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Showing posts from September, 2015

Comfits - Candied Anice, Fennel and Caraway Seeds

Please note, that this post has been edited to correct a mistake.  I had originally stated that Gum Arabic and Gum Tragacanth were the same things.  This is untrue as they are two different substances.  Mea culpa! My apologies to anyone who was misled by my mistake. Thank you to the individual who advised me on this.  Comfits were often served at the end of the feast to freshen the breath, act as a digestive, as decoration and sometimes used in the treatment of specific illness. Aromatic seeds such as anise (pictured in foreground), fennel or caraway were coated with sugar and colored using beet, spinach or saffron. They can also be made using almonds or ginger. Comfits can still be purchased today, for example Jordan almonds or pastilles. They are a bit time consuming to make but ohhhh sooo much tastier then the ones you purchase!

The easier comfits to make are the ones with seeds such as caraway, fennel or anise. Making cinnamon comfits is a bit of a process. To start I will walk yo…

Sekanjabin - Persian Mint Drink

Sekanjabin is another popular drink that can be found at events. It is simple and easy to make. This is another recipe from "An Anonymous Andalusian cookbook of the 13th Century" as translated by David Friedman.

Syrup of Simple Sikanjabîn (Oxymel)
Take a ratl of strong vinegar and mix it with two ratls of sugar, and cook all this until it takes the form of a syrup. Drink an ûqiya of this with three of hot water when fasting: it is beneficial for fevers of jaundice, and calms jaundice and cuts the thirst, since sikanjabîn syrup is beneficial in phlegmatic fevers: make it with six ûqiyas of sour vinegar for a ratl of honey and it is admirable.

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... and a ratl of sugar; cook all this until it takes the consistency of syrup. Its benefit is to relax the bowels and cut the thirst and vomiting, and it is beneficial in bilious fevers (Friedman, 2000).

Sekanjabin Recipe (Courtesy of David Friedman)
Dissolve 4 cups sugar in 2 1/2 cup…

Spiced Pomegranite Drink - Spiced Pomegranate Syrup

Ale, beer, mead and wine were very popular beverages in the middle ages, but most sites are dry or semi dry, or for personal reasons, folks will choose not to drink alcoholic beverages. There are several different drinks that I turn to that are documentable to within period in the SCA. These have gone over very well at banquets I have served in the past.

I will start with one of the more popular beverages, spiced pomegranate drink. This drink is easy to make and very refreshing. This is very similar to Grenadine syrup, but please don't buy the commercial product when this drink is so easy to make.

Syrup of Pomegranates 
Take a ratl of sour pomegranates and another of sweet pomegranates, and add their juice to two ratles of sugar, cook all this until it takes the consistency of syrup, and keep until needed. Its benefits: it is useful for fevers, and cuts the thirst, it benefits bilious fevers and lightens the body gently (Friedman, 2000).

Recipe

1 quart pomegranate juice
4 cup…

To Make Callishones - Marzipan flavored with Coriander

I am working on putting together an Elizabethan Banqueting Course this week. I have candied fruits, roots and flowers, made comfits of anise seed, fennel, caraway and cinnamon and fruit paste of peaches, quince and berries. Today I started working on other items that you might have found laid out for the banqueting course.

What is the banqueting course? It is the culmination of a feast, and it usually consisted of an assortment of sweetmeats and other delicacies served with a spiced wine known as hypocras. Sugar and spices were very expensive to purchase. Sugar was thought to be medicinal. To close a meal with a banqueting course served a three-fold purpose. First, it was an indication of the host's wealth, secondly, it also was a display of status and lastly, it showed off the artistic skills of the lady of the house.
Now you know, I'm not artistic. I'm very good with molds and cutters!

To Make Callishones

Take halfe a pound of Marchpane paste, a thimble-full of coriander…