Monday, January 2, 2017

Harleain MS 279 (ab. 1430) - xlviij. Tayloures - Rice porridge with currants and dates

 xlviij. Tayloures - Rice porridge with currants and dates

I was very eager to try out this 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 Tayloures, which is another pottage based on the almond milk and rice flour base.  Previously published interpretations which contain this base include; Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons (Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins), .Ixxxv. Gaylede (Rice Porridge with Figs & Honey), .Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet. and .lxviij. Bruet of Almaynne in lente (Rice Porridge with Dates).  The taste testers and I had an interesting conversation about where in a feast you would find dishes like these served.  The consensus is that for the modern day pallet you serve them at breakfast--barring that, they should most likely be served either as a sweet side dish as part of a course, or at the end of the meal for a warm pudding.

This dish did not disappoint.  It differs from the other pottages with the use of the wine to create (or in my case) flavor the almond milk, and the spicing. I would consider this a "Lordly" dish-the instructions include an unusual amount of spices (cloves, mace, pepper, cinnamon, saffron and salt) but also includes sugar, making this a rather costly if humble dish. It is also unusual as it is the second set of instructions for cooking these kinds of dishes that can interchange both bread and rice as the thickener.

xlviij. Tayloures. — Take a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw with Wyne an Water, an caste hym in-to a potte, and caste gret Roysouns of corauns. Also mencyd Datys, Clowes, Maces, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Safroun, & a gode dele Salt, & let boyle a whyle ; }an take it and ly^ it wyth Flowre of Rys, or ellys w/tA Brede y-gratyd, & caste |7er-to Sugre, & serue forth lyke Mortrewys, & caste pouder of Gyngere a-boue y-now.

xlviij - Tayloures. Take a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw with Wyne an Water, an caste hym in-to a potte, and caste gret Roysouns of corauns, Also mencyd Datys, Clowes, Maces, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Safroun, and a gode dele Salt, and let boyle a whyle; than take it and ly (Note: Lye; allay.) it wyth Flowre of Rys, or ellys with Brede y-gratyd, and caste ther-to Sugre, and serue forth lyke Mortrewys, and caste pouder of Gyngere a-boue y-now.

48. Taylours - Take good milk of almonds drawn with wine and water, and caste them in a pot, and caste great raisins of corauns (currents). Also minced dates, cloves, maces, powder pepper, cinnamon, saffron and a good deal of salt, and let boil awhile; Than take it and lie it with flour of rice, or else with bread grated and caste there-to sugar, and serve forth like mortrews, and cast powder of ginger above enough.

Interpreted Recipe

3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup wine (I used wine)
1 tbsp each currants (or raisins)
2 dates chopped as small as currants (or raisins)
2 cloves
1/8 tsp. each mace, pepper, cinnamon (or to taste)
pinch of saffron
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp. rice flour or bread crumbs
1 tbsp or to taste sugar (or to taste)
Pinch of ginger

I used commercially prepared almond milk and added white wine to it because I wanted to keep the pottage as white as possible.  I much prefer the taste of homemade almond milk to the commercially prepared almond, and a easy recipe using almond flour can be found here: Quick Homemade Almond Milk. I heated the almond milk with the currants and the raisins and added the spices, a pinch of saffron and sugar to it.  Once it had obtained the color I wanted, I added the rice flour and stirred till it was thick.  Before serving I sprinkled the dish with a pinch of ginger and a pinch of currants.

This dish had very balanced flavors and the taste testers and I did appreciate the addition of spices.  This led to another discussion on the preogative of the cook; Is it ok to follow the example of this recipe and add additional spices to the other similar instructions?  We concluded that what was written was a set of instructions, most likely written by someone watching the cook prepare the food, who may have only seen it prepared the one time.  Therefore, it is likely that just as modern day cooks will substitute one item for another, the medieval cook most likely did the same.

We also discussed the feasibility of creating dishes like this for camping events, specifically for camp breakfast. It was noted that with the exception of almond milk, all of the ingredients are dried.  It would be quite feasible to make almond milk from almond flour at the site.  What would you do with the almond meal once the milk was made? With a can of pie filling, or fresh fruit of your choice, you could make a quick crumbly topping for a camp pie.  Simply mix 1/4 cup of the (used) almond flour with 1 cup dry oats, up to a teaspoon of spices (cinnamon), 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey and add the juice of half an orange. Yum!

Similar Recipes

Le Viandier de Taillevent (France, ca. 1380 - James Prescott, trans.)

Lenten slices. Take peeled almonds, crush very well in a mortar, steep in water boiled and cooled to lukewarm, strain through cheesecloth, and boil your almondmilk on a few coals for an instant or two. Take some cooked hot water pastries a day or two old and cut them into bits as small as large dice. Take figs, dates and Digne raisins, and slice the figs and dates like the hot water pastries. Throw everything into it, leave it to thicken like Frumenty, and boil some sugar with it. To give it colour, have some saffron for colouring it like Frumenty. It should be gently salted.

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (England, 1460)

Tayle. Take a lytyll milke of almonds drawyn up with wyn & do hit in a pott do ther to figes reysens & datys cut and sygure & good pondys boyle hit up colour hit with safron & messe hit forth.