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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cj. Eyron en poche. - Eggs Poached

This is one of the first recipes that I have run across 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 that specifies to "poach" the food.  I love poached eggs and I have been holding on to this recipe as a "reward" for making a couple of dishes that I was not sure I would enjoy.  Poaching is a cooking method where moist heat is used to gently cook the food. This method of cooking food can trace it's origins back to ancient times, one of the oldest cookbooks, Apicius's "De re Coquinaria"the cook is instructed to cook several dishes in liquid.  Le viandier de Tailleventone of the earliest printed  cookery books introduced poaching to a larger audience, however, poaching became more prevalant in the 17th century.

I learned how to poach eggs from my grandmother.  She would faithfully bring a large pot of water…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lvij - Charlet a-forcyd ryally - Pork Reinforced Royally

This is the second of the "charlette" 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, and the one that was least preferred of the taste testers.  
The almond milk created a finer curd then the regular milk when it was tempered with the wine, resulting in a much finer "grain" to the sliced product. This would have been a very costly dish to make with the addition of ginger, galingale, sugar and the large quantity of saffron used.  It is my belief that this was a dish to show off the wealth of the host, and not necessarily a dish that would have been eaten "every day".

This dish was the least favorite of all of the dishes that I have attempted to reinterpret and that says a lot considering the doozy's I have found; Cxxxj - A potage colde, .Cvj. Rapeye of Fleysshe andlxxj - Murrey to name a few.  This…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.lvj. Charlette - Pork Custard

Todays culinary adventure 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 was a pair of related dishes consisting of meat cooked in milk.  The name itself means meat-milk --char - for flesh and lette for milk.  The first dish was a bit more favorably received then the second dish. There are recipes for dishes called "milk meats" similar to  Milke Rostys. This might make a good breakfast dish, but it is thoroughly unappetizing to look at and I'm afraid the modern diner might have to be "talked into" giving it a try. In fact, we did place this on our list of least favorite dishes that we have tried and on the "too period for modern tastes" list.

That being said, you should try this recipe if for nothing else, the experience of putting this dish together. I'm sure additional seasonings would improve the taste…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxiiij. Drawyn grwel - Tempered Gruel

Earlier this week I posted the recipe for .vij. Gruelle a-forsydde, or Gruel Reinforced, meaning that the gruel had been fortified with meat. That was the first of two recipes for gruel 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". This is the second that I reinterpreted. The same caveats apply, I did not go through the process of straining the dish, and the dish as I have created it is much meatier then what would probably expect in period. 
Of the two recipes that I tried this one was the favorite. The commentary from the taste testers as this was cooking was "it smells like biscuits and gravy in here!" When it came time to testing we engaged in spoon war's to eat the last of it! I have also been made to promise to make this again. I will.

The basis of any gruel is meal. In this case, that meal is specified …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .vij. Gruelle a-forsydde - Gruel Reinforced

Much to my shame, I am hesitant to admit that I have been avoiding interpreting this dish because the thought of a savory oatmeal soup like dish was not appealing to me. I as a diner would probably turn up my nose should such a dish be served to me. Somehow, what I had pictured in my head and what eventually ended up in the bowl were two entirely different things. I have been humbled and have learned a lesson.
Two recipes of note appear early 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" for "gruel".  The thought of a thin porridge of soup consisting of a meal of grains, specifically oatmeal, in this case doesn't sound very appetizing, does it? Gruel can be made with any kind of meal; rye, oats, wheat or rice which has been boiled in water, milk or almond milk.  The difference between gruel and porridge is one of consisten…

Harleain MS 279 (ab. 1430) - xlviij. Tayloures - Rice porridge with currants and dates

I was very eager to try out this 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 Tayloures, which is another pottage based on the almond milk and rice flour base.  Previously published interpretations which contain this base include; Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons (Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins), .Ixxxv. Gaylede (Rice Porridge with Figs & Honey),.Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet. and .lxviij. Bruet of Almaynne in lente (Rice Porridge with Dates).  The taste testers and I had an interesting conversation about where in a feast you would find dishes like these served.  The consensus is that for the modern day pallet you serve them at breakfast--barring that, they should most likely be served either as a sweet side dish as part of a course, or at the end of the meal for a warm pudding.

This dish did not disappoint.  It differs fro…