Thursday, November 19, 2015

SCA Feast - Push for Pennsic July 9-11,2004 Early Roman Style Feast

Another blast from the past! This was a three course feast done in the Roman Style which would allowed me to offer a selection of several dishes that ran the gamut between savory and sweet in each of the three courses. Most of the items were made ahead of time. Those that required heating were heated on a grill the day of the event. The remaining items were served room temperature. The site of this event is rather primitive, offering no kitchen, and water obtained via a hose. This would have made my third or possibly fourth event that I hosted a feast for over 100 diners where no kitchen was available.

Unfortunately--I assumed that I would remember ...years later mind you...where I found many of these recipes. It would be very safe to assume that they came from one of more the following sources, all of which are available new or used from and which I have in my library.

  • Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome by Apicius
  • The Roman Cookery Book by Apicius and Barbara Flower
  • Cooking Apicius by Marcus Gavius Apicius and Sally Grainger
  • The Roman Cookery Book: A Critical Translation of the Art of Cooking by Apicius and Elisabeth Rosenbaum
  • Cookery And Dining In Imperial Rome: A Bibliography, Critical Review and Translation of Apicius De Re Coquinaria by Apicius and Joseph Dommers Vehling
  • Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant
  • A Taste of Ancient Rome by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa and Anna Herklotz

Feast Menu


Cucumeres (Braised Cucumber)
Lucanicae (grilled Sausages)
Epityrum (olives)
Moretum (herbed Cheese spread)

Mensa Prima

Petaso paro Mustacei (Smoked Pork (ham) with sweet Wine cakes)
Erebinthoi Knakosymmigeis (chickpeas with Saffron)
Krambe (Roman Cabbage)

Mensa Secunda

Itria (Sesame Seed Biscuit)
Basyniai (Fig and Walnut Cakes)
Assorted Fresh and dried fruit
Assorted Sugared Nuts


Apple Juice
Grape Juice

Interpreted Recipes

Cucumeres - Braised Cucumbers

1 large cucumber
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. clear honey
Salt to taste
Peel and cut the cucumber into thick slices. Pour the vinegar, olive oil and honey into a heavy pan and cook the slices of cucumber gently in the sauce until tender, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the cucumber slices and ensure even cooking. 

Note: Served at room temperature

Lucanicae--Grilled Sausage

1 pound of ground meat *I like to use a mixture of beef and pork
4 tbs. bulger
1 tsp. grd. pepper
2 ½ tsp. liquamen
2 tbs. pine nut, roughly chopped
Salt to taste

Boil bulgur in water to cover until tender, drain and let cool. When cooled mix with the remaining ingredients together. Shape into sausage patties and grill.

Note: This recipe is significantly different from the recipe prepared for Ceilidh XV's Early Roman Feast. Using the same ingredients but prepared much more simply. I assume that I did it this way because of the availability of a grill.


Mustard according to Columella, De re Rustica, XII, 57

Carefully clean mustard seed and sift, then wash in cold water and when well washed leave for two hours in the water. Then remove, press it with your hands and put in a new or a thoroughly cleaned mortar, add pine-kernals which should be as fresh as possible and almonds, pound carefully and pour vinegar on.

*According to Pallidus, VIII, 9: grind to a fine powder 1 1/2 pints mustard seed, add 5 pounds honey, 1 pound spanish oil, 1 pint strong vinegar, mix carefully and use.

The mustard was a mixture of prepared stoneground and honey mustards with the addition of ground pine nuts. Delicious!


4 oz. each black and green olives (preferably brined)
4 tbs. red wine vinegar
4 tbs. olive oil
1 heaped tsp. chopped fennel leaf or finely diced fennel root
2 tsp each chopped coriander, rue**, mint

Pit and rough chop olives, pour on vinegar and olive oil, prepare herbs and add to mixture. Place olive relish in a sealable container and pour a little olive oil over the top.

Note: Rue is an abortifacient. It is one of the herbs that can lead to miscarriages and should not be used if you are cooking for a crowd without some hefty warnings. Better yet--just DON'T use it.

Moretum -- Herbed Cheese Spread

1/2 head (approximately 10 cloves) garlic
3 1/2oz. pecorino romano cheese
1 small bunch coriander leaves
1 ½ stalks. chopped celery and leaf
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. white wine vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil

Peel and roughly chop garlic, grate cheese, roughly chop the herbs. Mix well in food processor or by hand until the mixture is smooth in texture. Serve with crusty bread.

Piadina--Flatbread (Modern Recipe)-Adapted from Italian Cuisine Basic Cooking Techniques by Tony May

Piadina are thin, flat disks, chewier and firmer than bread. Originally, piadina was cooked on an earthenware plate called a testo, which was placed over hot coals. Today, piadine (pl.) are made on the range top using a modern day testo of ghisa (cast iron) or a heavy well-seasoned black cast-iron pan.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. lard **must be lard**
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups water

Pour the flour on the work surface forming a fountain. Add the lard (or extra-virgin olive oil) and knead the dough using just enough lukewarm salted water to obtain a rather firm dough. Knead vigorously for approximately ten minutes. Allow the dough to rest for 15-20 minutes. Divide the dough in 6 equal pieces. Roll or stretch each piece of dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Riddle each disk with the tines of a fork.

Heat a heavy well-seasoned black cast-iron pan on the range top. Before cooking, test the pan by letting a few drops of cold water fall on it. The pan is ready when the water skips and sputters across its surface. If the water just sits and boils, the pan is not hot enough to use. When the pan is hot, place a disk of dough on its surface. Let the disk heat well on one side and then turn it over. When little charred bubbles form on each side of the disk, the dough is ready. Cook each disk of dough in this manner, stacking the cooked piadine in a towel so that they stay warm.

Petaso paro Mustacei--Smoked Pork (ham) with Sweet Wine Cakes

2 pound smoked ham
2 ½ cups pearl barley
10 dried figs
1 celery stalk
10 peppercorns
1 cup honey

Soak meat overnight in water. Discard water and place meat in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water and add the barley, figs, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and ½ cup honey. Bring to the boil, skim and simmer for 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the meat from the saucepan and retain the liquor, cool the meat slightly before coating with honey.


1 ¼ cup red wine
1 ¼ cup raisin wine
½ tsp. grd. black pepper

Prepare the sauce. By bringing to boil and reducing slightly.

Sweet wine cakes

2 cups flour
2 tbs. lard
2 oz. cheese grated
1 tsp. grd. Cumin
1tsp. aniseed
3-4 tbs. red wine
bay leaves
½ tsp. dried yeast

To make sweet wine cakes, sift flour and rub in lard. Add cheese cumin and anise seed. Dissolve the yeast in the wine and add bay leaf. Remove bay leave when the yeast has dissolved and add wine to flour. Form a soft dough and knead well, divide into 8 portions and mold into a bun shape. Place on a greased baking tray. Cover and let rise for 1 ½ hours. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden.

Erebinthoi Knakosymmigeis--Chickpeas with Saffron

6 ounces dried chickpeas
a generous pinch of saffron

Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain and put them in heavy pan with 2 pints water and salt. Bring to the boil, add saffron, stir and simmer, covered, gently at least an hour. Serve warm.

Krambe--Roman Cabbage

1 medium cabbage
3 ounces olive oil
1 tbs. liquamen
1 tbs. white wine
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 onion sliced fine
coriander,salt and pepper to taste

Boil cabbage in water 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain, then rinse in cold water until cool, drain again and chop well. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage. Mix well and serve.

Itria--Sesame Seed Biscuit
1 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup chopped mixed nuts
3/4 cup clear honey

Roast sesame seeds and nuts in the oven at 350 degrees until they take on a little color. Put the honey in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then skim and continue to simmer gently for 7 minutes. Add the nuts and sesame seeds to the honey while warm and mix well. Grease a shallow baking tray or dish and spread the mixture out on it. Allow to cool until you can handle the mixture then mold into balls. Wrap in little pieces of paper and serve with fruit at the end of the meal.

Basyniai--Fig and Walnut Cakes

For the Pastry:

7 ounces unbleached flour
2 ounces olive oil
3 ounces water

Combine flour, olive oil and water in a large mixing bowl. Knead until you have smooth dough, adding more water or flour as needed. Gather up the dough and place in a plastic bag for an hour.

For the filling:

3 ounces walnuts
1 ounce dried figs

Olive oil for Frying
3 ounces warmed honey

Finely grind walnuts and figs together until they form a thick paste

Roll the pastry out as thin as possible (I cheated and used won ton wrappers). Cut with a cutter into 2 1/2 “rounds. Place a teaspoon of the filling onto the dough, wet the edges and seal with another round of dough, pinch the edges closed. Fry in oil until pastries are crisped on both sides. Drain the grease. Drizzle with warmed honey and serve warm.

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood 

A Hobbit's Feast

Retrieved from: If more of us valued food and cheer
In memory of good times and better company, I am posting a fantasy styled banquet which I cooked in honor of the opening night of "The Hobbit".

"Hobbits love their food and enjoy simple, home country food and drink like home-brewed beer and wine, soups, stews, roasted meats, lots of fruits like apples and blackberries which they grow and pick." Bilbo Baggins

In 'The Hobbit' where the dwarves come to tea unexpectedly, Bilbo serves them seed cakes, beer, ale, porter, coffee, cakes, buttered scones, tea, red wine, raspberry jam, apple tart, mince pies, cheese, pork pies, salad, cold chicken, pickles, hard-boiled eggs and biscuits!

Thankfully for Bilbo, the Dwarves did the washing up!

A Shire Pie

"P'raps there are more like him round about, and we might make a pie," said Bert. ~ a Troll

2 deep dish pie crusts **
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery diced
1 carrot diced
1 pound sausage **(I used a half pound of ground venison and a half pound sage sausage)
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups broth (I used beef)**
2 tbsp. butter**
Several sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is very loosely based on "Rosie's Shire Pie". I have noted where I made substitutes.  Saute carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms and celery in butter or oil until golden brown and tender. Add sausage and cook till no longer pink.  Prebake pie dish for approximately ten minutes.  Add meat and vegetables.  Close the pie with the second crust, and make a slit in the top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until crust is brown.

Meanwhile, pan gravy can be made by making slurry with the flour and the broth and using it to deglaze the pan the vegetables and meat were cooked in.  Serve on the side.

Roasted Roots

Merry: I don't know why he's so worked up. It's only a bundle of carrots.
Pip: And cabbages. And the sack of potatoes we lifted last week. And then the mushrooms the week before! And--
Merry: Yes, pip!!! The point is he's completely overreacting.

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 sweet potato
2 Yukon gold potatoes
1 bunch of beets, scrubbed tops trimmed
2 large parsnips
1 onion
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and separated
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the vegetables into 1" cubes, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in a 425 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables become tender and golden brown.

Note:  You can cook the vegetables with the Shire Pie, but it will take longer for them to become tender.

Braised Cabbage with Bacon 

Pippin: "Can I have some bacon"

1 head red cabbage
1 onion, chopped
1 tart apple (granny smith), peeled, seeded and chopped
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Handful of golden raisins

In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon in your pan and remove it.  Saute onion and apple in the drippings until tender.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until tender.  In the last five minutes of cooking, add the bacon back into the pot.

Apple and Blackberry Tartlets

"I hope I never smell the smell of apples again!" said Fili. "My tub was full of it. To smell apples everlastingly when you can scarcely move and are cold and sick with hunger us maddening. I could eat anything in the wide world now, for hours on end - but not an apple!" ~ Fili

Pie or tart crust
1 pound of mixed apples (granny smith, golden delicious and gala is what I used)
8 ounces blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. blackberry jam
1 tbsp. cornstarch

To make the filling peel, core and slice the apples, toss with the blackberries.  Mix the cornstarch and sugar together and then toss into the fruit. Spread jam on the bottom of the pie or tart crusts. Fill with the fruit.

Bake at 400 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden and fruit is bubbling.  Cool at least ten minutes before serving.

We served with homemade whipped cream...mmmmsss.

 Elven Lembas 

“The lembas had a virtue without which they would long ago have lain down to die. It did not satisfy desire, and at times Sam’s mind was filled with the memories of food, and the longing for simple bread and meats. And yet, this way bread of the elves had potency that increased as travelers relied upon it alone and did not mingle it with other foods. It fed the will, and it gave strength to endure, and to master sinew and limb beyond the measure of mor
tal kind.

6 tbsp. butter
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp. heavy cream
Optional: handful of raisins

Blend butter and flower in bowl until it resembles sand.  Add sugar and raisins.  In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together until mixed.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix until it forms a stiff dough.  Knead the dough on a floured surface and roll out to approximately 3/4" thickness.

Note: At this point the kids were given cookie cutters and told to enjoy themselves! There was not a clean cookie cutter in sight, but the kids were very pleased with themselves and their efforts.

Place the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about an inch between them.  Brush the tops of the cookies with milk or a mixture of milk and egg, sprinkle with sugar if desired and bake in a 400 degree oven approximately 12 minutes.  You want them to be light in color when you remove them from the oven.

  I hope you enjoy!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." ~ Thorin

Many of the recipes for this feast can be found here: Middle-earth Recipes compiled by MithrandirCQ and Primula with additions .

Monday, November 16, 2015

Harleian MS. 279 Published approximately 1430 to 1440

This manuscript is divided into three separate parts, containing a total of 258 recipes along with "Bills of Fare", or menu's from several individual banquets. The first part of the manuscript is labeled "Kalendare de Potages dyvers" and it contains the largest collection of recipes numbering 153.  The second part is labeled "Kalendare de Leche Metys" which contains 64 recipes.  The final part is "Dyverse bake metis" which contains 41 recipes.

An example of one of the "Bill's of Fare" is below.  The information can be found at the following link: Full text of "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55"

In Festo Sancte Trinitatis in cena.            

Le .j. cours.                                                                  

Chykonys y-boylid.                                        
Pygge en Sage.                                              
Spaulde de Motoun.                                      
Capoun Rostyd.

Le .ij. cours.

Venysoun en bro]je.
Kyde Rostyd.
Venysoun Rostyd.
Pety perneux.

Le iij. cours.


The menu above has been interpreted by Rudd Rayfield  and is featured as part of the Gode Cookery website hosted by James L. Matterer.  If you are interested in attemtpting a recreation, the link is here: In Festo Sancte Trinitatis In Cena.

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Harleian MS. 279 xij. Fride Creme of Almaundys- Cream cheese made from Almond Milk

Fride Creme of Almaundys - Cold Cream of Almonds

Almond milk cream cheese? Yes, yes, yes! This dish is definitely being added to my repertoire of things to make at feast.  Despite the fact the instructions sound forbiddingly difficult, this dish is very easy to make.  It starts with my quick and dirty almond milk recipe and ends with a sweet, creamy Lenten substitute for cheese or butter.

.xij. Fride Creme of Almaundys. — Take almaundys, an sta?«pe hem, an draw it vp wyth a fyne thykke mylke, y-temperyd wyth clene water; throw hem on, an sette hem in fe fyre, an let boyle onys : fan tak hem a-down,an caste salt )7er-on, an let hem reste a forlongwey ^ or to, an caste a lytyl sugre Jier-to ; an J^an caste it on a fayre lynen clothe, fayre y-wasche an drye, an caste it al a-brode on fe clothe with a fayre ladel : an let J^e clothe ben holdyn a-brode, an late all j^e water vnder-nethe fe clothe be had a-way, an panne gadere alle fe kreme in fe clothe, an let hongy on an pyn, and let fe water droppe owt to' or .iij. owrys ; )7an take it of J^e pyn, an put it on a bolle of tre, and caste whyte sugre y-now ]7er-to, an a lytil salt ; and ^if it Tvexe J^ikke, take swete wyn an put ]jer-to 'pat it be nojt sene : and whan it is I-dressid in the maner of mortrewys, take red anys in comfyte, or ]'e leuys of borage, an sette hem on J^e dysshe, an serue forth.

Recipe can be found here: Full text of "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55"

For more information on this and similar recipes, please vist Dan Myers "Medieval Cookery" by clicking the link below.

xij - Fride Creme of Almaundys. Take almaundys, an stampe hem, an draw it vp wyth a fyne thykke mylke, y-temperyd wyth clene water; throw hem on, an sette hem in the fyre, an let boyle onys: than tak hem a-down, an caste salt ther-on, an let hem reste a forlongwey (Note: Other MS. forlange.) or to, an caste a lytyl sugrether-to; an than caste it on a fayre lynen clothe, fayre y-wasche an drye, an caste it al a-brode on the clothe with a fayre ladel: an let the clothe ben holdyn a-brode, an late all the water vnder-nethe the clothe be had a-way, an thanne gadere alle the kreme in the clothe, an let hongy on an pyn, and let the water droppe owt to (Note: two.) or .iij. owrys; than take it of the pyn, an put it on a bolle of tre, and caste whyte sugre y-now ther-to, an a lytil salt; and 3if it wexe thikke, take swetewyn an put ther-to that it be no3t sene: and whan it is I-dressid in the maner of mortrewys, take red anys in comfyte, or the leuys of borage, an sette hem on the dysshe, an serue forth.

12. Cold Cream of Almonds. Take almonds, and stamp them, and draw it up with a fine thick milk, tempered with clean water, throw them on, and set them on the fire, and let boil once: then take them down, and cast salt thereon, an let them rest a furlongway or two, and cast a little sugar thereto; and then caste it on a fair linen cloth, fair washed and dried, and cast it all above on the cloth with a fair ladle: an let the cloth be held above and let all the water underneath the cloth be had away, an than gather all the cream in the cloth, and let hang on a pin, and let the water drop out two or three hours; then take off the pin and put it in a bowl of wood, and caste white sugar thereto that it is not seen: and when it is dressed in the manner of mortrewys, take read anise in comfit, or the petals of borage, and set them on the dish, and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe  Makes approximately quarter of a pound of "cheese"

2 cups thick almond milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar*
Sugar to taste
**Pouder Douce

Once you have made the almond milk, you will need to strain the mixture through a sieve to remove as much of the almond bits as you can.  Put the strained almond milk and salt into a pot and heat to boiling being careful not to overheat or to burn it.
Almond milk beginning to curdle.

Note: Saffron can be added to the almond milk to make it yellow like butter at this stage.  I did that and I was impressed with the results.

Heat for five minutes and then add a dash of wine or vinegar to your almond milk. It will immediately thicken and start to curdle. You can also add a dash of wine to the mixture instead of vinegar. Continue to cook for another five minutes or so stirring so that the milk doesn't burn.

Remove from heat and strain through a cheesecloth for several hours or overnight.  When the dripping has stopped, remove the almond mixture from the cloth and place it in a bowl.  Unlike making cheese from dairy, the liquid that is produced from the almonds can be discarded.  The whey from cheese making is full of whey protein and can be used in smoothies or baking.

Add sugar to taste in the bowl.  If the mixture is a bit too dry or crumbly wine can be added as well.  I used approximately 2 tablespoons of sugar and then I added 2 teaspoons of the pouder douce to this.  I did not need to add wine because the addition of the sugar made the almond "cheese" very smooth, similar to cream cheese. At this point I imagine you would be able to caste it into molds, or serve it in bowls garnished with comfits, or flowers if you see fit.

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279

Harleian MS. 279 - Pottage Dyvers Cxxxj. A Potage Cold - Spiced Almond Milk Soup

A Potage Cold
I have to be honest and admit that this is not among one of my favorite dishes. It was an interesting experiment in medieval flavors--not one to be repeated. Ever.

.Cxxxj. A potage colde. — Take Wyne, & drawe a gode j^ikke Milke of Almaundys with Wyne, jif ]>ou mayste ; fen putte yt on a potte, caste J^er-to Pouder Canelle & Gyngere & SafFrou?? ; >en lat it boyle, & do it on a cloj^e ; & jif ]>on wolt, late hym ben in dyuers colourys, }jat on whyte with-owte Spyces, & |iat ojier jelow with Spicerye.

Recipe taken from: Full text of "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55"

131. A pottage cold. Take wine and draw a good thick milk of almonds with wine, if they may; then put it in a pot, caste thereto powdered cinnamon and ginger and saffron; the let it boil, and put it in a cloth; and if thou will, let him be in diverse colors, that one white without spices, and that other yellow with spicery.

Dan Myers offers this interpretation at his excellent website Medieval Cookery.  If you have an interest in learning more about historic cooking, please visit.

Cxxxj - A potage colde. Take Wyne, and drawe a gode thikke Milke of Almaundys with Wyne, 3if thou mayste; then putte yt on a potte, caste ther-to PouderCanelle and Gyngere and Saffroun; then lat it boyle, and do it on a clothe; and 3if thou wolt, late hym ben in dyuers colourys, that on whyte with-owte Spyces, and that other 3elow with Spicerye.

Interpreted Recipe                                              Serves 2 as main, 3-4 as side

1 cup almond milk made with 1 cup almond meal and 1 cup white wine (the recipe says "that one white without spices" in reference to diverse colors)
1 tbsp. Powder Douce

Wine made with almond milk curdles and separates if allowed to sit for any length of time. But I followed directions. I boiled the almond milk and wine mixture.  I strained it through cheesecloth and then separated the almond milk so that 3/4 cup was white, and then added the spices to the other 1/4 cup and spooned it in. It looked pretty. However....

Neither of the individuals who taste tested this or I cared for it.  We first tried it warm (pictured above).  I then let it sit to room temperature and tried it again. Despite the wine and the spices it was a very bland dish.  This is not one I will attempt to do at a feast.

**I claim all spelling and grammar errors**

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Harleian MS. 279 (~1430) Pottage Dyvers - Soupes Jamberlayne - Sops of Bread in Mulled Wine

Soupes Jamberlayne
What do you get when you add toasted pieces of sugar coated bread to wine? Soupes Jamberlayne, also known as Sops Chamberlain. This is another very easy, quick to throw together recipe that could easily be incorporated into a feast using items the cook may already have on hand.

The recipe below can be found here: 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

.xxviij. Soupes Jamberlayne.*. [Chamberlain.]—Take Wyne, Canel, an powder of Gyngere, an Sugre, an of eche a porcyoun, þan take a straynoure & hange it on a pynne, an caste ale þer-to, an let renne twyis or þryis throgh, tyl it renne clere; an þen take Paynemaynne an kyt it in maner of brewes, an toste it, an wete it in þe same lycowre, an ley it on a dysshe, an caste blawnche powder y-now þer-on; an þan caste þe same lycour vp-on þe same soppys, an serue hem forth in maner of a potage.

Dan Myers of Medieval Cookery offers this interpretation at his web site "Medieval Cookery". I highly recommend this resource for anyone with an interest in cooking, specifically historic cooking. Please visit.

xxviij - Soupes Jamberlayne. (Note: Chamberlain.)--Take Wyne, Canel, an powder of Gyngere, an Sugre, an of eche a porcyoun, than take a straynoure and hange it on a pynne, an caste ale ther-to, an let renne twyis or thryis throgh, tyl it renne clere; an then take Paynemaynne an kyt it in maner of brewes, an toste it, an wete it in the same lycowre, an ley it on a dysshe, an caste blawnche powder y-now ther-on; an than caste the same lycour vp-on the same soppys, an serue hem forth in maner of a potage.

28. Sops Chamberlain. Take wine, cinnamon, and powdered of ginger, an sugar, and of each a portion, than take a strainer and hang it on a pin, and cast all thereto, and let run twice or thrice through, till it run clear; and then take pandemain (bread) and cut it in manner of broth, and toast it, an wet it in the same liquor, and lay it on a dish, and cast white powder enough thereon; and then cast the same liquor upon the same sops, an serve them forth in manner of a potage.

Interpreted Recipe                                                             Serves 2 as Main, 3-4 as Side

1 cup wine (I used Hunter Red from the Winery at Versailles
2 tsp. each cinnamon, ginger and sugar
Toasted bread cut into finger length strips (I used Rastons)
Powder Douce to taste

Heat wine, cinnamon, ginger and sugar till it comes to a boil.  Let boil for five minutes.  In the meantime, cut your bread into slices and toast.  When the bread has toasted cut it into finger length strips, these will be the sops for your soup.  Dip the bread into the heated wine, and place them in a bowl.

Note: If the bread gets too wet, it will be difficult to remove from the broth. Trust me on this.

Strain the heated wine and spice mixture two or three times through cheesecloth to clarify it.  I skipped this step and had no ill effect. Pour the broth over the bread and sprinkle with white powder.  Serve.

I found that this to be a very pleasant dish to eat.  The wine was very fruity, and the spices brought out those flavors.  The bread soaked up the wine, and it provided texture.  I would definitely serve this at a future banquet. One thing that I might do differently would be to put the wine in the bowl at the last minute and then top with the bread and then add the spices.  I think it would present prettier.  No matter how you present it, it's delicious!
To Serve 8 as a Side Dish (Recipe multiplied by 2 and rounded to nearest cooking fraction)

2 cup wine
1 tbsp. each cinnamon, ginger and sugar (or to taste)
Toasted bread cut into finger length strips
Powder Douce to taste

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279

Quick Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

2 cups almond flour to 2 cups water
Almond milk is a very basic and essential ingredient in medieval cookery.  I wrote about its importance in this article: Almond Milk. Rather than reiterate what I already said, I wanted to post about a nifty, quick method of making almond milk which used up a surplus of almond flour that I had left over after making the callishones  for the Battle of Five Armies dessert course.  My current project is documenting various sops and pottages found in Harleian MS 279.  A majority of them require almond milk.  I could purchase unflavored almond milk, it has the basic ingredients needed, but quite a few recipes specified "thick" almond milk.  In other words, what I needed would have to be thicker than the commercially prepared stuff.  So I started researching on the internet for quick almond milk recipes and I found a remarkably simple recipe to make nut milk using nut flour and water here.

The recipes that I am currently working on require the almond milk to be thick. In order to create a thicker almond milk I used twice the amount of almond flour to water then the recipe called for.  I was amazed! This is a very quick, simple and delicious alternative preperation for making almond milk. I get to control what goes into it, and there are no additives that may or may not interfere with the items I will be making. I recommend you give it a try.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Harleian MS 279 (~1430) - Bruet of Almaynne in lente - Rice Porridge with Dates

Bruet of Almaynne in Lent 
Talk about comfort food! Bruet of Almaynne in Lente definitely needs to be served more often; creamy, sweet and delicious.  It can be put together in just a few minutes, however, I caution that it does thicken as it cools so instead of the "running" dish that the recipe called for, by the time I went to eat this; it had thickened to the consistency of a loose pudding. This recipe has been added to my "must be served at a feast" in the future list.

The term 'bruet" refers to a broth that has been thickened in some way; in this case, rice flour was added to the dish to thicken the broth slightly.

During times of Lent the eating of meat products was prohibited this included fowl, eggs, milk, cheese and butter. Fish was allowed.  Individuals could seek a special dispensation from observing the strict diet during lent, if they were elderly, pregnant, young or sick.

Individuals would partake of one meal a day, usually served after Vespers (midafternoon). The cook was expected to continue to create elaborate meals despite the prohibition on meat and dairy products.  This recipe is an example of the ingenuity of the time.

.lxviij. Bruet of Almaynne in lente.—Take fyne þikke Mylke of Almaundys; take datys, an mynce hem smal þer-on; take Sugre y-nowe, & straw þer-on, & a lytil flowre of Rys; sylt, & serue forth whyte, & loke þat it be rennyng.

Dan Myers offers this interpretation for the recipe above at his site Medieval Cookery.  If you have not visited his site. I urge you to do so!

lxviij - Bruet of Almaynne in lente. Take fyne thikke Mylke of Almaundys; take datys, an mynce hem smal ther-on; take Sugre y-nowe, and straw ther-on, and a lytilflowre of Rys; sylt, (Note: ? sprinkle.) and serue forth whyte, and loke that it be rennyng.
68. Broth of Almond in lente. --Take fine thick milk of almonds; take dates, and mynce them small thereon; take sugar enough, and strew there on, and a little flour of ryce; sprinkle and serve forth white, and look that it be running.

Interpreted Recipe:              Serves 2 as main, 3-4 as side

1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp. rice flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2-3 chopped dates

You can make your own rice flour by placing a minimum of 1/4 cup of rice into your blender and blending.  I prefer to make my own then to purchase flour that has already been made.  Be aware that homemade rice flour still retains quite a bit of texture and this does have an effect on any item that you use it with.  Rice flour can be substituted on a 1:1 ratio with wheat flour.

I added the almond milk, rice flour, sugar and 1 chipped date to a saucepan and heated it to boiling. I cooked the mixture for approximately 20 minutes in order to cook the rice completely.  If I were to serve this at the feast, it would be at this point that I would strain the mixture so that I could offer a smooth and silky soup.

I added a chopped date to decorate the dish, and liberally sprinkled additional sugar on top.

To Serve 8 as a Side Dish  (Original recipe multiplied by 2 and rounded to nearest cooking fraction)

2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
2-3 chopped dates
#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279 #lent

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -- Rastons - A Fifteenth Century Bread-like substance that is a pastry

A loaf that has been baked and sliced into "sops"
This month I have decided to focus on various sops and pottages from Harleian MS 279.  Sops are thick slices of bread which have been soaked in liquid, usually a broth and then eaten.  They were quite common during the period, yet we seldom see them featured at the banquets that are recreated in the SCA.  An example of a modern day sop, would be the bread you find on top of french onion soup! Pottage is another word that can be used for a soup or a stew.  For my next several posts you will see that this kind of cooking is a very simple kind of cooking, using ingredients that many cooks have on hand.  I believe it would be an easy way to "add" an extra dish at the beginning of a course without breaking the budget.

Given my focus on simple soups or stews, I wanted to create bread that would have been used in the same period.  I am using a recipe for "Rastons".  This recipe creates a small round loaf of bread that has been fortified with eggs.  Traditionally, the top is cut from the crown of the bread, the bread removed from the inside of the loaf, crumbled up into crumbs mixed with clarified butter, the hollow refilled, the top put on and the bread baked till it was warmed. I am not planning on using a traditional method; however, as I plan on simply cutting the bread into "sops" for my next few posts.

The recipe below can be found here: 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 / edited by Thomas Austin

.xxv. Rastons.—Take fayre Flowre, & þe whyte of Eyroun, & þe ȝolke, a lytel; þan take Warme Berme, & putte al þes to-gederys, & bete hem to-gederys with þin hond tyl it be schort & þikke y-now, & caste Sugre y-now þer-to, & þenne lat reste a whyle; þan kaste in a fayre place in þe oven, & late bake y-now; & þen with a knyf cutte yt round a-boue in maner of a crowne, & kepe þe cruste þat þou kyttyst; & þan pyke al þe cromys withynne to-gederys, an pike hem smal with þin knyf, & saue þe sydys & al þe cruste hole with-owte; & þan caste þer-in clarifiyd Boter, & Mille*. [melle A. (mix). ] þe cromeȝ & þe botere to-gedereȝ, & keuere it a-ȝen with þe cruste, þat þou kyttest a-way; þan putte it in þe ovyn aȝen a lytil tyme; & þan take it out, & serue it fortℏ.

Dan Myers offers this interpretation for the recipe above at his site Medieval Cookery.  If you have not visited his site. I urge you to do so!

xxv - Rastons. Take fayre Flowre, and the whyte of Eyroun, and the 3olke, a lytel; than take Warme Berme, and putte al thes to-gederys, and bete hem to-gederys with thin hond tyl it be schort and thikke y-now, and caste Sugre y-now ther-to, and thenne lat reste a whyle; than kaste in a fayre place in the oven, and late bake y-now; and then with a knyf cutte yt round a-boue in maner of a crowne, and kepe the cruste that thou kyttyst; and than pyke al the cromys withynne to-gederys, an pike hem smal with thin knyf, and saue the sydys and al the cruste hole with-owte; and than caste ther-in clarifiyd Boter, and Mille (Note: melle A. (mix)) the crome3 and the [correction; sic = MS. the the] botere to-gedere3, and keuere it a-3en with the cruste, that thou kyttest a-way; than putte it in the ovyn a3en a lytil tyme; and than take it out, and serue it forth.

25. Rastons- take fair flour, and the white of eggs, and the yolk, a little; then take Warm Barm, and put all these together, and beat them thereto, and then let rest a while: then caste in a fair place in the oven, and let bake enough: and then with a knife cut it round above in the manner of a crown, and keep the crust that thou cut; & then pick all the crumbs within together, and pick them small with thine knife, and save the sides and all the crust whole without; and then cast therein clarified butter and mix the crumbs and butter together, and cover it again with the crust, that thou cuttest away; then put in the oven again a little time; and then take it out and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe:

3-4 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup warm ale
2 eggs beaten
1 package dry yeast

I read somewhere, and I wish I had thought to save the information, that to recreate the "flavor" of ale barm, which many recipes call for, you add yeast to ale.  In order to attempt to recreate the flavor of the "ale barm" the recipe calls for that is what I did. I used The Hairless Hare Brewery's "Brown Barrel Bomber" which is a bourbon barrel aged ale. I also mixed my flours with a 3:1 ratio of unbleached white to whole wheat in an attempt to simulate what the bolted flours of the time period would have been like. I also added a tsp. of real salt to the flour.
Sponge after proofing 20 minutes

I mixed a1/2 cup of flour with the ale (warmed to about 110 degrees), sugar, eggs and yeast together, let the yeast dissolve and then let it ferment until it created a sponge. I added the fermented yeast mixture to the remainder of the flour and then shaped it into a round loaf.  I covered the loaf and let it rise until it had doubled in size.

Note: The dark color is coming from the very dark ale I used.

After the loaf had doubled in size I baked it in a 450 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, until it sounded hollow.  If I were following the traditional recipe at this point, I would let the loaf cool, cut the top off, hollow out the loaf, and mix the crumb with butter. Eventually, I plan to come back and revisit this recipe, completing it as it should be completed.

The bread itself is very pleasant in taste, soft textured with a good crust.  I prefer it to my beloved Manchet of the French bread.  The loaf is good sized, and it is not as time consuming as the other breads that I have made in the past. This is definitely on my "keeper" list.

It has been pointed out that the use of the word "bread" in this post may not be correct.

Jim Chevallier, who is much more learned then I states "CECI N'EST PAS UN PAIN (roughly --it's not bread)

I was just browsing an academic study of language which cites what the author calls a fifteenth century recipe for bread. Intriguing, since I know of no bread recipes that early. Then, following up, I found it was in fact the classic recipe for "rastons" - that is, in French, ratons, or little rats.
These were NOT breads. The recipe in question includes egg whites and yolks, reflecting the fact that that a raton was a PASTRY. But this is not the first time I have seen this recipe presented as being one for bread.
It is not. That is, if you make this recipe, it will not tell you what common bread was like in fifteenth century England.
A nice enough recipe. But not for bread.

#medievalfood  #scafeast  #scacook  #historicfood #harleianMS279 #bread