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SCA Feast - Coronation Feast of Cadogan and AnnMarie September 27, 2014

This feast marked my return to cooking in the SCA.  It was the most comprehensive of the banquets I have put together, and the one I am proudest of.  I would not have been able to pull this off it were not for those who volunteered to help, including those who helped prepare ahead of time, the day of, and the many individuals who helped with cleaning up afterwords (and who got to take home prizes of their own). Unfortunately, there is only one photo saved from the feast itself, and that is the partially assembled subteltie.  However, as I experimented and perfected several of the recipes, I did take pictures and will include them where appropriate. The subteltie was a hollow fondant dragon egg, surrounded by rondels of sugar paste painted in baronial colors.  When the egg was lifted, inside were dragons made of milk chocolate. It was surrounded by fresh herbs and flowers from my garden. Recipes From the Coronation Feast of Cadogan and AnnMarie September 27, 2014 Bronwyn Ni

Sugar Plate

This past week I have worked with varying degrees of success with the “Sugar Plate” recipe from Constance Hieatt’s “Pleyn Delit”. What I have learned is that a digital thermometer, although a bit more expensive is definitely worth the investment. I have also learned that the success of your sugar cooking is directly related to your thermometers ability to tell you the correct temp, or your own ability to use water to determine which stage sugar is t  at. After two unsuccessful attempts at cooking the sugar to the hard crack height recommended in “Pleyn Delit” and testing using the water method, both of which resulted in a soft gummy like candy--I bought a thermometer. The third attempt was successful at producing clear amber colored hard candy with violet leaves floating in it. The process is very simple. Take approximately two cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons of rosewater and add enough water to wet all of the sugar through. The amount of water you add is dependen

Violet Syrup

Green, Magenta and Lavender Violet Syrup Violet syrup is historically one of the most common ways to prepare violets. It has been used to ease coughs, congestion and sore throats. The preparation of violet syrup has not changed over the centuries. To make your own violet syrup, you will want to pick the deepest colored violets you can find. They are easy to harvest by simply sliding your fingers up the stem and plucking off the head. Surprisingly, you will need to pick about twice as many violets as you expect to in order to obtain dark colored syrup. Many North American varieties of violets do not have a fragrance, this is ok. They syrup is lovely to look at, and is refreshing to taste. An interesting fact to take note of, violet syrup will turn magenta if you add an acid to it (lime or lemon juice), and it will turn green if you add an alkaline to it (rose water). Violets were used to test alkaline or acid before the invention of litmus paper. Naturally, I also had to pla

Sugar and Gum Arabic Preserved Flowers

It is spring, and with spring comes a field full of lovely flowers, specifically, the bright purples of the common violet and brilliant yellows of the dandelion.  What? You say…the dandelion…a flower…it’s a weed. We will touch more upon the dandelion later. The common violet, also known as sweet violet, blue violet or garden violet is a native of Europe. It has naturalized throughout North America.  There are approximately 400-500 species of Violets. The name comes from the Greek Ione.  Io was a prestess of the goddess Juno, who was the wife of the king of the god's Jupiter.  She was a jealous goddess. Jupiter was also a feckless and unfaithful husband, and he fell in love with Io.  In an attempt to hide his affair from his wife, Jupiter changed Io into a white cow. He created a purple flower with heart shaped leaves for her to heat.  The flowers bear her name. The ancient greeks considered violets a symbol of fertility and love, and they were oftentimes used in lov

Canabenys with Lekys - White Beans with Leeks

Canabenys with Lekys  2 For to make canabenez: Take white beans. Ley hem in watyr rennyng too days, and chaunge the watyr. Take hem dry, then dry hem hard uppon a ston or apron a este. Then shylle them in a mylle, and do away the holys; and cleve the benys iii or iiii at the most. And then take hem clene. And so may thou kepe hem as longe as thou wylte. 3 Canabens. Take kanbens. Wesch hem, and yf thu wilte stepe hem a lytyll, & make hem up with mylke of almondys. Put therto, sugure and salt. Out of lentyn, make hem up with cowe mylke, and put therto sygure and salt and buttyrr claryfyde. 4 Canabens with Bacon. Do suete brothe yn a potte. Wesche the canabens clene and do therto, and boyle yt up: put no other lykure therto. Loke they be salte, & serve hem. Take ribbys of bacon boylyd; do away the skyn and ley hem on a dysch, and serve hem forthe as ye serve venson with formente yn brothe. This weekend I will be serving "Canabenys with Lekys