Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxj. Vyolette. - Violette

.lxxxxj. Vyolette
It's that time of year again. In addition to making preserved flowers to be used as decorations for future events, I am once again revisiting violet syrup, which is delicious on ice cream, sugar plate and manus christi. I have also been looking forward to trying two recipes that I 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 featuring violets. You can read more about the violet and it's usage in any of the links above. 

.lxxxxj. Vyolette.—Nym Almaunde Mylke, an flowre of Rys, and pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Pepir, Datis, Fygys, & Rasonys y-corven, an coloure it with Safroun, an boyle it & make it chargeaunt; an whan þou dressyste, take þe flowres, an hew hem, an styre it þer-with; nyme þe braunchys with þe flowres, an sette a-boue and serue it Forth.

lxxxxj - Vyolette.
 Nym Almaunde Mylke, an flowre of Rys, and pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Pepir, Datis, Fygys, and Rasonys y-corven, an coloure it with Safroun, an boyle it and make it chargeaunt; an whan thou dressyste, take the flowres, an hew hem, an styre it ther-with; nyme the braunchys with the flowres, an sette a-boue and serue it Forth.

91. Violet -take almond milk, and flower of rice, and powder ginger, galingale, pepper, dates, figs and raisons cut, and color it with saffron, and boil it and make it thick. And when you dress it, take the flowers and cut them, and stir it there-with; cut the branches with the flowers and set above and serve forth. 

Of the two recipes tested today, this was the least favorite. All of the taste testers agreed that it was good and that they would eat it again if it were served again. However, unlike the recipe for .Cxxv. Vyolette., which I have been requested to make again on a regular basis, this was considered good for the purpose of a reenactment event. 

The dish was very pretty, the broth being yellow with saffron, ginger and galangal, the purple of the violets was made all the more vibrant when laid against it.  This was a very filling dish, the raisins, dates and figs in the broth of almond milk thickened with rice flour was very pleasant when you ate it.  I was reminded of more of a warmed breakfast cereal, like cream of wheat or oatmeal porridge then the more desert like Cxxv. Vyolette.

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

1c. almond milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. galingale and pepper
3 dates minced
3 figs minced
1/4 c. raisins
Pinch of saffron
Violets to decorate

Warm the almond milk with the saffron on low heat until the almond takes on a yellow hue, add ginger, galingale, pepper, dates, figs and raisins and cook for approximately five minutes or until the fruit has become plumped.  Add the rice flour and stir constantly until the broth has thickened. Allow the pudding to cool for approximately three to five minutes before adding the fresh violet flowers. Enjoy! I would taste for sweetness and add sugar to taste.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet

.Cxxv. Vyolette
It's that time of year again. In addition to making preserved flowers to be used as decorations for future events, I am once again revisiting violet syrup, which is delicious on ice cream, sugar plate and manus christi. I have also been looking forward to trying to recipes that I 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 featuring violets. You can read more about the violet and it's usage in any of the links above.

Of the two recipes that were tested today, this one was by far the favorite. I would love to serve this at an event one day, but it would definitely have to be a spring time event. I may try my hand at violet jam or violet conserve to see if I might be able to make this heavenly creation later in the year.

I had three taste testers who tested this and it literally was a war of the spoons to see who would get the very last bite. Sweet, creamy with just a hint of violet, it was lovely to look at decorated with the fresh flowers and the light lavender color was very pretty.

.Cxxv. Vyolette.—Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte þer-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with þe same þat þe flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.

Cxxv - Vyolette. Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte ther-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with the same that the flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.

125. Violet -
Take flowers of violets, boil them, press them, cut them small, temper them up with almond milk or good cow milk, mix it with amyndoun or rice flour; take sugar enough, and put there-to, or honey in default; color it with the same that the flowers be on painted above.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                  Serves One as a main, Two as a side

1/3 c. fresh violet petals, cleaned and washed
1 c. almond milk or milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1-2 tbs. sugar or honey depending on taste (I used 2 or sugar)

I did not follow the directions as stated in the period recipe, because I felt that cooking the violets first, then adding the colored water back in would not create a dish that was as pretty. Instead, I put the cleaned petals into the pot with the almond and heated it on low heat approximately ten to 15 minutes. The color leached from the petals into the almond milk and when it reached the desired color, I then added the rice flower and sugar and cooked until it had thickened to the consistency of a custard or pudding. I took it from the stove and let it cool for about five minutes the put it in the bowl and decorated it with the fresh violets.

This recipe is now on my "must serve at feast" list. To date there are very few recipes that I have interpreted that I wouldn't serve again.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Harliean MS 279 (about 1430) Smale Byrdys y-stwyde - Small Birds Stewed

Harliean MS 279 (about 1430) Smale Byrdys y-stwyde - Small Birds Stewed

The people of the middle ages enjoyed a much wider variety of foods then we do today.  Some of the items that they enjoyed were particularly exotic or have fallen out of favor.  In addition to chicken, duck and goose, the following birds found their way to the medieval table including; Blackbirds, Bustards, Cormorant, Crane, Crow, Cuckoo, Curlews, Dove, Finches, Gannets, Godwits, Guillemots, Gulls, Heron, Lark. Oystercatchers, Partridges, Peacock, Pheasants, Plovers (including dotterels and lapwings), Puffins, Quail, Razor-billed auks, Rock Dove, Sandpipers (including knots, snipes, ruffs and woodcocks), Sparrows, Spoonbills, Starlings, Stork, Swan, Terns, Thrushes, Turtle Dove and Wood Pigeon.

The recipe below is very practical given the wide variety of birds that were enjoyed in the Middle Ages.  I used chicken to make it and tested it using my regular body of non-sca teens and my brother-in-law.  The wine based broth was delicious and this has fallen into the category of "must be served at a future feast.  Commentary ran from unintelligible mumbling around of bites of chicken and groans of pleasure to an excited "You have GOT to get this recipe to my mom".  There were even suggestions on how to improve the dish, for example "If you add noodles this would be *the best* chicken noodle soup...ever!"

.xix. Smale Byrdys y-stwyde. — Take smale byrdys, an pulle hem an drawe hem clene, an washe hem fayre, an schoppe of ]>e leggys, and frye hem in a panne of freysshe grece ryjt wyl ; ]?an ley hem on a fayre lynen clothe, an lette ]>e grece renne owt ; J' an take oynonys, an mynce hem smale, an frye hem on fayre freysshe grece, an caste hem on an erj^en potte ; ]7an take a gode porcyon of canel, an wyne, an draw ]7orw a straynoure, an caste in-to J^e potte •with j^e oynonys ; ]>an caste ]>e bryddys J^er-to, an clowys, an maces, an a lytil quantyte of powder pepir ]iev-to, an lete hem boyle to-gederys y-now ; ]>an. caste J^er-to whyte sugre, an powder gyngere, salt, safron, an serue it forth.

19. Small Birds Stewed - Take small birds, and pull them and draw them clean, and wash them fair, and chop off the legs, and fry them in a pan of fresh grease right well: then lay them on a fair linen cloth, and let the grease run out; than take onions, and mince them small, and fry them on fair fresh grease, and cast them on an earthen pot: than take a good portion of cinnamon and wine, and draw through a strainer, and cast into the pot with the onions; than cast the birds there-to, and cloves, and mace, and a little quantity of powder pepper there-to, and let them boil together enough; than cast thereto white sugar, and powder ginger, salt, saffron and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                              Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side--must be friendly with each other ;-P

1 chicken breast - cut into bite sized chunks - I used skinless boneless, but if I were going to fix this for a large event I would prefer a mix of bone in, skin on chicken parts, or several whole birds broken down
1-2 tbsp. oil, lard or "grease" or more as needed
1/4 C. onion minced
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. wine (I used a dry white) *Note: You could sub 50/50 chicken stock and wine or 25/75 wine to stock depending on your preference
2-3 cloves
Pinch of saffron
1/8 tsp. pepper and mace
Pinch of white sugar and ginger
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in the pan until it is hot.  Add your chicken (or other bird of choice) and fry till it has become nicely browned.  Remove the chicken from the pan and let the oil drain.  While the oil is draining, cook your onions until they become translucent.  Once the onions are cooked, place them in a pot along with the cooked chicken.  Add the wine, or the wine and stock mixture (I used a 50/50 mix), cinnamon, cloves, saffron, pepper and mace and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the chicken has become completely cooked through.  Add salt to taste.  Before serving, strew a pinch of sugar and ginger.