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Classes and Basics

A selection of documentation on classes I have taught, or have put together to teach at future events, and tidbits that have caught my interest.

Basic Information and How To

Almond Butter (or cheese) - A 15th century method of  using almond milk to make almond butter or almonds cheese. Perfect for Lent, or those with allergies to dairy.

Almond Milk - A look at the importance of almond milk in the medieval culture. Includes a quick how to make almond milk, along with the method used in period.

Comfits - Comfits were often served at the end of the feast to freshen the breath, act as a digestive, as decoration and sometimes used in the treatment of specific illness. Commonly found in the Elizabethan banqueting course.

Dashi (だし, 出汁) or Dashijiru (出し汁) & Furikake (ふりかけ) - Three different ways to create dashi. Recipe from Ryōri Monogatari (1603), Modern Dashi, and Overnight Dashi with a bonus recipe for Furikake rice seasoning which can be made from the left over katsuboshi (dried bonito) & kombu (kelp).

Homemade Vegetable stock, Vegetable Stock Powder & Homemade Bouillon Cubes - A great way to shave some $$ off your feast budget and to ensure that you know what it is you are serving to your guests.  Includes a bonus recipe for vegetable stock powder which does not require refridgeration and adds a burst of flavor to camp dishes. Another bonus is homemade bouillon, savory flavor bombs that do not take up a lot of space, but do require refridgeration that add a homemade taste to any canned broth taken camping. 

How to Render Suet - A brief discussion of three methods to render suet; crock pot, stove top and oven. White fat is a common ingredient in historic cooking.  It can also be used to make soap/candles, cosmetics/skin care and in medicines.

Fruit Paste - Fruit paste was a very common item to find as part of an Elizabethan Banqueting course. It was a way of preserving a fruit so that it could be enjoyed year round.

Measurements and Conversions - An easy to locate set of tables for converting common measurements, temperatures and scaling recipes up or down. Placed here because I use it all the time and can now locate this information easily :-)

Pot Ash -or- Cooking with Ashes - A look at the use of wood ashes to create a leavening agent for dough and instructions on how to create your own Saleratus (potash) for the adventurous.

Spice Conversions - An easy to locate chart that converts spices from ounces to tablespoons and gives a list of possible substitutions.

Sugar and Gum Arabic Preserved Flowers - These delicately preserved flowers add beauty and grace to the table.  This method on how to preserve flowers by sugaring is from the 17th Century.

Wortys -  A very brief examination of  “Wortys” which refers to any member of the Brassica family including cabbage, broccoli, mustard, kale and turnips.


Apothecary Weights: Common weights that were used for making medicines, receipts (recipes) and ointments in the late 1500's.  Includes grains, scruple, dramme, ounce, pound and the symbols that were used for in text.  

Arranging the Feast: The Application of Medieval Dietary Theory to Modern Day Feasts: Contains very brief and high level overviews of Greek dietetics and the theory of digestion, the role of the cook and health and the basic structure of 15th Century English Feasts. Lastly some suggestions on applying the structure to modern menus.

Cooking with Kids: Bringing your children into the kitchen, basic kitchen safety, age related cooking skills (2 years to 13 years), and strategies.

Feast Budget -or- Calculating the Costs of the Feast: How to calculate your cost per serving, cost per table, and the number of diners to serve in order to work within your budget for a feast. Also includes some hints and tips on ways to reduce your costs without sacrificing your menu. This is -not- a class about how to budget, but how to work within one.

Interpreting the Manuscripts - My Process


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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 know…

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 …

Five Simple and Delicious Medieval Vegetable Dishes

Positive responses continue to pour in on these kinds of posts. Today I thought I would bring to your attention five very different vegetable dishes that were enjoyed in the late Medieval period.   I hope you try them and let me know how you liked them.

Simply click the link to be taken to the page to find the recipe. Please leave me a message and let me know if you would like to see more posts like this.

Thank you!

.xxx. Soupes dorroy. (Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430)) Soup Dorroy - A delicious twist on "creamed" onion soup. The onions when cooked with the wine take on a very fruity flavor, and the almond milk adds creaminess in the background that tempers the sweet fruity taste of the onions. A budget friendly, easy to cook, tasty dish that would not be amiss at a luncheon, tavern, feast or camp meal.

.v. Whyte wortes. (Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Creamed Wortes - A true comfort dish from Harleian MS 279 (~1430) -- Tender cabbage and kale, or other "worts" (mustards, …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Clj. Creme Bastarde - Cream Bastarde

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 contains instructions for a custard made exclusively with egg whites.  This dish appears to have been very popular and instructions for it can also be found in the later tudor period.  As previously discussed, custards enjoy a long history. The Romans enjoyed many sweet and savory egg based dishes, but it wasn't until the middle ages that "custards", as we understand them, hit their prime.  Some of these dishes, like the hardened custards known as let lardes or milke rosty's have fallen out of favor.

I recently served this at our local Baronial 12th Night alongside stewed apples or pears (pictured above.)  I discovered that my own interpretation was nearly identical to that of Peter Breverton's found in his Tudor Cookbook. It is his interpretation I have included here which incl…