Pears in syrup or “Cooked Pears.”

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I am still test cooking for Feast of the Hare n November. I do not think today’s recipe will make the cut–not because it isn’t wonderful but because between the wine and the honey it becomes very expensive to serve to 80 people.

I think that I can edit the recipe to get the flavours by baking the pears instead of poaching and using the syrup as a glaze and still say mostly true to the recipe as written.

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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

  • 6 pears, pealed
  • 1.5 cups of honey
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns, whole
  • 6 cloves, whole
  • 1 pinch of saffron

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a sauce pan. (If fruit isn’t covered top up with water. ) Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with syrup*

*or store pears in syrup, in fridge, for up to two weeks because this recipe is really similar to some preserved pear recipes I’ve seen. 

 

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Pear Shaped Meatballs or “To make Peares to be boiled in meate.”

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This is another meatball in sauce recipe that I am trying out as an idea for Feast of the Hare in November.

Again the meat is paired with a ‘lemon’ flavour, but this time it will be barberries not salted lemons. The meatballs are shaped like pears, which is cute.

I also have fresh thyme and parsley and this recipe will be excellent use for them.

This recipe is fussy especially compared to the above linked meatball recipe but it is so much amazing. John, one of my stunt eaters, called the barberries taste explosions.

To make Peares to be boiled in meate. TAke a peece of a legge of Mutton or Veale raw, being mixed with a little Sheepe sewet, and halfe a manchet grated fine, taking foure raw egges yolkes and al. Then take a little Time, & parsely chopped smal, then take a few gooseberies or barberies, or greene grapes being whole. Put all these together, being seasoned with Salte, saffron and cloues, beaten and wrought altogether; then make Rowles or Balles like to a peare, and when you haue so done, take the stalke of the sage, and put it into the ends of your peares or balles, then take the freshe broth of beefe, Mutton or veale, being put into an earthen pot, putting the peares or balles in the same broth wyth Salt, cloues, mace and Saffron, and when you be ready to serue him, put two or three yolkes of egs into the broth. Let them boile no more after that but serue it forth vpon soppes. You may make balles after the same sorte. Thomas Dawson, The Second part of the good Huswives Jewell  (1597)

Ingreidents

  • Meatballs
    • .6 kg beef, veal or mutton ground
    • 100 g suite or lard
    • 150 g bread crumbs
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 branches of thyme, leaves minced
    • 2 branches of parsley, leaves minced
    • 100 g barberries
    • 1 tsp salt
    • pinch saffron
    • 1 tsp cloves, ground
  • Broth
    • 2 liter beef broth
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 8 cloves, whole
    • 1 flake mace
    • pinch saffron
    • 3 egg yolks, beaten

Directions

  1. Mix ground meat, and the ingredients for meatballs together. It should hold its shape when formed into “pears”. Make meat mixture into pears, 2 oz each.
  2. Put beef broth, 1 tsp salt, whole cloves, meat mace flake, and pinch of saffron into a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Drop “pears” gently into pot and then reduce heat. DO NOT stir for at least 10 minutes. Remove meatballs after 10 minutes and set into warm bowl.
  3. Remove large spices from broth if possible. Add a 1/4 cup of cooking liquid to egg yolks, blend well, then add egg mixture to pot. Simmer on medium for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
  4. Serve “pears” with bread slices and sauce.

Cheese and Sage Tart or “cheese tarts of soft cheese”

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Its harvest time! So I thought I’d use up some of the sage I put up last year. This tart would be excellent with lots of fresh sage, and a branch of sage as a garnish, but I used dried sage from last year.

I also bought apples to make an apple pie with instead of this one, but they are fresh and crisp and amazing and are going to be eaten raw. 20170901_170430

If you want to make cheese tarts of soft cheese, take  soft cheese, which you will mash well into pieces in a mortar. Into this add eggs, butter and sage and mash them all together in the same mortar with the cheese. Then you shall fill the tarts with it and let them stand thus to bake. And when they are baked so you shall stick little hollows into them with your fingers and butter them well. Het eerste gedrukte Nederlandsche kookboek, Brussel, Thomas vander Noot

Ingredients

  • 250 grams cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sage, ground
  • 1 tart shell

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grind cheese, eggs, butter, and sage together. Pour mixture into tart shell. Bake for 35 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is firm.

Fried Peaches Two Ways or “Peach Doughnut”

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Peach doughnut. Cut open the ripe peach, take out the seed, make the same kind of dough we made for the salads or the elderberry. For we don’t add eggs to sage dough, but we do add eggs to peach dough, sometimes a little wine, too.
Dip the peeled peach into the dough, then fry it and serve it when hot, add sugar. If the peach is clingstone, slice it into circles. The herb masters cut this into four, pour
some wine onto it, then mix it with flour, finally, they fry it. The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook, 16th Century

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp wine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar for garnish.
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Mix flour, egg and wine together with a fork.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach discs into batter from step one and then carefully lay your peach pancake into the hot pan. Fry for 5 minutes on each side, or until brown.
  4. Place cooked peach slice on plate and sprinkle with sugar. Serve warm.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp wine*
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Cover the peaches with the wine and stir to coat.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach quarters into flour and then gently place on frying pan.
  4. Heat each side of the peach triangle for ~5 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

* the wine will be the strongest flavour giving a tangy or sour cooked end product. If you use a really sweet wine, or a really ripe peach it would work better. I coated these peach doughnuts with raw sugar as well. 

Bacon Fried Mushrooms or “Bitter mushroom cooked with butter or bacon fat.”

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Its harvest time! Mushrooms were plentiful so I bought plenty. I had enough to make Bacon Fried Mushrooms and “Mushroom Tart” from my book for #Blantant Self Promotional Friday. I don’t pick my own mushrooms, I didn’t grow-up in Ontario so I am not 100% confident in my ability to not poison myself. You do you.

I’ve just discovered The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook, which is full of so many really fun things. Like whole eggs roasted in butter–with the shells on and peach doughnuts which I will make next post.

Bitter mushroom cooked with butter or bacon fat. Clean it, wash it in clean water, add some salt, but don’t burn the bottom, add some butter or bacon fat while cooking, serve it hot; if you’re cooking for someone that’s fasting, add salt or oil only. The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook  16th Century

Ingredients:

4 cups mushrooms, cleaned
1/3 cup bacon fat (or oil)
Salt to taste

Directions:

Place skillet onto a medium heat and warm pan. Add bacon fat to melt and then dump in mushrooms. Fry them stirring often for ~30 minutes, and they are all browned. Serve garnished with a large steak.

This pie also takes 4 cups of mushrooms (pg 240-241, The Big Buttes Book)

 

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Beet Green & Apple Pie or “A Frydayes Pye”

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I’ve talked before about cooking dishes for “in lent” and alternative thickeners but I thought this pie, “A Frydayes Pye” was interesting because it deviates in instruction from what I expect from a herb and apple pie.

I have the recipe for “Tarts of Borrage” on page 229 of my Big Buttes Book, and its different from the recipe below because it wilts, or blanches the herbs, and softens the fruit before they are baked. They are also baked along with egg yolks, which this recipe also doesn’t have.

I’ve combined the ingredients, and I started making this using a closed pie instead of an open tart so the greens wouldn’t dry out, and I felt it was more “coffin” as described in the original.

Well after 45 minutes it was a soggy wet mess. I opened the lids and cooked them uncovered for another 30 minutes to try to salvage them.

 

The greens did dry out with the open lid but it wasn’t unpleasant. My husband had thirds, so not a complete disaster.

My dog keeps trying to steal it, which is weird. He isn’t a table surfer, but he seems strangely motivated.

I consider the pie a failure, but luckily I have a husband (or a dog) who will hide the evidence. When reading through historic recipes, we don’t have the author’s notes or reasoning behind their decisions. We just have to try it as written and see what happens.

I also think that if I’d cooked them as smaller hand pies and on a higher heat it might not be as soggy. Also blanching the veggies and squeezing out the liquid would go a long way.

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A Fridayes Pye, without eyther Flesh or Fish. Wash greene Beetes cleane, picke out the middle string, and chop them small with two or three well relisht ripe Apples. Season it with Pepper, Salt, and Ginger: then take a good handfull of Razins of the Sunne, and put all in a Coffin of fine Paste, with a piece of sweet Butter, and so bake it: but before you serue it in, cut it vp, and wring in the iuyce of an Orenge, and Sugar. John Murrell A NEVV BOOKE of Cookerie (England, 1615)

Fennel and Leek Soup or About the aforementioned.

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So I was looking for medieval recipes (if I am going to cook with a cook book anyway…) for vegetables to use up some greens I had going off. I found this cute recipe below and since it called for cheap ingredients I already had in the fridge I decided to experiment with it.

I love that it calls for the fennel bulb not the leaves, since it is much easier to get the bulb here.

Anyone who cooks a fast soup knows about softening veggies before adding a broth. I wondered what adding water instead of broth would be like. I also wondered what frying fennel in lard would be like.

My daughter declares it “good” and that “it tastes like pho” which is her highest compliment. I think the flavours worked together and it would be even better as a campfire dish–which I will try at my next opportunity.

I think this was a dish meant for an invalid or for maybe winter. I am just tired and the air conditioner is set too high.

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 Take white fennel minced finely, and then fry it with a little of the white part of a leek minced finely, with egg or lard, and put in a bit of water and saffron and salt, and boil it, and put in beaten eggs, if you want. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina (late 14th or early 15th c.)  Ariane Helou’s translation

Ingredients:
* 1 heaping tbsp lard **
* 1/3 cup leek, a few inches of the white end, minced
* 1 cup fennel, white from the bulb end, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Heat frying pan on medium-high, add lard to melt.
  2. Add fennel and leek, reduce heat to medium low, and stir to soften veggies.
  3. Pour fennel mixture into a sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat sauce pan on medium-high until mixture comes to boil.
  4. Add beaten egg into fennel mixture while stirring. Bring to boil a second time, then remove from heat.
  5. Serve hot***.

** Use vegetable lard or olive oil if making for a vegetarian. 

*** and with rice noodles if you want to take the pho thing a little too far.