Blood Cake for Halloween!


I was looking through past blog articles for a recipe and discovered that in the Beans and Thickeners article I mentioned that blood was also used as an egg replacer but I’d leave that recipe to Halloween.

Well I said I’d do it so here I go.

Blood pancakes (also known as Blodpannekake, Veriohukaiset, Blodpannkaka) are a traditionally served food from all over Northern Europe. The modern blood pancake recipes I found have molasses or a savoury component such as onions added to the mixture. I couldn’t find an early English recipe for griddle fried blood cakes even though they are certainly a traditional food.

The following recipe is an unsweetened baked blood cake recipe from Forme of Cury.  I’d serve this simple cake with syrup, fruit compote, or with fried onions, as is done with the above traditional pancakes. The recipe is similar to bannock, but without any rising agents.

When cooking with blood to substitute for eggs use a ratio of 1/3 cup of blood for one egg, or 1/4 cup of blood for one egg white. I used pre-clotted blood from Asian grocery, if you have fresh blood add oatmeal 1 tbsp at a time until the dough is thick not runny.

Blood can be used as a colouring agent in recipes or as the sticky ‘egg wash’ for breading fish.

Also, blood is supposed to be easy to digest.

Pie with pig’s blood 
Take blode of swyne, floure, & larde idysed, salt & mele; do hit togedre. Bake hyt in a trappe wyt wyte gres. Forme of Cury, 14th century

* 1 cup pigs blood, strained
* 1 cup flour
* 1/4 cup lard
* pinch of salt
* 1/4 oatmeal
* bacon fat to grease pan

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) Mix together blood, flour, lard, salt, and oatmeal. Kneed together with hands so that batter is an even burgundy or pink throughout.
3) Grease cake or pie pan. Pour batter into pan then press it flat.
4) Bake cake for 45 minutes, until bread is dry to touch, its hard to see ‘browning’ with such a dark cake.

Confession: I used gf flour so I could try it. Its really good. Is there nothing lard can’t make delicious?


Bletting and Serviceberry Marmalade


There was frost on the ground today, I know because my dog tried to eat it.

Some of the medieval fruit we want to use is picked this fruit after the first frost, and then let it further ripen, or rot, called ‘bletting’. Medlars, serviceberries, and quinces are excellent examples of these.

Quinces need to have brown spots on the skins or they will be too hard to eat after simmering them for 4 hours. Its very frustrating.

Medlars, if you are lucky enough to find them, are so rotten they are squish and taste slightly alcoholic.

Serviceberries, also called rowan berries, need to be cooked to get rid of the sorbic acid that makes it inedible raw and unripe.

Once you have over ripe fruit it is perfect for making marmalade.

For ease of understanding the following recipe:
* Damsons, are a type of plum.
* Wardens are a type of pear.
* Checkers and servits are a type of rowan berry.

To Make Marmalade of Service Berries and Apples
TAke damsins which are ripe, boyle them on the fyre with a little fayre water tyll they
bee softe, then draw them through a course boulter as ye make a tart set it on the fyre
agayne seethe it on height with sufficient suger, as you do your quinces, dash it with
sweete water & and box it. If you wil make it of prunes, euen likewise doo put some apples also to it, as you dyd to your quinces. This wise you may make marmylade of wardens, peares, apples, & medlars, servits or checkers, strawberrys every one by him selfe, or els mixt it together, as you thick good.  John Partridge, The Treasurie of commodious Conceits (1573)

* 2 cups rowan berries, picked over
* 2 cups apples, cored, and coarsely chopped
*  2.5 cups raw cane sugar
1) Place berries and enough water to cover in a sauce sauce pan, and then simmer on medium-high, until fruit softens, approximately 20 minutes.
2) Strain fruit in fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Squish the fruit to get all the juice out. [Modern recipes say not to do this, it will make jelly cloudy.]
3) Mix sugar and juice together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4) Pour in a sterilized jar, cover and store in a cool, dry dark place.


Caudle of Almond Milk or Hot Almond Milk Drink



This is another experiment on the differences between cooking with ale or wine.

Nut milks are made by blanching and grinding a fatty nut, like almond, and blending it in water for some time, and then straining out the solids. Ratios will depend upon preferences and how thick you like your milk.

Since we are using saffron to colour the wine-drink option I am using white wine. They would have coloured with something else, or nothing, if red was being used.

The ale is a superior drink mix, with or without the ginger garnish. You can even use less sugar with the ale. It has a warm earthiness that is part of the best comfort food style drinks.

The heat sharpened the flavour of the wine, so if you use a crappy wine the crappiness really comes through very strongly. Honey might be preferable over sugar. Garnished with ginger is preferable over no garnish.

Both mixes taste better as the drink cools or the more you drink.



Caudell de Almondes. Take rawe almondes, and grinde hem, And temper hem with goode ale and a litul water; and drawe hem thorgh a streynour into a faire potte, and lete hit boyle awhile; And cast there-to saffron, Sugur and salt, and serue hit forth hote. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (1430)


Cawdel Of Almaund Mylk. XX.IIII. VII. Take Almaundes blaunched and drawe hem up with wyne, do þerto powdour of gyngur and sugur and colour it with Safroun. boile it and serue it forth. Forme of Cury (1390)


Caudell of Almondys. Grynd almondys blaunchyd & temper hem up with wyne or with ale & draw hit thorow a streynour do hit in a pott & do to sigure or hony claryfyd & safron & set hit on the fyre stere hit well as sone as hit be gynneth to boyle take hit of & serve hit forth & yf thu wilt cast a lytyll poudyr if gynger. Wagstaff Miscellany (1460)


Ale & Almond Caudle:
1 cup Ale
1/4 cup ground almonds
pinch saffron
1/4 cup raw sugar (or honey)
pinch salt
Optional: Powdered ginger to garnish

  1. Pour cup of ale into a larger pot and stir in the ground almond. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Blend the ale mixture for 1-2 minutes using whisk or hand blender.
  3. Pour mixture into a saucepan through a strainer or cheesecloth.
  4. Warm ale mixture on medium high until it starts to boil (approximately 5 minutes). Add saffron, sugar and salt, then stir until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Remove from heat and serve hot.


Wine & Almond Caudle:
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
pinch saffron
1/4 cup raw sugar (or honey)
Optional: Powdered ginger to garnish

  1. Pour cup of wine into a larger pot and stir in the ground almond. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Blend the wine mixture for 1-2 minutes using whisk or hand blender.
  3. Pour mixture into a saucepan through a strainer or cheesecloth. Add ginger, saffron, and sugar, then stir until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Warm wine mixture on medium high until it starts to boil (approximately 10 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and serve hot.



Funnel Cake or Cryspe


While on vacation, funnel cakes kept appearing on menus at different eateries and I would nod in approval. “Funnel cakes are a medieval dessert” I’d think to myself, certain that was fact.

But I’d never researched funnel cakes. So I dig.

According to Wikipedia, Funnel cakes are a fritter made from a yeast dough that is poured into hot oil through a funnel and fried. The funnelling of the dough into the oil gives it a lace, or wiggly pattern.

I found a few recipes that recipe a ‘renneng’ or runny batter, some with yeast, some with egg. A few recipes pour the batter out through a hole in a bowl or drip the batter through fingers. Batter has to be thick enough to stick together, but runny enough to flow through fingers or funnel. This is a deep fry, not a shallow pan fry.


Large and small crisps. Cook the large crisps in some hot lard in a syrup pot or brass casserole. Make them from egg whites and fine flour beaten together. It should not be too thick. Have a deep wooden bowl, put some batter in the bowl, and shake the hand inside the pan above the hot lard. Keep them from browning too much. Le Viandier de Taillevent (1380)

Take flour of payndemayn & medle hit with whyte grece over the fyre in a chawfour. and do the batour ther to queyntlych thorow thy fyngours or thorowe a skymmour. & let hit a lytul quayle so that ther be hooles therinne. and yf thou wolt: colour hit with alkenet foundyt. take hem up and cast ther on sugour. Fourme of Curye (1390)


FOR TO MAKE CRYPPYS. Nym flour and wytys of eyryn sugur other hony and sweyng togedere and mak a batour nym wyte grees and do yt in a posnet and cast the batur thereyn and stury to thou have many and tak hem up and messe hem wyth the frutours and serve forthe. Forme of Cury (1390)

CREPES. Take flour and mix with eggs both yolks and whites, but throw out the germ, and moisten with water, and add salt and wine, and beat together for a long time: then put some oil on the fire in a small iron skillet, or half oil and half fresh butter, and make it sizzle; and then have a bowl pierced with a hole about the size of your little finger, and then put some of the batter in the bowl beginning in the middle, and let it run out all around the pan; then put on a plate, and sprinkle powdered sugar on it. And let the iron or brass skillet hold three chopines, and the sides be half a finger tall, and let it be as broad at the bottom as at the top, neither more nor less; and for a reason. Le Menagier de Paris (1393)

Cryspe. Takew of eyroun, Mmylke, and floure, and a lytel berme, and bete it to-gederys, and draw it thorw a straynoure, so that it be renneng, and not to styf, and caste Sugre ther-to, and Salt; thanne take a chafer ful of freysshe grece boyling, and put thin hond in the Bature, and lat thin bature renne dowun by thin fyngerys in-to the chafere; and whan it is ronne to-gedere on the chafere, and is y-now, take and nym a skymer, and take it vp, and lat al the grece renne owt, and put it on a fayre dyssche, and cast ther-on Sugre y-now, and serue forth. Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse  (1430)

*Lard for frying
* whites of 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1.5 cups of milk
* 2 cups of fine white flour
* pinch of salt
*1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
* optional: honey, red wine, red dye, 

  1. Heat lard on medium high. It should be heated in a deep pot so that there is a depth of 1.5-3 inches of fat.
  2. Mix eggs, milk, flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar together very well. Run mixture through strainer to smooth out any lumps. If batter is too thick to run through strainer add one of the optional ingredients or a little more milk.
  3. Slowly drizzle dough, criss-crossing on itself, 1/2 cup of mixture at a time.  If batter spreads out like noodles instead of clumping like fritters add more flour. Fry until fritter is brown, one at a time. Approximately 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle sugar on each hot fritter then serve.