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


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)


  • 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


  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.

Pynade or Chicken Candy


Ever since I first cracked open the intimidating Take a Thousand Eggs or More by Cindy Renfrow I wanted to make some of the stranger dishes.

Pynade, is like peanut brittle but uses chicken and pine nuts instead of peanuts found in this book.

Most people make the version for lent, or without chicken. Chicken adds moisture so it is harder to get the sugars to the hard crack stage without burning–especially when using honey instead of sugar.

If you remove the dish from heat before the honey reaches 300F it is still a kind of sweet and (not very) sour chicken dish people seem to like so it is worth experimenting with.

Pynade. Take Hony & gode pouder Gyngere, & Galyngale, & Canelle, Pouder pepir, & graynys of parys, & boyle y-fere; than take kyrnelys of Pynotys & caste ther-to; & take chyconys y-sothe, & hew hem in grece, & caste ther-to, & lat sethe y-fere; & then lat droppe ther-of on a knyf; & if it cleuyth & wexyth hard, it ys y-now; & then putte it on a chargere tyl it be cold, & mace lechys, & serue with other metys; & if thou wolt make it in spycery, then putte non chykonys ther-to. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books


* 2 Chicken breasts
* Oil for cooking
* 1 cup pine nuts
* 1 tsp galingale, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* Pinch black pepper, ground
* Pinch of grains of paradise, ground
* 1 cup honey

1) Fry chicken breasts in oil until cooked through, then chop chicken very small, and lie meat on cutting board to cool and drain. Too much moisture left in meat at this stage will change the dish.

2) In a dry skillet toast the pine nuts with the spices on a low heat.

3) Add chicken pieces and stir, coating the chicken liberally.

4) Pour honey into skillet and simmer, stirring constantly, until honey reaches just over 300 degrees or hard crack stage. The honey will change colour from golden to brown, and smell like candy.

5) Quickly pour honey mixture onto non-stick baking mat, or parchment paper, and let cool.

6) Finished product should look like “chicken brittle”, break into pieces to serve.

Beans as Thickner


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

* 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

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
* 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
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

* 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)

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

* 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.



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)

* 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

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.)

* 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

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.


Claret Wine


Claret wine is referred to in a few different cookbooks. Claret could be a French wine, from a specific region, it could be an old wine flavoured with spices, or simply a clarified wine. That it is a dry wine seems to be the only consistent agreement.

It doesn’t take a long time to ferment juices into wine, 10-15 days, with an additional week to clear. You can even make this useful liquid with yeasts in the air, very convenient, although this means the flavour is random, since the type of yeast used dictates much of the flavour.

In medieval times, mixing 1 to 3 red wine to water, a  level of purification was achieved. By adding alcohol to water it changes the ph of the liquid, killing off microbes that can make someone sick.

A fresh wine of 15 days isn’t the smoothest of refreshment but can be useful for cooking. the addition of wine gives a sour tag, that can be enjoyable. I doubt it was used for food preserving.

For recipes calling for Claret I use the cheapest boxed, dry, red wine from Vineyards.

A Quarter Tart of Pippins.
(England, 1615)
Quarter them, and lay them  between two sheets of Paste: put in a piece of whole cinnamon, two or three bruised cloves, a little sliced ginger, orrengado, or only the yellow outside of the orange, a bit of sweet Butter about the bigness of an egg, good store of Sugar: sprinkle on a little rosewater. Then close your tart, and bake it: ice it before it goes to the board, serve it hot. This tart you may make of any puft-paste, or short paste that will not hold the raising. If you bake it in any of these kinds of pastes, then you must first boil your pippins in claret wine and sugar, or else your apples will be hard, when your crust will be burnt and dried away. Besides, the wine gives them a pleasant colour, and a good taste also. Though you boil your pippins tender, take heed you break not the quarters, but bake them whole. A NEVV BOOKE of Cookerie

* 8 pippins, or other soft baking apple, peeled and quartered
* 1 litre of dry red wine
* 1/4 cup raw cane sugar + 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
* pastry for top and bottom of pie
*1/4 tsp cloves, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, grated
* 1 tbsp orange zest
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature.
* 1/2 tsp rosewater
* 2 tbsp cane sugar

1. Place apple slices in a sauce pan with wine and 1/4 cup of sugar. Put pot on medium heat, and bring apples to boil. Remove from heat and drain.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Gently place apples into pie shell. Cover apples with cinnamon, ginger, zest, butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and rose water, and then cover fruit with a pastry lid. Bake pie for 45 minutes, until crust is golden.
4. Cover lid of hot pie with 2 tbsp of cane sugar. Once sugar has melted a bit serve pie.

How To Make A Pudding in a Turnip Root.
(England, 1591)
Take your turnip root, and wash it fair in warm water, and scrape it faire and make it hollow as you do a carrot root, and make your stuffe of grated bread, and apples chop fine, then take currents, and hard eggs, and season it with sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, and yolks of hard eggs and so temper your stuff, and put it into the turnip, then take fair water, and set it on the fire, and let it boil or ever you put in your turnips, then put in a good piece of sweet butter, and claret wine, and a little vinegar, and rosemary, and whole mace, sugar, and currants, and dates quartered, and when they are boiled enough, then will they be tender, then serve it in. A Book of Cookrye

* 4 turnips, peeled
* 1 apple, peeled, shredded
* 1 tsp currants
* 4 egg yolks, hard boiled
* 1 tbsp raw cane sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
* 1 cup bread crumbs, dry
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 tbsp wine vinegar
* 1 branch rosemary
* 1 flake mace
* 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp currants
* 4 dates, pits removed, quartered

1) Hollow out the turnips, via a narrow opening. Go slow so you don’t puncture the turnip.
2) Mix apples, 1 tsp currants, yolks, 1 tbsp cane sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Slowly add bread crumbs by hand until a firm paste is formed.
3) Slowly pack the turnips with the apple stuffing mixture. Place turnips into a saucepan and cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer.
4) Add butter, wine, rosemary, mace, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp currants, and dates to turnip pot. Simmer until turnips are tender when poked with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.

How To Bake Venison. 
(England, 1591)
When it is parboiled, season it with salt and pepper somewhat groce beaten, and a little ginger, and good store of sweet Butter, and when the venison is tender baked put to it half a dozen spoonfuls of claret wine and shake it well together. A Book of Cookrye

* 2 lbs wild deer roast
* 1 tbsp salt,
* 10 peppercorns, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, grated
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup dry red wine

1) Cover roast with water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and drain.
2) Preheat oven to 350F.
3) Place roast into baking dish, cover with salt, spices and butter. Bake roast for 30 minutes or until meat reaches 145F for rare, or 160F medium.
4) Slice roast and toss with the red wine then serve.



I have taken a break from this blog while I finish editing on my Henry Buttes book for 5 River’s Publishing. This recipe didn’t make the cut but I thought it was fun:

Butter Fried Bacon

To frie Bakon. Take Bacon and slice it very thinne, and cut awaye the leane, and bruse it with the backe of your knife, and fry it in sweet Butter, and serue it. The Good Housewife’s Jewell, 1596


This is no reason to do this recipe except the perverse need to see if you can improve on bacon. It’s not bad, layering of different types of animal fat complicates the flavour. 



* 1 large slice of pork belly

* 1 tsp of butter


1) Slice pork belly thinly with sharp knife.

2) Heat cast iron skillet to medium.

3) Add butter to melt.

4) Fry the slices of bacon in butter until they are crispy on both sides.

5) Lay on paper towel to absorb moisture.

Ye Olde Deviled Eggs


Stuffed eggs, are ancient treats. Possibly served in the best parties without pants in ancient Rome, as well as the best parties where finger foods are licked off of dainty fingers today.

Modern ‘Deviled Eggs’ are simple and bland compared to earlier versions. Here herbs and tang are combined, sometimes with dried fruit, for a flavorful morsel.

The herbs and oil in each of the 3 recipes take away the dry texture of the yolks and make this a simple dish fit for a King.

13th Century: Savoury Devilled

Take as many eggs as you like, and boil them whole in hot water; put them in cold water and split them in half with a thread. Take the yolks aside and pound cilantro and put in onion juice, peper and coriander, and beat all this together with Murri, and oil and salt until it forms a dough. Then stuff the whites with this and fasten it together, insert a small stick into each egg, and sprinkle them with pepper.” An Anonymous Andalusian cookbook of the 13th century, translated from the original Arabic by Charles Perry found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Recipes edited by David Freeman and Elizabeth Cook.


  • 8 Eggs, hard boiled, shelled
  •  1 tsp cilantro,
  • 2 tsp onion juice, (one whole onion creamed in food processor than strained will give you about 2 tsp of onion juice)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (murri),
  • 3 tsp olive oil,
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper

1. Cut each egg in half (thread works best for this job). Remove yolks, placing them in food processor. Set egg whites aside on a platter.

2. Add cilantro, onion juice, fish sauce, oli oil, and salt to eggs and blend well.

3. Put spoonfuls of egg yolk mixture into egg white halves, garnish with pepper.

15th Century: Cheese and Raisin stuffed eggs

Make fresh eggs hard by cooking for a long time. Then, when the shells are removed, cut the eggs through the middle so that the whole white is not damaged. When the yolks are removed, pound part with raisins and good cheese, some fresh, some aged. Reserve part to color the mixture, and also add a little finely cut parsley, marjoram, and mint. Some put in two or more egg whites with spices. When the whites of the eggs have been stuffed with this mixture and closed, fry them over a slow fire in oil. When they have been fried, add a sauce made from the rest of the egg yolks pounded with raisins and moistened with verijuice and must. Put in ginger cloves, and cinnamon and heat them a little while with the eggs themselves. This has more harm than good in it. “ Eggs stuffed with cheese, raisins, & herbs – Original recipes from De honesta voluptate:


  • 8 eggs, hard boiled, shells removed
  • 4 tbsp soft cheese
  • 2 tbsp small raisins or dried currants
  • 4 tbsp combination of sweet herbs like parsley, marjoram, and mint finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1) Cut each egg in half (A thread works best for this). Put yolks aside in a bowl. Arrange whites on a platter.

2) Add cheese, fruit, herbs and spices to yolk, combine until it makes a batter.

3) Put spoonfuls of yolk mixture to each egg white half to serve. The original calls for re-heating mixture and making a sauce. I think it makes the eggs rubbery, but please experiment.

17th Century: Farced Eggs

Eggs farced. Take sorrell, alone if you will, or with other herbs, was and swing them, then mince them very small, and put between two dishes with fresh butter or passe them in the panne; after they are passed, soak and season them; after your farce is sod, take some hard eggs, cut them into halfs, a crosse, or in length, and take out the yolks, and mince them with your farce, and after all is well mixed, stew them over the fire, and put to it a little nutmeg, and served garnished with the whites of your eggs which you may make brown in the pan with brown butter.” François Pierre La Varenne, Le Cuisinier françois (1651) at translation found


  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of fresh bitter herbs (i.e. green onion, sorrel, dandelion, savoury, chicory, borage, etc) chopped
  • Dash of nutmeg

1) Cut peeled eggs in half (cutting with a string works best), and place the yolks into a mixing bowl. Set aside the egg whites on a platter.

2) Heat pan on medium. Melt butter than sauté herbs until wilted.

3) Reduce heat on pan to low. Add the yolks, to the hot herb mixture stirring well, until mixture thickens and forms a dough like texture.

4) Spoon herb mixture into the egg white halves, and serve warm or cold.