Saturday, December 1, 2018

Measurements and Conversions (Temperature and Recipe)

I am not sure about you, but when I need to know a conversion, I usually spend quite a bit of time researching on the network, or digging through my cooking books.  Now I know where to look :-) I hope you find this as helpful as I do. 

American Standard
American Standard
American Standard
American Standard (ounces)
1/2 pinch
1/32 teaspoon
2 Smidgens
1 Dash
1/16th of a tsp. 
1/8 teaspoon
.5 ml
8 Dashes
1 tsp.
5 ml.
¼ tsp
½ tsp.
¾ tsp.
1 teaspoon
5 ml.
1 Tablespoon
3 teaspoons
1/16 cup
½ ounce
15 ml.
14.5 grams
⅛ Cup
2 tablespoons
6 teaspoons
1  ounce
30 ml.
28.3 grams
¼ cup
4 tbsp.
12 tsp.
2 ounces
60 ml.
56.7 grams
⅓ cup
5 ⅓ tbsp.
16 tsp.
2.6 ounces
79 ml.
½ cup
8 tbsp.
24 tsp.
4 ounces
120 ml.
113.4 grams
¼ pound
1 stick of butter
⅔ cup
10 ⅔ tbsp.
32 tsp.
5 ⅓ ounces
158 ml
¾ cup
12 tbsp.
36 tsp.
6 ounces
180 ml.
170 grams
1 cup
16 tbps.
48 tsp.
8 ounces
½ pint
240 ml.
225 grams
½ pound
1 pint
32 tbsp.
2 cups
16 ounces
500 ml.
450 grams
1 pound
1 quart
2 pints
4 cups
32 ounces
95 liters
1 gallon
16 cups
4 quarts
8 pints
128 ounces
3.70 liters
8 quarts
1 peck
4 pecks
1 bushel

Liquid Measures

Liquid Measure
2 Tbsp.
1 fluid ounce

3 Tbsp.
1 jigger
1.5 ounces
1/4 cup
2 fluid ounces

1/2 cup
4 fluid ounces

1 cup
8 fluid ounces

Temperature conversion

To convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade

1.    Subtract 32
2.       Multiple by 5
3.       Divide by 9

To convert Centigrade to Fahrenheit

1.       Multiply by 9
2.       Divide by 5
3.       Add 32

To scale your recipes up or down: 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 creates the conversion is quite simple.  

To find your conversion factor (the number that you are going to use to scale up or scale down) simply divide the desired number of servings by the original number of servings.

Example One:

Recipe serves 6 but you want to serve 12.

Divide 12 by 6 to get a conversion factor of 2

12/6 = Conversion factor of 2
Example Two:

Recipe serves 12 but you want to serve 8.

Divide 12 by 8 to get conversion factor of .25

12/8 = conversion factor of  0.25

Once you know the conversion factor you can scale up or down by multiplying  each ingredient of a  recipe by the conversion factor.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Harleian MS. 4016, (~1450) Guisseƚƚ.

Harleian MS. 4016, (~1450) Guisseƚƚ.
Bread Dumplings
Guisseƚƚ.-- An interesting dish which makes very thrify use of bread that has been turned into bread crumbs, eggs and broth flavored with parsley and sage and colored with saffron. Sounds a lot like dressing, yes? My recipe creates many small, irregularly shaped "curds", or dumplings.  Bonus? The broth thickens as the bread cooks leaving you with a gravy that you can use elsewhere.  I do not recommend using it with your dumplings.  They become very sticky and unappetizing!  The instructions can be 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. Harleian MS. 4016, ab. 1450 A.D. 

The instructions are just vague enough that I wasn't very certain of what I would end up with once it had been interpreted and cooked.  I was half expecting a wet mucky (and unappetizing) unbaked dressing.  What I ended up with was something that closely resembled a dumpling. I wonder if it's the precursor to boiled puddings?

The process reminded me very much of making the "rivals" for potato soup with rivals.  The difference being that you "pinch off" pieces of the rival dough and put it into the boiling soup, whereas here we are instructed to "cast the stuff to the broth into the pan".  Rather than pinch off pieces of dough, I made the dough somewhat crumbly, and then dropped by handfuls into the boiling broth and cooked till they came to the surface. Then using a slotted spoon, I fished out the dumplings and went on to the next batch and the next...this made A LOT of dumplings.  As mentioned previously, I made a slight mistake when cooking the very last batch and didn't drain them as well as I wanted to :-/ There wasn't a lot of the thickened broth left but there was enough that the entire batch became bit sticky and gummy.  I thought I had ruined it--but guess what? Treating them like spaetzle, I cooked them up in some bacon fat (which makes everything better). 

Harleian MS. 4016, ab. 1450 A.D. Guisseƚƚ. [supplied by ed.] *. [Taken from Douce MS. ] [folio 15.] ¶ Take faire capon̄ brotℏ, or of beef, And sette hit ouer the fire, and caste þerto myced sauge, parcelly and saffron̄, And lete boile; And streyn̄ the white and þe yolke of egges thorgℏ a streynour, and caste there-to faire grated brede, and medle hit togidre with thi honde, And caste the stuff to the brotℏ into þe pan̄; And stirre it faire and softe til hit come togidre, and crudded; And þen̄ serue it forth hote.

Guissell. (Note: Taken from Douce MS.)
Take faire capon broth, or of beef, And sette hit ouer the fire, and caste therto myced sauge, parcelly and saffron, And lete boile; And streyn the white and the yolke of egges thorgh a streynour, and caste there-to faire grated brede, and medle hit togidre with thi honde, And caste the stuff to the broth into the pan; And stirre it faire and softe til hit come togidre, and crudded; And then serue it forth hote

Guissell. (Note: Taken from Douce MS.) Take faire capon broth or of beef, and set it over the fire and cast thereto minced sage, parsley and saffron, and let it boil; and strain the white and the yolk of eggs through a strainer, and cast thereto grated bread and meddle it all together with your hand, and caste the stuff to the broth into the pan; and stir it fare and soft till it come together, and curded; and then serve it forth hot.

Interpreted Recipe

2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs

4 cups water
1 tsp. sage
1 tbsp. parsley
Pinch of saffron

Put your breadcrumbs and salt (which was added for modern taste) into a bowl, create a well and add in your eggs one at a time until it starts to form lumps.  Mean wile, heat up the water, sage, parsley and saffron till it comes to a boil and then lower the heat so that the water is simmering.  Add the dough in small batches until the  irregularly shaped, curded dough floats like delicious pillowy dumplings. Using a slotted spoon remove from the broth and let drain while you are cooking your next batch.  

I imagine since these appear to be very similar to Spaetzle that you could, if you wish to prepare them in advance, put them on a sheet pan, freeze and then thaw and cook with a little bit of butter or bacon fat before serving, although that is cook's prerogative and has nothing to do with the original recipe.   

Now I totally cheated and used leftover herb stuffing mix, so my bread crumbs taste a bit like ummmm ~whispers~ stuffing mix that has been made into crumbs in the blender (Hey! They were *on sale* and turning stuffing into crumbs requires very little effort).  The dumplings were perfectly lovely until I didn't drain that last batch very well. What a happy mistake...fried up in bacon fat they are nothing short of magical.

In reality, these dumplings were very likely served *in* the broth, and not outside of it.  So bear that in mind, you may need a lot more broth then I created.  I am planning on serving these as a side dish with a roasted chicken, and therefore choose not to serve them in the broth at this time. 

Similar Recipes

Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

Jusshell. XX.II. III. Take brede ygrated and ayrenn and swyng it togydre. do erto safroun, sawge. and salt. & cast broth. þerto. boile it & messe it forth

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak jusselle tak the swet brothe of a capon or of other good flesshe and set it on the fyere in a large vesselle colour it with saffron put ther to saige cut gret and salt it then tak eggs and drawe them through a strener and temper grated bread and eggs and stirre it to gedure till they be ronn and let the erbes be well mellid to gedur and when yt begynnythe to boille tak out the pot stik and turn the curd about with a scorner and let not the fyere be to hasty when it is throughe knyt tak it from the fyere and couyr it and serue it

Thomas Awkbarow's Recipes (MS Harley 5401)

Jussell. Recipe brede gratyd & egges & swyng þam togydere, & do þerto sawge & saferon & salt; þan take gode broth & cast it þerto, & bole it enforesayd, & do þerto as to charlete, & serof.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lij. Gyngaudre.

Image result for medieval fishes
Illustration from The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32)

This is one of several recipes that I will interpret but will not prepare. Eating fish offal is just a little bit more adventurous then I prefer. While eating offal is part of the new movement of nose to tail dining, where no part of an animal is wasted, eating specific fish offal carries with it particular risks related to toxins in our water. Cod liver is enjoyed in many parts of the world and if you cannot find it at your local fish market, it can be ordered through Amazon. The liver is described as being creamy and fishy and mild in the bitter offal flavor.

If you are feeling adventurous you can prepare the recipe below, and if you are not feeling so adventurous, you can prepare this using an assortment of fish fillets and omit the livers. Fish heads contain a surprising amount of meat, including the cheek and jowl and collar considered to be the tastiest and most succulent bits of meat on a fish.  You can also eat the tongue, the area around the eye socket, lips and eyes.

There is a question about what a fish pouch is.  I attempted to research this but to no avail.  I then asked a Chef friend what he thought the fish pouch might be and he believes it might refer to the sack of roe.  Alternatively "pouch" could be a misspelling of "paunch" referring to the fish belly. I have interpreted it to mean the roe sack.  I will leave it to you to do your best guess.

.lij. Gyngaudre.Take þe Lyuerys of Codlyngys, Haddok, Elys, or þe Hake hed, or Freysshe Mylweƚƚ hedys, þe Pouches, & þe Lyuerys, an sethe hem in fayre Water; þan take hem vp on a fayre bord, & mynce smal þe pouches; þan take gode freysshe brothe of Samoun, or Turbut, or of Elys, & cast þe mynced pouches þer-to, & pouder Pepyr, & let boyle; þan take þe brothe, þe pouches & þe lyuerys wer sodoun in, in a stipe*. [? meaning. ] or on fayre brede, & draw þorw a straynoure, & þan mynce þe lyuer in fayre pecys; & [leaf 13 bk.] whan þe pouches haue boylid, an þe licoure, caste þe leuer þer-to, an let boyle a whyle: þan caste þer-to þe lyuerys, Wyne, Venegre, Safroun, Salt, & late it boyle a whyle, and serue forth þat rennyng.

lij - Gyngaudre. Take the Lyuerys of Codlyngys, Haddok, Elys, or the Hake hed, or Freysshe Mylwell hedys, the Pouches, and the Lyuerys, an sethe hem in fayre Water; than take hem vp on a fayre bord, and mynce smal the pouches; than take gode freysshe brothe of Samoun, or Turbut, or of Elys, and cast the mynced pouches ther-to, and pouder Pepyr, and let boyle; than take the brothe, the pouches and the lyuerys wer sodoun in, in a stipe (Note: ? meaning) or on fayre brede, and draw thorw a straynoure, and than mynce the lyuer in fayre pecys; and whan the pouches haue boylid, an the licoure, caste the leuer ther-to, an let boyle a whyle: than caste ther-to the lyuerys, Wyne, Venegre, Safroun, Salt, and late it boyle a whyle, and serue forth that rennyng.

52 - Gyngaudre - Take the livers of Codlyngys (a young or small cod, possibly preserved in some way), Haddock, Eels, or the Hake Head, or Fresh Milwell (a kind of cod) heads, the pouches, and the livers, and boil them in fair water; then take them up on a fair board and mince small the pouches; then take good fresh broth of salmon, or turbut, or eels and cast the minced pouches thereto, and powder pepper, and let boil; then take the broth, the pouches and the liver were cooked in, in a stipe, or on fair bread and draw through a strainer, and then mince the liver in fair pieces; and when the pouches have boiled, and the liquor, cast the liver there-to, and boil awhile: then caste there-to the livers, wine, vinegar, saffron, salt and let it boil a while, and serve forth that running.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                            Serves 1, 2 as a Side

1 fish head (Cod, Haddock, Hake preferred), livers and roe sacks or 1/4 pound fish fillets
3/4 cup fish stock
1/4 cup vinegar mix (1 tbsp each white wine, white wine vinegar and water)
Pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Boil your fish heads, livers until cooked, remove from broth and allow to cool.  Remove flesh from the head and mince the roe and the liver.  Strain stock and return to pot. Add saffron, salt and pepper and return your fish to the pot.  Bring to boil and serve.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Cooking with Kids

Below is a class I had written addressing "Cooking with Kids" . It is one a series of presentations I had hoped to do that would introduce the younger members of the SCA to the culinary arts. This is a very general introduction to cooking with children which includes information on safety tips, age based skills and strategies that you can use at home.

Why cook with your children? The earlier your child learns how to cook, the sooner they will learn an essential life skill. Spending time in the kitchen gives children confidence and boosts their self esteem. It also teaches responsibility. An added benefit is that your children are learning science, language, fine motor skills, reading, problem solving, weighing, measuring, budgeting, sequencing, following directions and patience--and they don't even realize it :-)

Meals prepared from scratch are usually healthier, containing more nutrients, fewer calories, chemicals and sweeteners then prepackaged foods. Preparing meals together means you are spending quality time with your children. The time you spend together chatting and communicating is important.

Introducing your child to cooking can start at a very young age. As soon as my children were old enough to stand at the stove, they were old enough to learn how to cook--yes, they were in the kitchen banging on pots and pans, playing with measuring cups and spoons at the age of two.  While it seems that children of this age are limited, there is plenty they can do.  They are beginning to develop their motor skills, and their attention is very limited so remember to tailor your tasks to their particular abilities.  

As your children grow older you should allow them to increase their activities.  By six years old, they are starting to develop their own likes, opinons and desires.  They want to participate in activities that they see their older siblings or parents do.  Instead of telling your child "you are too young" encourage them in the kitchen!  It is an environment where you can safely supervise their activities while allowing them to explore. At this age you can also start introducing "projects", for example, making your own butter by adding cream and a little salt to a jar and letting them shake it.  They can also help you plan meals or find items in the pantry or fridge.  Don't tell them "they are too young"--they aren't. 

As early as nine years old, your child should be able to put together and cook a very simple meal. This is a perfect time to start speaking to your children about food safety and cross contamination.  You should be present in the kitchen, but allow your child to cook a meal once or twice a week.  Don't forget, that part of cooking is cleaning up afterwords.  Set aside a space for your child to grow their own garden vegetables too! 

It was in the kitchen that some of my most significant conversations took place.  It was our safe area, no topic is off limits and my children and their friends were able to discuss relationships, health concerns, hopes and dreams.  All three of my babies are out of the house now, but the kitchen is still a central part of our home.  

I hope you enjoy.

P.S.  This is my first attempt at bringing a power point presentation to blogger.

Friday, June 1, 2018

What? Wortys? Oh..those Brassica's!

Another remodel--the sun room which is attached directly to the kitchen making using the kitchen a challenge! So I thought I would try to cobble together a few more quick posts. Today's discusses the first five recipes 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, discussing wortys.  What are worts? Some of them might surprise you. 

.j. Lange Wortys de chare. -  a budget friendly and delicious dish of greens cooked in homemade beef broth thicked with bread crumbs and gently seasoned to your taste.  A noble dish for any table.

.ij. Lange Wortes de pesoun. - The second recipe in the pottages section elevates a simple dish of greens, lange wortys de chare, by adding peas that have been cooked to a mush and onions.  The pea's add a pleasant sweetness to an otherwise savory dish.  A must try.

iij - Joutes. - take a dish of greens, wild foraged or store bought, cook them in beef broth and "serve it forth in a dish, an bacon boiled in another dish, as men serve furmenty with venison."  Sound familiar? 

.iiij. Caboges. - another dish that should sound vaguely familiar and one of two recipes in the pottages section of the MS 279 specifically mentioning cabbage.  This has become my go-to for cooking "beef and cabbage", elevate this dish by following directions and "when you serve it in, knock out the marrow of the bones, and lay the marrow, two pieces, or three, in a dish as it seem best, and serve forth."

.v. Whyte wortes. - I grew up eating creamed spinach and was pleasantly surprised to find this recipe for creamed greens, appropriate for lent.  Almond milk is used instead of cow's milk to create this very simple dish which has become a family favorite.