, an serue forth.

xiiij - Quystis Scune. Take a pece of beef or of mutoun, and wyne and fayre water, and caste in-to a potte, an late hem boyle, an skeme it wyl an clene; than take quystes, an stoppe hem wyth-in wyth hole pepyr, and marwe, an than caste hem in-to the potte, an ceuere wyl the potte, an let hem stere ry3th wyl to-gederys; an than take powder gyngere, and a lytel verious an salt, and caste ther-to, an thanne serue hem forth in a fayre dysshe, a quyste or to in a dysshe, in the maner of a potage: an whan thowe shalt serue hem forth, take a lytil of the broth, an put on dysshe wyth quystys, an serue forth.

14. Pigeon Stewed - Take a piece of beef or of mutton, and wine and fair water, and caste into a pot, an let them boil, and skim it well and clean; then take pigeons, and stop them within with whole pepper, and marrow, and then cast them into the pot, an cover well the pot, and let them stir right well together; an then take powder ginger, and a little verjuice and salt, and cast thereto, and then serve them forth in a fair dish, a pigeon or two in a dish, in the manner of a potage: an when you shall serve them forth, take a little of the broth, and put on dish with pigeons, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                              Serves 2 as a main

2 c. beef broth
3/4 c. red wine
1 Cornish hen, cut in half
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. or to taste salt

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil.  Cook till the hen is tender and then serve.

As recipes go, this couldn't be simpler.  I do plan on serving this at an event in the future.  The taste testers enjoyed it, even though it very much resembled what it was, boiled Cornish game hen ("tastes just like chicken") in a very flavorful broth.  You could thicken the broth using one of the period thickeners (bread, eggs or rice flour), and serve this with furmenty.

Similar Recipe


Quystes. Take a pese of befe or of motyn wyn & watyr boyle hit skeme hit clene than take quystes chop hem with yn with hole pepyr & cast hem in to the pott & let hem stew ryght well to gedyr & take poudyr of gynger & a lytyll vergeys & salt & cast ther to do hem in fayre dischys a quyst or ij in a disch for a maner of potage and when thu shalt serve hit forth take a lytyll broth & put hit in dischys to the quystys.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak quystis tak a pece of beef or of moton and wyne and water and boile it and scem it clene then stop the quistes within with whole peppur and cast them in a pot and cover it and let it stewe welle put ther to poudur of guinger watire and salt and cast ther to and put them in faire disches one or ij in a dische for a maner of potage and when they be serued furthe tak alitill brothe and put in the disches among the quystis and serue it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .l. A potage on fysshday - Sweet Curds and Whey

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .l. A potage on fysshday 
I came across an unusual recipe from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin called "A potage on fysshday".  I confess I was hesitant to try this dish because I was uncertain of what the final results would be.  I asked two chef friends of mine what they thought it should be like.  There was a general agreement that the acidic qualities of the ale and the wine would make this a kind of cheese, so all that remained was to try it.  I should know by now not to doubt those long ago chef's, as the final results were good. 

I would not recommend this dish for any large gathering of people but it would be a very cool and period thing to perhaps enter into an SCA competition, or to serve with a gathering of close friends, or even a small luncheon.  The result was a sweet broth made from the wine and the whey, with the curds of cheese (in my case similar to small curd cottage cheese) floating in the broth. Originally, I tried to serve this dryer rather than wetter, and in the humble opinions of all of the taste testers this really needs the broth, the wetter the better!

Possets were very popular dishes to eat, and I can understand why.  Without a way to refrigerate milk, you needed to change it in some way that would extend its life.  I was unable to locate directions on how to make a medieval posset.  I did find instructions from Sir Kenelm Digby.

"A Plain Ordinary Posset: Put a pint of good Milk to boil; as soon as it doth so, take it from the fire, to let the great heat of it cool a little; for doing so, the curd will be the tenderer, and the whole of a more uniform consistence. When it is prettily cooled, pour it into your pot, wherein is about two spoonfuls of Sack and four of Ale, with sufficient Sugar dissolved in them. So let it stand a while near the fire, till you eat it." -- from "The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight, Opened" (ca 1669)"

One of my chef friends was able to point me to two recipes from the mid 1800's for possets.  This has very little variation from Digby's recipe. I have to confess, there were a lot of remarks about "Little Miss Muffet" and how I had just created medieval curds and whey. That is exactly what this dish is.  The taste testers and I enjoyed it. I believe this is a dish that would do well room temperature as well as hot.  There wasn't any left over to test if it would be good cold.  I would definitely serve this as an alternate soup to vegetarians at an event provided they eat milk, when serving a meat based soup. It is thrifty and cost effective but a bit labor intensive.

.l. A potage on fysshday.—Take an Make a styf Poshote of Milke an Ale; þan take & draw þe croddys þorw a straynoure wyth whyte Swete Wyne, or ellys Rochelle Wyne, & make it sum-what rennyng an sum-what stondyng, & put Sugre a gode quantyte þer-to, or hony, but nowt to moche; þan hete it a lytil, & serue it forth al a-brode in þe dysshys; an straw on Canel, & Gyngere, and ȝif þou [supplied by ed.] haue Blank powder, straw on and kepe it as whyte as yt may be, & þan serue forth.

l - A potage on fysshday. Take an Make a styf Poshote of Milke an Ale; than take and draw the croddys thorw a straynoure wyth [correction; sic = MS. with wyth .] whyte Swete Wyne, or ellys Rochelle Wyne, and make it sum-what rennyng an sum-what stondyng, and put Sugre a gode quantyte ther-to, or hony, but nowt to moche; than hete it a lytil, and serue it forth al a-brode in the dysshys; an straw on Canel, and Gyngere, and 3if thou haue Blank powder, straw on and kepe it as [correction; sic = a] whyte as yt may be, and than serue forth [correction; sic = f].

50 A Potage on Fish Day - Take and make a stiff posset of milk and ale; then take and draw the curds through a strainer with white sweet wine, or else Rochelle wine (a favored kind of white wine in the middle ages), and make it somewhat running and somewhat standing, and put sugar, a good quantity there-to or honey, but not too much; then heat it a little and serve it forth all abroad in the dish; and strew on cinnamon and ginger, if you have white powder, strew on and keep it as white as it may be, and then serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                              Serves 1 as a main, 2 or more as a side

2 cups whole milk (I used Fairlife whole milk)
4 tbsp.  ale
2 tbsp. white wine
1-2 tbsp. honey or sugar or to taste

Bring the milk and the honey to a boil and remove it from the heat.  Allow to sit five minutes to cool, and add the Ale and white wine.  Return to heat and simmer for approximately ten minutes stirring constantly.  You can strain the whey from the curds if you like, otherwise add ginger, cinnamon or pouder douce to taste, and serve.



Friday, October 28, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons - Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons - Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins
Today's adventure in cooking from from the "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin" was a very interesting dish called Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons. The end product was a kind of cream of rice cereal with chunks of apples and raisins in it. I would serve this as a camp breakfast, or even at an event which is offering breakfast.  

The taste testers declared it "tasty, but not delicious", which is a very fair assessment of this dish.  I have created similar recipes that I would prefer to serve over this one. Perhaps it is because I am not a fan of raisins?? 

.Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons.—Take Raysonys, & do a-way þe kyrnellys; & take a part of Applys, & do a-way þe corys, & þe pare,*. [? peel. ] & bray hem in a mortere, & temper hem with Almande Mylke, & melle hem with flowre of Rys, þat it be clene chargeaunt, & straw vppe-on pouder of Galyngale & of Gyngere, & serue it forth.

Cxxxvj - A potage of Roysons. Take Raysonys, and do a-way the kyrnellys; and take a part of Applys, and do a-way the corys, and the pare, (Note: ? peel) and bray hem in a mortere, and temper hem with Almande Mylke, and melle hem with flowre of Rys, that it be clene chargeaunt, and straw vppe-on pouder of Galyngaleand of Gyngere, and serue it forth.

136 A Potage of Raisins - Take Raisins, and do away the kernels; and take a part of apples, and do away the cores and pare and grind them in a mortar, and temper them with almond milk, and mix them with flour of rice, that it be quite thick, and strew upon powder of galangal, of ginger, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                              Serve 1 as main, 2 as side

1/2 apple, peeled, pared and cut into small dice
2 tbsp. raisins
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/2 tsp. good powder or ginger to taste
pinch of salt

Although the recipe does not tell us to cook the raisins and the apples, it does tell us to "temper hem with Almande Mylke", which leads me to believe that we are to add hot almond milk to the apple and raisin mixture.  The term tempering is defined as the process of gradually adding a hot liquid to food so that it can be incorporated into a hot sauce or soup without curdling.  The process of tempering is used to slowly raise the temperature of the food using small amounts of hot liquid, so that the mixture can become thick. Therefore, I believe that the use of hot almond milk would be used as the method of cooking the raisins and the apples. 

What is missing is the sweetness that I have found in similar recipes; lxviij - Bruet of Almaynne in lente, xx. Papyns, .Cxxv. Vyolette, .lxxxxj. Vyolette, .Ixxxv. Gaylede, Cxxvj. Rede Rose, .lxxix. Apple Muse and .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle, and . Based on these similar recipes I added honey to my interpretation of this recipe, otherwise, I believe it would have been bland.

I chose to cook the apples and the raisins in the almond milk that I seasoned with ginger and honey before adding the rice flour. It couldn't be simpler! 



Friday, October 21, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle - Apple Royal

.Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle
Prepared for Nede, Flesshe Day and Fysshe Day
Today's adventure in cooking from from the "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin" was Applade Ryalle, loosely interpreted as "Royal Apple" or "Apple Royal". It includes instructions for producing three vastly different flavored soups using the same base. The soups are made with beef broth (for a flesh day), almond milk (for a fish day) and "in need" with a broth made of wine and honey. The base of the soup is quite simple, apples that have been boiled until tender (read falling apart) and then strained through a strainer. 

I made all three of the soups today and the taste testers (God bless them) tried each of them. We all agreed that the soup "in need" and the soup for a fish day were the better of the recipes. The house smelled like fall, with the ginger, cinnamon, apples, and wine scenting the air. Of the apple recipes I have interpreted this is by far my favorite. Creating a variety of soups fit for a king! Huzzah!

The applade ryalle for a flesh (meat) day, was pleasant and if I had cooked just this I think the testers opinions would have been a bit different. I, being unsure if I would like it, cooked it last--my mistake. The flavor of the apples was sharpened by the beef broth, so that I was reminded of eating a sour apple candy (which I like). This soup was good, but all of us decided that this might fall under the category of "too period to serve." Don't get me wrong, it was flavorful and you should try it. However the taste won't be for everyone and the testers were put off by the smell of the apples and beef broth. Once they ate the first spoonful it was a race to see who finished first.

The applade ryalle for a fish day received rave reviews. The soup was creamy and mild and delicious. What most of the taste testers remarked on first was that they could taste the spices used, and that the almond milk enhanced that, and then they tasted a hint of the apple and a hint of the almonds. It was really good and has made it on my list of things to serve more often in the house yes; it will become something I will serve to my non-SCA friends. This was voted best dish of the day, but I disagree...because my favorite was the next dish!

The applade ryalle in need is a lovely soup with a base of wine and honey. The wine and the apples explode in your mouth on the first spoonful, and then the honey peeks through along with the spices. It was decided that this goes to the "must be served at a future event" list, alongside some good crusty bread, cheese and smoked pork. Have I mentioned I have great taste testers???

.Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle.—Take Applys, & seþe hem tylle þey ben tendyr, & þan lat hem kele; þen draw hem þorw a straynour; & on flesshe day caste þer-to gode fatte broþe of freysshe beef, an whyte grece, & Sugre, & Safroun, & gode pouder; & in a Fysshe day, take Almaunde mylke, & oyle of Olyff, & draw þer-vppe with-al a gode pouder, & serue forth. An for nede, draw it vppe with Wyne, & a lytil hony put þer-to for to make it þan dowcet; & serue it forth.

Cxxxv - Applade Ryalle. Take Applys, and sethe hem tylle they ben tendyr, and than lat hem kele; then draw hem thorw a straynour; and on flesshe day caste ther-to gode fatte brothe of freysshe beef, an whyte grece, and Sugre, and Safroun, and gode pouder; and in a Fysshe day, take Almaunde mylke, and oyle of Olyff, and draw ther-vppe with-al a gode pouder, and serue forth. An for nede, draw it vppe with Wyne, and a lytil hony put ther-to for to make it than dowcet; and serue it forth.

135. Apple Royal - Take apples and seeth them until they be tender and then let them cool; then draw them through a strainer; and on flesh day cast thereto good fat broth of fresh beef and white grease, and sugar and saffron, and good powder; and on a fish day, take almond milk, and olive oil, and draw there up with a good powder and serve forth. And for need, draw it up with wine, and a little honey put there to for to make it than sweet and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                    Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

2-3 apples
water to cover
1 cup broth, wine or almond milk
1-2 tbsp. sugar or honey, or to taste
1 tsp. good powder (I used pouder douce)
1 tbsp. butter (for flesh or fish day recipe)
pinch of saffron

Today I cut the apples into large chunks and placed them into the pot--I did not core or peel them. I covered with water and allowed to boil until the apples were tender and the water was almost gone. I then put the apples into the food processor (yay for modern technology) and pureed them. After which I strained them into a bowl. I used my last seven orchard picked apples today to make this. If you are going to skip this step, you will want to use approximately 3/4 of a cup of apple sauce to 1 cup of broth, wine or almond milk. I added the powder douce to the apples while they were hot and mixed it in, rather than cooking it in the broth base. I ommitted the saffron.

For each of the soups I heated the broth with the sugar or honey where it was appropriate (honey for in need, sugar for flesh and fish days). I also added the "grease", in this case butter to both of the flesh and fish day recipes, and then added the pureed and spiced apple mixture. I cooked these together until the soup had reduced to the consistency I wanted, and then served.

You would think that the soups would be a bit too thin and that you might need to add a thickener, it is my guess that leaving the apples whole allowed the pectin to remain with the soup and that is part of what gave each of these soups a velvety texture. If however, you find your soup too thin, you could thicken it with one of the period thickeners, bread crumbs, rice flour or egg. Make sure to strain it before serving.

Similar Recipes

MS Royal 12.C.xii (England/France, 1340 - D. Myers, trans.)

Poumes ammolee. Wine, eggs, wheat flour, apples fortified thereon, sugar to cut the strenght of the wine.

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)

Appeluns for a lorde, in opyntide. Take appuls cut of tweyne or of foure (cut in two or three pieces), and fethe hom, and bray hom in a morter, and then streyne hom ; and when thai byn streyned, do hom in a pot, and let hom fethe tyl the joust (juice) and the water be sothen oute, and put then therto a lytel vernage, or other swetewyrie, and cast therto sugre; and when hit is sothen in the fettynge doune of the pot, put therto a few zolkes of eyren beten and streyned, and set up the potage, stondyng, and put therto a lytel water of euerose, and stere hit wel togeder, and dresse hit up stondynge on leches in dishes, and straw aboven blomes of qwerdelynges (qu. codlings) or of other gode frute; and serve hit forthe.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak an appillinose, tak appelles and sethe them and lett them kelle ,then fret them throughe an heryn syff on fisshe dais take almonde mylk and oile olyf ther to. and on flesshe days tak freche brothe and whit grece and sugur and put them in a pot and boile it and colour it with saffron and cast on pouders and serue it.

The Neapolitan recipe collection (Italy, 15th c - T. Scully, trans.)

Applesauce. Get almonds, grind them thoroughly and make milk; then get ten or twelve cooked apples, grind them up and sieve them, mix them with the almondmilk and a little rosewater and sugar, and cook the mixture until it is thick; then take it off the fire and make up dishes of it.





Saturday, October 15, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle - Apple Soft

.Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle - Apple Soft 
Apples belong to the Rosaceae family along with pears, quince, loquat, medlars and yes, roses. It is believed that there has been over 10,000 different apple cultivars that have been developed, many of which are now lost. There are at least 100 different varieties of apples that are grown commercially, but of those, only ten make up 90% of the production in the United States. I find this distressingly sad.

As mentioned in my previous post on .lxxix. Apple Muse it is generally believed that domesticated apples has their origins in Central Asia. Apples are documented as early as 6500 B.C. in Jericho and the Jordan Valley. Theophrastes records in 323 B.C the process of budding, grafting and general tree care of six different varieties of apples that were known at the time.

There are many legends regarding this fruit, the most well-known is that of Adam and Eve wherein Eve tempts Adam to eat of the "forbidden fruit". Apples are well known then, as a fruit synonymous with temptation, a reputation that is apparently well earned.

Hercules is tasked with stealing the golden apples from the Tree of Life as one of his Twelve Labors. Atalanta, was tricked by Hippomenes, losing a footrace and securing a husband, because she stopped to pick up Golden Apples given to Hippomenes by Aphrodite.

Eris, the Greek goddess of discord threw a golden apple into the wedding party of Thetis and Peleus. The apple was inscribed with the word "kallisti", meaning the fairest. Three Goddesses coveted the apple, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite and the task of appointing which of the Goddesses was indeed the fairest fell upon Paris of Troy. It was Aphrodite who promised Paris of Troy the love of the most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, if he would appoint her the keeper of the apple. He did, and it was this apple that was indirectly responsible for causing the Trojan War. 

Apples were not always associated with lust, love, temptation or sin. In fact, in Norse mythology it is the Goddess Idun who is the guardian of the golden apples that preserved the eternal youth of the Aesir. It is the apple that gave Avalon its name in the legends of King Arthur. The Welsh word for apple is Afal. In the legends of Arthur, apples are associated with very powerful forces of creation, birth, death and rebirth.

Lastly, the ancient Celts believed that apples were to be treasured. Apple blossoms were used as symbols of fertility and would be placed in bedrooms. They were also symbolic of goodwill, integrity and purity and love. There is a myth told of Conle, who received an apple that fed him for a year.

Today's adventure from the "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin" was a dish called Apple Moyle, which, from the written instructions could be interpreted in multiple ways.

The interpretatino that I chose was to make a pudding of apples and almond milk, thickened with rice flour similar to Cxxv - Vyolette.  How you interpret it depends on how you wish to interpret the first few words "Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, & temper hem with Almaunde mylke..."

.Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle.
—Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, & temper hem with Almaunde mylke, & boyle it; & take Applys, & pare hem, an smal screde hem in mossellys; þrow on sugre y-now, & coloure it with Safroun, & caste þer-to gode pouder, & serue forth.

Cxxxiiij - Apple Moyle. Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, and temper hem with Almaunde mylke, and boyle it; and take Applys, and pare hem, an smal screde hem in mossellys; throw on sugre y-now, and coloure it with Safroun, and caste ther-to gode pouder, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

134 - Apple Soft - Take rice, and pound them well, and temper them with almond milk, and boil it, and take apples, and pare them, and small shred them in morsels; throw on sugar enough, and color it with saffron, and caste there-to good powder, an serve forth

Interpreted Recipe                                                               Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

1/4 cup rice flour
1 cup almond milk
1 small apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
2 tbsp. sugar
pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. powder douce
** Pinch of Salt

Bring almond milk, rice flour, saffron, sugar and apples to a simmer and cook until the apples are tender and the mixture has thickened. Sprinkle with powder douce and serve.

I added salt to this mixture and I believe it made quite a bit of difference.  I liked this, but I have liked almost every dish I have made using the base of rice flour and almond milk and cooking it down to the thickness of a breakfast cereal.  This made a sweet porridge that I would not hesitate to serve as a breakfast dish at any event or for a camp breakfast. It couldn't be simpler to make, the most difficult part of this dish was making sure it did not thicken too much or burn. The taste testers and I had a bit of a spoon war to eat the last of this from the dish. 

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Ein Buch von guter spise (Germany, ca. 1345 - Alia Atlas, trans.)

69. Ein apfelmus (An apple puree). Wilt du machen ein apfelmus. so nim schöne epfele und schele sie. und snide sie in ein kalt wazzer. und süde sie in einem hafen. und menge sie mit wine und mit smaltze und ze slahe eyer mit wiz und mit al. und tu daz dor zu. und daz ist gar ein gut fülle. und versaltz niht.

How you want to make an apple puree. So take fine apples and skin them. And cut them in a cold water. And boil them in a pot. And mix them with wine and with fat and also beat eggs with white and with all. And do that thereto. And that is a very good filling. And do not oversalt.

Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

Appulmoy. XX.III. XIX. Take Apples and seeþ hem in water, drawe hem thurgh a straynour. take almaunde mylke & hony and flour of Rys, safroun and powdour fort and salt. and seeþ it stondyng.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxix. Apple Muse - Apple Mousse

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxix. Apple Muse - Apple Mousse
Fall is here and with it an abundance of apples! What better way to pick up the pen again then with this fruit?? Apples have a long and varied history. Carbon dating of seeds found in Southwestern Asia suggest that apples may have originated there. There is also evidence of fossilized apple seeds dating to the Neolithic period found in England which suggests that a variety of wild apple was known. 

Whatever the origin, we do know that the Greeks were familiar with apples.  Homer writes about them in the Odyssey.  Hippocrates recommends sweet apples with meals as a way of aiding in digestion. The Romans however, developed the fruit that we are aware of today through the process of cross breeding for sweetness and grafting.   Pliny the Elder describes multiple varieties of apples that were cultivated in Rome.

After the Roman occupation of Britain, many of the orchards were left abandoned.  It was through the efforts of monks that many of the orchards were maintained.  The earliest known mention of apples in England was by King Alfred, who mentions them in his writings "Gregory's Pastoral Care". One interesting fact of note is that the monks were engaged in actively developing new varieties of apples.  One such apple, the Costard was well known in the 13th century, and the sellers of this variety were known as "costardmongers".

There are several recipes using apples in the "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin". The recipe I tried today is Apple Muse.  It reminded me of homemade apple sauce, with a faint hint of saffron and the creaminess of almond milk, it was also very similar to the  Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Chardewardon - Pear Custard recipe, the difference being that chardewardon is thickened with egg yolks, while the apple muse is thickened with bread.

.lxxix. Apple Muse.—Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge*. [ Sift. ] hem þorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; þanne take Almaunde Mylke & Hony, an caste þer-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, & Salt a lytil, & caste all in þe potte & lete hem sethe; & loke þat þou stere it wyl, & serue it forth.

lxxix. Apple Muse. Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge (Note: Sift) hem thorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; thanne take Almaunde Mylke and Hony, an caste ther-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, and Salt a lytil, and caste all in the potte and lete hem sethe; and loke that thou stere it wyl, and serue it forth.

79 - Apple Mousse - Take apples and boil (cook) them, and sift them through a seive into a pot; then take almound milk and honey, and caste there-to, and grated bread, saffron, sandalwood, and salt a little, and caste all in the pot and let them boil (cook); and look that you stir it well, and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe

3 apples, stems removed, cut into chunks
Water to cover
1 C. almond milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp.  sandalwood
Pinch of saffron
1-2 tbsp. bread crumbs or to taste

There are many recipes for this dish published online.  Several of them take additional steps of peeling and coring the apples. I did not do this step because the recipe doesn't specify to do it, unlike the recipe for .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle which specifically tells you to pare the apples before cooking.

I cut the apples into large chunks and covered them with water, and boiled them till they were tender.  While the apples were boiling, I heated the almond milk, honey, saffron and sandalwood on low heat and allowed to steep.  I have to confess I was hoping for a brighter color from the saffron and sandalwood, it turned the almond milk a peach color, but that color was lost once the apples were added.  Before moving to the next step I strained the almond milk.

Once the apples were tender I drained them and added them in the blender along with the almond milk (yay for modern technology).  I pureed them until they had become a sauce and then strained them through a sieve into the pot I had cooked the almond milk in.

I heated this mixture for a few moments and then began adding in the bread crumbs a little at a time until it thickened to an apple sauce like texture. I liked this dish, but I imagine it is not for everyone and this was confirmed by my taste testers who placed it into the category of "not their favorite thing".  When asked if they would eat it if served at a feast, suggestions were offered including, sprinkling with additional spices, or possibly adding a mixture of chopped dried fruits and nuts on top.  Previous pottage recipes suggest that dates and figs and/or Powder Douce would be appropriate toppings.

If I were to serve this at an event, I might choose to "cheat" and buy commercially prepared applesauce and add the almond milk to it.  The reason for this is that prepared this way, the apples had a very gritty texture which was what the taste testers found to be off putting.  As it stands, this dish does not make my list of things to try in the future.  It was very easy to prepare, and I would hope that someone would take the taste testers suggestions to heart if they chose to serve this dish at an event.

I am also wondering if the texture of a baked apple, versus a boiled apple would better fit the dish.  Since the recipe itself does not specify boiling versus baking, this might also be a suggestion for improving the texture and flavor of the dish.

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Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

XXXV - FOR TO MAKE APULMOS. Tak Applys and seth hem and let hem kele and after mak hem thorwe a cloth and do hem im a pot and kast to that mylk ofAlmaundys wyth god broth of Buf in Flesch dayes do bred ymyed therto. And the fisch dayes do therto oyle of olyve and do therto sugur and colour it wyth safrounand strew theron Powder and serve it forthe.

Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420 - Elizabeth Cook, trans.)

3. Again, emplumeus of apples: to give understanding to him who will make it, take good barberine apples according to the quantity of it which one wants to make and then pare them well and properly and cut them into fair gold or silver dishes; and let him have a fair, good, and clean earthen pot, and let him put in fair clean water and put to boil over fair and clear coals and put his apples to boil therein. And let him arrange that he has a great quantity of good sweet almonds according to the quantity of apples which he has put to cook, and let him blanch, clean, and wash them very well and put them to be brayed in a mortar which does not smell at all of garlic, and let him bray them very well and moisten them with the broth in which the said apples are cooking; and when the said apples are cooked enough draw them out onto fair and clean boards, and let him strain the almonds with this water and make milk which is good and thick, and put it back to boil on clear and clean coals without smoke, and a very little salt. And while it boils let him chop his said apples very small with a little clean knife and then, being chopped, let him put them into his milk, and put in a great deal of sugar according to the amount that there is of the said emplumeus of apples; and then, when the doctor asks for it, put it in fair bowls or pans of gold or silver.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak an appillinose, tak appelles and sethe them and lett them kelle ,then fret them throughe an heryn syff on fisshe dais take almonde mylk and oile olyf ther to. and on flesshe days tak freche brothe and whit grece and sugur and put them in a pot and boile it and colour it with saffron and cast on pouders and serue it.

Thomas Awkbarow's Recipes (MS Harley 5401) (England, 15th century)

Appylmoes. Recipe & seth appyls, & frete þam throgh a cloth, & do þam in a pot, & cast þerto almond mylk with gode broth of flesh dayes, & put þerto gratyd brede& seth it; & put þerto whyte grece on þe flesh day & on þe fysh day oyle de olyfe, & do þerto sugur, & colour it with saferon, & strewe þerin gynger, & serof it forth.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Venyson in Broth with Furmenty

Venyson in Broth with Furmenty
This post features two recipes found in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin. The first recipe, viij. Venyson with Furmenty, includes instructions on how to create a popular grain based dish, Furmenty and serve it with Venyson. The second recipe, .xxij Venyson in Broth, is instructions on how to prepare a pottage of venison. 

Frumenty was a hot porridge that normally accompanied a roasted meat or fish in the second course, however, I couldn't resist pairing this colorful dish, that might have been the medieval equivalent of mashed potatoes with the venison in broth.  I am glad I did! The name, frumenty comes from the latin frumentum which means "grain".

I used an ancient form of wheat called Kamut to make this dish. Kamut is a close relative of modern wheat but differs from modern wheat because the grain is about twice the size of modern wheat. Kamut is believed to be an ancient form of durum wheat which contains 30% more protein then regular wheat.  It is not as high in gluten as the wheat that is used for bread.  I can say that it makes a very creamy cereal with a nutty texture. Several frumenty recipes I found online suggested using cream of wheat cereal. I think it's a huge disservice to this dish to not use some form of cracked or whole wheat.

The history of Kamut is very interesting.  If rumor is to be believed this grain was first discovered in the tombs of Egypt, planted and then grown. It is more likely, though, that Kamut was kept alive via peasant farmers in Egypt or Asia Minor.  However the grain reemerged, a small sample of it was sold to an airman from Montana who mailed it home to his dad who planted the sample of seeds.  The man showed the seeds at county fairs and called it "King Tut's Wheat." It never really caught on, so the farmer began to feed his wheat to cattle.  It was rediscovered in 1977 by Bob Quinn, who has since started marketing it commercially.

.viij. Venyson with Furmenty.—Take whete and pyke it clene, and do it in a morter, an caste a lytel water þer-on; an stampe with a pestel tyl it hole*. [Hull, lose the husks. ]; þan fan owt þe holys,*. [Hulls; husks. ] an put it in a potte, an let sethe tyl it breke; þan set yt douun, an sone after set it ouer þe fyre, an stere it wyl; an whan þow hast sothyn it wyl, put þer-inne swete mylke, an seþe it y-fere, an stere it wyl; and whan it is y-now, coloure it wyth safron, an salt it euene, and dresse it forth, & þin venyson in a-nother dyshe with fayre hot water.

viij - Venyson with Furmenty. Take whete and pyke it clene, and do it in a morter, an caste a lytel water ther-on; an stampe with a pestel tyl it hole (Note: Hull, lose the husks); than fan owt the holys, (Note: Hulls; husks) an put it in a potte, an let sethe tyl it breke; than set yt douun, an sone after set it ouer the fyre, an stere it wyl; an whan thow hast sothyn it wyl, put ther-inne swete mylke, an sethe it y-fere, an stere it wyl; and whan it is y-now, coloure it wyth safron, an salt it euene, and dresse it forth, and thin venyson in a-nother dyshe with fayre hot water.

8. Venison with Furmenty. Take wheat and pick it clean, and do it in a morter, and caste a little water thereon; and stamp with a pestle until it be hulled; then fan out the hulls, and put it in a pot, and boil (sethe) until it break; then set it down and soon after set it over the fire, and stir it well; an when you have boiled it well, put therein sweet milk, and boil it together (y-fere) and stir it well; and when it is enough, color it with saffron, and salt it even, and dress it forth, and then venison in another dish with fair hot water. 

Interpreted Recipe                                    1 cup of dried Kamut makes enough frumenty to feed 8 people despite what the directions say!

1 cup kamut
3 cups water
Pinch of saffron
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk or almond milk

Following the directions I soaked the wheat overnight in water, and then drained the water from the wheat.  I then continued to follow the directions by cooking the soaked wheat in 3 cups of water with the salt and saffron, stirring constantly until the water was completely absorbed.  I added a cup of milk to the cereal and continued to cook until the milk had been absorbed and served. The directions say this will feed four people, but the single cup made a lot of frumenty and would easily feed a table of 8 at an event. 

.xxij. Venyson in Broth.—Take Rybbys of Venysoun, and wasshe hem clene in fayre water, an strayne þe same water þorw a straynoure in-to a potte, an caste þer-to Venysoun, also Percely, Sawge, powder Pepyr, Clowys, Maces, Vynegre, and a lytyl Red wyne caste þere-to; an þanne latte it boyle tyl it be y-now, & serue forth.

xxij - Venyson in Broth. Take Rybbys of Venysoun, and wasshe hem clene in fayre water, an strayne the same water thorw a straynoure in-to a potte, an caste ther-to Venysoun, also Percely, Sawge, powder Pepyr, Clowys, Maces, Vynegre, and a lytyl Red wyne caste there-to; an thanne latte it boyle tyl it be y-now, and serue forth.

22. Venison in Broth - Take ribs of venison, and wash them clean in fair water, and strain the same water through a strainer into a pot, and caste thereto venison, also parsley, sage, powder pepper, cloves, mace, vinegar, and a little red wine caste thereto; and then let it boil till it be enough, and serve forth. 

Interpreted Recipe

1/4 pound venison or beef for stew
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves
1/8 tsp. mace
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. red wine

Place venison in the broth, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cook until the venison is tender and serve. 

This is another dish that I imagine could be cooked in a slow cooker or a roaster oven similar to Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Beef y-Stywyd. It was very flavorful and the taste testers, including the very picky teen who lives on chicken nuggets and pizza that I convinced to try it liked it- I call that a major endorsement.

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Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)

Furmenty with venyson. Take faire whete, and kerve it in a morter, And vanne a-wey clene the duste, and wassh it in faire watere and lete it boile till hit breke; then do awey the water clene, and caste there-to swete mylke, and sette it ouer the fire, And lete boile til it be thik ynogh, And caste there-to a goode quantite of tryed rawe yolkes of egges, and caste thereto Sapheron, sugur, and salt; but late it boile no more then, but sette it on fewe coles, lest the licoure wax colde. And then take fressh venyson, and water hit; seth hit and bawde hit; And if hit be salt, water hit, sethe hit, and leche hit as hit shall be serued forth, and put hit in a vessell with feyre water, and buille it (Note: Added from D)ayen; and as hit boyleth, blowe a-wey the grece, and serue it forth with ffurmenty, And a litul of the broth in the Dissh all hote with the flessh.
Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)

Venyson in broth. Take rybbes of venyson, and wassh hem faire in Water, And streyn the Water thorgh a Streynour into a faire potte, and cast the Venyson thereto,parcely, Sauge, powder of peper, cloue3, Maces, Vinegre, salt, And late hem boile til thei be ynow, and serue it forth.


lix - Furmenty with purpaysse. Make thin Furmenty in the maner as I sayd be-fore, saue temper it vp with Almaunden, Mylke, and Sugre, and Safroun, than take thin Purpays as a Freysshe Samoun, and sethe it in fayre Water; and when he is I-sothe y-now, bawde it and leche it [correction; sic = leche it leche it] in fayre pecys, and serue wyth Furmenty in hote Water.