Saturday, December 31, 2016

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

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 testers and I put our heads together and even came up with some suggestions on how to serve it. My preference would be at the beginning of the meal with cheese pipes and a peppery arugula salad. Another suggestion was a side dish to be served with roasted beef and frumenty. Just a few thoughts to take into the new year with you :-)

Yes, this will definitely appear in a future feast---I better start putting in more bids I'm developing quite a list! Perhaps for next year I will start hosting small parties at my house, not only to share my passion with others, but to enjoy the company of good friends.

I have also hit a milestone with this post. I have interpreted or referenced approximately 57 of the 153 pottage recipes found in the Harleain MS 279. I am reaching the point where some of the ingredients are prohibitively expensive to make, or I can't get the ingredients for, or, are things I am not fond (like oysters!). I will continue to work on completing these recipes as best as I can.

.Cxlvij. Brwes in lentyn. — Take AVater & let boyle, and draw a Iyer ]7er-to of Brede, of j^e cromys, w/tA wyne y-now ; lete alle ben wyne almost ; j^en put Jjer-to hony a gode quantyte, l^at it may ben dowcet, j^an putte ponder Pcpir ]>er-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, & Salt, & skalde ]>m^ brewes tender, & serue f[orth].

Cxlvij - Brwes in lentyn. Take Water and let boyle, and draw a lyer ther-to of Brede, of the cromys, with wyne y-now; lete alle ben wyne almost; then put ther-to honey a gode quantyte, that it may ben dowcet, than putte pouder Pepir ther-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, and Salt, and skalde thin (Note: Thine) brewes tender, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

147. Brewes (broth) in lent - Take water and let boil and draw a mixture of bread, of the crumbs, with wine enough: let all be wine almost; then put there-to honey a good quantity, that it may be sweet, than put powder pepper there-to, cloves, mace, and sandalwood, and salt and scald your broth tender, and serve forth.

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

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup wine -I used a beautifully fruity red
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp.  mace
2 cloves
1-2 tsp. saunders (opt.)

Soak bread crumbs in wine.  Meanwhile, bring water to boil and stir in honey and spices. Let steep until desired color is reach. Add bread and wine mixture and stir until it has thickened. Strain before serving.

As is, this is a lovely thickened wine sauce or broth.  As I've stated previously, I think it is beautifully versatile for a modern day kitchen.  I added ginger to this in addition to the other spices. This would make a lovely royalty luncheon, or you could throw it together in a pinch as a camp meal as well.  I urge you to experiment with this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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

Add captionChykonys 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 temper it up with the self broth, and with ale; and color it with saffron and boil and serve it forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                                  Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound chicken (I used bone in, skin on chicken breast)
Water to cover the chicken you use
1/4 cup ale
1/8- 1/4 tsp. each pepper & ginger ( I went a bit closer to the 1/4 tsp.)
Pinch of saffron

I cooked the chicken in the water, then removed it and let it cool. I measured out 3/4 of a cup of the "stock" this created and added 1/4 cup ale to it. I removed the chicken from the bone, cleaned off any remaining fat, gristle and skin and cut it into bite sized pieces. While I cleaned the chicken, I brought the broth and ale to a simmer, added the pepper, ginger and saffron. When it reached the color I wanted I added the bread crumbs to thicken the broth and then returned the chicken to it.

This was beautiful, simple and will find its place at a future event. This could be used as a side dish, or part of a course featuring several variations of similar dishes. For example, I could see serving this dish with Gelyne in Dubbatte (Chicken in Wine Sauce), Henne in Bokenade (Stewed Chicken in an Egg and Broth sauce) and lastly, Hennys in Gauncelye (Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce) alongside a simple dish of rice cooked in almond milk and perhaps White Wortes (Greens Creamed with Almond Milk), or Lange Wortes de pesoun (Braised Greens with Peas). It would be a very simple yet filling meal for a lunch tavern, royalty luncheon too.

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Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

VII - HENNYS IN BRUET. Schullyn be scaldyd and sodyn wyth porke and grynd pepyr and comyn bred and ale and temper it wyth the selve broth and boyle and colowre it wyth safroun and salt it and messe it forthe.

Liber cure cocorum [Sloane MS 1986] (England, 1430)

Hennes in brewes. With porke þou sethe þo henne fatte, Grynde brede and peper and be not batte. And comyne also þou schalle grynde, Seson hom with ale, þat is hor kynde. With þo brothe of hennes þou temper hit shalle, Boyle hit, coloure hit, salt hit withalle. Serve hom forthe, as þou may see, Þese er hennes in browet, levys þou me.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak hennes in Bruet sethe hennes and freche pork to gedure then grind pepper bred and comyne and sesson it and temper it with the hennes brothe boile it and colour it with saffron salt it and serue it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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

.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. According to ancient Egyptian records, slaves were given garlic to ward off illness. Pyramid builders were given beer, flatbread, onions and garlic. During the reign of King Tut a healthy male slave could be purchased for fifteen pounds of garlic!

Garlic was placed on piles of stones at crossroads for Hecate, and to protect from demons. It was believes that garlic would cause evil spirits to lose their way. Before going into battle, Greek soldiers would consume garlic as did Greek athletes before a competition. Roman soldiers also ate garlic; it was believed that consuming garlic would inspire them and give them courage.

Many European stories attribute the ability to ward of the "evil eye", the devil, or to protect from evil spirits to garlic. We all know that wearing garlic or hanging garlic in windows, doorways and chimneys will keep vampires away.

.lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye.—Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe þin hennys þer-on with ȝolkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

lxxxx - Hennys in Gauncelye. Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe thin hennys ther-on with 3olkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

90 - Hen in Gauncelye - Take hens and roast them; take milk and garlic and grind it, and do it in a pan, and chop your hens there-on with yolks of egg, and color it with saffron and milk and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                          Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound of chicken (I used chicken breast that I had simmered)
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 egg, or 2 egg yolks
pinch of saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste

I say this phrase a lot, it couldn't have been simpler to put this together. I used a double boiler to heat the milk to a simmer along with the saffron, garlic salt and pepper. Once it was heated I tempered the egg yolks with a bit of the garlic cream and then continued to heat the sauce until it began to thicken. I added my precooked chicken to the sauce and continued to cook a few moments more.

Do not be hesitant with the garlic. I know it sounds like quite a bit, but the cream tempers it quite a bit. I had originally made this with 1 clove, afraid that I would keep away family members and vampires alike. It was ok, but amping up the garlic made the dish.

This could be served as a creamy soup, or, as a sauce on the side of a dish of chicken and therefore as a dish of meat served with a broth as opposed to a dish of meat served with a sauce. This makes the dish very versatile about where it can fit in the menu.

The taste testers and I both enjoyed this dish. I would serve this at a luncheon, a lunch tavern, or even at a feast. It has gone into my "must serve again" list.

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

46. Now it remains to be known with what sauce one should eat the pilgrim capons: the pilgrim capons should be eaten with the jance, and to advise the sauce-maker who should make it take good almonds and blanch and clean them very well and bray them very well; and take the inside of white bread according to the quantity which he needs, and let him have the best white wine which he can get in which he should put his bread to soak, and with verjuice; and when his almonds are well brayed put in a little garlic to bray with them; and take white ginger and grains of paradise according to the quantity of sauce which he needs, and strain all this together and draw it up with the said white wine and a little verjuice and salt also, and put it to boil in a fair and clean pot.

And if the staffs are lampreys make lamprey sauce in the manner which is devised above under lamprey pasty.

And if they are eels, green garlic made with sorrel and verjuice.

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)

Gaunsell Gaunsell for gese. Take floure, and tempur hit with gode cowe mylke, and make hit thynne, and colour hit with saffron; and take garlek, and stamp hit, and do therto, and boyle hit, and serve hit fbrthe.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak hennes in gauncelle tak and rost your hennes then tak garlik and mold it with mylk and put it in a pan then hew your henne and put ther to and mele it withyolks of eggs and colour it with saffron and boile it well and serue it.

Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Netherlands, ca. 1510 - C. van Tets, trans.)

To make a ganselsie outside fasting time. Take bread, garlic, raw egg yolks and saffron. One shall grind this all together and pass it through a strainer with wine or with sweet milk and one simmers it over the fire until it is thick. With this one serves fried/roast chicken; in the winter, goose or capons.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

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

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.

lxxiiij - Arbolettys. Take Milke, Boter an Chese, and boyle in fere; then take eyroun, and cast ther-to; than take Percely and Sawge and hacke it smal, and take pouder Gyngere and Galyngale, and caste it ther-to, and than serue it forth.

74 - Arbolettys. - Take milk, butter and cheese, and boil in together: then take eggs, and caste there-to; than take parsley and sage and hack it small, and take powder ginger and galingale, and caste it there-to, and then serve it forth. 

Interpreted Recipe                                                         Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup or to taste cheese (I used a mixture of sharp and mild cheddar. Other period appropriate cheeses include; brie, camembert, cottage, emmenthal, gruyére, mozzarella; parmesan and ricotta)
2 eggs
1 tsp. each parsley and sage
1/8 tsp. ginger and galingale
**Salt and Pepper to taste - while not called for in the original instructions, modern tastes will appreciate the addition

As I have learned when cooking with milk based dishes it is always best to use a double broiler to prevent the milk from burning.  Add milk and butter to a double broiler and heat until the milk begins to simmer, add the cheese and stir constantly while the cheese melts into the milk and butter mixture.  Beat the eggs with the herbs and spices, temper with a little bit of the cheese mixture and return to the pan.  Cook until the soup has thickened to your desired consistency. 

One of my taste testers is a friend who very seldom says "This is delicious!" when it comes to testing food from this era.  Not only did I get that high praise, I also received instructions that this *MUST* be served at an event in the future. No fears there, I will be serving this again.  It was easy to put together and delicious.  Another taste tester has promised not to include this in the book he plans on writing on "How I Survived Being a Taste Tester". None of my teens were available--nobody complained it meant more soup for the adults.

I know that my interpretation is very different then what you will find if you research other interpretations.  Why? Because of the instructions themselves-we are told to boil together milk, butter and cheese and then to add eggs.  It does NOT specify how the eggs are to be added.  However, looking at similar recipes for papyns and cream boiled from the same manuscript led me to conclude that the end dish should resemble custard and not scrambled eggs. 

Papyns, which creates a sweet custard instructs us to "take the yolks of eggs drawn through a strainer and caste thereto" into a mixture of milk and flour that had been brought to a boil, and then allowed to cool. Similar instructions are found in the boiled cream recipe.  My conclusion then is that these three recipes should all yield similar consistencies with different flavors.  
20. Papyns - Take fair milk and flour, an draw through a strainer, an set it over the fire, an let it boil awhile: than take it out an let it cool: then take yolks of eggs drawn through a strainer and caste thereto; than take sugar a good quantity, an cast there-to, an a little salt an set it on the fire till it be somewhat thick, but let it not boil fully, an stir it well, an put it on a dish all broad, and serve forth running. 
13. Cream Boiled - Take cream or milk and bread of pandemain, or else of tender bread, an break it on the cream, or else in the milk, an set it on the fire till it be warm hot; and through a strainer throw it, and put into a fair pot, an set it on the fire, an stir evermore: an when it is almost boiled, take fair yolks of eggs, and draw them through a strainer, and cast them there-to, and let them stand over the fire till it boil almost, an till it be skillfully (reasonably) thick; than cast a ladle full, or more or less, of butter there-to, and a good quantity of white sugar, and a little salt, and then dress it on a dish in manner of mortrews.