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Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brwes in lentyn - Broth in Lent

I hope the holiday season has blessed everyone and that the New Year will bring a years' worth of health, wealth and happiness to you, but most importantly, time for you to share with others. Of course I had to try something with wine in it! Today I tried a rather interesting recipe from 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 by Thomas Austin", which roughly interprets to a "Broth in Lent". I found it an interesting and delicious recipe and I would almost post this into the category of "found" recipes. Why? Most cooks who have prepared a feast will have some if not all of these ingredients left over, and with a bit of time could create this as an extra dish to serve at a meal. 
I think this would be an exceptionally forgiving recipe, for example, you could substitute broth for wine, and vary the spices. The taste…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Chykonys in bruette - Chicken in Broth

With the holidays fast approaching and -all- of the cooking forthcoming I am looking for quick, simple recipes. What could be simpler then pieces of tender chicken in a flavorful broth seasoned with pepper, saffron and ginger? I enjoyed this recipe as did my taste testers. There are many interpretations of this dish available through a search of the internet. I hope you enjoy mine. 
.lxxxxvij. Chykonys in bruette.—Take an [supplied by ed.] Sethe Chykonys, & smyte hem to gobettys; þan take Pepir, Gyngere, an Brede y-grounde, & temper it vppe wyth þe self brothe, an with Ale; an coloure it with Safroun, an sethe an serue forth.

lxxxxvij - Chykonys in bruette. Take an Sethe Chykonys, and smyte hem to gobettys; than take Pepir, Gyngere, an Brede y-grounde, and temper it vppe wyth the self-brothe, an with Ale; an coloure it with Safroun, an sethe an serue forth.

97 - Chicken in Broth - Take and boil chickens, and chop them to pieces; then take pepper, ginger, and bread ground, and …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye - Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

This dish is unusual and distinguishes itself from other similar dishes 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. The first difference is the use of the garlic in the sauce. It is one of a handful of recipes in the book that calls for it. Secondly, this is one of the few dishes that I believe could be served either as a soup or as a dish of meat with a sauce--that could be me putting modern thought into this dish.
Garlic is a member of the same plant family as onions and like onions, its cultivation is so old as to make its origins unknown. Garlic has been found in Egyptian temples, and it has a long history of medical, not culinary usage. Hippocrates and Dioscurides recommend garlic as a way to treat parasites, respiratory conditions and poor digestion.

Some other items of note in my quick research of garlic and its usage. Acco…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxiiij - Arbolettys - Cheese Soup

It was snowing out today, grey and dreary, but a perfect day to cook up comfort food and what could be more comforting than something cheesy and warm? Again I veered off course from the planned dishes I had posted I was going to make to try another one that caught my interest 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.  This dish is usually interpreted as a kind of a scrambled egg dish, and there are numerous interpretations posted online.  However, I chose to use the same interpretation as I did for Papyns, and instead created a luxuriously velvety cheese soup worthy to be served to any king. 
.lxxiiij. Arbolettys.—Take Milke, Boter an Chese, & boyle in fere; þen take eyroun, & cast þer-to; þan take Percely & Sawge & hacke it smal, & take pouder Gyngere & Galyngale, and caste it þer-to, and þan serue it forth.

lxxi…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - .xvij. Garbage - Stewed Chicken Offal

I veered a bit off course recently from the recipes that I was planning on testing, and found myself with two roasting hens and giblets. This prompted me to try a dish from from "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" by Thomas Austin. The dish is (appropriately) named garbage and it consists of those bits of the animal that most of us would not normally eat, but would end up in the garbage. I happen to like offal, the extremities and non-skeletal meat of animals, and was willing to give this recipe a try. I can say that it was not a favorite of the taste testers and they were very good sports about trying this.
As already mentioned, offal is any non-skeletal meat of an animal, this includes blood, brains, caul, ears, eyes, feet, giblets, heads, hearts, intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, marrow, spleen, sweetbreads, tails, testicles, tongues…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.xv. Bowres - Braised Fowl

This recipe came as a suprise! It was delicious and I am surprised that more people have not prepared it in the past.  I found it in "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" Thomas Austin. It can be intrepreted in two different ways.  I chose to use the second interpretation of this dish, duck or goose served as a soup with a broth made of ale, seasoned with sage and salt.  However it was the first interpretation that leads me to do some brief research on the use of offal in the middle ages.

Offal references those parts of an animal that are not skeletal muscle, for example, brain, heart, kidneys, livers and gizzards. It also refers to giblets, "humbles", "umbles", "numbles", and the extremities of an animal such as tails, feet, testicles, ears and tongue.  Offal is an excellent source of protein but it does not keep…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Quystis Scun - Pigeons Stewed

Today I cooked a 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 for a dish of pigeons stewed in a flavorful broth of beef, wine and vinegar seasoned with ginger and pepper. Unfortunately pigeon is difficult for me to come by in this area so I had to spend some time researching substitutes for game birds.  The suggested game bird from the "The Cook's Thesaurus" was Cornish hens, which are readily available in my area, but not even remotely period.  

This recipe most likely refers to the wood pigeon, also known as the ring dove, wood-quist or cushat. This is based on information obtained from Robert Nares "A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions to   Customs, Proverbs, etc. Which Have Been Thought to Require Illustration in The Works of English Authors, Particularly Shakespeare, and his Contempo…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .l. A potage on fysshday - Sweet Curds and Whey

I came across an unusual 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 called "A potage on fysshday".  I confess I was hesitant to try this dish because I was uncertain of what the final results would be.  I asked two chef friends of mine what they thought it should be like.  There was a general agreement that the acidic qualities of the ale and the wine would make this a kind of cheese, so all that remained was to try it.  I should know by now not to doubt those long ago chef's, as the final results were good. 
I would not recommend this dish for any large gathering of people but it would be a very cool and period thing to perhaps enter into an SCA competition, or to serve with a gathering of close friends, or even a small luncheon.  The result was a sweet broth made from the wine and the whey, with the curds of cheese (in …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons - Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins

Today's adventure in cooking from from 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 by Thomas Austin" was a very interesting dish called Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons. The end product was a kind of cream of rice cereal with chunks of apples and raisins in it. I would serve this as a camp breakfast, or even at an event which is offering breakfast.  
The taste testers declared it "tasty, but not delicious", which is a very fair assessment of this dish.  I have created similar recipes that I would prefer to serve over this one. Perhaps it is because I am not a fan of raisins?? 
.Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons.—Take Raysonys, & do a-way þe kyrnellys; & take a part of Applys, & do a-way þe corys, & þe pare,*. [? peel. ] & bray hem in a mortere, & temper hem with Almande Mylke, & melle hem with flowre of Rys, þat it …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle - Apple Royal

Today's adventure in cooking from from 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 by Thomas Austin" was Applade Ryalle, loosely interpreted as "Royal Apple" or "Apple Royal". It includes instructions for producing three vastly different flavored soups using the same base. The soups are made with beef broth (for a flesh day), almond milk (for a fish day) and "in need" with a broth made of wine and honey. The base of the soup is quite simple, apples that have been boiled until tender (read falling apart) and then strained through a strainer. 
I made all three of the soups today and the taste testers (God bless them) tried each of them. We all agreed that the soup "in need" and the soup for a fish day were the better of the recipes. The house smelled like fall, with the ginger, cinnamon, apples, and win…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle - Apple Soft

Apples belong to the Rosaceae family along with pears, quince, loquat, medlars and yes, roses. It is believed that there has been over 10,000 different apple cultivars that have been developed, many of which are now lost. There are at least 100 different varieties of apples that are grown commercially, but of those, only ten make up 90% of the production in the United States. I find this distressingly sad.
As mentioned in my previous post on .lxxix. Apple Muse it is generally believed that domesticated apples has their origins in Central Asia. Apples are documented as early as 6500 B.C. in Jericho and the Jordan Valley. Theophrastes records in 323 B.C the process of budding, grafting and general tree care of six different varieties of apples that were known at the time.

There are many legends regarding this fruit, the most well-known is that of Adam and Eve wherein Eve tempts Adam to eat of the "forbidden fruit". Apples are well known then, as a fruit synonymous with …

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) - Venyson in Broth with Furmenty

This post features two 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. The first recipe, viij. Venyson with Furmenty, includes instructions on how to create a popular grain based dish, Furmenty and serve it with Venyson. The second recipe, .xxij Venyson in Broth, is instructions on how to prepare a pottage of venison. 
Frumenty was a hot porridge that normally accompanied a roasted meat or fish in the second course, however, I couldn't resist pairing this colorful dish, that might have been the medieval equivalent of mashed potatoes with the venison in broth.  I am glad I did! The name, frumenty comes from the latin frumentum which means "grain".

I used an ancient form of wheat called Kamut to make this dish. Kamut is a close relative of modern wheat but differs from modern wheat because the grain is about twice the …