COLLECTION: Medieval and Anglo Saxon Recipes

From: "Jennifer A. Newbury"
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1993 14:52:44 -0400


All from _The British Museum Cookbook_ by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, 1987, British Museum Publications. ---------- * A Jellie of Fyshe Serves 6 Ms. Berriedale-Johnson explains that elaborate and highly decorative jellies were "the delight of the artistic medieval cook, often enhanced with edible gold and silver." 225 g (8 oz) hake, cod, haddock, or other well-flavored white fish 3 scallops 75 g (3 oz) prawns (shrimp) 2 onions, roughly sliced 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 25g (1 oz) ginger root, peeled and finely chopped 1/3 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 450mL (15 fl oz, 2 cups) each white wine and water 20g (3/4 oz) gelatine Put the white fish in a pan with the onions, vinegar, ginger root, spices, wine and water. Bring it gently to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the scallops and prawns and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the fish; bone and skin the white fish and set it all aside. Strain the cooking juices and set aside to cool for several hours by which time a lot of the sediment will have settled in the bottom of the bowl. Carefully pour off the juices, leaving the sediment, and then strain several times through a clean teacloth. You should have appoximately 750mL (25 fl oz, 3 cups) of liquid left. Melt 20g (3/4 oz) of gelatine in a little of the liquid, cool it to room temperature, then mix it into the rest of the juices. Pour a thin layer 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the juice into the bottom of a 1.2 liter (2 pint, 5 cup) souffle dish or fish mold and put it in the fridge to set. Flake the white fish into smallish flakes; remove the coral from the scallops and cut the white flesh into three of four pices. Once the jelly is firm, arrange the most decorative of the fish in the bottom of the dish-- some scallop coral in the middle, prawns around the outsides, flakes of white fish in between or however you feel inspired. Spoon a little more of the juice and return it to the fridge to set. Continue to layer the fish in the mould, setting each layer with a covering of juice until you have used up all the fish and juices. Leave the jelly to set for at least 4 hours in a fridge. Unmold and decorate with fresh herbs; serve as a starter. ---------* Crustade of Chicken and Pigeon Serves 6 225-350g (8-12oz) wholemeal or wholewheat pastry (depending on whether you want a lid on your crustade) 1 pigeon 2 chicken joints (2 breasts or 2 whole legs) 150mL (f fl oz, 2/3 cup) dry white wine several grinds of black pepper 4 cloves 15 g (1/2 oz) butter 50g (2oz) mushrooms, roughly chopped 25g (1oz) raisins 3 large eggs salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger Roll out 225g (8 oz) of the pastry and line a 20cm (8 inch) flan dish; back the crust blind. Put the pigeon in a pot with the stock, wine, pepper and cloves and cook very slowly for an hour. Add the chicken and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes or till the meat of both birds is really tender. Meanwhile cook the mushrooms lightly in the butter. Remove the birds from the stock and bone them. Cut the flesh into quite small pieces, mix it with the mushrooms and the raisins and spread them over the base of the flan case. Beat the eggs with a fork and season with the salt, pepper, and ginger. Add 240mL (8floz, 1 cup) of the cooking juices and pour over the meat in the flan case. If you want to have a lid, roll out the rest of the pastry and cover the flan. Bake it in moderate oven (180C, 350F, Gas Mark4) for 25 minutes if uncovered, 35 minutes if covered. Serve warm with a good green salad. For a more 20th century flavor-- double the chicken, leave out the pigeon, and substitute 25g (1 oz) chopped fried bacon for the raisins. ------------* 'Fenkel in Soppes' or Braised Fennel with Ginger Serves 6 The original version of this recipe comes from the "Forme of Cury," a collection of 196 "receipts" copied by Richard II's scribes at his cooks' directions. 750g (1 1/2 lb) trimmed, fresh fennel root; cleaned and cut in matchsticks 225g (8 oz) onions, thickly sliced 1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger 1 level teapsoon of powdered saffron 1/2 teaspoon of salt 2 tablespoon olive oil 150mL (5 fl oz, 2/3 cup) each dry white wine and water 6 thick slices of coarse wholewheat or wholemeal bread (optional) Put the fennel in a wide, lidded pan with the onions. Sprinkle over the spices and salt, then the oil and finally pour over the liquids. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or till the fennel is cooked without being mushy. Stir once or twice during the cooking to make sure the spices get well distributed. Serve it alone with a roast meat or griddled fish or place one slice of bread on each warmed plate, cover it with the fennel and pour over the juices. -------------* Lozenges or Curd Cheese Pastries Serves 6 225g (8oz) wholemeal or wholewheat shortcrust pastry 225g (8 oz) curd cheese 25g (1oz) very finely chopped stem or crystallized ginger or plump raisins 15g (1/2 oz) toasted and chopped pine nuts sugar to taste lemon juice to taste Roll the pastry out very thin and cut it into small rectangles-- approximately 15x8 cm (6x3 inches). You should have at least 24. Bake them in a moderately hot oven (190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5) for ten minutes or till they are crisp and brown. Remove them and cool on a rack. Meanwhile mix the curd cheese with the ginger or raisins, the pine nutes and the sugar and lemon to taste. Set aside. When you are ready to serve, sandwich together two pieces of pastry with the cheese mixture. They can be used as a dessert or as a snack. ----------* Griddled Trout With Herbs Serves 6 The herbs below are what might have been used in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia, but use whatever you might fancy. Try to use fresh, although dried is acceptable. 6 fresh cleaned trout 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1-2 tablespoons dried 75g (3 oz) soft butter 18 fresh mint leaves or 2 teaspoons dried leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried 6 fresh sage leaves or 1 scant teaspoon dried 1-2 teaspoons coarse sea salt 6-9 grinds black pepper Put one sprig or generous shake of rosemary down the middle of each fish. Chop all the other herbs and seasonings and mash them into the soft butter. Use this to coat the fish generously on each side. Griddle, barbeque or grill it for 4-5 minutes on each side or till the skin is well browned and the flesh flaking off the bone. Baste now and then with the butter which runs off. Serve at once with lot of fresh bread and a salad or a simple green vegetable. ----------* Hare, Rabbit, Veal or Chicken Stew with Herbs & Barley Serves 6 In 7th century England, herbs were one of the few flavourings available to cooks and were used heavily... 50g (2oz) butter 1 -1.5kg (2-3 lb) (depending on the amount of bone) of hare or rabbit joints, stewing veal or chicken joints 450g (1lb) washed and trimmed leeks, thickly sliced 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely 175 g (6 oz) pot barley 900 mL (30 fl oz, 3 3/4 cups) water 3 generous tablespoons red or white wine vinegar 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper 15 fresh, roughly chopped sage leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried sage Melt the butter in a heavy pan and fry the meat with the leeks and garlic till the vegetables are slightly softened and the meat lightly browned. Add the barley, water, vinegar, bay leaves and seasoning. bring the pot to the boil, cover it and simmer gently for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or till the meat is really tender and ready to fall from the bone. Add the sage and continue to cook for several minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve in bowls-- the barley will serve as a vegetable. --------------* Small Bird and Bacon Stew with Walnuts or Hazelnuts Serves 6 6 fatty rashers of bacon, chopped roughly 3 cloves garlic 4 pigeons or other small game birds (6 if very small) 225 g (8 oz) mushrooms, whatever variety, chopped roughly 75 g (3 oz) roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts or walnuts 300 ml (10 fl oz, 1 1/4 cups) real ale 150 ml (5 fl oz, 3/4 cup) water 2 or 3 bay leaves a little salt and freshly ground black pepper 6 coarse slices brown bread Fry the bacon, with the garlic, till it is lightly browned in a heavy bottomed casserole. Add birds and brown on all sides. Add the mushrooms and nuts, continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then add the ale and water with the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 2 - 2 1/2 hours-- the birds should be falling off the bone. Remove the birds from the juices, cool juices completely and remove any excess fat. The birds can be served whole on or off the bone. If the latter, carve them while they are cold then return to the skimmed juices and reheat gently. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve either the whole birds of the slices on the pieces of bread, with plenty of the juices and "bits". A good green salad to follow is the best accompaniment. ------------* Summer Fruit, Honey, and Hazelnut Crumble Serves 6 ....A baked dessert like this would have been sunk in the embers of the log fire with a cauldron or pot upturned over it to form a lid... 1 kg (2 1/2 lb) mixed soft summer fruits-- raspberries, loganberries, strawberries, currants, bilberries or whatever is available honey or brown sugar to taste 75 g (3 oz) tasted hazelnuts 75 g (3 oz) wholemeal or wholewheat brown breadcrumbs Put the fruits in a pan or microwave dish with about 20 cm (1 inch) water in the bottom and cook gently for 10-15 minutes (4-6 minutes in microwave), or till the fruits are soft without being totally mushy. Sweeten to taste with honey or brown sugar (Saxons would have used honey); how much you need will depend on what fruits you have used. drain the excess juice and save to serve with the pudding. chop the hazelnuts in a processor or liquidiser until they are almost as fine as the breadcrumbs, but not quite, then mix the two together. Spoon the fruit into an ovenproof dish and cover with a thick layer of hazelnuts and crumbs. Bake in a moderate oven (180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4) for 20 - 30 minutes or till the top is slightly cruncy and browned. Serve with lots of cream or plain yogurt and the warmed fruit juices.


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