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 allowed). 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 meat. *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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