Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Queen-like Closet (1675) - LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade. - Orange Marmalade

The Queen-like Closet (1675) - LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade. - Orange Marmalade
In a few months I will be cooking a luncheon for a very special group of people. I'm honored to have been asked to do this. No pressures :-) but I have challenged myself to serve a mostly period set of dishes and among the dishes I am preparing to serve is orange marmalade. I have been eager to try this dish since I first saw the instructions in Hannah Woolley's (1622-1675) The Queen-like Closet OR RICH CABINET Scored with all manner of RARE RECEIPTS FOR Preserving, Candying and Cookery. and now I have the perfect excuse! Granted the book was published a little later then the period we use in the SCA, I believe it is a representation of dishes that were used very late in period.

I was fortunate to run across some blood oranges marked down because they were not perfect. I love blood oranges and used them to make this dish. It is sweeter then I would have expected but I am going to have a hard time keeping it until September! EVERYONE who has tried it has liked it, and it uses the part of the fruit that most people would throw away. I like to save my orange and lemon peels to make candied peels. It only takes a few hours of time and it makes a lovely presentation at the end of a feast or to put out for lunch, or even a quick snack when you are on the run. I had no difficulty having enough peel to make this marmalade.

LXXXVI. To make the best Orange Marmalade.

Take the Rinds of the deepest coloured Oranges, boil them in several Waters till they are very tender, then mince them small, and to one pound of Oranges, take-a Pound of Pippins cut small, one Pound of the fi∣nest Sugar, and one Pint of Spring-water, me't your Sugar in the Water over the fire, and scum it, then put in your Pippins, and boil them till they are very clear, then put in the Orange Rind, and boil them together, til you find by cooling a little of it, that it wil jelly very well, then put in the Iuice of two Oranges, and one Limon, and boil it a lit∣tle longer; and then put it up in Gally-pots.

86. To make the best Orange Marmalade

Take the rinds of the deepest colored oranges, boil them in several waters till they are very tender, then mince them small, and to one pound of oranges, take a pound of pippins (apples) cut small, one pound of the finest sugar, and one pint of spring-water, melt your sugar in the water of the fire, and scum it, then put in your pippins, and boil them till they are very clear, then put in the orange rind, and boil them together, til you find by cooling a little of it, that it will jelly very well, then put in the juice of two oranges and one lemon, and boil it a little longer; and then put it up in gally-pots.

Interpreted Recipe

1 pound of orange peel
1 pound -or- 2 cups apple sauce (unsweetened natural)
1 pound of sugar
2 cups water 
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lemon

This recipe made 4 8-ounce jelly jars of marmalade.  I first cut the peels into like sized pieces and boiled in water several times.  I usually bring the first water to boil and boil for five minutes to remove as quickly as possible any dye and bitterness. Then I drain the peels and on the second boiling boil again for five minutes before draining.  When I do the final boiling I boil till tender.  I wish I could give you a magic number for how long you should boil "until tender" but I think it depends on the age of the fruit, and the thickness.  When you can easily pierce with a fork or toothpick it's done.  The average time is
about 15 to 20 minutes.

I then drained the peels a final time and let cool enough I could easily handle them and minced them small.  When they were minced I had about 2 cups of peels.  I started using apple sauce when I started making fruit paste for the pectin to thicken my fruit pastes, which is why I knew I could use natural, unsweetened applesauce in lieu of the pippins called for in this recipe.  What I have discovered using applesauce for it's pectin instead of pectin is that sometimes your pastes, candies or jellies will set up long before the reach the standard height for sugar cookery.  It is also possible that my digital thermometer is no longer dependable. My modern recipes for orange marmalade advised that I cook the marmalade till it reached 222-223 degree's. But what happened was that it was ready to be put in the jars before it reached that height.  
The instructions indicated that you wanted the same amount of apples as oranges, so I added the water, applesauce and sugar to a pot and heated until the sugar had melted, then added the orange peels. At this point I baby sat the mixture, stirring constantly until I noticed that the marmalade had thickened and that my spoon was leaving a noticeable trail behind it.  My digital thermometer was reading 214 degrees and I agonized over letting it cook further or not.  I did add the orange and lemon juice to the mixture and cooked another five minutes before pulling the pot off the stove and canning the jelly.  At this point, the jelly that spattered was setting on impact on the counter, the stove and me! It was done.  

This is truly one of the best orange marmalades I have ever tasted, much better then commercially made.  The sample 8 ounce jar I kept back was inhaled by the taste testers and their friends.  I strongly recommend that you consider making your own to serve at a future event, to give away as largesse, etc. When properly canned, your items can be put up and used as frequently as you wish.  

Enjoy!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxiij. Nomblys of þe venyson.- Numbles of the Venyson

 Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxiij. Nomblys of þe venyson.- Numbles of the Venyson


Numbles (umbles, numlys, ombles, owmlys, humble) is an archaic cooking term that once refered to the back and loins of a deer (from lumbulus meaning the loin).  Approximately 1616 it was reffered to as "the ordinairie fee and parts of the deer given unto a keeper by a custome, who hath the skin, head, umbles, chine and shoulder". Today, numbles refers to the soft organs of an animal, specifically a deer. Numbles includes the organs generally referred to as offal--heart, liver, kidneys, sweetbread, spleen and lungs (aka as lights or pluck).

Depending on which definition you choose to use to define "numbles", 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 could produce two completely different dishes; one based on the loin, another one based on offal.   I personally chose the more conventional meaning of numbles and made this dish using liver.  Just a fair warning, very few of the taste testers enjoy organ meats, so they tried the dish with trepidation.  I am happy to report that I just *might* have changed a few minds (and stomachs) with this interpretation.

There were no requests to make it again. However, when asked if they would eat it if served at a future event there were nods and a few caution "yes's". I have not yet received any requests to make this dish again. That being said--there were no leftovers. Personally, if I were to serve this dish again, I would do so as a side dish within a course of dishes and not as a main component of the meal.  I enjoy adventuresome eating, but that does not mean everyone else does, nor should they be forced to. 

.xxiij. Nomblys of þe venyson.—Take þe Nombles of Venysoun, an cutte hem smal whyle þey ben raw; þan take Freysshe broþe, Watere, an Wyne, of eche a quantyte, an powder Pepir an Canel, and let hem [leaf 9 bk.] boyle to-gederys tyl it be almost y-now; An þenne caste powder Gyngere, an a lytil venegre an Salt, an sesyn it vp, an þanne serue it forth in þe maner of a gode potage.

xxiij - Nomblys of the venyson. Take the Nombles of Venysoun, an cutte hem smal whyle they ben raw; than take Freysshe brothe, Watere, an Wyne, of eche a quantyte, an powder Pepir an Canel, and let hem boyle to-gederys tyl it be almost y-now; An thenne caste powder Gyngere, an a lytil venegre an Salt, an sesyn it vp, an thanne serue it forth in the maner of a gode potage.

23. Numbles of the Venison - Take the numbles of Venison, and cut them small while they be raw; then take fresh broth, water, and wine, of each a quantity, and powder pepper, and cinnamon and let them boil together till it be almost enough; And then caste powder ginger, and a little vinegar, and salt, and season it up, and then serve it forth in the manner of a good pottage. 

Interpreted Recipe                                                                                         Serves 1 as a main, 2-3 as a side

1/4 pound offal of choice (kidney, liver, heart, lungs or lights) *as an alternative* 1/4 pound of loin
1/3 cup beef broth, water and wine each
1/8 tsp. each pepper, cinnamon and ginger
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar (I used red wine)
salt and pepper to taste

Clean your offal or your loin and cut into 1" by 1" pieces (or smaller).  Bring broth, water, wine, pepper and cinnamon to a boil in your pot and add your meat.  Cook till meat is tender, taste for salt and pepper.  Approximately five minutes before serving add ginger and vinegar.  

The vinegar did a lot to cut down on the earthy taste of the liver that I used.  So do not be afraid to add a little more if you wish. This was a very unusual dish, but it was tested and enjoyed by all those who tried it.  It was very easy to put together and I would recommend it for an event of your choice.  As stated previously, not everyone is an adventuresome eater so I would serve this in a course accompanied by several other dishes. I hope you enjoy. 

Similar Recipes

Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

Newe Noumbles Of Deer. XX.II. XIIII. Take noumbles and waisshe hem clene with water and salt and perboile hem in water. take hem up an dyce hem. do with hem as with ooþer noumbles.

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

.liij. Newe nounbles of dere. Tak noumbles & waische hem clene with water & salt & perboyle hem in water, take hem up & dresse dyce hem do with hem as with other noumbles.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cl. Cawdel out of lente. - Caudel out of Lent

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cl. Cawdel out of lente. - Caudel out of Lent


When I came across 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 Thomas Austin I knew I had to try it.  I'm glad I did. The end product is a delicious soft stirred custard that can be drunk or thickened as you desire.  Because it is made with wine, I would almost like to say that this is a very early version of eggnog.  However, food anthropologists/historians will tell you that eggnog's are descended from possets--beverages that are made from milk (in this case almond) that has been curdled through the infusion of an alcoholic beverage (in this case wine).  Caudles, on the other hand are a thick drink made from ale or wine, bread crumbs, eggs, sugar and spices and were usually given to invalids and the elderly. This recipe is unusual in that it contains elements of both possets and caudles, but the name refers to it as a caudle, perhaps, this is a common ancestor of both and my theory that this may be a very early version of eggnog is correct? I will leave it to you, the reader, to decide :-) 

Although we are advised to "euer kepe it as whyte as  þou may" we are also given several options for coloring this dish.  We are advised before serving to "droppe Alkenade þer-on".  Alkenade is one of several agents used for coloring food in period.  We know that our medieval ancestors were not afraid of coloring their food.  Colors ranged from black, to gold, pink, roses, oranges, greens and blues.  I cannot imagine the modern diner would approve of sitting down to a dish of blue (or purple) chicken or fish.  An example of a well known blue/purple dish is below.  
Sapor celeste de estate. 
Piglia de li moroni salvatiche che nascono in le fratte, et un poche
de amandole ben piste, con un pocho di zenzevero. Et queste
cose distemperarai con agresto et passarale per la stamegnia. - Maestro Martino: Libro de arte coquinaria (~1450-1467)
 Sky Blue Sauce (or Heavenly Sauce) for Summer
Take some of the wild blackberries that grow in hedgerows and some thoroughly pounded almonds, with a little ginger. And moisten these things with verjuice and strain through a sieve. -  The Medieval KitchenRecipes from France and Italy
by Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, & Silvano Serventi
I cannot imagine anyone would be upset being served roasted chicken that had been coated with that sauce, which is actually a lovely purple but could be rendered sky blue with a little bit of kitchen chemistry and magic! The magical blue/purple color is not limited to berries. Turnsole is also another source for blue not only in cooking but in illuminated manuscripts as well. Flowers such as columbine and cornflower can also be used.  Even semi precious stones, such as azure, also known as lapis lazuli were used.

Alkanet, also known as Dyer's Alkanet, Dyer's Bugloss, Spanish Bugloss or Wilde Bugloss. Officially it is known as "Alkanna Tinctoria" the roots of which are used to produce a ruby red dye. Other sources of red include roses, sandalwood, galingale, barberries (red corrants) and pomegranate juice. 


Green was a very popular color for food and multiple sources were used to produce it.  Green was produced by obtaining the juice of herbs such as parsley or sage, or it could be produced by using vegetables such as spinach.  Toxic substances, such as verdigris, a copper salt were used to create inks. 


An Emeralde Greene.

Take Verdigrece, Litarge, Quicksilver brayed to powder, and ground with the pisse of a young childe.  --The Widdowes Treasure - Dyes and Ipocras

The most popular color to ting your food was yellow. Saffron is used in many of the dishes in the the Harleian MS 279, along with sandalwood.  In additon to saffron, egg yolks were also used to add a soft golden color to food.  Even precious gold found it's way to the medieval table.  

Browns and Blacks were not forgotten.  Cooks were instructed to burn toast, or add blood to create rich browns and blacks to color food. Spices such as cinnamon or ginger were also used. Cloves could also be soaked or burnt, but I imagine that would add quite a strong taste to a dish.  

.Cl. Cawdel out of lente.—Take & make a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw vppe with wyne of Red, whyte is beterre; ȝif it schal be whyte, þan strayne ȝolkys of Eyroun þer-to a fewe. Put þer-to Sugre & Salt, but Sugre y-now; þen when it begynnyth to boyle, sette it out, & almost flatte; serue it then forth, & euer kepe it as whyte as þou may, & at þe dressoure droppe Alkenade þer-on, & serue forth; & ȝif þou wylt haue hym chargeaunt, bynd hym vppe with fflour of [supplied by ed.] Rys, oþer with whetyn floure, it is no fors. And ȝif þou wolt, coloure hym with Safroun, & straw on pouder y-now, & Sugre y-now, & serue forth.

Cl - Cawdel out of lente. Take and make a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw vppe with wyne of Red, whyte is beterre; 3if it schal be whyte, than strayne 3olkys of Eyroun ther-to a fewe. Put [correction; sic = MS. but.] ther-to Sugre and Salt, but Sugre y-now; then when it begynnyth to boyle, sette it out, and almost flatte; serue it then forth, and euer kepe it as whyte as thou may, and at the dressoure droppe Alkenade ther-on, and serue forth; and 3if thou wylt haue hym chargeaunt, bynd hym vppe with fflour of Rys, other with whetyn floure, it is no fors. And 3if thou wolt, coloure hym with Safroun, and straw on pouder y-now, and Sugre y-now, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].


150 - Cawdel out of Lent - Take and make a good milk of almonds, drawn up with wine of red, white is better; if it shall be white, then strain yolks of eggs thereto a few.  Put there-to sugar and salt, but sugar enough; then when it begins to boil set it out and almost flat; serve it then forth and ever keep it as white as you may, and at the serving drop alkanet (a ruby red dye made from the root of the alkanet plant)  there-on, and serve forth; and if thou wilt have him thick, bind him up with flour of rice, other with wheat flour, it is no effort (fors - Middle English Dictionary - fō̆rce (n.) Also fors9.
(a) An effort, endeavor, exertion). And if you will, color him with saffron and strew on pouder enough, and sugar enough, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                          Serves 1 as Main, 2 if you are feeling friendly!

1 cup almond milk (I made mine using 1/4th cup almond flour, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white wine)
2 egg yolks
1-2 tbsp. sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
Blaunche Powder to decorate (3 parts sugar to 1 part ginger)

You could use commercial almond milk for this recipe, but I usually make the quick almond milk. Bring to a simmer and add egg yolks, sugar and salt, or, heat over a double broiler as if you were making a custard.  Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.  Before serving you could add a bit of red food coloring, and marble it, or, sprinkle with blaunche powder.

The taste testers and I really enjoyed this dish and I must confess...I have made it several times since as a bedtime snack.  There is something very comforting about it. I prefer mine slightly hot, but suspect that it would be equally delicious room temperature or ~gasps~ cold.  I am curious to see if it would separate like a posset.

Like any custard this dish requires a bit of babysitting, which might make it impractical for a large feast or event, unless perhaps prepared in batches ahead of time.  However, It would be delicious as a camp side treat, or even a royalty luncheon.  I could imagine it served alongside some stewed or fresh fruit as well.





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlviij. Whyte Pesyn in grauey.- White Peas in Gravy

.Cxlviij. Whyte Pesyn in grauey.- White Peas in Gravy


This is the second recipe that I intperpreted 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 which features dried peas.  It was very hard to choose between the two dishes that were cooked which was the better as each of them were unique in their flavors.  While the Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup was the more savory of the two dishes, the combination of almond milk and sugar made this dish delightfully sweet and much more delicate in flavor. We believe that it is not as capable of standing up to richer or heartier dishes such as ham, cured meats or beef.  The taste testers and I felt that this dish would do better with chicken or fish which had been lightly sauced or seasoned and salads. Where you would fit this into your menu is entirely up to you.

.Cxlviij. Whyte Pesyn in grauey.—Take Whyte Pesyn, & hoole hem in þe maner as men don Caboges, or blaunche perry; þan sethe hem with Almaunde mylke vppe, putte þer-to Sugre y-now, & fryid Oynonys & Oyle, & serue forth.

Cxlviij - Whyte Pesyn in grauey. Take Whyte Pesyn, and hoole hem in the maner as men don Caboges, or blaunche perry; than sethe hem with Almaunde mylke vppe, putte ther-to Sugre y-now, and fryid Oynonys and Oyle, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

168 - White Peas in Gravy - Take white peas and hull them in the manner as men do cabboges, or blaunche perry; then cook them with almond milk up, put there-to sugar enough, and fried onions and oil, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                      Serves 1 as Main, two as Side

1/2 cup pre-cooked peas
1 cup almond milk
1-2 Tsp. sugar or to taste (I used 2)
2 Tbsp. thin sliced onion
1 Tbsp. oil (I used olive)
Salt and Pepper to taste

This is a very quick recipe to put together and simple. It falls under the category of "heat and eat" dishes, and--I suspect this would freeze well and could be used at a later date. That being said, I used the quick cook method for the peas.  To quick cook you take 1 to 2 cups of dried peas and add them to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. I usually boil about five minutes or so and then turn the heat off and allow the peas to soak in the water until it has cooled.  I then drain the water and continue to cook the peas as needed.

For this recipe, I lightly fried the onions in the oil, added the almond milk, sugar and pre cooked peas and cooked until the peas softened.  Although the recipe does not call for it, I did at salt and pepper to taste. Our modern day palates are very happy with us when we do this!

This is another dish that is quite versatile, it could easily be made at a camp, served at lunch--I would not hesitate to serve it as a breakfast as it does have a similar consistency to oatmeal.  It would make a delicious lunch for royalty dish, as well as easily served in the lunch taverns, or as a dish at a feast.  I urge you to try it and would very much like to hear back from you on your experiences.


Similar Recipes

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

Of other small pottages. Small pottages such as greens of chard; cabbages; turnips; leeks; veal with Yellow [Sauce]; pottages of scallions without anything else; peas; milled, pounded or sieved beans with or without the pod; pork intestine; soup with pork pluck (women are mistresses of it, and each knows how to make it); and tripes – these I have not put in my viandier, for one knows well how they should be eaten.


Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (England, 1460)
Pome perre. Boyle white pesyn hool hem take hem fro the fyre when they have restyd a whyle then take the cleryst in to a nothir pott then have mylke of almond drawyn up with wyen figes of amely sigure and salte and yf thou wylte reysons fryed w lytyll & do to gedyr boyle hit kepe hit and serve hit forth.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak pessen de almonds tak whit pessen and wesshe them and sethe them till they hulle and when they be done cast they in to a pot and couer it and boile it and cast ther to almond mylk flour of ryse and salt it colour it with saffronand serve it.

The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (England, 1597)

For White pease pottage.. TAke a quart of white Pease or more & seeth them in faire water close, vntill they doe cast their huskes, the which cast away, as long as any wil come vp to the topp, and when they be gon, then put into the peaze two dishes of butter, and a little vergious, with pepper and salt, and a little fine powder of March, and so let it stand till you will occupy it, and the[n] serue it vpon sops. You may sée the Porpose and Seale in your Pease, seruing it forth two péeces in a dish.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup

It has been quite some time since I posted anything.  I've had some pretty major changes in the household; starting a new job, working out the old one etc.  It's not an excuse for not posting anything, although I have been busily researching and interpreting 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.  This is the first of two recipes I interpreted which feature yellow peas.  Both of the interpretations were delicious and the taste testers and I were unable to decide which of the two we liked best. 

The first recipe is for "Blaunche Perreye", roughly interpreted "white pottage".  Perreye appears to be another form of the word Porrey, and is defined in The Century dictionary: an encyclopedic lexicon of the English Language, Volume 7 By William Dwight Whitney, Benjamin Eli Smith (1889) as "A pottage of leeks, also, a pottage made of beets or of other herbs, a soup of peas, beans etc.".   


Peas are among one of the oldest cultivated plants known to man. Their origins are shrouded in mystery, but, the most likely origin is in the area of Southwest Asia, India and Pakistan. There is evidence of pea consumption as early as 9750 BC in Thailand.  We also know that the Greeks and Romans were actively cultivating peas as early as 500 BC, and Apicius features nine recipes for dried peas in his cookbook written approximately 25 BC.

Peas were first cultivated in France by Charlemagne approximately 800. Because peas were plentiful, easily dried, could be stored for very long periods of time and were cheap, they made a perfect food for the lower classes.  By the 13th Century peas were such a popular food item in France that street vendors were selling them.  During the 15th Century, botanists were describing many varieties of peas of all colors--green, yellow and white, smooth, wrinkled, pitted, tall or short.

White peas proved impossible to find in my area, and yellow ones are seasonal. I finally resorted to ordering my peas from Amazon.  They did have white ones listed, but I purchased yellow instead.  I imagine this recipe would have been ok with green peas as well.  I think it is quite versatile, and fresh peas could be substituted for dried, however, the most fascinating part of the recipe for me were the instructions on how to remove the hull from the dried pea.

.Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye.—Take Pesyn, & waysshe hem clene, & þen take a gode quantyte of fyne leye, & putte it on a potte, & a lytil water þer-to; & whan þe ley is seþin hot, caste þe Pesyn þer-to, & þer late hem soke a gode whyle; þen take a quantyte of wollen cloþe, & rubbe hem, & þe holys*. [Hulls, shucks. ] wyl a-way; þenne take a seve or a wheterydoun, & ley þin pesyn þer-on, & go to þe water, & waysshe hem clene a-way þe holys, þen putte hem in a potte, & þey wyl alle to-falle with a lytil boylynge, to pereye, saue þe whyte Pepyn is þer-in, & þat is a gode syȝth; þen Salt hem, & serue hem forth.

Cxlv - Blaunche Perreye. Take Pesyn, and waysshe hem clene, and then take a gode quantyte of fyne leye, and putte it on a potte, and a lytil water ther-to; and whan the ley is sethin hot, caste the Pesyn ther-to, and ther late hem soke a gode whyle; then take a quantyte of wollen clothe, and rubbe hem, and the holys (Note: Hulls, shucks) wyl a-way; thenne take a seve or a wheterydoun, and ley thin pesyn ther-on, and go to the water, and waysshe hem clene a-way the holys, then putte hem in a potte, and they wyl alle to-falle with a lytil boylynge, to pereye, saue the whyte Pepyn is ther-in, and that is a gode sy3th; then Salt hem, and serue hem forth.

145.  Blaunche Perreye - Take peas, and wash them clean, and then take a good quantity of fine leye (dregs of wine), and put it on a pot, and a little water there-to; and when the ley is seething hot, cast the peas there-to, and there let them soak a good while: then take a quantity of woolen cloth, and rub them and the hulls well away; then take a sieve or a wheterydoun (whete rydoun-rydounisan-an obsolete term for ridder, a course sieve used to winnow grain), and lay your peas there-on, and go to the water, and wash them clean away the hulls, then put them in a pot, and they will all to-fall (disintegrate) with a little boiling, to pereye (pottage), save the white pepyn (the sprouting part of  apea) is there-in, and that is a good deal; then salt them and serve them forth.


Interpreted Recipe                                              Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/2 cup yellow peas
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste

As I had said previously, I had to purchase yellow split peas for another recipe and those are the ones that I used for this one.  Yellow split peas come very clean in the bag so I ignored the first set of instructions on how to clean the peas.  However, I did use a mixture of wine and water to cook the peas.

I must confess, I precooked the peas for both recipes at the same time, using 1 cup of dried peas to four cups of salted water, bringing it to a boil for five minutes, and then letting the peas sit in the pot until the water had cooled.  This is the best method of quick cooking any bean, pea or legume I have found. Your other course of action is to let them sit overnight and soak in water.  This makes a LOT of peas, the remainder of the peas I put into vegetable soup....shhhh!

Once the peas were precooked I heated the water and the wine and added a half cup of the *pre-cooked* peas to it.  If you are going to cook a large amount of dried peas remember this ratio 2:4 - every two cups of peas, four cups of water and or wine.  If you are using green peas, make sure that approximately 1/3rd of your peas are also yellow.  It makes a very pleasing spring green color.  But I did find that I needed to add additional water to my peas before they were soft enough to mash, so keep an eye on your liquid when cooking this dish.

Once the peas were cooked I mashed them slightly with a potato masher and added salt and black pepper to taste.  I would definitely serve this up at a camp supper, or a luncheon or even at a feast.  We brainstormed ideas while we fought over taking bites of soup and the group consensus is that you would want to serve this with ham, or another salty meat, and good hearty thick grainy bread, early in a feast.  The soup itself might overwhelm a more delicately flavored item.  This will find its way into a lunch tavern menu as a vegetarian option in the near future.  I have been asked to make it again, this from the person who swore up and down they were positive they wouldn't like it.  Very simple and humble make great flavors--ingenious.

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For Gray pese. Fyrst stepe þy pese over þe ny3t, And trendel hom clene, and fayre hom dy3t. Sethe hom in water. and brothe þou take Of bacun, and fresshe bre þou no3t forsake. Summe men hom lofe alyed wyle With floure and summe with never a dele. Þese pese with bacun eten may be As þo why3t pese were, so mot I þe. But þo white with powder of peper þo Moun be forsyd with ale þer to.

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