Medieval European Recipes : COLLECTION

From: "Jennifer A. Newbury"

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1993 13:26:16 -0400

I think someone a while ago requested medieval recipes. These come from _The British Museum Cookbook_ by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson (1987, British Museum Publications Ltd.). It's a great cookbook with recipes from the civilizations from the museum's collections. I personally haven't tried these recipes, but they sound interesting. I apologize in advance for any typos!


A Tart for Ember Day
Ms. Berriedale-Johnson says that ember day was one of the many days in the
year when the church forbade eating of meat (dairy, eggs, & fish were

250 g (9 oz.) wholeweat or whole meal pastry
(made with 150g (6 oz) wholewheat or wholemeal flour, 40 g (1 1/2 oz) each
of butter and lard with a little cold water)
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
150g (6 oz) onions, roughly chopped
12 fresh sage leaves, chopped, (or 1 tablespoon dried sage)
2 handfuls fresh parsley, chopped roughly
75 g (3 oz) well flavoured cheese, grated
3 eggs
salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger
180 mL (6 fl. oz, 3/4 c.) milk
40 g ( 1 1/2 oz) raisins (optional)

make the pastry and line an 18-20 cm (7-8") flan case; bake it blind

melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the onions with the sage and
parsley until they are just soft. Add the cheese, eggs, seasoning and
milk and mix well. Add the raisins if you are using them and pour the
mixture into the flan case. Bake in a moderate oven (180 C / 350 F / Gas
Mark 4) for approx.
20 minutes or till the tart is risen, firm and lightly browned. Serves 6
warm or cold.

Wastels Yfarced (or Toasted Stuffed Brown Rolls)
(serves 6 as a starter, 3 as a main course)

Ms. Berriedale Johnson explains that wastels were good quality loaves
served to the gentry at a late medieval feast.

3 wholemeal or wholewheat brown rools, halved and with their crumb removed
50 g (2 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) mushrooms, chopped roughly
100g (4 oz) cooked and very well drained leaf spinach, chopped roughly
50g (2 oz) raisins
salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, cloves to taste
1 large or 2 small eggs

Put halved rolls in moderately hot oven for approx. 10 minutes or till they
are lightly browned and crisps

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the mushrooms for a couple of minutes.
Add the spinach and the raisins and continue to cook gently for several
minutes, or till the butter has been almost absorbed by the veggies.
Season to taste with the slat, pepper, and spices. Beat the egg in a
bowl, add to the veggie mixture and cook it gently just long enough for
the egg to slightly bind to the other ingredients. Pile the filling into
the halved rolls and serve at once.

Caudel of Musculs to Potage (or Braised Mussels)
(serves 6)

This would have been served on one of the fish eating days of the
medieval calendar, and in a grand household, it would have been one of
ten or fifteen of such dishes presented to the lord and his guests...

2 kg (4 1/2 lb) fresh mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, very finely chopped
2 leeks, very finely sliced
40 g (1 1/2 oz) ground almonds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon each ground saffron, cloves, salt
4 grinds of black pepper
450 mL (15 fl oz, 2 cups) milk
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Clean mussels thoroughly, removing beards, and discarding any which do
not close when tapped. Bring 5 cm water to the boil in the bottom or a
large pan with a few slices of lemon and 150 ml (2/3 c) white wine. Drop
the mussels in, turn the heat up to maximum, cover with a lid and cook
briskly for 3-4 minutes or till all of the mussels have opened. Discard
any that do not.

Drain the remaining ones, remove from their shells and reserved the juices.

Meanwhile, cook the onion slowly in the oil till it is soft, but not
coloured. Put the leek with the almonds, spices and the mild in a pan
and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes then add to the shelled
mussels along with the onions. Bring all to the boil and simmer together
for a few minutes. Add the wine vinegar to taste and further seasoning
if needed. Thin the sauce with some of the reserved cooking liquid, if
you think it needs it. Serve the broth in bowls with plenty of fresh
brown bread.

Spit Roasted Meat with Egerdouce Sauce

In medieval Europe, the spits were turned by kitchen boys and were
perioedically dusted with spices and herbs. Since forks were still
almost unknown the slices of meat were eaten in the fingers but
accompanied by sauces. These were laid in small dishes (sauc-ers) along
the tables, and diners would dip the little finger of the right had only
into the sauce and spread it on their meat. This finger was never licked
but carefully wiped on a napkin out of respect for fellow diners.

In the modern kitchen-- any joint of meat can be used, but it should be
well flavoured if the Egerdouce sauce is to be served with it. Cook it on
a spit, a barbecue, or on an open rack in the oven. Sprinkle it lightly
with ground mixed herbs plus a little of any spice that you fancy.

Egerdouce Sauce
(served six)

2 tablespoons olive oil
75 g (3 oz) onions, roughly chopped
25 g (1 oz) each of raisins and currants
1/2 teaspoon each salt, gournd ginger, mace and saffron
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
120 mL (4 fl oz, 1/2 cup) dry white wine
90 mL (3 fl oz, 1/3 cup) wine vinegar
25 g (1 oz) sugar
75 g (3 oz) wholemeal or wholewheat breadcrumbs
approx. 90 mL (3 fl oz, 1/3 c) water

Gently cook the onions in the oil till they are soft. Add the fruit and
spices and cook for a few minutes. Melt the sugar in the wine and
vinegar and add this to the onion and fruits. Simmer all together,
covered for 15 minutes then process or liquids. Return the mixture to
the pan and add the bread crumbs and enough water to make a thick but not
cloggy sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with the roast

A Salat
Serves 6

Salads, made mainly of herbs, were popular throughout the Middle Ages,
often served at the start of a meal, rather than after the main course.
The make up of the salad would change according to the season and what
grew in the cook's herb garden, so feel free to adapt this basic recipe
as desired. Do NOT make it with dried herbs!

2 bunches of watercress
2 cartons of mustard and cress
1medium leek, very finely sliced
6 spring onions or scallions, chopped small
1 bulb of fennel, slicked in thin match-sticks
1 large handful of fresh parsley, pull off into small sprigs
the leaves from 1 young sprig of fresh rosemary
the leaves from 4-6 prigs of fresh mint, slightly chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, slightly copped
the leaves from 2 small branches of thyme
a few leaves from any other herb you have (take care not to use too
much of any very strong flavoured ones)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons wine vinegar
4-5 tablespoons olive oil

Wash the cresses, herbs and fennel and dry all thoroughly. Mix them,
with the leek and spring onions, in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and
pepper, and mix again. Mix the oil with the vinegar and pour over the
salad just before serving.

A Rosy Almond Cream
Serves 6

600 ml (20 fl oz, 2 1/2 cups milk)
50 g (2 oz) ground almonds
40 g (1 1/2 oz) rice four
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
350 g (12 0z) berries or currants, fresh or defrosted
75 g ( 3 oz) sugar
1-2 tablespoons wine vinegar (don't worry-- used by ancient Rome to
emphasize the flavor of the fruit)
crystallized petals to decorate

Put milk in pan with ground almonds, bring to boil, and simmer for 3
minutes. Meanwhile, mix the spices with the rice flour in a pan, then
gradually add the hot almond milk. Coo them together till the mixture
thickens slightly. Add the fruit with the sugar. Cook them all together
gently till the sugar is melted and the fruit will mixed-- it should not
totally disintegrate although it should be partially mushed. Add the
vinegar to taste and spoon the desert into glasses. Chill for a couple
of hours but serve at room temp., decorated with another berry or with a
crystallized rose or violet petal.


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