Rabbit & Grape Pie or To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton..

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I had leftover rabbit to use up and some grapes that were no longer completely firm. So…. pie!

There are many examples of layered pies so I did the layering here. I believe it would work if you mixed all the ingredients together instead of using layers, but I’d add some more egg yolk for binder and reduce the amount of grapes or gooseberries.

A Book of Cookrye (1591) mentioned a similar dish but using verjuice and butter as a replacement for fruit, you could do that here instead of the grapes.

To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton.. Take a Conny and perboile it almost enough, then mince the flesh of it very fine, and take with it three yolks of hard eggs, and mince with it, then lay another Conny in your Pie being parboiled, and your minced meat with it, being seasoned with Cloues, Mace, Ginger, Saffron Pepper & Salt, with two dishes of swéete butter mixed with it, lay upon your Connie Barberries, or grapes, or the small raisins, and so bake it.

–Thomas Dawson. The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (1597)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded parboiled rabbit, chopped (or veal or mutton)
  • 2 yolks of hardboiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 slice of bacon, chopped small
  • 1 pinch each ginger, salt, pepper, mace, cloves, saffron
  • enough grapes to cover the top of the filling
  • 1 small pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix half the shredded rabbit with the egg yolks, coating the  chopped rabbit and making a paste. Put it in the bottom of the pie crust and smash it down with a fork to cover it evenly.
  3. Mix the rest of the rabbit and butter,  bacon, and spices, to make a paste and layer it over the egg-yolk mixture.
  4. Take the grapes and layer them over the rabbit mixture. It might be appropriate to cut the grapes in half but I pricked a hole in each of the grapes with a sharp knife btu left them otherwise whole.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
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Baked Pears or “Cooked Pears” 2

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Using the same source recipe I used poached the pears in syrup, I am baking pears. I was concerned about how expensive the poached pears were so I am trying the recipe with a different interpretation this time.

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Cooked pear. Lots of honey, black pepper, saffron, clove, cinnamon and a bit of wine. The Prince of Transylvania’s Court Cookbook (Hungary, 16th c.)

Ingredients:

  • 8 pears, pealed, stems left in
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Fresh pepper ground
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cloves, ground
  • 2 threads saffron

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 410.
  2. Arrange pears in a small baking dish so that they touch and support each other upright.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients into a sauce and cover the pears with the mixture. Pour any remaining syrup into baking dish.
  4. Bake pears for ~35 minutes, until the are browned and soft. Baste with its own cooking liquid halfway through baking.
  5. Serve with pear sauce drippings.

* I prefer the baked pears recipe flavour to the poached pears recipe except the poached was so much easier and look nicer. The pepper really comes through in this dish. I will ask Marie which one she prefers. 

Beet Pickle Two Ways or Beets with Horseradish

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Marinated Beets with horseradish

Recipe 1:

Marx Rumpolt, Ein New Kochbuch, 1581. Translation by M Cat Grasse.

  1. Rote Ruben eyngemacht mit klein geschnittenen Merrettich/ Aniss/ Coriander/ und ein wenig Kuemel/ sonderlich wenn die Ruben geschnitten/ gesotten mit halb Wein und halb Essig

  1. Red beets preserved with small cut horseradish/ anise/ coriander/ and a little caraway/ special if the beets are cut/ marinated in half wine and half vinegar.

Ingredients (test run size)

  • 3 medium or 6 small beets, steamed, quartered
  • 1 tbsp horseradish, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp anise
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp caraway
  •  1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Put beets in glass jar.
  2. Add horseradish and spices on top.
  3. Mix wine and vinegar. Slowly pour wine mixture over beets.
  4. Cover and chill for three+ days.

Recipe 2

Here is the recipe from the Koge Bog, with translation by Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir,

Røde Beder at indsalte. Først skal leggis i en Brendevijnspande 2. Tegelsteene paa Kanten / der paa lagt nogle stycker Træ / oc siden gufuis vand paa / dog saa at det icke naer træerne: Offuen paa samme træer skulle Bederne leggis / oc siden Hielmen paasæt. Leg der under en god ild / saa bederne aff jemen kunde kogis / dog icke forbløde. Naar de saa er sødne / reengiorde oc kolde / skulle de skæris vdi tønde skiffuer / der til Peberrod vdi smaa stycker (som hacket speck) oc skal aff fornæffnde skaarne Beder først et law vdi en ny glasseret Potte nedleggis: Derpaa strøes aff samme Peberrod / Danske Kommen / smaa støtte Peber /oc ringe salt: Siden leggis huert andet law Beder / oc huert andet fornæffnde Vrter strøes der offuer. Siden giffues offuer god Øledicke / eller helten Øledicke / oc helten Vijnedicke / saa megit Bedin kand betæcke. Siden leggis et Log offuer med et reent tyngsel / oc offuerbindis med et reent Klæde /oc hensættis paa en bequemme sted.Nogle faa Dage der effter kunde de brugis: Dog rør icke der i met bare Fingre.

 

How to pickle beetrots. First take a distilling pan an place two bricks in. Then arrange some wooden sticks on top of them and add water to the pan, but not so much that it reaches the sticks. Arrange the beetroots on top of the sticks and place the lid on top of the pan. Put on a good fire so the beetroots will be cooked in the steam, but without bleeding. When they are cooked, cleaned and cold, they should be cut into thin slices, and some horseradish should be cut into small pieces (as when lardons are chopped up). Take an new glazed jar and first place a layer of the aforementioned sliced beetroots in it; then sprinkle some horseradish, caraway, finely crushed pepper and a small amount of salt over this. Add more layers of beetroots and the aforementioned spices. Then good ale vinegar is poured over, or half ale vinegar, half wine vinegar, as much as needed to cover the beetroots. Then place a lid with a clean weight on top on the jar, tie a clean cloth over it and store in a convenient place. The beetroots can be used in a few days; but do not stir them with bare fingers.

Ingredients (test run size)

  • 3 medium or 6 small beets, steamed, quartered
  • 1 tbsp horseradish, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp caraway
  •  1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Put a small layer of beets in glass jar.  Sprinkle some horseradish and spices on top. Repeat until jar is full.
  2. Mix wine and vinegar. Slowly pour wine mixture over beets.
  3. Cover and chill for three+ days.

 

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)

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).

Cheese and Onion Tart or Tart On Ember-day

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Tart on Ember-day. Parboyle onions, and sauge, and parsel, and hew hom small, then take gode .fatte chese, and bray hit, and do therto egges, and tempur hit up therwith; and do therto butter and sugur, and raisynges of corance, and pouder of ginger, and of canell; medel all this well togedur, and do hit in a coffyn, and bake hit uncovered and serve hit forthe. Richard Warner, Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Ember-day is a fast day the observant Christian medieval person would follow. It wasn’t fast that meant no-food, but fast meaning no meat. If you are looking for vegetarian recipes “ember” or “in lent” are useful terms to know.

Often you see this recipe with the typo “fauge” instead of “sauge” throwing all sorts of confusion into the mix. There is no herb ‘fauge’ (probably) but there are calligraphy ‘s’ that looks like ‘f’.

Onions being dry and hot of course respond well to being parboiled. It also takes away some of the cooking time and bitterness of the onions. When chopping the cooked onions be careful, they are very slippery*. If you chop them before parboiling you will add a lot more moisture to the pie unless you drain them really well.

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Ingredients
* 4 onions, peeled
* 1 tsp sage
* 1 tsp parsley
* 300 ml soft goat cheese
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
*  2 tbsp currants
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions:
1) Place peeled onions into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring onions to rolling boil. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool before chopping each onion into small pieces (makes about 3 cups of chopped onion)

2) Preheat oven to 350.

3) Mix chopped onions, herbs, cheese, eggs, butter, sugar, currants and spices together. Use the herbs and currants to gauge when it is evenly mixed.

4) Pour onion mixture into pie crust and bake for 1 hour, until pie is golden brown, and middle is cooked. Serve hot or cold.

* yes I cut myself chopping the onions.