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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxv. Quynade. - Almond Milk Cream Cheese with Quince Puree

When I first came across this recipe in 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", I knew that I *had* to make it, the difficulty was in waiting until quinces were in season.  Last year I missed the season and I nearly missed it again this year--the ability to purchase quince is only a few weeks where I live. It is a shame, because I could see this becoming a regular spread in addition to butter, marmalade's or preserves at any event.  This is a delicious spread that would go well on bread or to be used as a substitute for butter.  The picture cannot do justice to how pretty the slight yellow of the almond "cream cheese" studded with bright golden quince is. I wish I had silver or gold leaf to jazz it up. 

The taste testers raved about it. It also keeps very well, and is an alternative for those who are lactose intolerant…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiij. Walkys*. [Whelks. ] in bruette.

The last of the seafood shellfish recipes that I 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 Thomas Austin was for whelks, which is a kind of snail that was plentiful in the late Medieval period and still enjoyed in Europe today.
Whelks are difficult to get where I live, so the Cook's Thesaurus suggested periwinkles or conch, again, difficult ingredients to obtain fresh where I live.  I finally settled upon clams, which are locatable but are a bit firmer and stronger in flavor then whelk, conch or periwinkles.  The taste testers and I really enjoyed this dish, made all the better through the use of a strong home brewed beer (a lager) courtesy of my son, and dried parsley from my garden.  This is a dish that I will make again. 

.lxxxxiij. Walkys*. [Whelks. ] in bruette.—Take Walkys [supplied by ed.] an sethe in Ale, þen pyke hem clene; þan wasshem i…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxij. Oystrys in bruette.

The last pottage recipe 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 Thomas Austin  for oysters is Oysters in Bruet.  It is very similar to  the previously published xl. Oystrys in grauy bastard.  The difference is in the spicing (adds cinnamon), and in the specific set of instructions "Take an schene Oystrys", indicating that for this dish the oysters should be removed from their shells.  

.lxxxxij. Oystrys in bruette.—Take an schene*. [for schele. ] Oystrys, an kepe þe water þat cometh of hem, an strayne it, an put it in a potte, & Ale þer-to, an a lytil brede þer-to; put Gyngere, Canel, Pouder of Pepir þer-to, Safroun an Salt; an whan it is y-now al-moste, putte on þin Oystrys: loke þat þey ben wyl y-wasshe for*. [on account of. ] þe schullys: & þan serue forth.


92. Oysters in Bruet - Take and shell oysters, and keep the water that come of …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xl. Oystrys in grauy bastard

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 Thomas Austin allows an interesting look at our culinary past. Oysters were a very cheap and plentiful source of protein in the Middle Ages.  Although the oysters that were most likely eaten (ostrea edulis) were much smaller then the oysters many of us enjoy today.  So it is surprising that the manuscript only contains three specific preparations for oysters in the pottage section.

Oysters, whelks, cockles, muscles and limpets are shellfish that were plentiful. The Romans brought with them their love of shellfish when they arrive in Britain in 43AD.  After they left, the oyster fell out of favor, however, by the 8th century that was no longer case.  Oysters were once more a very popular food.

Fish and shellfish were eaten on days that meat and animal products were prohibited--Lent, all Wednesdays, Fridays and Sat…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - ixl. Oystres en grauey

It is rumored that King Henry IV enjoyed oysters so much that he consumed 400 in a single sitting! Bear in mind that he was probably eating the much smaller, and more delicate European (commonly known as belon) oyster (ostrea edulis).  The Romans prized oysters.  They were (and still are) considered an aphrodisiac, but they also believed that consuming oysters would improve your prowess on the battlefield.  So it should come as no surprise that guards were posted to protect oysters beds and that the cost of an oyster could be valued at a denarius--the value of a days labor.

Oysters in Gravy was the first of several recipe's I prepared featuring oysters 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 .  This is most likely one of the earliest versions of a well known classic--oyster stew, and it received the best reviews. I also prepared .xl. …