Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Fryed Meate (Pancakes) in Haste for the Second Course (The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected, 1682)

A Fryed Meate in Haste for the Second Course

A Fryed Meate (Pancakes) in Haste for the Second Course (The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected, 1682) Take a pint of curds made tender of morning milk, pressed clean from the Whey, put to them one handful of flour, six eggs, casting away three whites, a little rosewater, sack, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, salt, and two pippins minced small, beat this all together into a thick batter, so that it may not run abroad; if you want wherewith to temper it add cream; when they are fried fryed, scrape on sugar and send them up; if this curd be made with sack, as it may as well as with rennet, you may make a pudding with the whey thereof.

1 cup creamed cottage cheese drained and slightly pressed
1 large, tart cooking apple
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. white wine
1 tsp. rosewater
1/8 tsp. each salt, nutmeg, cinnamon
¼ cup flour
Butter to fry in
Additional sugar to sprinkle on

Drain the liquid from the cheese and press it through a sieve, quarter, core, and peel the apple, then mince or grate it through the large holes of a grater. Beat together all the ingredients except the butter into a thick batter.

Heat a large skillet or griddle until a drop of water sizzles when dropped on it, and then melt the butter on it. Drop spoonful's of the batter onto the griddle, forming oval shaped pancakes about four inches long. Cook over medium heat until brown on the underside, then turn the pancakes carefully – they break easily—and brown the other side.

As they are baked, transfer the pancakes to a warmed serving dish to keep warm. Sprinkle brown sugar over them and then serve immediately.

Chawatteys (Harlieian MS 279, c. 1430)

Chawatteys (Harlieian MS 279, c. 1430)

Chawatteys (Harlieian MS 279, c. 1430) Take buttys of Vele, and mynce hem smal, or Porke, and put on a potte; take Wyne, and caste + er-to pouder of Gyngere, Pepir, and Safroun, and Salt, and a lytel verjus, and do hem in a cofyn with yolks of Eyroun, and kutte Datys and Roysonys of Coraunce, Clowys, Maces, and + en ceuere + in cofyn, and lat it bake tyl it be y-now.

3 cups chopped pork or veal (about 18 oz)
3/4 c red wine
5 threads saffron
3/4 t ginger
3/4 t pepper
3/4 t salt
1 t wine vinegar
9 egg yolks
3/8 c dates
3/8 c currants
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t mace
double 9" pie crust

Cut the meat up fine (1/2" cubes or so). Simmer it in a cup and a half of water for about 20 minutes. Make pie crust, fill with meat, chopped dates and currents. Mix spices, wine, vinegar and egg yolks and pour over. Put on a top crust. Bake in a 350deg. oven for 50 minutes, then 400deg. for 20 minutes or until the crust looks done.


Funges (The Forme of Cury, c. 1390)

Funges

Funges
(The Forme of Cury, c. 1390) - Take Funges and pare hem clere and dyce hem. take leke and shred him smal and do him to seeþ in gode broth color yt wȝt safron and do þer inne pouder fort and serve hit forth.

1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 leek, finely sliced
1 tsp. Powder Fort
1 pinch saffron

Combine vegetable broth and saffron in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add mushrooms and leeks to broth, cook until tender. Stir in powder fort before serving.

Recipe by Felice Debbage




To Stew Shrimps being taken out of their shells (The Accomplisht Cook, c. 1660)

To Stew Shrimps being taken out of their shells
To Stew Shrimps being taken out of their shells (The Accomplisht Cook, c. 1660) (To stew Cockles being taken out of the shells.)

Wash them well with vinegar, broil or broth them before you take them out of the shells, then put them in a dish with a little claret, vinegar, a handful of capers, mace, pepper, a little grated bread, minced tyme, salt, and the yolks of two or three hard eggs minced, stew all together till you think them enough; then put in a good piece of butter, shake them well together, heat the dish, rub it with a clove of garlick, and put two or three toasts of white bread in the bottom, laying the meat on them. Craw-fish, prawns, or shrimps, are excellent good the same way being taken out of their shells, and make variety of garnish with the shells.

2 pounds of shrimp
¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp. wine vinegar
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp. bread crumbs
2-3 egg yolks
¼ cup butter
1 tbsp. capers
¼ tsp. mace
1-2 cloves garlic minced

Place all ingredients into a pot and stew until shrimps are cooked.

This is a very simple recipe that is absolutely delicious and very pretty to look at. Pictured here the shrimp is sitting on a toasted round. It reminds me a little bit of shrimp scampi. I used raw peel and eat shrimp to make this dish.  You might if you are planning on cooking for a crowd use shrimp that has already been removed from it's shell.  It was very well received at Curia as well as with the taste testers. I would definately serve this again.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Gammon of Bacon (A Book of Cookrye, 1591)



Gammon of Bacon (A Book of Cookrye, 1591) – Ham and Bacon -To bake a gammon of Bacon. Take your Bacon and boyle it, and stuffe it with Parcely and Sage, and yolks of hard Egges, and when it is boyled, stuffe it and let it boyle againe, season it with Pepper, cloves and mace, whole cloves stick fast in, so then lay it in your paste with salt butter.

-Recipe Courtesy of Dan Meyers

2 lbs. bacon, unsliced <--I used Ham
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
6 egg yolks, hard boiled
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. mace
1 pie crust

Remove skin from bacon and discard. Place the bacon in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook for 30 minutes. Put parsley, sage, egg yolks, and spices into a bowl and mix well. Remove bacon from pot, cut open, and stuff with mixture. Wrap in pastry and bake at 350°F until done - about 1 hour.

This is a delicious savory tidbit that would make a lovely hand pie to serve at events. It tastes like a holiday in a pie crust. Please note that I used thin slices of ham that I stuffed with the stuffing and rolled into "olives" cutting them so that they fit into the pie.  

Savoury Tostyde (The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie, Kt, Opened (1669)

Savoury Tostyde With Toast and slices of Ham
Savoury Tostyde (The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie, Kt, Opened (1669) 
– Recipe Courtesy of David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook

Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye, Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton: and, if you will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to Incorporate them; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread. You may scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb cream cheese
1/8 lb Brie or other strongly flavored cheese
1/4 t white pepper

Melt the butter. Cut up the cheese and stir it into the butter over low heat. You will probably want to use a whisk to blend the two together and keep the sauce from separating (which it is very much inclined to do). When you have a uniform, creamy sauce you are done. You may serve it over asparagus or other vegetables, or over toast; if you want to brown the top, put it under the broiling unit in your stove for a minute or so. Experiment with some of the variations suggested in the original.

This dish has affectionately been labeled "crack cheese"--yes it is good and addicting.  As you can see from the picture, as the cheese cools it starts to harden. This does not affect the flavor, so much as the texture.  I have to confess I would eat this off of a old boot even if it was cold...ok...maybe not a boot but when I taste tested this, the bowl was licked clean ~glances at the child~ but I am not naming names. It is absolutely delicious, easy to make and easily made ahead of time and then reheated.  Note all of the variations you can use to serve it--plain, asparagus, bacon, chunks of meat, onions, anchovies or bread. I personally would serve this in a bread bowl, and then fill the remainder of the platter with goodies to dip into it.  This is the starter dish for the next "white flag feast" I do.  

Compost (The Forme of Cury, c. 1390)

A beautiful dish of Compost--a variety of pickled vegetables

Compost
(The Forme of Cury, c. 1390) Take rote of parsel. pasternak of rasenns. scrape hem waisthe hem clene. take rapes & caboches ypared and icorne. take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire. cast all þise þerinne. whan þey buth boiled cast þerto peeres & parboile hem wel. take þise thynges up & lat it kele on a fair cloth, do þerto salt whan it is colde in a vessel take vineger & powdour & safroun & do þerto. & lat alle þise thinges lye þerin al nyzt oþer al day, take wyne greke and hony clarified togider lumbarde mustard & raisouns corance al hool. & grynde powdour of canel powdour douce. & aneys hole. & fenell seed. take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe. and take þerof whan þou wilt & serue forth.

-Recipe Courtesy of Daniel Myers

3 parsley roots
3 parsnips
3 carrots
10 radishes
2 turnips
1 small cabbage
1 pear
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pinch saffron, ground
1 cup greek wine (sweet Marsala) <--I used white wine
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp. mustard <--I used a sweet and spicy mustard purchased at the local farmers market
1/2 cup currants (zante raisins)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Powder Douce
1 tsp. anise seed
1 tsp. fennel seed

Peel vegetables and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Parboil them until just tender, adding pears about halfway through cooking time. Remove from water, place on towel, sprinkle with salt, and allow to cool. Then put vegetables in large bowl and add pepper, saffron, and vinegar. Refrigerate for several hours. Then put wine and honey into a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then simmer for several minutes, removing any scum that forms on the surface. Let cool and add currants and remaining spices. Mix well and pour over vegetables. Serve cold.

Egges yn Brewte - Poached eggs with Cheese- Gentyll Manly Cokere, MS Pepys 1047, C. 1490

Egges yn Brewte 

This is another recipe from Curia Regis brunch. It is a beautifully simple, perfectly period recipe for poached eggs served with a surprisingly simple pan sauce of milk, flavored with saffron, pepper and ginger and then topped with cheese. 

Egges yn Brewte (Gentyll Manly Cokere, MS Pepys 1047, c. 1490) Take water and seethe it. In the same water break your eggs and cast therein ginger, pepper and saffron, then temper it up with sweet milk and boil it. And then carve cheese and caste thereto small cut. And when it is enough serve it forth.

Eggs in broth
- Take water and boil it. In the same water break your eggs and caste therein ginger, pepper and saffron, then temper it up with sweet milk and boil it. And then carve cheese and caste thereto small cut. And when it is enough serve forth.

Interpretation

Eggs
Water
1/4 cup of milk per egg
1/8 tsp. ginger and pepper
1-2 threads of saffron or to taste
Cheese

I used Butterkäse cheese for this recipe.  If you have not tried this cheese, please take time to do so.  It is delicious, creamy, buttery, sweet, slightly salty and mild in flavor with just a touch of acidity.  It  was a perfect accompaniment to the eggs. 

Poaching eggs can be tricky.  The method I use is explained in a previous post .Cj. Eyron en poche. I do diverge from Pepy's instructions. Using this method I discovered made it impossible for me to achieve the "pan gravy" I wanted for the eggs, so I simmered the milk with the spices in a separate pan, cooked the eggs till they had set and then gently placed them in the warm milk, cutting a few slices of the cheese on top.  When the cheese had melted I served it to the taste testers on toast. 

Why isn't there toast in the picture? Soggy toast is a very sad thing to see and I was unable to take a picture with the eggs sitting prettily on the toast.  Eventually I gave up and just placed the eggs on the dish by themselves.

This dish received rave reviews from taste testers and brunch participants alike.  It would be a lovely dish to serve to a small crowd or on a special occasion if you wish to follow the directions as given by Pepys.  For large crowd I would recommend oven baking the dish.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Rose Conserve - The Queen-like Closet (1675)

Old Fashioned Rose Petal Jam

Conserve? Jam? Jelly? Marmalade? Cake? Paste? Compote? Butters? Curds? What are they? Before electricity and the advent of modern day refridgeration and freezing food preservation was an art. It still is, don't get me wrong, but think about it. Living seasonally has made me much more aware of how necessary it was to carefully preserve summer and fall bounties to make it through the leaner winters and springs. I can't go into my garden and pick a quart of fresh strawberries in winter, but I might be able to go into my cellar and bring up cabbages, turnips, apples or a winter squash. Our ancestors were geniuses! They had to be. Many of us would be lost if we had to survive without electricity or refridgeration for more then a few days. they lived their lifetimes without it.
 
Sugaring is a method of food preservation, along with smoking, salting, drying and pickling. I have become fascinated with the way sugar was employed in the diet of our ancestors. It was thought to be a medicine so I can't help but thing that the copious amounts that were used in cooking was medicinal as well as functional for flavor. It's a fascinating part of food history with a wide variety of methods employed to create the final product. The Food History Timeline offers this quote to support the long history of preserving food with honey or sugar: 

"The earliest kind of jam making...dates back to pre-Roman times, when fruit pulp was mixed with honey and spices and dried in the sun. In the first century AD, Greeks made a preserve, using their abundant crops of quinces, by stuffing pieces of peeled and pipped raw fruit tightly into jars filled with honey. After a year the fruit became soft as wine-honey'. This Greek quince preserve was called melomeli' (apple: melo, in honey: meli). The Romans later reversed the words into melimela' and improved the preserve by cooking the fruit in the honey with pepper and spices and sealing the jars to make them airtight. Quinces had a high pectin content so that when cooked, preserves made with them would have had a very solid texture. Pectin is a vital ingredient for successful jelly and jam making... By the 17th century...cane sugar was more readily available, and preserving fruit with sugar became an affordable option. Recipes that previously used honey were easily adapted...The English had their own particular version that included pieces of warden pear, but seemed to prefer the Portuguese quince preserve. Using their sugar from India and their abundance of quinces, the Portuguese had developed their own specialty, which they called marmelada' (like the Roman melimela')...As early as the sixteenth century, little chests of marmelada were included in the cargoes of Portuguese merchant ships arriving in English ports. Gradually the same process was applied to other fruits, which then came to be known as a marmalade' of pears, damsons, or plums..." ---Pickled, Potted and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World, Sue Shepard, chapter on sugar (p. 163-174)
The main differences when discussing the different ways to preserve with sugar are the methods used to incorporate the sugar, the kind of fruit used, the size of the fruit, the addition of additional ingredients (booze, spices, nuts, additional fruit) and the proportion of sugar to fruit. Some of the methods we will discuss today were used in period, others (such as fruit curds) would not have been available. 

Preserve is a "catch all" word but when referring to sugaring as a method of preservation, fruit preserves are whole or pieces of fruit suspended in a jelly or a syrup.  Preserves may or may not include additional spices, alcohol, acids or pectin. A great example of a period fruit preserve is .x. Wardonys in syryp which creates pears that have preserved in a syrup flavored with red wine, sugar, vinegar, ginger and saffron. 

What is a conserve? Conserves are a jam which is made up of fruit, or in this case flower petals, mixed with sugar and sometimes other things such as nuts or spices. They can be referred to as "posh jams" and have a consistency that is softer then jam and very spreadable.

If a conserve is a jam, what is a jam? Great question! Jam's consist of a fruit (or flower petal) that has been chopped, crushed, mashed into small pieces and cooked with sugar until it gels. Sometimes additional pectin or an acid of some kind is added to the jam.

Jellies are a mixture of fruit (or petals) and sugar which has been cooked then strained so that the juice becomes the primary ingredient. By definition jellies should be clear without added fruit or spices.

Marmalades are specifically any citrus fruit that has been chopped and then preserved with sugar. The fruit is peeled and the peeled is cooked for a long, slow period of time to soften it before the sugar is added. Ideally a marmalade will be between the consistency of jam and jelly and consist of peices of the peel suspended in a clear jelly. The word marmalade dates back to the Greek melimēlon, which refers to quince stored in honey. My interpretation of Hannah Wooley's orange marmalade can be found here: The Queen-like Closet (1675) - LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade. - Orange Marmalade. Another more time consuming example of a marmalade is Sir Hugh Platt's To preserve Oranges, after the Portugal fashion which creates an orange marmalade inside of a whole preserved orange peel. 

A "cake" consists of fruit and sugar that has been cooked, pureed and then dried and I believe is the grandfather of our modern day gummy candies or fruit rollups dependant upon how thick you make your sheets and how long you allow them to dry. A good example of this kind of recipe is my interpretation of  Hannah Wooley's dried peaches.

Fruit pastes consists of fruit and sugar, sometimes spices that have been cooked over low heat for a very long period of time until they become concentrated in their flavors. They are then spread onto a tray or a sheet similar to the method you would use for the "cakes" and then dried in an oven. I recently published my interpretation of Sir Hugh Platt's To Make Quidinia of Quinces (Delights for Ladies, Sir Hugh Platt, 1600) which makes a beautiful fruit paste of quince.

Compotes may contain fresh or dried fruit, whole or in pieces and other ingredients that have been cooked in a sugar syrup that may be fortified with liquor or spices and cooked slowly to allow the fruit to keep it's shape. While conserves or jams may be saved for later, compotes are most normally used right away. If that were not confusing enough a coulis is basically a compote that has been pureed to a smooth consistency.

Fruit butters are cooked fruit which has been pureed until smooth and then added to sugar and heated gently until the fruit darkens. They are not cooked until they jelly, but rely on the high pectin content of the fruit to create thickness. They have a much lower sugar content then jams, conserves or jellies. According to the FDA, fruit butter can only be made and labeled such from eight fruits; apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and quince.

Curds are a mixture of fruit, sugar, butter and eggs that have been cooked together to form a smooth creamy spread that *must be refridgerated* in order to keep. 


The queen-like closet; or, Rich cabinet stored with all manner of rare receipts for preserving, candying & cookery. Very pleasant and beneficial to all ingenious persons of the female sex. By Hannah Wolley offers this fascinating recipe for a conserve of roses that I had to try. I find it delicious but it is one of those things that you will either like or not like. I like to serve mine over ice cream or on bread. The most common rose used was the apothocary rose, or Rosa gallica officinalis, prized for its scent. This rose is believed to have originated in Persia and legend has it that the rose received it's color from a nightingale who so loved the white rose that it grasped it tightly, the thorn piercing the nightingale and that it was the nightingales blood that turned the white rose red. Thus the rose also became known as the Dasmask rose. Whatever it's origins, it is known that the rose was brought to England with the return of the crusade knights sometime in the 12th or 13th century. 

LXXXVIII. To make Conserve of red Roses. 

Take their Buds and clip off the Whites, then take three times their weight in sugar double refin'd; beat the Roses well in a Mor∣tar, then put in the sugar by little & little, and when you find it well incorporated, put it into Gally Pots, and cover it with sugar, and so it will keep seven years.

Recipe

1 part very fragrant rose petals
3 parts sugar

Fortunately for us we do not need to use a mortar. Do be sure to clean your roses very well. I usually pick mine in the morning, wash them very quickly with water and remove the petals and then store them in the refridgerator overnight. I do this to humanely kill any pests that chose to cling to the petals. Sorry guys :-( The next day I gently rinse them again and dry them on a towel, clip off the bitter white end of the petal and then place it and the sugar into my blender and blend until well blended. At this point I put it into jelly jars and store in my fridge.

While I would have LOVED to have shown you a picture of this, I only had enough conserve to make 2 pint jars both of which have been consumed. So you get a *bonus* recipe--Rose petal jam. For those who you didn't know, my rose bushes were very hard hit a few years ago in winter and many of them died. I am slowly replacing them, but my rose yields are still somewhat small. Early in the year I had enough roses to make the conserve. However, in the second blooming I had enough petals to make rose petal jam, something I intend to give away as a gift this year along with violet syrup.

Old Fashioned Rose Petal Jam                                                                      Makes about 3 pints

1 1/2 cups water (I used bottled)
Approximately 2 cups (more is better) lightly packed fragrant rose petals (alternatively you could use dried petals keeping in mind that 1/3 cup dried is equal to 1 cup fresh just be sure what you use is *food grade*)
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pectin (as an alternative you could cook 1 green apple with your rose petals skin, pips and all. The apple should contain enough pectin to make thicken to jelly. I chose the pectin)

Bring roses and water to a simmer in a sauce pan and simmer for about ten minutes. Add 1 3/4 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Do not be disappointed that the color is not what you would want, the brilliant red color will come when you do the next step--it's magic! Add lemon juice and watch the magic happen. Simme for another ten minutes or so. While it is simmering add pectin to remaining sugar and stir to prevent clumping when you add the remaining sugar and pectin to your jam. Do so a spoonful at a time making sure that it is well incorporated before adding the next spoonful. Cook for another 20 minutes or so and then remove it from the stone and put into your jars. It will seem very loose--but do not worry as it cools it will set. This is best used in two months or, go ahead and process through canning for longer term storage.

I hope you enjoy this unusual and tasty treat as much as I do.

Gallipot ~1650

















Saturday, September 30, 2017

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.Cxlij. Vyande Ryalle. - A Royal Dish (incomplete recipe)

My thinking cap! Detail from the Luttrell Psalter British Library add MS 42130
Sometimes in cooking we are presented with a mystery, some portion of the manuscript is missing or has been damaged, and we are given just enough information to begin to interpret a recipe but not enough to complete it.  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 contains several incomplete recipes, Vyande Ryalle, a Royal Dish is one of them.  Some of the text is missing and it makes it difficult to guess what the missing ingredient is in order to complete the dish. This post reveals my attempts at trying to discover what is missing in hopes of being able to  recreate this interesting sounding dish.  I do have an interpretation at the end of this post, but it is there with the caveat that what I have recreated may have no actual resemblance to the dish as originally intended. 

The   Fourme of Curye has a similarly named dish but it bears no resemblance to this dish that I am attempting to recreate.  The closest that I have come to discovering what the missing ingredient is --and I caution this is a guess on my part--is the Brawn Ryal from Wagstoff Miscellaney. It contains most of the instructions for the dish below, and gives further instructions on the various ways to color it. Here is what I uncovered in my researching of this recipe.

Vyande is another spelling of the word viand, viaunde (French) and viandas (Spanish) which originally meant food (animal or vegetable) or dish in the 11th Century, but eventually became specifically associated with meat.  I find an interesting correlation between Vyande Ryalle, meaning a royal meat or a dish and Brawne Ryal.  In the 13th Century, the word Brawne specifically referred to wild boar but by the early 14th Century "brawne" meant any muscular part of the body.

.Cxlij. Vyande Ryalle.—Nyme gode Mylke of Almaundys, & do it in a potte, & sette it ouer þe fyre, & styre it tyl it boyle almost; þen take flour of Rys & of þe selue Mylke, an draw it þorwe a straynoure, & so þer-with a-lye it tylle it be Chargeaunte, & stere it faste þat it crouste noȝt; þen take [gap: ] owte of grece, & caste it þorw a Skymoure, & colour þat Sewe þer-with; þan take Sugre in confyte, & caste in y-now; sesyn it with Salt & ley þre lechys in a dysshe, & caste Aneys in comfyte þer-on, & þanne serue forth.

Cxlij - Vyande Ryalle. Nyme gode Mylke of Almaundys, and do it in a potte, and sette it ouer the fyre, and styre it tyl it boyle almost; then take flour of Rys and of the selue Mylke, an draw it thorwe a straynoure, and so ther-with a-lye it tylle it be Chargeaunte, and stere it faste that it crouste no3t; then take [Gap) owte of grece, and caste it thorw a Skymoure, and colour that Sewe ther-with; than take Sugre in confyte, and caste in y-now; sesyn it with Salt and ley thre lechys in a dysshe, and caste Aneys in comfyte ther-on, and thanne serue forth.

142 - Royal Dish - Take good milk of almonds, and do it in a pot and stir it over the fire, and stir it till it boil almost (simmers); then take flour of rice and of the same (self) milk, and draw it through a strainer, and so there-with mix it till it be thick, and stir it fast that it crusts not; then take (gap) out of grease, and caste it through a skimmer, and color that sauce there-with; then take sugar in comfit, and caste in enough; season it with salt, and lay three slices in a dish, and caste anise in comfit there-on, and then serve forth.

The Middle English Dictionary  was a good location to start to try to discover the missing ingredient in the attempt to recreate this dish. It defines a "Viande (Vyande)" as "Prepared food; a dish, esp. an elaborate dish" also as "specific dishes consisting of ground poultry or fish or fruit boiled in almond milk or wine, thickened and colored yellow". This is interesting because the recipe prior to this in the manuscript is .Cxlj. Noteye, uses hazel leaves (haselle leuys) as a coloring agent for an almond milk and broth based dish which contains ground pork or capon. The instructions clearly indicate that the almond milk and broth are to be thickened with rice flour and seasoned with vinegar, ginger, saffron and salt. Colored with the juice of the hazel leaves, and prior to being served hazel nuts are fried in grease and  placed upon the dish. The instructions also state that the leaves chosen should be young "whyl þat þey ben ȝonge".  I was unsure if hazel leaves were edible but after some time researching discovered that the young leaves are considered a forage food and are edible. 
.Cxlj. Noteye.—Take a gret porcyoun of Haselle leuys, & grynd in a morter as smal as þou may, whyl þat þey ben ȝonge; take þan, & draw vppe a þrift Mylke of Almaundys y-blaunchyd, & temper it with Freysshe broþe; wryng out clene þe Ius of þe leuys; take Fleysshe of Porke or of Capoun, & grynd it smal, & temper it vppe with þe mylke, & caste it in a potte, & þe Ius þer-to,do it ouer þe fyre & late it boyle; take flour of Rys, & a-lye it; take & caste Sugre y-now þer-to, & Vynegre a quantyte, & pouder Gyngere, & Safroun it wel, & Salt; take smal notys, & breke hem; take þe kyrnellys, & make hem whyte, & frye hem vppe in grece; plante þer-with þin mete & serue forth.
The recipe after this is .Cxliii Lampreys in galentyn, another incomplete recipe, but one I was able to successfully locate the missing ingredient for and will be recreating at a later date.  For this dish, lampreys, an eel-like fish, are scalded in hot water and another ingredient, boiled and then served in a sauce made from wine, vinegar, pepper, onions and cinnamon.  It is a good guess that the missing ingredient is either the blood of the lamprey which was thought to provide the fat of the dish, or wine which is missing from the ingredient list, but was a very common to use in cooking fish.

The Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163) ~ 1460 offers a similarly named dish, which may give us a clue as to the missing ingredient for Vyande Ryalle. The first recipe appears to be compilation of several different ways to prepare similar dishes with there different names; Brawn Ryal, Brawn Sypres and Brawn Bruse. It is the first set of instructions that bears the closest resemblance to Vyande Ryalle and it is this set of instructions that leads me to believe that the missing ingredient may be Brawn (pork) or fish offal. It is also my belief that those things which are different in the instructions are additions made over time, but the most basic set of instructions for this dish, with the exception of adding rice flour to thicken it, are there. However, this instructions do indicate that the dish is supposed to be able to be sliced when cold ( ley a cloth on a bord & turne the vessell upsodowne ther on & schake the vessell that hit falle oute cut ther in the lech & serve hit forthe iij or iiij in a dysch). I have colored the matching instructions red and made them bold where they match so that you can see the resemblance.

The second recipe from Wagstaff features a lenten version of Brawn Ryal and gives further instructions to make a spectacle dish. You are instructed to empty out eggshells and then to layer in the brawn ryall, first a layer of white, then yellow, and then white again. The eggshells are to be set into a layer of salt to keep them upright (And yf thu wilt seson hit with the white of eyron breke hem at the grete ende & do out al that ys in the eye wesch the shell drye hem & sett hem on the salt upryght & put ther yn som of the white braune take som of the same braun colourd with safron & medlyd with poudres put ther yn pepenys of the gretnys of a neye yolke & fil hit with [f.66v] the braun that hit stond full when hit ys cold peyl of the shyll set hit in salt as eggez ).

Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163) ~ 1460 [89.] Brawn ryal brawn sypres brawn bruse Take fresh brawn boyle hit in fayre watyr till hit be tendour blanche almondys grynd hem draw hem up with the same broth & a perty of wyn as hote as thu may than make thu milke hote & do thy brawn in a streynour hot & draw hit with the mylke hott do ther to sygure a grete dele venyger set hit on the fyre boyle hit salt hit do hit in a vessel when hit ys cold yf thu nowte have hit out of the vessel with out hote watyr or a ghenst the fyre ley a cloth on a bord & turne the vessell upsodowne ther on & schake the vessell that hit falle oute cut ther in the lech & serve hit forthe iij or iiij in a dysch & strew on poudyr of gynger or paryd gynger [f.66r] mynsyd with anneyce clovys macys & annys in confite yf thu wilt thu may draw som ther of with the same broth & with a perty of wyne with out mylke colourd as bryght as lambur with any colour safr saffron hem when hit ys cold & floresch that othir ther with or els thu mayst cut that othir hit in leches as thu doste that othir & serve hit forth in same maner or thy may turne hit in othir colour yf thu wilt have a grene draw hit with mylke of almonds in to a morter & safron ther with or els put safron when hit ys growndyn muche or lytyll aftur thu wylt make thi colour & colour hit ther with when thu takysthit from the fyre & do ther with as thu dedyst with the todyr and yf thy wile thu may do ther yn poudres or thu may put ther yn a grete quantyte of canell & of gynger & of sawndres to make hit brown & serve hit forthe in the same maner or yf thu wilt thu may take tursele & wesch hit & grynd hit well in wyn that thu sesonyste hit up withe and when hit ys boylyd coloure hit up with bloure sangueyn whethir thu wilt & do ther with as thu dedist with the tothyr or thu may yf thu wilt when thu takyst hit fro the fyre & have al seson hit have brawn sodyn tendyr & when hit ys cold cut hit in leches or dyse hit & cast hit in the pott & stere hit to gedyr & put hit in to that othyr pott vessell when hit ys cold lech hit & do ther with as thu dodyst with that othir & serve hit forth.

Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163) ~ 1460 [90.] Brawn ryall Take the soundes of stokfisch dry & lay hem in watyr iij days & every day change the watyr than take hem up & lay hem on a bord & scharpe hem clene withe the egge of a knyf wesch hem & sethe hem in fayre watyr then take hem up & sethe hem in broth of fresch fysch as of conger til they be tendyr or als in the same watyr and put ther to elys to amend the broth then take blaunch almondys grynd hem with the same broth hote & make up the soundes & grynd hem wyth the same broth & yf thu wilt thu may take som of the elys ther to & temper hem up with the broth hote draw hit as hote as thu may suffyr thy hond ther yn thu mau make hit in al maner as thu makyste brawn of flesch. And yf thu wilt seson hit with the white of eyron breke hem at the grete ende & do out al that ys in the eye wesch the shell drye hem & sett hem on the salt upryght & put ther yn som of the white braune take som of the same braun colourd with safron & medlyd with poudres put ther yn pepenys of the gretnys of a neye yolke & fil hit with [f.66v] the braun that hit stond full when hit ys cold peyl of the shyll set hit in salt as eggez or in crispis and pych hem with clovys a bovyn iiij or v & fill up with blaunch poudyr & serve hem forthe in the stede of egges in he same maner thu may do with brawn in flesch tyme or thu may yf hit somdell of poudyr of gynger & chaunge the colour as thu dedyst braun in flesch tyme.

Unfortunately, I can only take my best guess as to what the missing ingredient is, and will need to conduct further research to try to uncover what is missing.  At the end of this article you will find my best guess interpretation based on the information that I have available.

Two menus in the manuscript feature vyande ryalle in the second course. One is a fast day menu and the other is a meat day menu. Which leads me to believe that the missing ingredient may be saffron as a colorant and or the meat mentioned in Brawn ryal (pork, capon or fish). I find it unlikely that you would fry saffron, without actually seeing the manuscript I have no direction on how big of a gap exists in the text.  The suggestion of saffron is given based on the information from the Middle English Dictionary and the recipe previous to this one which uses the juice of hazel leaves to color a similar sauce.  There is also the suggestion that one component of the dish is thick enough to be sliced (ley thre lechys in a dysshe) because we are instructed to lay three slices in a dish, again, similar to Brawn ryal from Wagstaff.

Conuiuium Flemmynge, Lincolniensis Episcopi.Le .j. cours.

Le .j. cours.
Perrey fyn.} potage.
Rapeye. } potage.
Grete taylys of Milwelle, An lenge.*. [i.e. "Great tails of Milwell and Ling:" see next page, near foot.]
Samoun pollys.
Salt Elys with galentyne.
Gode Pyke an fat.
Grosse tarteȝ.

Le .ij. cours.
Lampreys in galentyne.
Vyand Ryal.
Haddok.
Gurnard.
Plays.
Halybutte.
Elys an Lampronys Rostyd.
Flampayn.Le 

.iij. cours.
Mammenye.
Creme de .ij. colourys.
Troutys.
Storioun.
Samon freysshe.
Perche.
Walkys.
Breme de Mere.
Crabbe.
Purpeys Rostyd.
Goions fryid.
Doucetys.

Conuiuium Johannis Stafforde, Episcopi Wellensis in inductu Episcopatus sui, videlicet .xvj.o die Septembris, Anno domini millessimo CCCCmo vicessimo quinto1425 [supplied by ed.] .

Le .j. cours.

Furmenty with venysoun.
Mammenye.
Brawnne.
Kede Roste.
Capoun de haut Grece.
Swan.
Heyroun.
Crane.
A leche.[leaf 48.]
Crustade Ryal.
Frutoure Samata.
A soltelte, a docter of lawe.Le .

ij. cours.
Blaunche Mortrewys.
Vyand Ryal.
Pecoke.
Conyng.
Fesaunte.
Tele.
Chykonys doryd.
Pyions.
Veysoun Rostyd.
Gullys.
Curlew.
Cokyntryche.
A leche.
Pystelade chaud.
Pystelade fryid.
Frytoure damaske.
A sotelte, Egle.Le 

.iij. cours.
Gely.
Creme Moundy.
Pety Curlewe.
Egret.
Pertryche.
Venysoun Roste.
Plovere.
Oxyn kyn̄.
Quaylys.
Snytys.
Herte de Alouse.
Smale byrdys.
Dowcet Ryal.
Petelade Fryid.
Hyrchouns.
Eggys Ryal.
Pomys.
Brawn fryid.
A sotelte, Sent Andrewe.
Frute.
Waffrys.
Vyn dowce.

Similar Recipes

Fourme of Curye [Rylands MS 7] (England, 1390)

.lxlvij. Vyaund ryal. Take wyne qeke other rynysch wyne & hony claryfyed ther with, tak flour of rys, pynes, poudoure ginger, other peper & canel, other flour of canel, poudour of clowes, safroun, safroun, suger cypre, mulleberyes other saundres, & medle alle these to gyder, boyle it and salt hit & loke hit be stondyng & ni. f.

Interpreted Recipe (Caveat --this is a *best guess*)                             Serves 1 as Main, 2 as Side

142 - Royal Dish - Take good milk of almonds, and do it in a pot and stir it over the fire, and stir it till it boil almost (simmers); then take flour of rice and of the same (self) milk, and draw it through a strainer, and so there-with mix it till it be thick, and stir it fast that it crusts not; then take (gap) out of grease, and caste it through a skimmer, and color that sauce there-with; then take sugar in comfit, and cast in enough; season it with salt, and lay three slices in a dish, and cast anise in comfit there-on, and then serve forth.

1 cup almond milk (made from water or broth)
**pinch of saffron (based on information from Wagstaff and the Middle English Dictionary)**
1-2 Tbsp. Rice Flour
**1/4 pound pork(chicken or fish) which has been roasted or fried in grease then sliced**
Red Anise Seed Comfits

Make your almond milk using water, wine or stock as you desire (again this is based on Wagstaff's variations of Brawn Ryall) and bring  to a simmer.  Add rice flour and stir until it reaches your desired thickness.  Meanwhile cook your meat (either roasting it or frying it in grease).  To color your sauce use any of the methods mentioned in Wagstaff (saffron, ginger & cinnamon, sandalwood, turnsole, juice of herbs, etc.). Season with sugar and salt.  If serving cool as suggested by Wagstaff the rice mixture will thicken and if it becomes solid enough, slice it and place it in a dish and then add your meat to it decorating with red anise seed comfits before serving.  If serving warm, place two to three slices of meat in a dish and cover with the rice milk "gravy" decorating with comfits before serving.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

To Make Quidinia of Quinces (Delights for Ladies, Sir Hugh Platt, 1600)

Dry Peaches and Red Quince Paste Served at Curia Regis 9/10/2017
My adventures in making fruit pastes began in late 2014 when I started experimenting with Quince. At the time I was just beginning to find a passion for Medieval confectionary and that has grown as I have branched out to make additional fruit pastes, comfits, and candied fruit and preserve flowers and other assorted "Elizabethan Banqueting" dishes. 

I have experimented with making golden quince paste and red quince paste.  I have a confession to make; I don't particularly care for the flavor of quince.  So this particular paste was made with mostly quince, but I did at two apples and two pears to it to up the flavor a little bit.  When I make my fruit pastes I do make them in very large batches and store them in my fridge to give away as gifts or use in feasts throughout the year.  When I was asked to cook for the Curia Regis brunch I knew that one of the items I was going to feature was quince paste.  I had several large sheets that I had previously made. One I cut into a dragon and gilded, letting the kids and their friends enjoy the cut outs from the sheet of paste and it was gone very quickly! The other I cut into squares and served either sugared or plain.  The picture above shows plain paste without additional sugar. 

I was astonished while shopping for this brunch to discover that in my area a quarter pound of any fruit paste is sold by a large grocery chain for $6.00!!  Folks, you don't need to pay that much for it - make your own! But this discovery has prompted me to examine a little bit more closely the probability of setting up a booth at a local farmers market next year for some extra income...shhhh!

Delights for Ladies (Sir Hugh Platt, 1600) 28. To Make Quidinia of Quinces - Take the kernells out of eight great Quinces, and boile them in a quart of spring water, till it come to a pinte, then put into it a quarter of a pinte of Rosewater, and one pound of fine Sugar, and so let it boile till you see it come to bee of a deepe colour: then take a drop, and drop it on the bottome of a sawcer, then let it run through a gelly bagge into a bason, then set it in your bason upon a chafing dish of coles to keep it warm, then take a spoone, and fill your boxes as full as you please, and when they be colde cover them: and if you please to printe it in moldes, you must have moldes made to the bigness of your boxe, and wet your moldes with Rosewater, and so let it run into your mold, and when it is colde turne it off into your boxes. If you wette your moldes with water, your gelly will fall out of them.

Recipe

2 to 2 1/2 pounds of quinces (I also used apples and pears)
Water to cover the fruit
2-3 cups (or more) of sugar

Wash, peel and core your fruit, wrap the peels and the cores of the fruit into cheesecloth.  You will be adding this to the pan of your fruit because that is where some of the color and pectin will be coming from.  Coarsely chop the fruit and place it and the cheesecloth wrapped discards into the pan and bring to a boil.  Allow the fruit to cook until it is very soft.  Remove the discards and place the fruit into a food processor and puree.  Alternatively you could push it through a fine grained sieve or use a ricer or food mill.  

You do want to make sure that your pulp is strained through a sieve back into the pot to remove any large lumps that might not have been caught.  The finer the pulp the smoother the fruit paste. Add your sugar to your pulp and bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer constantly stirring until the paste becomes very thick. You should be able to make a furrow with your spoon and see the bottom of your pan.  The longer the fruit cooks the redder it gets. 

Pour your paste onto a lightly oiled bit of parchment paper that has been placed into a 9x13" baking dish or a cookie sheet.  You will want something with a bit of a raised side. The thicker your paste the longer it will take to dry.  I usually try to make my paste at 3/4 to an Inch in height.  Traditionally your paste was put in a cupboard to dry but we have ovens that we can use.  Heat your oven to its lowest setting (mine is 175 degree's) and put your paste into it.  Depending on humidity and thickness of your paste and the amount of moisture left in it, drying can take as little as a few hours up to four or five days.  The paste should be dry but sticky to the touch.  You will need to turn it at least once partway through the drying process. 

Store your fruit paste in an air tight container in a cool dry place.  I use my refrigerator and have a drawer dedicated to it.  The longer the paste sits the darker and richer the color becomes.  I have stored the paste for as long as a year and I suspect it could last longer if stored properly.  The Quince Paste pictured above was made in December 2016.  Isn't it beautiful? 




To Dry Peaches - The Queen-like Closet (1675)

Dry Peaches and Red Quince Paste Served at Curia Regis 9/10/2017

Several of the recipes that I have experimented with recently can be found in  The queen-like closet; or, Rich cabinet stored with all manner of rare receipts for preserving, candying & cookery. Very pleasant and beneficial to all ingenious persons of the female sex. By Hannah WolleyThis book was first published in 1670, which is late for the period I most normally cook in. However, I believe that while the publishing date is late for the SCA, the recipes are reflective of cooking of the latter half of our SCA time line and therefore are not outside of the boundaries of SCA cooking.

The author, Hannah Wolley was born in 1623 and was the "Martha Stewart" of her day. By the age of 17 (1640) she was working in a nobles household who recognized that the culinary skills she had learned from her mother (general cooking, confectionary and medicinal remedies) was extraordinary and helped her to develop those skills.  Hannah had many firsts in her long career; the first woman to attempt to make a living from writing, the first to have her name attributed to a cooking book and the first to direct her writings to servants in an attempt to bring to the lower social classes the ability to enjoy the grand style of food enjoyed by the upper classes.  It appears that her writing career began at the age of 38 with the publication of her first book "The Ladies Directory" in 1661 and then her next book "The Cook's Guide" in 1664.  All in all, the Queen-Like closet had five publication dates (1670, 1672, 1681 and 1684) and also enjoyed two editions published in German.

The inspiration for this dish began with the idea of wanting to present two different fruit pastes of contrasting color to those who were present at the Curia Regis brunch.  Before we go further, I have to admit that I used the cook's prerogative to make this dish--instead of leaving the fruit whole, I pureed it and created a fruit paste. I wanted to make a bright yellow candy that would be a counterpoint to the red quince paste that I had made.  I also wanted it to be a different shape. I knew I wanted to make use of summer fruit, either peaches or apricots and to create a bright gold candy. Having already interpreted the recipes for the orange marmalade and the rose conserve from "The Queen-Like Closet ", I took inspiration from the following recipes to create the clear peach jelly pictured above.

CCXV. To dry Apricocks. - Take your fairest Apricocks and stone them, then weigh them, and as you pare them, throw them into cold water, have in readiness their weight in fine sugar, wet it with some of the water they lie in, and boil it to a Candy height, then put in your A∣pricocks, and boil them till they are clear, when they have lain three or four days in the Syrup, lay them out upon Glasses to dry in a stove, and turn them twice a day.

CCI. To dry Apricocks or Pippins to look as clear as Amber. - Take Apricocks and take out the stones, and take Pippins and cut them in halves and core them, let your Apricocks be pared also; lay these Fruits in an earthen dish, and strew them over with fine Sugar, set them into a warm Oven, and as the Liquor comes from them put it away, when all the Liquor is come away turn them and strew them thick with Sugar on every side, set them into the Oven again, and when the Sugar is melted lay them on a dry dish, and set them in again, and every day turn them till they be quite dry. Thus you may dry any sort of Plumbs or Pears as well as the other, and they will look very clear.

Recipe

1 pound fresh peaches (alternatively you could use 18 ounces dried apricots that you have reconstituted in apple juice or you can use 1 bag of frozen peach slices (this is what I used)) - peeled and sliced 
2 apples peeled, cored and sliced 
1/4 cup sugar

Place your fruit in a pan and add just enough water to cover it and boil it until it is very soft.  Drain the fruit and place it in a blender--give thanks to the Kitchen God's for modern technology and puree.  At this point your fruit should look like baby food.  If you have doubts about how well pureed your fruit is, strain it into a sieve into a pot and then return it to your stove.  Add your sugar, bring to a boil and cook until the puree starts to "stick" to the pan leaving a furrow behind it as you scrape your spoon through it.  

I put a spoonful of the mixture into well-oiled mini muffin tins, but you could just as easily pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and smooth it out.  Place your puree into an oven that has been heated to its lowest setting (mine is 175 degree's) for five or six hours (or more depending on humidity and the amount of moisture left in the fruit) and let it dry.  It should feel dry and slightly sticky to your touch. As an alternative, you could use a food dehydrator but be sure to keep an eye on the paste as it dries.

I plan on bringing fruit pastes and dry "jelly's" with me to camping events.  I am looking forward to creating something similar with plums and pears as well as with apples.  They are a sweet treat, easy to make and store well when made correctly. They are also fabulous edible decorations (I made a dragon out of the red quince paste and gilded it) and the extra "something" that will take your feasts over the top.  They are very inexpensive to make and store extremely well. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Interpreting the Manuscripts - My Process

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything or done any period cooking. It's summer and that means lots of time out of doors with the family before school starts. However, I have been asked to teach a class on my method of interpreting period recipes at a meeting or a future event. In lieu of a post on cooking, I thought I would create a post regarding the steps that I take when I do an interpretation. Any feedback is welcome.

The first step is to locate a recipe that you are interested in interpreting. For me, many of those are the recipes 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 published by Oxford University Press, London 1888. I am blessed with having a copy of this book in hardback, one of the very last gifts my mother gave to me prior to getting ill with congestive heart disease and passing twelve years ago. This book is very special to me and each recipe that I interpret is a memory of cooking with my mom from the time I was old enough to stand at the stove and stir a spoon. At the time I received this edition I didn't know *how* to interpret these recipes. What took me many years to teach myself I am hoping to pass on to you in a few paragraphs.

When I first started interpreting recipes I gave myself some ground rules.

  • The first is not to interpret based on what others have written. This is easier said than done, as I have discovered several times that what I have read and interpreted is vastly different from what others have done. 
  •  The second rule is to find ingredients which can be purchased locally and would fall within a reasonable budget should the recipe be created for a large (100+) feast. Oftentimes, when an ingredient is difficult (or impossible) to locate or is prohibitively expensive to purchase for me, and/or ultimately for a large group of 100 diners, I will research a suitable substitute for that product. This has the benefit of creating a "mostly" period recipe but substitutions can change the final product. 
  • The third rule I adopted was to make "sample" sizes of recipes that could be easily adapted to feed a larger dining crowd. This meant that I had to spend some time in researching typical portion sizes for catered, large group events. 
  • My last rule is to use sources as close to the primary source as I could find. Most of the sources I use are secondary sources because obtaining primary documentation, that is, original works that have not been interpreted, analyzed or evaluated by another person is impossible for me.  However, secondary resources can be found relatively easily nowadays and when I use a secondary resource I tend to bolster that information from multiple secondary resources. 

What are primary, secondary and tertiary sources for research? Primary sources of information for research are most often the original documentation often times associated with the time period you are researching.  These documents or artifacts have not been analyzed, evaluated or interpreted.  An example of a primary document would be an original manuscript.


Courtesy of the British Library

Secondary sources used for research are primary documents or artifacts which have been analysed, evaluated amd/or translated. They have been created after the creation of the primary source they are based upon.

Example: The Forme of Cury, by Samuel Pegge Courtesy of Project Gutenberg

TARTLETTES. XX.II. X. Take pork ysode and grynde it small with safroun, medle it with ayrenn and raisons of coraunce and powdour fort and salt, and make a foile of dowhz  and close the fars þerinne. cast þe Tartletes in a Panne with faire water boillyng and salt, take of the clene Flessh withoute ayren & bolle it in gode broth. cast þerto powdour douce and salt, and messe the tartletes in disshes & helde the sewe þeronne.

Tertiary sources consist of information which has been collected from primary and secondary sources and is subject to further analysis, interpretation or evaluation.  Sometimes secondary sources can also be categorized as tertiary.  

Example: Cunnan - Tartletes Recipe Courtesy of Gwynfor Lwyd and the Cunnan Wiki

Modern Recipe

Take veal, boiled and grind it small. Take hard boiled eggs and grind it with whole prunes, dates cored, pinenuts, raisins, whole spices and powdered, sugar and salt. Make a little coffin, fill them and bake and serve it forth.

Ingredients

500g veal
6 whole pitted prunes
8-10 whole pitted dates
100g raisins
50g pine nuts
2 hard boiled eggs
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 whole cloves

Method

Slice the veal into strips and boil it with a dash of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Hard boil and cool two eggs. While they boil, mince the prunes, dates, raisins and pine nuts and mix in a bowl. Mince the veal and mash the eggs when they are done, and add them to the bowl. Then add the spices and mix the lot thoroughly.

Using your favorite short crust pastry, after first greasing the muffin tray, line the molds with the pastry. Spoon in the filling, and cover with more pastry.

Cook in a medium oven for 25 minutes (fan forced convection) or a bit longer in a conventional oven. When the pastry is golden brown it is done. Serve it first (not fourth, that's too long to wait!).

Once I have located a recipe that I am interested in interpreting I read it several times before I begin the process of breaking it down. I want to make sure that I have a good understanding of what I have read.  I think this is where many cooks begin to start to assume that a set of instructions on a medieval document will have a specific end result. I have been surprised several times that my final interpretation was not what I assumed the end product would be like.  This is part of the reason I do not research other interpretations at this point.  Just like I did with locating a recipe I set up some ground rules and assumptions for myself in regards to how to interpret a recipe.

Cooks of the time period that I am researching may not have been be able to or did not have time to write down their own sets of instructions.  Instead what is written in any documentation from the period are a set of instructions as witnessed by or spoken to the author of the manuscript.   This theory is based on my assumption that before everyone was required to learn how to read or write, many specializations (cooking for example) were passed from a Master, to a Journeyman, to an Apprentice either orally or through example--the actual work.  In order to become specialized you devoted your educational experiences to that specialty. It is my assumption that medieval cooks most likely had only rudimentary experience with writing but were by no means "illiterate" in their vocation.

It is also an assumption that the amount of work required to run a larger household where such instructions might have been written and were necessary was time consuming and that there would not have been enough time for an individual to do their daily tasks and write a manuscript.

Lastly, there is the assumption that much like today, a medieval cook's recipes and techniques were considered "trade secrets" and that they would not have been readily written down for fear of sharing those secrets. Who does not have a grandmother who won't give you an entire recipe but always leaves a little something out??? Mine did and to this day I am unable to find that ingredient in my grandmother's lemon cake that made it so special to me.

I do my very best to make absolutely no assumptions on what the final product will be, but instead will cook the instructions that I have interpreted as they have been written in order to best replicate the dish that the original author may have intended.  Also, if I have run across another reconstruction of the recipe I will not allow that preconception to influence my understanding of what I am interpreting.

Part of the difficulty that I had interpreting recipes from the books was a lack of understanding what I read. In almost every recipe that you will run across from period you will find a word or two that you do not understand.   Fortunately, the internet which I use extensively in my research has opened up a world of understanding for me. Our example recipe today is Tartelettes from The Forme of Cury, which we are fortunate enough to have a copy provided by the British Library of the original manuscript (above).   In the event that I would have been unable to locate this copy of the manuscript, there are also multiple secondary sources available online or in printed form as well.

Here are some links to some of my favorite sites for period sources. Please note that there is a lot of crossover between sites and that some links may be broken or no longer viable.  This is certainly not the be all and end all of the list, nor is it in any particular order for me. These are the sites I find myself most frequently visiting when researching.



My Interpretation: 

Tartlett
 - Take pork y-sode and grynde it small with saffron, medle it with ayren and raisons of coraunce and powdre fort and salt and make a foile of dowgh and close the fars (the)einne. Cast (the) tartlette in a panne with fair (broth?) boillyng and salt take of the clene flesh with oute eyren and boile it in gode broth cast (the) powder douce and salt and messe the tartlet  in dishes and helde the the (broth?) thereone

This interpretation contains several terms I am unsure of; y-sode, ayren, raisons of coraunce, powdre fort, foile of dowgh, fars, a word I think might be broth but these old eyes can't make it out clearly enough to determine what it is. This is when it is time to turn to other resources for help.  In this case, I know of at least two other interpretations of the above recipe.  The first is located at project Gutenberg. 

 The Forme of Cury, by Samuel Pegge Courtesy of Project Gutenberg

TARTLETTES. XX.II. X. Take pork ysode and grynde it small with safroun, medle it with ayrenn and raisons of coraunce and powdour fort and salt, and make a foile of dowhz  and close the fars þerinne. cast þe Tartletes in a Panne with faire water boillyng and salt, take of the clene Flessh withoute ayren & bolle it in gode broth. cast þerto powdour douce and salt, and messe the tartletes in disshes & helde the sewe þeronne.

The second is located at Daniel Myers Medieval Cookery. 

This is an excerpt from Fourme of Curye [Rylands MS 7] (England, 1390) The original source can be found at MedievalCookery.com

.xlix. Tartlettes. Tak pork y sode & grynde hit smal with safroun, medle hit with ayroun & raysouns of coraunce & poudour fort & salt, make a foyle of dowh & close the fars therinne, cast the tartlettes in a panne with fayre watur boillyng & salt, tak of the clene flesche withoute ayroun & boyle it in gode broth cast therinne poudour douce and salt & messe the tartlettes in in dysches & held the sew theron.

While I am left with some confusion about a few of the culinary terms, I have at least one question answered--the unknown word that I was unsure of and thought might be broth is water; "Cast (the) tartlette in a panne with fair (broth?) boillyng".  The next step is to define the words I don't understand. You will note that I have (the) in parenthesis several times in my interpretation.  This is because Middle English the.svg   is the middle English abbreviation for the word "the" something I learned in earlier research and it appears several times in the manuscript instructions for tartlettes.

I have my favorite locations for researching medieval culinary terms I may not understand.  These include in no particular order the following sites, which have proven to be immensely helpful. As part of my interpretive process I will research the culinary terms, etymology of a word, and cooking techniques if I am unsure of them.


Definitions

y-sode - boiled
ayren - eggs
raisons of coraunce - currants
powdre fort - strong powder - ?? Recipe?
foile of dowgh - a thin leaf or sheath of dough -- ?? Recipe?
fars - to stuff
pouder douce - sweet spice powder
sew - a Middle English word referring to a broth or liquid ranging from juice through gravy to stew

Researching the definitions lead to two more areas to research before I can start on interpreting the recipe.  The first area is powder  fort, a strong spice powder which will play a large part in the final outcome of the dish in regards to the flavor of it.  The second is the "foile of dowgh", which will also play a part in the dishes final outcome. The best location to look for this information is in the Forme of Cury, so that is where I will start.

Neither Powder-forte nor the dough instructions are included in the Forme of Cury. They are referenced several times, however in the manuscript and the recipe reference below for Loseyns gives the clue to how to make the dough.  Loseyns are dough that is boiled in broth and served with cheese. Because it is similar to the dough used in the tartlettes I am assuming that the dough that is required in this recipe is similar to the dough used in the recipe I am researching.

Loseyns. XX.II. IX. Take gode broth and do in an erthen pot, take flour of payndemayn and make þerof past with water. and make þerof thynne foyles as paper with a roller, drye it harde and seeþ it in broth take Chese ruayn grated and lay it in disshes with powdour douce. and lay þeron loseyns isode as hoole as þou mizt. and above powdour and chese, and so twyse or thryse, & serue it forth. Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

Loseyns. XX.II.IX Take good broth and do in an earthen pot, take bread flour and make thereof paste with water, and make thin foils as paper with a roller, dry it hard and boil it in broth take  ruayn cheese (most likely a semi-soft cheese made in the autumn from cow's milk) grated and lay it in disshes with powder douce and lay theron loseyns boiled as whole as you may and above powder and cheese, and so two or three and serve it forth.

The next step is to find out what powder-forte is.  It is commonly believed to be a blend of spices which include strongly flavored spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cubebs, galingale, ginger, grains of paradise, long pepper, mace and nutmeg.  The recipe that I found which I liked best is LXXIII. Specie fine a tute cosse. from Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.)

LXXIII. Specie fine a tute cosse. Toi una onza de pevere e una de cinamo e una de zenzevro e mezo quarto de garofali e uno quarto de zaferanno.

Black and strong spices for many sauces. Translated recipe by Louise Smithson (known in the SCA as Mistess Helewyse de Birkestad, OL) Black and strong spices to make sauces. Take half a quarter (of an ounce) of cloves, two ounces of pepper and an (equal) quantity of long pepper and nutmeg and do as all spices (grind).

The next step is to create my interpretation of the recipe and to create the ingredient list.  If you have difficulty with the Roman numeral conversion (I know I did) the site I use is found here. When I do my interpretations I try to create a recipe that is easy to understand, so I write it in modern English keeping the original interpretation above it.  When I create the ingredient list I am only doing so for a serving for two as if it were a main dish served in any meal. I want the recipes to be easily scale-able so that they can be increased from 2 to 4 to 8 to however many servings are needed. In order to do this I needed to research quantity calculations for catering large groups.  From the research that I did I have come up with this plan that I use when creating large scale feasts: 1/4 to 1/2 cup starch, 1/2 to 1 cup of pottage, 1/2 cup simmered, boiled or stewed, vegetables and approximately 1/4 pound of meat per dish per person.  This is the plan I use for any succeeding courses.  Remember-we are eating medieval serving up several dishes per course, and several courses in a meal.  Your diners can pick and choose what they wish to eat, and how much they wish to eat of it, but for serving these are the portions that go out to the table.  Approximate serving sizes per table of 8 would be 2-4 cups of grain or grain based dish (eisands or guissell), approximately 2 pounds of meat, and 2-4 cups of vegetables and 1 1/2 loaves of bread.  Some excellent websites to get you started on researching for quantity cooking are listed below.


Knowing how much to serve for a table of eight diners is how I determine what the quantities of my ingredients are going to be.  

My interpretation: 


.xlix. Tartlettes. 
Tak pork y sode & grynde hit smal with safroun, medle hit with ayroun & raysouns of coraunce & poudour fort & salt, make a foyle of dowh & close the fars therinne, cast the tartlettes in a panne with fayre watur boillyng & salt, tak of the clene flesche withoute ayroun & boyle it in gode broth cast therinne poudour douce and salt & messe the tartlettes in dysches & held the sew theron.

49. Tartlettes - Take pork boiled and grind it small with saffron, mix it with eggs and currants and powder forte and salt, make a thin sheet of dough and close the stuffing there in, cast the tartlettes in a pan with fair water boiling and salt, take of the clean flesh without eggs and boil it in good broth, caste therein pouder douce and salt and mess the tartlettes in dishes and held the sauce there on.

Ingredients List

Boiled Pork - ground
saffron
eggs
currants
strong spice powder
salt
dough - flour, water
salt
broth
sweet spice powder

Fortunately this recipe doesn't contain any difficult to find or impossible to get items, however, if it did the resource that I would use to locate an acceptable alternative would be the Cook's Thesaurus. This resource has been invaluable to me especially when looking for alternatives to fish! Fresh fish is difficult to locate where I live and some ingredients which were commonly enjoyed, such as porpoise, are illegal where I live.  Alternatively, some items such as quail, squab or pheasant would be prohibitively expensive to purchase even for a smaller event.  Whenever I substitute a medieval ingredient for something easier to obtain or more cost effective I make sure to explain the reasoning behind it in my blog post.

Once I have created my interpretation and have a list of ingredients that I am going to use I start creating the modern recipe.  Remember-I'm only cooking for two people, despite the fact that I usually use my family and friends and their friends as guinea pigs to taste test and could be taste testing up to seven or eight people ;-) This is why we often have spoon wars and arguments over who gets the last bite.  I only need a small amount.

Recipe

1/2 pound ground pork - remember the recipe calls for pork that has first been boiled and then minced (ground small).  Assuming a quarter pound of meat per person two people would be 1/2 pound of ground pork.  Half of which (1/4) will be made into the stuffing and the other half will be cooked in the broth ( take of the clean flesh without eggs and boil it in good broth). To make the broth that is needed, boil the pork in 1 cup water or stock.  I would use chicken or a mix of 50/50 beef and chicken because I do not normally have pork stock on hand.

Pinch of saffron - for two people you probably only need two or three strands, because you do not want the saffron flavor to overpower your stock.

3/8 egg beaten - the reality is that an entire egg is going to be too much egg for the small amount of stuffing we are making. So what I would do is beat the egg and add just enough of it to the mixture to make a good stuffing making note of it in the interpretation, or, I might separate the yolk from the white and use the yolk only.

1 tsp. currants - 1 tsp. of Currants for a quarter pound would mean a little over a tablespoon of currants for a full pound of meat.   This is where I use the phrase "or to taste" because some folks might like a little more currant with their pork and others (like me) would like less-wayyyy less--as in half that amount for me thank you very much!

1/8th tsp. Powder Forte - another "or to taste" area.  Usually for a quarter pound of meat, 1/4th of a tsp. of spice is too much, but you still need some flavor, so an 1/8th of a tsp. would work here, and if it is expanded out that would 1/2 tsp. of spice for 1 pound of meat.

1/4 tsp. salt - Salt is flavor, and this might seem like a lot of salt to add to 1/4 pound of meat, however, if you were to scale this up, that would be 1 tsp. to 1 pound and that is the amount of salt that most people are used to adding to their meat.

1 cup broth - if you have boiled the pork in water you have already created a flavorful broth. On average, 1 cup of soup is the amount served at a large catered event, hence 1 cup of broth. If you are using store purchased broth you may not need additional salt, however, if you have made your own stock or are using the broth made by boiling the pork you might need to add salt to taste.

1/8 tsp. sweet spice powder - again, this is "to taste".

For the dough - we are looking to make basic eggless pasta or noodle dough.  Use your favorite recipe or you can use the one below

1 cup flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt


Boil the pork in the water until thoroughly cooked, drain the pork reserving the broth.  Take half of the pork and add eggs, currants, salt and powder forte.  Please note, I beat the whole egg and then added enough egg to the pork to make the stuffing stick together easily.  I know...how do you get 3/8th s of an egg??? Set the stuffing aside and mix flour with water and salt to create your dough. As an alternative, you could substitute won ton wrappers for the dough. I did!

To create your dough mix together flour and salt and add water until it forms stiff dough.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for approximately 10 minutes, cover and then allow it to rest for 20 minutes. After the dough has rested, roll it out to approximately 1/16th of an inch thick and then cut into large squares or circles as you desire.

Stuff the dough with the filling being careful not to overfill and then seal the dough tightly.  I used the tines of a fork to make a pretty crimp on the edges. Drop into the broth; add additional salt and the pouder douce and serve once they are completely cooked.

Converting recipe quantities seems like a mystery but once you know the number of servings you wish to serve, and you know how many servings the recipe you are using serves the conversion is quite simple.  To find your conversion factor (the number that you are going to multiply or divide to scale up or scale down) simply divide the desired number of servings by the original number of servings. 

For example, this recipe was created to make two servings as a main meal or up to four as a side dish.  The number of servings is 2, but I want to serve 8.  I would simply divide 8 by 2 and my conversion factor is 4.  The converted recipe would then be:

2 pounds ground pork
Pinch of saffron 
1-2 eggs beaten
1 tbsp. or more of currants
1/2 tsp. powder forte
1 tsp. salt
4 cups broth
4 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. powder douce

If I have the recipe for 8 and I want to serve six, I would divide 6 by 8 and the conversion factor would be 0.75.  I would then multiply each of the ingredients by the conversion factor of 0.75 to get the correct scale for six servings. The new recipe would look like this.

1 1/2 pounds ground pork 
Pinch of saffron 
1-2 eggs beaten 
3/4 tbsp. or more of currants 
1/3 tsp. powder forte 
3/4 tsp. salt 
3 cups broth 
3 cups flour 
3/4 cup water 

1/3 tsp. powder douce 

For a quick conversion of any recipe you wish to try use the Recipe Converter Calculator.  

Once I have created a recipe that follows the instructions I cook up my sample batch and taste test it.  I have hijacked people working around the house, my kids, their friends, unsuspecting family members and the neighbors.  If the recipe can pass a modern taste test then I did well.  I request commentary and watch reactions. There have been a few times I have made something that I or one of the taste testers did not enjoy.  I make sure to include that in my blog posts.  

Sometimes I have to go back and tweak something based on commentary, which I will do, making note of the changes. Once the interpretation has been finalized, and *before* creating a blog post I compare with my peers.  This recipe is a great example of the reason to compare.  The instructions as interpreted create a broth with meat and meat filled dumplings. One of my peers created a meat filled tart, while another created a dish of dumplings with meat sauce. 

When I am checking my work against my peers and I find that I have done something vastly different from what they have created I ask myself several questions.  Where did I deviate from their interpretation? Why did I deviate? How does the deviation impact the final interpretation? What was the deviation? Do I need to research this further?  

A good example of this process is my interpretation of Arbolettys, which created a cheese "soup" instead of the more often found scrambled eggs with herbs. Since I found the recipe in the pottages section of 
 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 amidst a selection of recipes that create custard or pudding like dishes I believe that the deviation is cooking the eggs till they form a curd similar to scrambled eggs rather then forming a smooth dish.  Further research is needed to determine what the final outcome of this recipe should be.


Finally having come to the end of the process I create a blog post. In creating the post I attempt to include a little bit of history relating to one of the primary ingredients as well as including the interpreted instructions into a modern day recipe.

I hope that this post has given you some ideas on directions that you can go to start interpreting your own recipes. I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions or ideas. Feel free to comment below.