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. 

Meatballs in Broth or “Another Sort Of Dressed veal”

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So this recipe could be a meatball soup, given the amount of broth required to cover the meatballs is more than one would use as a sauce. It is strongly flavoured though, so I would serve it with sops (bread slices) if you were doing that. Otherwise it is a wonderful lemon bite around the delicately flavoured veal (*cough* bland *cough*).

My friend Diane would love this.

Veal was on sale so tomorrow I will be making a veal pie.

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Another sort of dressed veal.
Take the meat so as to have made ham all as trimmed, & make round balls or strips like little sausages, & put them to stew in good broth, & a salted lemon cut in strips, mint, marjoram therein, a little verjuice or wine, & put them to stew well, & serve as such. (France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans. Ouverture de Cuisine)

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground veal
  • salt
  • 1.5 liters of bone broth
  • 1 salted lemon
  • 1 branch each mint, marjoram
  • 1/3 cup verjuice (or wine)

Directions

  1. Salt the veal to taste and then form into balls ~1 oz, you should get 15-16 balls from 1 lb of veal.
  2. Pour broth into a sauce pan and add the rest of the ingredients then bring to boil on high.
  3. Drop meatballs into boiling broth and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer balls for 7 minutes.
  4. Serve balls with broth (and sops). (My family added more salt)

Rabbit with wine sauce or Conynges in syryp

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So I was looking for a simple recipe that uses rabbit. I even had ‘cony’ vs ‘rabbit’ on my list of blog ideas ready to check off. I thought explaining that ‘conynges’ ‘connynges’ ‘cony’ and ‘rabbit’ were the same thing, and even (small) hares were called cony sometimes, would fill a blog post and I would be done with it.

I then found “Conynges in syryp” from Fourme of Curye [Rylands MS 7] and my research nerd took over.

Wikipedia says the the Fourme of Curye is “is an extensive collection of medieval English recipes from the 14th century. Originally in the form of a scroll, its authors are listed as “the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II“. I focus on 16th century usually so this was a little outside my wheelhouse. The English has evolved a little from where Fourme starts us and the spelling is a little off.

The recipe:

.lxiij. Conynges in syryp.

Tak conynges & seeth hem wel in gode broth, tak wyne creke & do therto with a porcioun of vyneger & flour of canel, hoole clowes, quybybus hole, & othere
gode spyces with raysouns corance & ginger, y pared & mynced, tak up the conynges & smyte hem on pecys & cast hem in to the syryp & seeth hem a litull in the fyre and serve hit forth.

And now we break it down

  1. Tak conynges & seeth hem wel in gode broth
    Take rabbits and boil them well in a good broth. The broth adds a layer of different fat(s) which adds flavour to the dish, also salt. Ff the meat takes longer to cook than the wine sauce will this step makes sure you aren’t serving raw meat to your guests. Older rabbits and game meats benefit from boiling, or parboiling, to soften it up and remove any ‘green’ or wild-meat flavour.
  2. tak wyne creke
    Take Greek Wine, which is probably from Italy. Other versions of this recipe call it ‘greke’ instead of ‘creke’. You want a super sweet wine. I wonder if you could get away with using grape juice concentrate? I am not sure I’d risk it given the cost of rabbit.
  3. & do therto with a porcioun of vyneger
    and mix in a quantity of vinegar. This will take away the edge of the sweet wine and add a sour to the sweet and sour.
  4. & flour of canel, hoole clowes,
    and powdered cinnamon and whole cloves. Canel is derived from the Latin word cannella, a diminutive of canna, “tube” according to wikipedia.
  5. quybybus hole, & othere gode spyces
    cubeb (aka cubebus, tailed pepper, or quibibes) whole and other good spices. I will probably use whole black pepper and a mace flake as well.
  6. with raysouns corance
    with raisins, currants. the recipe, unlike 16th century ones, doesn’t call for sugar. The sweetness comes from the sweet wine and the dried fruit.
  7. & ginger, y pared & mynced,
    and ginger, pealed and minced. Which is interesting because I was always told that 14th century meant dried not fresh ginger (shame on me for not looking it up).
  8. tak up the conynges & smyte hem on pecys & cast hem in to the syryp & seeth hem a litull in the fyre and serve hit forth.
    take up the rabbits [out of the broth] and smite then into pieces and place them into the syrup [the wine sauce] and simmer them a little in the fire and serve it forth. Smite always means to cut up with a sword, obviously. If you cook the sauce too long the vinegar can fight with the wine and makes a pot of vinegar sauce.

I am glad we cleared all that up! I saved you the hour of trying to figure out what quybybus was, you are welcome.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rabbit, or rabbit cut into pieces
  • enough beef broth to cover meat
  • 2 cups of sweet wine [edit: if you messed up and wine isn’t sweet, add some honey]
  • 1 tbsp-1/2 cup of grape vinegar (depending upon how sweet the wine)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, powdered
  • 5 cloves, whole
  • 5 cubebs, whole
  • 1 flake mace
  • 5 peppercorns whole
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 inch of french ginger, minced

Directions:

  1. Take rabbit (pieces) and simmer them until cooked in a good broth. ~45 minutes. If using whole rabbit cut into pieces when cooked. Joints should easily pull apart.
  2. Place wine, vinegar, spices, and fruit into a large pot. Turn burner on medium low and bring to a simmer. Adjust the vinegar ratios by taste at this point.
  3. Add hot pieces of rabbit to sauce pot, turning pieces to coat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve falling-apart rabbit pieces with sauce.

It looks mushy but it tastes amazing. Really amazing.

Edit: if you don’t want it to fall apart in sauce, cook it less in step 1, or cook it less in step 3. Things I wish I’d done differently: deboned the hot rabbit completely in step 1. Modernly you could brown the rabbit pieces and treat the wine sauce as a braising. 

Creamy Bastard! or Creme Bastarde!

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I feel like I should put this blog through a pirate talk translator every time I read “Bastarde!” (arrr)

I’m looking for recipes for a SCA feast idea, an irreverent one, and the name (Bastarde! Arrr!) fits the bill but I have to try it.  It might be a bit labour intensive for a feast, but could be made in advance.

151. Cream Bastarde. Take the whites of eggs a great heap, and put it in a pan full of milk, and let it boil; then season it so with salt and honey a little, then let it cool, and draw it through a strainer, and take fair cow milk and draw it  withal, and season it with sugar, and look that it be poignant and sweet;  and serve it forth for a pottage, or for a good baked meat, whether  that thou will.

There are many different versions of the recipe online. From a whipped topping creaminess to a chunky tapioca texture. I think you get tapioca if you don’t draw it through a strainer twice or bring it to a boil too quickly.

I’m imagining a custard, with the sugar added at the end plus baking it, would thicken it enough.

Cindy translates heaps as “4” which could be a thing. You need one whole egg and 1 tablespoon of sugar to thicken 1 cup of milk. Extra egg white should make sure it thickens without the yolk.

If we don’t over bake it, it shouldn’t be rubbery, which egg yolks like to do.

Search for “diet custard” recipes if you want to explore other egg white custard ingredient ratios. The few I looked at put in heaps of whites.

Ingredients:
* 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
* 1 cup of whole milk + 2 tbsp
* 2 tbsp honey
* dash of salt
* 2 tbsp raw cane sugar

Directions:

  1. Put egg whites and milk into small, wide-bottomed, saucepan on medium-low and bring up to scald (bubbles forming on the outside of the pan, skin forming over the milk–I’m not using raw milk and I don’t want to burn it)  and then add honey. Stir until honey is melted and then remove saucepan from heat. Let cool until room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven until 350
  3. Pour cooled mixture through a wire strainer into a bowl. Add in 2 tbsp of milk and 2 tbsp of sugar and mix. Pour through a strainer back into sauce pan, or other oven proof dish.
  4. Bake until mixture firms up, approximately 30 minutes. Serve cool if you want it to thicken fully–serve warm if you cannot help yourself.  Its very sweet.**

** Serves 6 if people know how to share, realistically 2 (because the third is asleep).

Almond Milk Custard Tart or Daryols

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Today I am making two tarts to bring with me to family dinner. The pear and custard pie I’ve blogged about before and a “Daryole” or plain custard tart because my daughter has never ever liked pears.

Tomas De Courcy suggested I try making his daryoles recipe when I mentioned having 3 dozen eggs to play with. I could do that, but since I don’t like to reinvent the wheel every time I blog I am going to do the option he didn’t explore on his page, using almond cream instead of milk which was a suggested substitution in many of versions he references.

Since it is a almond cream or milk mentioned instead of cows milk or cream I feel safe in saying that we can use thick almond milk instead of marzipan like in the Italian quince tart I’ve made before. Google says almond cream is marzipan-like which is why I mention it.

To make almond cream instead of almond milk you use a higher ratio of blanched almonds to water. My almond milk is 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water. My almond cream is 2.5 cups almonds to 2.5 cups water (50-50).

Since almond cream has less fat in it than cows milk I am wondering if adding a few egg yolks instead of whole eggs would give you more of a custard mouth feel but the original recipe says to use whole eggs so that’s what this recipe will do.

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DARYOLS. XX.IX. III. Take Creme of Cowe mylke. oþer of Almandes. do þerto ayren with sugur, safroun, and salt, medle it yfere. do it in a coffyn. of II. ynche depe. bake it wel and serue it forth. [Forme of Cury]

Ingredients:
* 2 cups of almond cream
* 4 eggs
* 4 tbsp raw cane sugar
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 pinch salt
* 2 tart shells

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Stir together almond cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and saffron then, while stirring, pour through a pasta strainer into a larger bowl. Divide into two parts.**
3) Pour mixture slowly into each tart shell***. Bake on 350 for 40 minutes, until custard sets.
4) Serve cold.

 

** pouring through a strainer gives a smooth product, using a electric mixer makes a fluffy product, don’t use a mixer.

*** if you set the shell on the pulled-out oven rack and then pour custard into shell you wont’ spill custard on the inside of the oven. Like I did.

 

 

That’s Not Lasagna or Lasagne in Lent

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I made “Its NOT Lasagna” for my family today. It looked like lasagna but it was gluten-free, nightshade-free  and cow’s-milk-cheese-free . They had two helpings of “Its NOT Lasagna” –if you could call the portion they took initially a serving. I used commercially available gf noodles, home made hamburger and pumpkin sauce, and three different kinds of goat cheese.

It could be argued that tomato sauce based lasagnas are not lasagna either if you are a big food history nerd, like myself. Which I did.

I’ve made a vegan lasagna from Libro de Cucina (14th century) before.

Walnut Lasagne
If you want to make lasagne in lent, take the lasagne (wide pasta noodles) and put them to cook (in water and salt). Take peeled walnuts and beat and grind them well. Put them between the lasagna (in layers), and guard from smoke (while reheating). And when they go to the table dress them with a dusting of spices and with sugarLibro di cucina

Ingredients
* 1 package of fresh lasagna noodles, or 1 package of dried cooked to soften
* 3 cups of walnuts, ground
* 1 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a lasagna pain or grease pan.

  3. Put a layer of noodles on pan, cover noodles with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover the walnut layer with another pasta layer, and then repeat with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover last layer with noodles. Brush top crust with oil or almond milk.

  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until  top is golden. Remove from oven and evenly cover top of pie with sugar and spices. Serve hot or cold.

  5. Optional, but not strict to original recipe, mix sugar or honey and spices in with walnuts to bake. 

There are other version from the 14th and 15th century, no tomatoes, just layers and cheese. Helewyse at medievalcookery.com compiled a fantastic list of different Italian recipes from the 14th-15th century. No tomatoes, but real lasagna.