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)