Beans as Thickner

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As you might have read on my last post I got really excited about a 14th century recipe for bean thickened pancakes, maybe Aquafava thickened pancakes. I found a few other recipes that use beans for thickeners. The pancakes do not taste ‘beany’ and are fluffier than I thought they’d be.

We have the pancake recipe, but we also have a fritter, a stew and a tart. A good selection of cases where eggs are commonly used to thicken recipes.

One of the other thickeners I’ve learned about is blood. I might leave off doing that selection of recipe creations until Halloween.

Bean Pancakes
Take white chickpeas, well softened in water; boil them well, then take them out of the water, minced finely and mix them with said water, and strain them; and with this strained water dilute the flour as you like and fry it on a low fire with lard and oil, and put some honey on top.

Another preparation.  Dilute the flour with eggs, then make some gloves or other shape, as you like: set them to cook well in a pan with hot lard or oil.An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

Ingredients
* 1 cup of dried chickpeas (or 5-6 eggs) (modern: 1.5 cups of aquafaba)
* 1 cup of chickpea flour
* 1/4-1/2 cup lard (or vegan shortening) for frying
* 1/4 cup of honey, to taste

Directions
1) One cup of dried chickpeas will grow to about 2 1/2 cups. Soften chickpeas in water overnight. Strain chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Bring chickpeas to boil in enough water to cover, then reduce to simmer for ~1 hour. Start checking the chickpea progress at about 35-40 minute. The chickpeas have to be soft.
2) Take cooked chickpeas and reserve cooking liquid. Chop up chickpeas roughly, removing loose skins as you go. Pour chickpea meat back into chickpea cooking water. Strain the chickpeas out using a strainer, this should take care of the rest of the chickpea skins and give you a nice chickpea milk. Strain the liquid through the chickpea mash a few times to try to get as much chickpea slurry as possible. This results in about 1/5 cups of liquid, and is very labour intensive.
3) Mix one cup of flour with ~1.5 cups of chickpea milk depending on what sort of consistency you want.
4) Heat your frying pan to medium. Fry batter in small batches in lard or bacon fat until both sides are golden brown.
5) Serve hot, covered in honey.

Bean Tart
Take the beans and cook them with pork belly, then paste the beans in a mortar and the belly with a knife (chop fine), then put the best spices that you may have and put in much cheese that it is half or less a third of the batter, and mix old lard and make the tart and it is most perfect. Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco
Ingredients
* 2 cups fresh  fava beans, shelled (or 1 cup of dried fava beans softened)
* 1/2 cup pork belly, browned by frying
* 1 cup gouda cheese, grated
* ½ tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ginger
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 tsp bacon fat
* 1 pie crust
Directions
1) Cover beans with water in a saucepan, add pork belly. Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 5 minutes, until beans are soft.
2) Once beans are soft strain and remove whats left of the pork belly. Chop pork belly into small pieces.
3) Grind beans into a paste in mortar and pestle removing skins as they slide off.
4) Preheat oven to 350° F.
5) Mix bean paste, shredded cheese, spices and bacon fat together. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 minutes, until middle sets and shell is browned.
6) Let tart sit for 10 min before cutting.

Bean Stew
Boil till they split, then take plenty of parsley and a little sage and hyssop, and grind very fine; and after this grind up some bread, and a handful of these same beans which should be peeled and ground with the bread for thickening, then put through a sieve: then fry the rest of your beans in bacon fat, if this is a meat day, or in oil or butter, if this is a fish day; then put your beans in meat stock, if this is a meat day, or in the water from the beans, if this is a fish day.
 Le Menagier de Paris

Ingredients
* 2 branches of parsley, stems removed
* 1 branch of sage, stems removed
* 1 branch of hyssop, stems removed
*1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
* 2 cups cooked large fava beans
* 1/4 cup bacon fat (or butter), for cooking
* 4 cups broth (or 4 cups liquid from cooking beans)

Directions
1) Take herbs and grind them into a paste in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2) Take bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans, that have been peeled, and grind them together. Add cooking liquid of broth to smooth them out and run mixture through a sieve. Set aside.
3) Heat a frying pan to medium, add cooking fat and the rest of the beans, and brown them for ten minutes, stirring constantly.
4) In a large sauce pan add broth, ground herbs, crushed bean mixture, and fried beans with the cooking fat. Heat sauce pan on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring often, until flavours combine. (Might need to add salt if broth isn’t salted.)

Bean Fritters
Get enough broad-bean paste for the size of fritter you want to make, and get chervil, a little sage, chopped figs, apples, mint and parsley, mix everything together and fry it in good oil; remove it onto a round platter with fine spices on top. The Neapolitan recipe collection

Ingredients
* 1 cup of broad beans, cooked, peeled, and mashed into a paste
* 4 leaves of chervil (French parsley), minced
*  2 leaves of sage, minced
* 3 figs, chopped small
* 3 leaves mint, minced
* 4 leaves parsley, minced
* oil for frying
* cinnamon and ginger for garnish

  1. Mix everything together. The dough should be on the stiff side. Make small patties, or balls with the mixture.
  2. Heat a frying pan on medium, and add fat for frying. Drop patties into oil and fry on each side until fritters are browned.
  3. Lightly garnish with spices and serve.
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Aquafaba!? Or how to redact a recipe

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I am researching chickpea recipes. I like chickpeas. I found this delightful recipe:

“Gloves,” that is ravioli.

Take white chickpeas, well softened in water; boil them well, then take them out of the water, minced finely and mix them with said water, and strain them; and with this strained water dilute the flour as you like and fry it on a low fire with lard and oil, and put some honey on top.

Another preparation.  Dilute the flour with eggs, then make some gloves or other shape, as you like: set them to cook well in a pan with hot lard or oil.An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

LOOK AT IT!

So simple but it has inspired 4 days of chasing other recipes and facts so I am doing a whole blog post on just the process of redaction and will do the full recipe once I have bought dried chickpeas to play with.

The questions that this recipe inspired:

Q1: Is that a 14th Century vegan egg-replacement recipe? 

Yes. The second half of the recipe “another preparation” covers that question. I believe that this is a recipe to make your own Aquafaba, which is a trendy ‘new’ ingredient.

(to do: find other medieval examples of legumes used as egg replacement)

Q2: Are there simple crepe/pancake/flat bread recipes that are simple flour plus egg or liquid?

Yes. I look at modern examples:

Q3: Could that be using chickpea flour as the ‘flour’ in the recipe?

Maybe?  They had access to many different kinds of flours in the 14th Century.

Breadcakesandale has a list (although not a historic timeline) of different flours.

ibroughtyouflours_20140331

Wikipedia lists a lot of flours too. It discusses chickpeas being a neolithic crop so I am pretty comfortable declaring chickpea flour as a possible option for this recipe. [wikipedias course: Zohary, Daniel and Hopf, Maria, Domestication of Plants in the Old World (third edition), Oxford University Press, 2000, p 110]

Q4: If the recipe had chickpea flour (like you are wishfully thinking) would it work in this recipe?

Yes it would work. Modern examples of chickpea flour flatbreads:

Ok I didn’t find chickpea flour and aquafaba together in a crepe or pancake–chickpea flour has a strong flavour, which is my reasoning behind not combining them.

Q4: What will be your approach? 

One cup of dried chickpeas will grow to about 2 1/2 cups. Soften chickpeas in water overnight. Strain chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Bring chickpeas to boil in enough water to cover, then reduce to simmer for ~1 hour. Start checking the chickpea progress at about 35-40 minute. The chickpeas have to be soft.

Take cooked chickpeas and reserve cooking liquid. Chop up chickpeas roughly. Pour chickpea meat back into chickpea cooking water.

Strain the chickpeas out using a strainer, this should take care of the chickpea skins and give you a nice chickpea milk.

Mix one cup of (chickpea and other experiments) flour with one cup of chickpea milk, or less depending on what sort of consistency you want.

Fry in lard or bacon fat in a medium-hot frying pan.

Serve covered in honey.

Q5: When will you make this? 

I will make this over the next few days.

Gooseberries (3 tarts)

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Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) are a small berry, a little smaller than a grape, with tiny little stripes similar to watermelon. Not to be confused with other fruit sold as gooseberries, especially those ‘gooseberries’ that are the size of yellow plums.

They are a little sour and are often cooked and sweetened before eating. They are sometimes swapped with grapes in recipes, especially with chicken. Thier high pectin level means they can be used in jelly and pies because they thicken themselves.

Gooseberry and Raisin Tart
Tartes of gooseberries. Lay your gooseberries in your crust, and put to them cinnamon and ginger, sugar and a few small raisins put among them, and cover them with a cover. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients
* Pastry for top and bottom of pie
* 1 tsp of cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
* 3 cups gooseberries, cleaned and stems removed
* 1/3 cup raisin

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix the sugar and spices together.
  3. Pour the gooseberries into your pie crust, cover with spice mixture, and then sprinkle raisins evenly on top. Seal on pie lid using water.
  4. Bake pie for 40 minutes, until pie is golden brown, and filling is bubbly. Serve once cooled.

Gooseberry and Ginger Tart
A Gooseberry Tart. Pick the stalks of your gooseberries, and the pips in the tops: put them in good paste, with a little green ginger, sliced in slices: cast on good store of sugar, and rosewater, and so close them. A New Book of Cookerie (1615)

Ingredients
* Pastry for top and bottom of pie
* 3 cups gooseberries, cleaned and stems removed
* 1 tsp fresh ginger, sliced
* 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp rosewater

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix gooseberries, sugar, and ginger together. Pour the gooseberries into your pie crust, sprinkle rosewater evenly on top. Seal on pie lid using water.
  3. Bake pie for 40 minutes, until pie is golden brown, and filling is bubbly. Serve once cooled.

Crustless Gooseberry Tart
To make a tart of gooseberries. Take gooseberries and parboil them in white wine, claret or ale, and boil with all a little white bread, then take them up, and draw them through a strainer as thick as you can with the yolks of six eggs, then season it up with sugar, half a dish of butter, so bake itA Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (1650)

*Ingredients
* 4 cups of gooseberries, cleaned and stems removed
* 2 cups of dry white wine (or claret or ale)
* 1 cup of dry bread crumbs
* 6 egg yolks
* 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
* 1/3 cup butter, softened

Directions
1) Place gooseberries, wine and bread crumbs in a sauce pan, bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer fruit until it softens and bread breaks down, approximately 10 minutes. Let fruit mixture cool.

2) Preheat  oven to 350.

3) Stir egg yolks into the fruit mixture, mashing fruit apart as you work in eggs. Pour fruit mixture through a pasta strainer (this will remove a lot of the fruit skin, leave it behind).

4) Mix sugar and butter into pureed fruit. Pour the sweetened puree into a pie plate or a small cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes until top is golden, and middle of the tart is firm like a quiche instead of liquid.

 

 

Exploding Eggs!

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If you casually toss an egg onto a hot bed of coals, or into a fire, it will explode.

It will explode completely unpredictably. It will refrain from a large explosion if you utter the words “hey watch this!” before hand. It will explode dramatically if you’ve forgotten you put one on the coals or you are talking with someone who is easily frightened.

The goal of coal roasting an egg is not explosions (probably) but controlled cracking. If you managed to make an ash-marbled egg (instead of  high speed compost) it tastes like smoked bre. Worth the risk.

Here we have two recipes from the same cookbook The Neapolitan recipe collection:

First:

Eggs on the Coals. Get fresh eggs and set them on hot coals, turning them often; when they have perspired freely, they are done.

Then further along in the book:

Eggs on the Coals. Get whole fresh eggs, put them on live coals and strike them on top with a stick so they break, and let them cook; when this trifle is cooked, take it out and put a little vinegar and parsley on top. They are good.

I like to imagine that the instructions first given here resulted in the exploding eggs I warned you about. Eggs don’t really perspire either.

If you break the egg, like in the updated recipe, it won’t explode. I think more ash will get into the egg with the pre-cracked egg method, than with roasting them whole with cooler coals.

Another reason to test recipes before writing them down: explosions.

Use a chemical free fire, burning wood of charcoal from non-poisonous trees when cooking directly on coals.

Ingredients
* 1 to 2 eggs per person
* optional: vinegar and parsley

Directions:

  1. Once cooking other things on the hot coals is done, let the coals cool until you can comfortably place hand 6 inches from coals for 10 seconds, or they are quite grey instead of white but still warm.
  2. Bury your eggs in the still warm coals, off to the side, not in the middle of where your cook fire was.
  3. Let them roast for 15 minutes or overnight. They will crack but not explode. Remove chunks of wood or ash, and wipe off grit, from egg before eating.

Eggs on a spit, one of the absurdities and games of cooks

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Its camping season! Its camping season! Time to do crazy recipes you can only make properly on a camp fire.

If you like to play with fire and want a (relatively) cheap dish to experiment with ‘Eggs on a Spit’ is a wonderful game for a cook.

Pierce eggs lengthwise on a well-heated spit, and roast near the fire as if it were meat. They have to be eaten hot. This is a stupid concoction, one of the absurdities and games of cooks.  Platina, On Right Pleasure and Good Health, c. 1467

Eggs on a Spit. Heat the spit hot, mount the eggs through the ends or crosswise, and turn them on the spit as for a roast; when they look done, take them off and serve them. The Neapolitan recipe collection (15th C)

Two different approaches to the same problem: roasting an egg. Eggs might be liquidy on the inside of a shell but they are not watery, they are viscous. The trick for cooking the egg is not really heating the spit, although it might help, but placement of the egg. You will probably end up with some of the egg spilling into the fire, especially as you are learning the technique, but if you pay attention the waste won’t be too high.

Ingredients:
* 1 or 2 eggs (per person)

Directions:

  1. Let your fire die down to coals, you want a cooking fire not a campfire.
  2. Pierce both ends of the egg carefully with a pin (or is using free range goose eggs an awl)
  3. Thread the egg slowly onto a long skewer, or long hot dog fork.
  4. Hold the egg ~2 feet from coals, parallel to the ground,  to roast, ~10 minutes.

If you feel like the skewer is vibrating heavily, then the egg is boiling and too close to fire.

If the egg white pours out of each end then the egg is boiling and is too close to fire.

If the egg goop that leaked out when you skewered the egg isn’t turning white on the outside of the shell then you are too far away from the fire.

The egg might crack, don’t worry, the egg should still hold together inside the shell, unless you are too close to the fire.

 

Wortes

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Wortes, wortys, or longwortes, are all leafy greens, on purpose herbs or invasive weeds. The cultivated brassica includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, savoy, kohlrabi and kai-lan.

If googling you will find that ‘worts’ are a skin problem that looks like cauliflower. This being said there are no longer any cauliflower recipes in this blog.

Buttered Wortes.
Take all manner of good herbs that thou may gete, and do to them as is forsaid; put them on the fire with fair water; put there-to clarified butter a great quantity. Whan they been boiled enough, salt them; let none oatmeal come there-in. Dice bread small in dishes, and power on the wortes, and serve them forth. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (1430)

Ingredients
* 8 cups of mixed leafy greens and herbs, like spinach, collard greens, brassica leaves, dandelion, parsley, etc, washed, stems removed
* 4 dinner rolls cut into quarters
* 1/4 cup of clarified butter
* Salt to taste

Directions
1) Put a large pot of water on to boil. Submerge the greens into the water along with the butter. Bring the greens to boil.

2) Put the rolls into four different bowls and divide the wilted greens on top of them. Add salt to taste and serve.

Another Broth with Longwortes.
Take mutton and fair water, and let them boil upon the fire and then take lettuce or spinach, and put thereto, and if lyst to boil therewith two or three chickens, and put thereto salt and verjuice after your discretion, and serve them forth, the flesh under, the herbes above. A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (mid-16th c.)

Ingredients
* 1 leg of mutton, or mutton bone
* 8 cups of Spinach (or lettuce), washed, stems removed
* 2 small chickens, quartered
* 2 tbsp salt
* 1/2 verjuice

Directions
1) Put mutton leg, or stewing bone, into a large pot and cover with water. Bring pot to boil and then reduce to simmer for 1 hour.

2) Add spinach, chicken pieces, salt and verjuice. Simmer chickens until they reach 165°F and the joints are easily broken apart, approximately 40 minutes.

3) Arrange the cooked chicken pieces on plates and cover with the cooked herbs.