Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

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

Fall is here and with it an abundance of apples! What better way to pick up the pen again then with this fruit?? Apples have a long and varied history. Carbon dating of seeds found in Southwestern Asia suggest that apples may have originated there. There is also evidence of fossilized apple seeds dating to the Neolithic period found in England which suggests that a variety of wild apple was known. 
Whatever the origin, we do know that the Greeks were familiar with apples.  Homer writes about them in the Odyssey.  Hippocrates recommends sweet apples with meals as a way of aiding in digestion. The Romans however, developed the fruit that we are aware of today through the process of cross breeding for sweetness and grafting.   Pliny the Elder describes multiple varieties of apples that were cultivated in Rome.

After the Roman occupation of Britain, many of the orchards were left abandoned.  It was through the efforts of monks that many of the orchards were maintained.  The earliest know…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxiiij. Drawyn grwel - Tempered Gruel

Earlier this week I posted the recipe for .vij. Gruelle a-forsydde, or Gruel Reinforced, meaning that the gruel had been fortified with meat. That was the first of two recipes for gruel found in "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin". This is the second that I reinterpreted. The same caveats apply, I did not go through the process of straining the dish, and the dish as I have created it is much meatier then what would probably expect in period. 
Of the two recipes that I tried this one was the favorite. The commentary from the taste testers as this was cooking was "it smells like biscuits and gravy in here!" When it came time to testing we engaged in spoon war's to eat the last of it! I have also been made to promise to make this again. I will.

The basis of any gruel is meal. In this case, that meal is specified …

Five Simple and Delicious Medieval Vegetable Dishes

Positive responses continue to pour in on these kinds of posts. Today I thought I would bring to your attention five very different vegetable dishes that were enjoyed in the late Medieval period.   I hope you try them and let me know how you liked them.

Simply click the link to be taken to the page to find the recipe. Please leave me a message and let me know if you would like to see more posts like this.

Thank you!

.xxx. Soupes dorroy. (Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430)) Soup Dorroy - A delicious twist on "creamed" onion soup. The onions when cooked with the wine take on a very fruity flavor, and the almond milk adds creaminess in the background that tempers the sweet fruity taste of the onions. A budget friendly, easy to cook, tasty dish that would not be amiss at a luncheon, tavern, feast or camp meal.

.v. Whyte wortes. (Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Creamed Wortes - A true comfort dish from Harleian MS 279 (~1430) -- Tender cabbage and kale, or other "worts" (mustards, …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Clj. Creme Bastarde - Cream Bastarde

The Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin contains instructions for a custard made exclusively with egg whites.  This dish appears to have been very popular and instructions for it can also be found in the later tudor period.  As previously discussed, custards enjoy a long history. The Romans enjoyed many sweet and savory egg based dishes, but it wasn't until the middle ages that "custards", as we understand them, hit their prime.  Some of these dishes, like the hardened custards known as let lardes or milke rosty's have fallen out of favor.

I recently served this at our local Baronial 12th Night alongside stewed apples or pears (pictured above.)  I discovered that my own interpretation was nearly identical to that of Peter Breverton's found in his Tudor Cookbook. It is his interpretation I have included here which incl…