Friday, October 28, 2016

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

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 be clene chargeaunt, & straw vppe-on pouder of Galyngale & of Gyngere, & serue it forth.

Cxxxvj - A potage of Roysons. Take Raysonys, and do a-way the kyrnellys; and take a part of Applys, and do a-way the corys, and the pare, (Note: ? peel) and bray hem in a mortere, and temper hem with Almande Mylke, and melle hem with flowre of Rys, that it be clene chargeaunt, and straw vppe-on pouder of Galyngaleand of Gyngere, and serue it forth.

136 A Potage of Raisins - Take Raisins, and do away the kernels; and take a part of apples, and do away the cores and pare and grind them in a mortar, and temper them with almond milk, and mix them with flour of rice, that it be quite thick, and strew upon powder of galangal, of ginger, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                              Serve 1 as main, 2 as side

1/2 apple, peeled, pared and cut into small dice
2 tbsp. raisins
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/2 tsp. good powder or ginger to taste
pinch of salt

Although the recipe does not tell us to cook the raisins and the apples, it does tell us to "temper hem with Almande Mylke", which leads me to believe that we are to add hot almond milk to the apple and raisin mixture.  The term tempering is defined as the process of gradually adding a hot liquid to food so that it can be incorporated into a hot sauce or soup without curdling.  The process of tempering is used to slowly raise the temperature of the food using small amounts of hot liquid, so that the mixture can become thick. Therefore, I believe that the use of hot almond milk would be used as the method of cooking the raisins and the apples. 

What is missing is the sweetness that I have found in similar recipes; lxviij - Bruet of Almaynne in lente, xx. Papyns, .Cxxv. Vyolette, .lxxxxj. Vyolette, .Ixxxv. Gaylede, Cxxvj. Rede Rose, .lxxix. Apple Muse and .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle, and . Based on these similar recipes I added honey to my interpretation of this recipe, otherwise, I believe it would have been bland.

I chose to cook the apples and the raisins in the almond milk that I seasoned with ginger and honey before adding the rice flour. It couldn't be simpler! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

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

.Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle
Prepared for Nede, Flesshe Day and Fysshe Day
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 wine scenting the air. Of the apple recipes I have interpreted this is by far my favorite. Creating a variety of soups fit for a king! Huzzah!

The applade ryalle for a flesh (meat) day, was pleasant and if I had cooked just this I think the testers opinions would have been a bit different. I, being unsure if I would like it, cooked it last--my mistake. The flavor of the apples was sharpened by the beef broth, so that I was reminded of eating a sour apple candy (which I like). This soup was good, but all of us decided that this might fall under the category of "too period to serve." Don't get me wrong, it was flavorful and you should try it. However the taste won't be for everyone and the testers were put off by the smell of the apples and beef broth. Once they ate the first spoonful it was a race to see who finished first.

The applade ryalle for a fish day received rave reviews. The soup was creamy and mild and delicious. What most of the taste testers remarked on first was that they could taste the spices used, and that the almond milk enhanced that, and then they tasted a hint of the apple and a hint of the almonds. It was really good and has made it on my list of things to serve more often in the house yes; it will become something I will serve to my non-SCA friends. This was voted best dish of the day, but I disagree...because my favorite was the next dish!

The applade ryalle in need is a lovely soup with a base of wine and honey. The wine and the apples explode in your mouth on the first spoonful, and then the honey peeks through along with the spices. It was decided that this goes to the "must be served at a future event" list, alongside some good crusty bread, cheese and smoked pork. Have I mentioned I have great taste testers???

.Cxxxv. Applade Ryalle.—Take Applys, & seþe hem tylle þey ben tendyr, & þan lat hem kele; þen draw hem þorw a straynour; & on flesshe day caste þer-to gode fatte broþe of freysshe beef, an whyte grece, & Sugre, & Safroun, & gode pouder; & in a Fysshe day, take Almaunde mylke, & oyle of Olyff, & draw þer-vppe with-al a gode pouder, & serue forth. An for nede, draw it vppe with Wyne, & a lytil hony put þer-to for to make it þan dowcet; & serue it forth.

Cxxxv - Applade Ryalle. Take Applys, and sethe hem tylle they ben tendyr, and than lat hem kele; then draw hem thorw a straynour; and on flesshe day caste ther-to gode fatte brothe of freysshe beef, an whyte grece, and Sugre, and Safroun, and gode pouder; and in a Fysshe day, take Almaunde mylke, and oyle of Olyff, and draw ther-vppe with-al a gode pouder, and serue forth. An for nede, draw it vppe with Wyne, and a lytil hony put ther-to for to make it than dowcet; and serue it forth.

135. Apple Royal - Take apples and seeth them until they be tender and then let them cool; then draw them through a strainer; and on flesh day cast thereto good fat broth of fresh beef and white grease, and sugar and saffron, and good powder; and on a fish day, take almond milk, and olive oil, and draw there up with a good powder and serve forth. And for need, draw it up with wine, and a little honey put there to for to make it than sweet and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                    Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

2-3 apples
water to cover
1 cup broth, wine or almond milk
1-2 tbsp. sugar or honey, or to taste
1 tsp. good powder (I used pouder douce)
1 tbsp. butter (for flesh or fish day recipe)
pinch of saffron

Today I cut the apples into large chunks and placed them into the pot--I did not core or peel them. I covered with water and allowed to boil until the apples were tender and the water was almost gone. I then put the apples into the food processor (yay for modern technology) and pureed them. After which I strained them into a bowl. I used my last seven orchard picked apples today to make this. If you are going to skip this step, you will want to use approximately 3/4 of a cup of apple sauce to 1 cup of broth, wine or almond milk. I added the powder douce to the apples while they were hot and mixed it in, rather than cooking it in the broth base. I ommitted the saffron.

For each of the soups I heated the broth with the sugar or honey where it was appropriate (honey for in need, sugar for flesh and fish days). I also added the "grease", in this case butter to both of the flesh and fish day recipes, and then added the pureed and spiced apple mixture. I cooked these together until the soup had reduced to the consistency I wanted, and then served.

You would think that the soups would be a bit too thin and that you might need to add a thickener, it is my guess that leaving the apples whole allowed the pectin to remain with the soup and that is part of what gave each of these soups a velvety texture. If however, you find your soup too thin, you could thicken it with one of the period thickeners, bread crumbs, rice flour or egg. Make sure to strain it before serving.

Similar Recipes

MS Royal 12.C.xii (England/France, 1340 - D. Myers, trans.)

Poumes ammolee. Wine, eggs, wheat flour, apples fortified thereon, sugar to cut the strenght of the wine.

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)

Appeluns for a lorde, in opyntide. Take appuls cut of tweyne or of foure (cut in two or three pieces), and fethe hom, and bray hom in a morter, and then streyne hom ; and when thai byn streyned, do hom in a pot, and let hom fethe tyl the joust (juice) and the water be sothen oute, and put then therto a lytel vernage, or other swetewyrie, and cast therto sugre; and when hit is sothen in the fettynge doune of the pot, put therto a few zolkes of eyren beten and streyned, and set up the potage, stondyng, and put therto a lytel water of euerose, and stere hit wel togeder, and dresse hit up stondynge on leches in dishes, and straw aboven blomes of qwerdelynges (qu. codlings) or of other gode frute; and serve hit forthe.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak an appillinose, tak appelles and sethe them and lett them kelle ,then fret them throughe an heryn syff on fisshe dais take almonde mylk and oile olyf ther to. and on flesshe days tak freche brothe and whit grece and sugur and put them in a pot and boile it and colour it with saffron and cast on pouders and serue it.

The Neapolitan recipe collection (Italy, 15th c - T. Scully, trans.)

Applesauce. Get almonds, grind them thoroughly and make milk; then get ten or twelve cooked apples, grind them up and sieve them, mix them with the almondmilk and a little rosewater and sugar, and cook the mixture until it is thick; then take it off the fire and make up dishes of it.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

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

.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 temptation, a reputation that is apparently well earned.

Hercules is tasked with stealing the golden apples from the Tree of Life as one of his Twelve Labors. Atalanta, was tricked by Hippomenes, losing a footrace and securing a husband, because she stopped to pick up Golden Apples given to Hippomenes by Aphrodite.

Eris, the Greek goddess of discord threw a golden apple into the wedding party of Thetis and Peleus. The apple was inscribed with the word "kallisti", meaning the fairest. Three Goddesses coveted the apple, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite and the task of appointing which of the Goddesses was indeed the fairest fell upon Paris of Troy. It was Aphrodite who promised Paris of Troy the love of the most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, if he would appoint her the keeper of the apple. He did, and it was this apple that was indirectly responsible for causing the Trojan War. 

Apples were not always associated with lust, love, temptation or sin. In fact, in Norse mythology it is the Goddess Idun who is the guardian of the golden apples that preserved the eternal youth of the Aesir. It is the apple that gave Avalon its name in the legends of King Arthur. The Welsh word for apple is Afal. In the legends of Arthur, apples are associated with very powerful forces of creation, birth, death and rebirth.

Lastly, the ancient Celts believed that apples were to be treasured. Apple blossoms were used as symbols of fertility and would be placed in bedrooms. They were also symbolic of goodwill, integrity and purity and love. There is a myth told of Conle, who received an apple that fed him for a year.

Today's adventure 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 dish called Apple Moyle, which, from the written instructions could be interpreted in multiple ways.

The interpretatino that I chose was to make a pudding of apples and almond milk, thickened with rice flour similar to Cxxv - Vyolette.  How you interpret it depends on how you wish to interpret the first few words "Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, & temper hem with Almaunde mylke..."

.Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle.
—Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, & temper hem with Almaunde mylke, & boyle it; & take Applys, & pare hem, an smal screde hem in mossellys; þrow on sugre y-now, & coloure it with Safroun, & caste þer-to gode pouder, & serue forth.

Cxxxiiij - Apple Moyle. Nym Rys, an bray hem wyl, and temper hem with Almaunde mylke, and boyle it; and take Applys, and pare hem, an smal screde hem in mossellys; throw on sugre y-now, and coloure it with Safroun, and caste ther-to gode pouder, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

134 - Apple Soft - Take rice, and pound them well, and temper them with almond milk, and boil it, and take apples, and pare them, and small shred them in morsels; throw on sugar enough, and color it with saffron, and caste there-to good powder, an serve forth

Interpreted Recipe                                                               Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

1/4 cup rice flour
1 cup almond milk
1 small apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
2 tbsp. sugar
pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. powder douce
** Pinch of Salt

Bring almond milk, rice flour, saffron, sugar and apples to a simmer and cook until the apples are tender and the mixture has thickened. Sprinkle with powder douce and serve.

I added salt to this mixture and I believe it made quite a bit of difference.  I liked this, but I have liked almost every dish I have made using the base of rice flour and almond milk and cooking it down to the thickness of a breakfast cereal.  This made a sweet porridge that I would not hesitate to serve as a breakfast dish at any event or for a camp breakfast. It couldn't be simpler to make, the most difficult part of this dish was making sure it did not thicken too much or burn. The taste testers and I had a bit of a spoon war to eat the last of this from the dish. 

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Ein Buch von guter spise (Germany, ca. 1345 - Alia Atlas, trans.)

69. Ein apfelmus (An apple puree). Wilt du machen ein apfelmus. so nim schöne epfele und schele sie. und snide sie in ein kalt wazzer. und süde sie in einem hafen. und menge sie mit wine und mit smaltze und ze slahe eyer mit wiz und mit al. und tu daz dor zu. und daz ist gar ein gut fülle. und versaltz niht.

How you want to make an apple puree. So take fine apples and skin them. And cut them in a cold water. And boil them in a pot. And mix them with wine and with fat and also beat eggs with white and with all. And do that thereto. And that is a very good filling. And do not oversalt.

Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

Appulmoy. XX.III. XIX. Take Apples and seeþ hem in water, drawe hem thurgh a straynour. take almaunde mylke & hony and flour of Rys, safroun and powdour fort and salt. and seeþ it stondyng.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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

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 known mention of apples in England was by King Alfred, who mentions them in his writings "Gregory's Pastoral Care". One interesting fact of note is that the monks were engaged in actively developing new varieties of apples.  One such apple, the Costard was well known in the 13th century, and the sellers of this variety were known as "costardmongers".

There are several recipes using apples in 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". The recipe I tried today is Apple Muse.  It reminded me of homemade apple sauce, with a faint hint of saffron and the creaminess of almond milk, it was also very similar to the  Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Chardewardon - Pear Custard recipe, the difference being that chardewardon is thickened with egg yolks, while the apple muse is thickened with bread.

.lxxix. Apple Muse.—Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge*. [ Sift. ] hem þorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; þanne take Almaunde Mylke & Hony, an caste þer-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, & Salt a lytil, & caste all in þe potte & lete hem sethe; & loke þat þou stere it wyl, & serue it forth.

lxxix. Apple Muse. Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge (Note: Sift) hem thorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; thanne take Almaunde Mylke and Hony, an caste ther-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, and Salt a lytil, and caste all in the potte and lete hem sethe; and loke that thou stere it wyl, and serue it forth.

79 - Apple Mousse - Take apples and boil (cook) them, and sift them through a seive into a pot; then take almound milk and honey, and caste there-to, and grated bread, saffron, sandalwood, and salt a little, and caste all in the pot and let them boil (cook); and look that you stir it well, and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe

3 apples, stems removed, cut into chunks
Water to cover
1 C. almond milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp.  sandalwood
Pinch of saffron
1-2 tbsp. bread crumbs or to taste

There are many recipes for this dish published online.  Several of them take additional steps of peeling and coring the apples. I did not do this step because the recipe doesn't specify to do it, unlike the recipe for .Cxxxiiij. Apple Moyle which specifically tells you to pare the apples before cooking.

I cut the apples into large chunks and covered them with water, and boiled them till they were tender.  While the apples were boiling, I heated the almond milk, honey, saffron and sandalwood on low heat and allowed to steep.  I have to confess I was hoping for a brighter color from the saffron and sandalwood, it turned the almond milk a peach color, but that color was lost once the apples were added.  Before moving to the next step I strained the almond milk.

Once the apples were tender I drained them and added them in the blender along with the almond milk (yay for modern technology).  I pureed them until they had become a sauce and then strained them through a sieve into the pot I had cooked the almond milk in.

I heated this mixture for a few moments and then began adding in the bread crumbs a little at a time until it thickened to an apple sauce like texture. I liked this dish, but I imagine it is not for everyone and this was confirmed by my taste testers who placed it into the category of "not their favorite thing".  When asked if they would eat it if served at a feast, suggestions were offered including, sprinkling with additional spices, or possibly adding a mixture of chopped dried fruits and nuts on top.  Previous pottage recipes suggest that dates and figs and/or Powder Douce would be appropriate toppings.

If I were to serve this at an event, I might choose to "cheat" and buy commercially prepared applesauce and add the almond milk to it.  The reason for this is that prepared this way, the apples had a very gritty texture which was what the taste testers found to be off putting.  As it stands, this dish does not make my list of things to try in the future.  It was very easy to prepare, and I would hope that someone would take the taste testers suggestions to heart if they chose to serve this dish at an event.

I am also wondering if the texture of a baked apple, versus a boiled apple would better fit the dish.  Since the recipe itself does not specify boiling versus baking, this might also be a suggestion for improving the texture and flavor of the dish.

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Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

XXXV - FOR TO MAKE APULMOS. Tak Applys and seth hem and let hem kele and after mak hem thorwe a cloth and do hem im a pot and kast to that mylk ofAlmaundys wyth god broth of Buf in Flesch dayes do bred ymyed therto. And the fisch dayes do therto oyle of olyve and do therto sugur and colour it wyth safrounand strew theron Powder and serve it forthe.

Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420 - Elizabeth Cook, trans.)

3. Again, emplumeus of apples: to give understanding to him who will make it, take good barberine apples according to the quantity of it which one wants to make and then pare them well and properly and cut them into fair gold or silver dishes; and let him have a fair, good, and clean earthen pot, and let him put in fair clean water and put to boil over fair and clear coals and put his apples to boil therein. And let him arrange that he has a great quantity of good sweet almonds according to the quantity of apples which he has put to cook, and let him blanch, clean, and wash them very well and put them to be brayed in a mortar which does not smell at all of garlic, and let him bray them very well and moisten them with the broth in which the said apples are cooking; and when the said apples are cooked enough draw them out onto fair and clean boards, and let him strain the almonds with this water and make milk which is good and thick, and put it back to boil on clear and clean coals without smoke, and a very little salt. And while it boils let him chop his said apples very small with a little clean knife and then, being chopped, let him put them into his milk, and put in a great deal of sugar according to the amount that there is of the said emplumeus of apples; and then, when the doctor asks for it, put it in fair bowls or pans of gold or silver.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak an appillinose, tak appelles and sethe them and lett them kelle ,then fret them throughe an heryn syff on fisshe dais take almonde mylk and oile olyf ther to. and on flesshe days tak freche brothe and whit grece and sugur and put them in a pot and boile it and colour it with saffron and cast on pouders and serue it.

Thomas Awkbarow's Recipes (MS Harley 5401) (England, 15th century)

Appylmoes. Recipe & seth appyls, & frete þam throgh a cloth, & do þam in a pot, & cast þerto almond mylk with gode broth of flesh dayes, & put þerto gratyd brede& seth it; & put þerto whyte grece on þe flesh day & on þe fysh day oyle de olyfe, & do þerto sugur, & colour it with saferon, & strewe þerin gynger, & serof it forth.