Quince and Almond Tart or “To Make an Almond Tart”

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To make an almond tart. Take half a pound of almonds peeled and ground, quince preserved in sugar, a dozen dates well washed therein, & chop very small with the quince, & half an ounce of cinnamon, three ounces of sugar, two yolks of eggs, & mix all with the almonds, & make the tart like the others. Master Lancelot de Casteau, Montios Ouverture de Cuisine (1604)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz ground almonds
  • 2 cups stewed or canned quince (~2 quinces worth) **
  • 12 cooking dates, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 oz raw cane sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 large tart shell

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients together well, and pat into tart shell. Mixture will be paste like.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until pie crust is golden and filling is firm but sticky.

** could probably use 2.5 cups of quince or more. Would experiment with adding in quince liquid or using quince jam if making again. I thought it would be too sweet with the sugar syrup but the pie is awfully thick. 

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Chicken with Broth or “To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. “

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So when redacting a recipe sometimes the author puts in fantastic instructions that answer the “white kind?” question. In this simple boiled chicken recipe the author calls for a “white broth” which means white bread to thicken not brown, grape verjuice not crabapple or something colourful.

This recipe is also a good example of using various different meats, or meat fats, to create flavours. Mutton bones added to the hens layers flavours without the added expense of a good cut of mutton.

To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. Take a neck of mutton & a marow bone, and let them boile with the Hennes togither, then take Carret roots, and put them into the pot, and then straine a little bread to thick the pot withall and not too thicke, season it with Pepper & vergious, and then cover them close and let them boyle togither, then cut Sops and put the broth and the marrow above, and so serve them. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients

  • mutton broth made from fatty bones or mutton bones
  • 1 or 2 small chickens
  • 12 rainbow carrots or white carrots
  • 1/4 cup grape verjuice (lots of verjuice make the carrots bitter, but compliments the fats)
  • Lots of Pepper to taste, fresh ground
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I think if you need to ground almonds or oats would work)
  • Bread to serve**

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into pot with enough broth (or water if you have bones) to cover. Bring to boil and then drop temperature to simmer until chicken comes up to temperature (165° F / 75° ) and joints easily turn, and meat is falling off bone ~90 minutes.

** cut into sops here could be that the chicken is sliced like sops and then the other ingredients are piled on top. I like using the sliced bread definition of sops when there is a broth/sauce like this. 

Carrots in a good broth

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Rainbow carrots are found in the grocery store. “Carrots” by Mistress Agnes de Lanvallei and History by the World Carrot Museum both are good timelines about the humble carrot.

I made a complicated carrot pudding dish before when I had a batch of carrots but this time something colourful but humble.

Pastinaca sativa tenuifolia, Pastinaca satiua atro-rubens.
Carrots.  The root of the yellow Carrot is most commonly boiled with fat flesh and eaten… The red Carrot is of like facultie with the yellow.” John Gerard’s Herball or General Historie of Plantes (1633)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs rainbow carrots, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces (or not)
  • 2 litres good fat broth (I used turkey because of Canadian Thanksgiving)

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients and simmer to soften carrots ~30 minutes or whenever. Serve hot with sops.
  2. Ponder how difficult historical cooking is.

 

Baked Pears or “Cooked Pears” 2

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Using the same source recipe I used poached the pears in syrup, I am baking pears. I was concerned about how expensive the poached pears were so I am trying the recipe with a different interpretation this time.

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Cooked pear. Lots of honey, black pepper, saffron, clove, cinnamon and a bit of wine. The Prince of Transylvania’s Court Cookbook (Hungary, 16th c.)

Ingredients:

  • 8 pears, pealed, stems left in
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Fresh pepper ground
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cloves, ground
  • 2 threads saffron

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 410.
  2. Arrange pears in a small baking dish so that they touch and support each other upright.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients into a sauce and cover the pears with the mixture. Pour any remaining syrup into baking dish.
  4. Bake pears for ~35 minutes, until the are browned and soft. Baste with its own cooking liquid halfway through baking.
  5. Serve with pear sauce drippings.

* I prefer the baked pears recipe flavour to the poached pears recipe except the poached was so much easier and look nicer. The pepper really comes through in this dish. I will ask Marie which one she prefers. 

Happy Thanksgiving or Sage Dressing

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Making sage dressing from my Big Buttes Book for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Fresh sage mixed with olive oil, cider vinegar, pepper, salt, honey, and cinnamon (full recipe on page 191) with romaine lettuce and the cutest, medievalist looking, cabbage from Pam’s garden.

I’m thankful for friends who grow me cool stuff, my dog who will eat anything, and my family.

ps book is on sale at amazon.ca 

Kidney Bean Soup or “Kidney Beans”

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So I have a lot of onions so I am making Tart for an Ember Day and other things with onions. I remain ever hopeful to find onion jam in medieval England.

I found this following (onion) recipe on medievalcookery.com:

This is an excerpt from The Neapolitan recipe collection
(Italy, 15th c – T. Scully, trans.)
The original source can be found at University of Michigan Digital General Collection

Kidney Beans. Cook the kidney beans in pure water or in good broth; when they are cooked, get finely sliced onions and fry them in a pan with good oil and put these fried onions on top [of the beans] along with pepper, cinnamon and saffron; then let this sit a while on the hot coals; dish it up with good spices on top.

Can you image being a 15th century cook, given the responsibility of cooking this exotic ingredient called “Kidney Beans”? Modern cooks who take cooked then canned kidney beans for granted may not realize the prep required to use dried kidney beans.

Health Canada says:

Minimizing exposure to lectins in dry red kidney beans
* Soak (rehydrate) dry red kidney beans in a volume of water 2 to 3 times greater than the volume of beans for at least 5 hours. Discard the water used for soaking.
* Cook pre-soaked kidney beans by boiling vigorously for at least 10 minutes.
* Note: Slow cookers and crock pots do not reach sufficiently high temperatures to destroy lectins, and therefore should not be used to cook dry red kidney beans.

So the precook isn’t listed in the above recipe. This is where we deviate from the original for health reasons. Not ever cook I’ve talked to know this information, so I am sharing.

To cook beans: Soak dried kidney beans over night in water (for at least 5 hours) drain and rinse. Then cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse.

Or use instant pot and cook then for 1 hour (other people say 25 minutes but I’m paranoid) and then drain and rinse well. Makes mushy beans but doesn’t require pre-soaking.

Do not use a slow cooker–it can increase the amount of toxins in your bean dish, because they don’t reach a high enough temperature.

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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of cooked and softened kidney beans
  • 2 cups of broth (I used beef, but the recipe says water is fine, so use veggie broth or whatever)
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Spices for garnish

Directions 

  1. Place cooked beans and broth into a saucepan and bring to boil then reduce to simmer.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium-low and melt butter. Add onions and fry until onions are soften, and starting to brown.
  3. Add fried onions, cinnamon, pepper, and saffron to bean mixture and simmer for 10-20 minutes on low.
  4. Serve soup with powder duce or salt or other spices you think compliment the dish or that will help balance your humors.

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cake or Pudding of a carrot

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Pudding of Carrot. Pare off ſome of the Cruſt of Manchet-Bread, and grate of half as much of the reſt as there is of the Root, which muſt alſo be grated: Then take half a Pint of freſh Cream or New Milk, half a Pound of freſh Butter, ſix new laid Eggs (taking out three of the Whites) maſh and mingle them well with the Cream and Butter: Then put in the grated Bread and Carrot, with near half a Pound of Sugar; and a little Salt; ſome grated Nutmeg and beaten Spice; and pour all into a convenient Diſh or Pan, butter’d, to keep the Ingredients from ſticking and burning; ſet it in a quick Oven for about an Hour, and ſo have you a Compoſition for any Root-Pudding. Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets, (1699)  by John Evelyn

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of carrots, grated, firmly pressed into measuring cup
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg. ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix grated carrots, crumbs, and sugar together in large bowl.
  3. Blend milk, butter, eggs, and yolks together in a different bowl.
  4. Pour Milk mixture into carrot mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add spices (to taste) and mix together again.
  6. Butter cake pan.
  7. Pour dense mixture into cake pan, bake at 350 for 1 hour. Until cake is brown, and won’t jiggle in the middle when you gently shake it.
  • Tastes amazing, would make excellent cup cakes for ease of serving. Kind of crumbled a bit when I cut it while still hot out of the oven. Firmed when cooled.