Thursday, May 23, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette & lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette


After some debate, I placed both interpretations 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 for tench in sauce or broth on the same blog post.  My reasoning for this is that there is more similarities than differences between the two.  The Tenche in Cyueye includes onions which the Tenche in Bruette does not.

The Glossary of Medieval & Renaissance Culinary Terms defines cyueye in the following way:

cive, civey(e), ciuey, cyuey, ceue, cyueye = Ragout or stew (possibly derived from a word meaning 'onion' (Plouvier). (Viandier)  - Among other modern usages, this is probably a derivative of civey, which was at one time named for, and characterized by, the possibility of thickening a sauce with finely chopped onion, cooked till very soft. Some medieval recipes for civeys (for example, hare in civey) also call for blood as an additional thickener; nowadays the dish, which is now sometimes called civet, is mostly characterized by thickening and enriching the broth with the reserved blood of the critter you're cooking. It will coagulate if boiled, and turn very dark, but if heated properly it will assume a velvety texture similar to a stirred custard, and acquire a deep russet shade almost like a mole-poblano-type sauce. (Troy)
I was intrigued by the instructions to scald or boil the fish before roasting it.  Scalding is a method of cleaning and killing any microorganisms that might be harmful.  It involves heating a liquid (in this case water) or milk to just below boiling.  If you have a thermometer 180 degrees is best.  If you don't you want to keep an eye on the side of the pan. When you see small bubbles forming around the side and steam starting to whisp off of the pan, then you can remove your liquid.

.lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette.—Take þe Tenche, an sethe hem & roste hem, an grynde Pepir an Safroun, Bred and Ale, & tempere wyth þe brothe, an boyle it; þen take þe Tenche y-rostyd, an ley hym on a chargeoure; þan ley on þe sewe a-boue

94. Tench in Broth- Take the tench, and boil him and roast him, and grind pepper and saffron, bread and ale, and temper with the broth, and boil it, then take the tench roasted, and lay him on a charger; then lay on the sauce above.


1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of saffron
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup ale
3 tbsp. fish broth

In keeping with the instructions, I scalded the fish by placing it in a pot with just enough water to cover it.  I then heated the pan until I saw small bubbles forming around the edge of it and steam starting to form.  Due to modern methods of cleaning and butchering fish, I imagine you could have skipped this step without difficulty.

I removed the fish from the pan and placed it on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roasted it in the oven until it was done.  While the fish was cooking in the oven I took a few tablespoons of the broth and added the saffron to it.  Once the saffron had strongly colored the water, I added it to the ale (ok confession time--I used Sam Adams Summer Shandy made with lemon peel and grains of paradise) and then soaked the bread crumbs in it.  Once the bread was soggy I put it in the pot and brought it to a boil until it formed a thick sauce.

After the fish had finished cooking I plated it and served.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey 


.lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye.—Take a tenche, an skalde hym, roste hym, grynde Pepir an Safroun, Brede an Ale, & melle it to-gederys; take Oynonys, hakke hem, an frye hem in Oyle, & do hem þer-to, and messe hem forth.


95. Tench in Civey - Take a tench, and scald him, roast him, grind pepper and saffron, bread and ale, and mix it together; take onions, hack them, and fry them in oil, and do them there-to, and mess him forth.

1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of saffron
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup ale
3 tbsp. fish broth
3 tbsp. onions
1 tbsp. oil

To make this dish, follow the instructions above.  The additional step is to lightly brown the finely chopped onion in oil, and after plating, garnish the plate with it.

Both of these dishes were enjoyed by the taste testers, but they were not the day's winner--the best dish of the day was lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce.  However, this dish would be something I would be happy to serve at any feast, a vigil, lunch and if fresh fish were available at camp.  It was simple to make, came together with very little fuss and delicious.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft. This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own. I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce


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 gives instructions for three dishes made with Tench.  Two of them, lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette - Tench in Broth  and lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey  closely resemble each other.  This dish differs not only in the manner in which the fish is cooked but also in how it is served.  Unlike the other two dishes, where the fish is boiled, then roasted, this dish simply calls for boiling the fish.  This dish also advises us to " serue it forth þanne alle colde"--this is the first set of instructions in the Harleian MS 279 that actually advises to  serve the dish cold! So naturally, I had to try it.

Tench, also known as Doctor Fish, is not generally eaten anymore. It is freshwater fish that thrives in slow moving fresh and brackish waters. It is native to  Eurasia and Western Europe.  Sadly, Tench is not native to the states.  So, I had to find a suitable alternative that I could purchase.  Fortunately, a cookbook published in 1852 pointed me in a suitable direction.  The "Illustrated London Cookery Book" has a recipe entitled "How to Cook Carp, Tench, Perch, etc.
518. Carp, Tench, Perch, &C
Dry well with clean cloth, dredge with flour, fry them until they are brown. If the pure flavour of the fish is desired, they should be cooked as soon after being caught as possible, and as simply as above described; but if it is desired to make a dish, the fish may be placed after having been fried in a stewpan, with a gill of port wine, the same quantity of water, the juice of half a lemon, two dessert spoonfuls of walnut ketchup, half the quantity of mushroom ditto, or powder, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, an onion stuck with cloves, and a small horse-radish, from which the outer coat has been scraped: stew until the gravy is reduced to a rich thickness, remove the fish, strain the gravy as clear as possible, thicken it, and pour it over the fish; serve.
.lxxxxvj. Tenche in Sawce.—Take a tenche whan he is y-sothe, and ley him on a dysshe; take Percely & Oynonys, & mynce hem to-gederys; take pouder Pepir, & Canelle, & straw þer-on; take Vynegre, an caste Safroun þer-on, an coloure it, an serue it forth þanne alle colde.

46. Tench in Sauce  - Take a tench when he is boiled and lay him on a dish; take parsley & onions and mince them together; take powder pepper, and cinnamon, and strew there-on; take vinegar, and caste saffron there-on and color it, and serve it forth when all cold.

Interpreted Recipe

1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vinegar + water to taste (I used 1/4 cup fish broth)
pinch of saffron

First I have to say this is a beautiful dish! White fish, green parsley floating in a saffron scented broth with just a hint of acidity from the vinegar presents a visually stunning dish. To make this dish even more unusual and definitely on a "must be served at a future event" list, it is to be served cold!

I placed the fish in the water and brought to a low boil, cooking it until the fish was completely cooked through.  While the fish cooked, I minced the onions and dried parsley and set them aside.  I then mixed the pepper and the cinnamon and set it aside.  To be fair, I did grind up a couple of cubeb berries to add to my black pepper and I think the flavor popped. Once the fish was cooked I drew off a1/4th of a cup of fish broth, added a good pinch of saffron and the vinegar.

While the saffron steeped in the broth, I plated the fish.  I confess I was a bit concerned about the taste of raw onion, but the instructions do not indicate it is to be cooked--it was also a needless concern.  I sprinkled the pepper and cinnamon mixture over the fish, added the onions mixture and then poured the broth on top of it and placed it in the fridge to cool. Something magical happened after pouring the broth over the fish and then allowing it to cool. The fish picked up the flavor of saffron and vinegar and the onions mellowed. This was the winning dish of the day.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft. This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own. I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges.- The Right Way to Cook Cabbages

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges.- The Right Way to Cook Cabbages

This set of instructions is located after Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup 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.  The instructions are a bit vague, but seem to indicate that you can use the method found in the previous recipe to also cook cabbage.  There also appears to be a second set of instructions that indicate, you can cook your cabbage simply in boiling water and then salt it as you would the blaunche perreye prior to serving.  Prepared either way, this would be a dish that would be appropriate to serve for lent.

.Cxlvj. Ryȝth so Caboges*. [ i.e. Cabbages in just the same way. ] Ben seruyd, saue men sayn it is gode Also to ley hem in a bagge ouernyȝth in rennyng streme of watere, & a-morwe sette vppe watere, & when þe water is skaldyng hot, þrow hem þer on, & hoole hem in þere wyse be-forsayd, & serue fortℏ.

Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges. Ben seruyd, saue men sayn it is gode Also to ley hem in a bagge ouerny3th in rennyng streme of watere, and a-morwe sette vppe watere, and when the water is skaldyng hot, throw hem ther on, and hoole hem in there wyse be-forsayd, and serue forth.

146. Right so Caboges -- Being served, save men saying it is good.  Also to lay them in a bag overnight in running stream of water, and a-morrow (the next day) set up water, and when the water is scalding hot, throw  them there-on, and hull  them in there wise be aforesaid, and serve forth.

Interpretation I

1/8 cabbage, cleaned, cored and cut into ribbons
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Bring water and wine to boil, add cabbage and cook until cabbage is tender.  Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Interpretation II

1/8 cabbage, cleaned, cored and cut into ribbons
1 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Bring water to boil and cook cabbage until tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve


Of the two interpretations, the one with the addition of the wine was the personal favorite. The addition of wine elevated the dish to something quite spectacular. Cabbage is one of those dishes that is inexpensive to make and goes a loooooooong way at an event.  The first interpretation has gone onto my list of things to serve in the future.  I can also see this as being a very easy "camp dish" as well.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft.  This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own.  I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.






Sunday, May 12, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxvj. Coleys - Chicken Cullis

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .xxvj. Coleys - Chicken Cullis

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 gives us an opportunity to explore techniques for cooking that were popular in the 15th century. I am always surprised by the ingenuity of the medieval cook. Here is an example of  a dish that  utilizes a cooking technique which is making a comeback.  I believe that this set of instructions gives us an opportunity to create a timeline for the use of a kind of bone broth in the medieval period. At the very least, we can trace the use of bones and the earliest forms of bone broth to broth to the Forme of Cury (1390) and documented usage to the mid 1400's.

Coleys calls for not only the broth that was made from boiling the capon, but "the liquor of the bones", which I assume means something similar to a bone broth.  This leads me to believe that Coleys may have been considered appropriate for the elderly, sick or very young.

Rhoda Boone in her article "Stock, Broth and Bone Broth—What's the Difference?" explains the differences between broth, stock and bone broth.  I urge you to read this informative article. Very briefly,  broth is water, vegetables, meat and aromatics which may or may not include bones that are cooked for a very short period of time (up to two hours) and then strained.  The goal of making a broth is to create something that can be enjoyed on its own, for example as a base for soup.  Stock on the other hand, includes the same ingredients but is cooked for a much longer period of time (approximately 4-6 hours) with the goal of extracting collagen.  Stock is used to create rich sauces or gravies and should not be used on its own.

Bone broth is a combination of broth and stock. It is usually made from bones which have been roasted and which may or may not contain some meat still attached. It is cooked for a very long period of time, sometimes up to 24 hours.  When you make a bone broth you are not only extracting the collagen and the gelatin from the bones, you are also releasing the minerals within the bones.  Like broth, bone broth can be strained, seasoned and enjoyed on its own.

.xxvj. Coleys.—Take a gode Capoun an boyle hem tendere, an pyke a-way clene þe bonys an þe Skyn, an bray hym in a morter, an tempere hym wyth þe same brothe, an strayne hym þorw a straynoure; þenne take þe brawn an þe fleysshe, an a lytil whyte brede, an bray hem alle to-gederys in a morter; þen take þe lycowr of þe bonys, an þe skyn, an þe brothe þat þe Capoun was sothyn ynne, an with al tempere it, but nowt to þicke; þen put it in a potte, an let it be al hote, but let it boyle for no þing; an caste þer-to a litil powder of Gyngere, Sugre an Salt. An ȝif it be on a fyssheday, take Haddok, Pyke, Tenche, Reȝge, Codlynd, an pyke a-way þe bonys [leaf 10.] an tempere wyth almaunde mylke; an make it hot, an caste þer-to Sugre an Salt, an serue forth.

xxvj - Coleys. Take a gode Capoun an boyle hem tendere, an pyke a-way clene the bonys an the Skyn, an bray hym in a morter, an tempere hym wyth the same brothe, an strayne hym thorw a straynoure; thenne take the brawn an the fleysshe, an a lytil whyte brede, an bray hem alle to-gederys in a morter; then take the lycowr of the bonys, an the skyn, an the brothe that the Capoun was sothyn ynne, an with al tempere it, but nowt to thicke; then put it in a potte, an let it be al hote, but let it boyle for no thing; an caste ther-to a litil powder of Gyngere, Sugre an Salt. An 3if it be on a fyssheday, take Haddok, Pyke, Tenche, Re3ge, Codlynd, an pyke a-way the bonys an tempere wyth almaunde mylke; an make it hot, an caste ther-to Sugre an Salt, an serue forth.

26. - Coleys - Take a good capon and boil him tender, and pick away clean the bones and the skin, and pound him in a mortar, and temper him with the same broth, and strain him through a strainer; then take the meat and the flesh, and a little white bread, and pound them all together in a mortar; then take the liquor of the bones, and the skin, and the broth that the capon was boiled in, and with all temper it, but not too thick; then put it in a pot, and let it be all hot, but let it boil for nothing; and caste there-to a little powder of ginger, sugar and salt. And if it be on a fish day, take haddock, pike, tench, Re3ge (skate or ray, possibly shark), codlyng (an inferior form of cod), and pick away the bones and temper with almond milk; and make it hot, and caste thereto sugar and salt, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                             Serves 1 as Main, 2 as Side

1/4 pound of bone in, skin on chicken
Water to cover
1/4 cup (or more) bread
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste

Cut your chicken into pieces, and place them into a pan. Cover with cold water until it is about an inch over the top of the chicken, bring to boil and cook till tender.  Allow to cool overnight, pick the chicken from the skin and the bones.  Crack the bones, and then place the bones and the skin back into the broth and heat. Strain the broth, and reserve a little to mix with your chicken, spices and bread until a thick paste is formed. Place the paste in the broth and allow it to heat through.

I had originally thought the meat, broth and bread mixture would form a kind of meat ball in the broth.  However, as it began to heat it fell apart for me and created a thick chicken porridge for lack of a better term.  This does not look good, but it tastes delicious!  I added salt for additional flavoring and I must confess to adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the chicken to sharpen the taste a bit.

A little bit more research indicates that Coley's may be a predecessor to "Cullis" or "Coulis" which is defined as "A strong broth made of meat or fowl with other ingredients used as a base for various sauces or as a restorative for the sick." I would serve this on sops of toasted bread at an event, or use it as a base for thickening another dish made with poultry to make a kind of gravy.  I have no idea if this is the intent of the dish, as "Du Fait de Cuisine" indicates--this is a dish for the ill.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft.  This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own.  I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.

Be kind to each other, please.

Forme of Cury (England, 1390)

XI - FOR TO MAKE A COLYS. Nym hennys and schald hem wel. and seth hem after and nym the lyre and hak yt smal and bray it with otyn grotys in a morter and with wyte bred and temper it up wyth the broth Nym the grete bonys and grynd hem al to dust and kest hem al in the brothand mak it thorw a clothe and boyle it and serve it forthe.

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

71. Again, a coulleys: to give understanding to him who will make it let him arrange that he has capons or chickens or partridges, whichever is ordered from him by the doctors, and let him take the said poultry and pluck, clean, and wash it very well and cleanly and put to cook in a clear and very clean pot and a little mutton and a very little salt; and cook it well and properly on a clear fire. And while it is cooking let him arrange that he has a great quantity of very good almonds as are needed, and let him clean, blanch, and wash them very well and put them to be brayed in a mortar which does not smell at all of garlic, and bray them well and strongly and moisten them with the said broth of the aforesaid poultry or partridge; and, being sufficiently brayed, draw out the said poultry onto fair dishes and from the said poultry take all of the white meat and chop it very fine and then put it in the mortar with these said almonds and bray it all together very well and strongly, and in braying moisten it with the aforesaid broth; and, being brayed enough, take it from the said broth and strain through a fair and clean strainer and make milk of it - and put in no spices except by the command of the doctor. And then put it to boil and, this being boiled, put it in fair silver or gold bowls and let it be carried to the sick person.



For a kolys. Þe brawne take of sothun henne or chekyne, And hew hit smalle and bray þen with wyne, With ote grotis, and whyte brede eke. With þe brothe of henne þou tempur hit meke. Take oute þe bonys and grynd hit smalle, In to þe brothe þou kast hit alle, And sye hit thurgh a clothe clene. Dose hit, and serve hit forthe bydene.


A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak a colles tak the braun of capon or henne and hew it small and bray it with otemele and whit bred cast ther to good pouders and saffron then tak out the bones and grind the flesshe small and cast it unto the brothe and sie it throughe a clothe and salt it boile it and serue it