Barbaerry Jam or To Make a Conserve of Barberies

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I drove all over Ottawa to try to find on the bush barberries for my class on “winter foraging” for Practicum (local SCA event) and failed. Here is a recipe with dried barberries from a grocery store, like a normal person would do.

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To make conserue of Barberies. Take your Barberies and pick them clean, and set the over a soft fire, and put to them Rosewater as much as you think good, then when you think it be sodde enough, strain that, and then seethe it again, and to every pound of Barberies, one pound of sugar, and meat your conserve. The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (1597)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of dried barberries
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp raw cane sugar

Directions:

  1. place barberries and rose water in a small sauce pan and simmer the fruit on medium until berries absorb some of the liquid and are quite soft (~5 minutes). Stir constantly.
  2. Drain fruit. If the liquid has turned black you’ve burnt it and start again. Weigh fruit.
  3. Add fruit back to pot with equal weight of sugar and a tbsp of water. Simmer this mixture on medium high for ~5 minutes. It will be a sauce that should last for some time in the fridge.

The berries actually tasted really good at step 2. Possibly better than after sugar was added, so it just proves you never can tell.

Almond Milk Sauce or “Viii – broth With eggs In (sauce) For Good partridge”

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For thanksgiving I made 3 partridges instead of a turkey. Partridges are an extremely lean meat, and need a sauce. This sauce has the ‘fatty’ mouthfeel that these birds need.

I made my own almond milk because I find the almond milks commercially available to be really thin. I used 1 cup of sliced almonds and two cups of water. I soaked the almonds overnight in the blender (but an hour long soak should be fine). Then blend the soaked almonds for as long as you can stand the noise for (2-5 minutes) and then strain. It should yield ~2 cups of almond cream.

I also made my own verjuice (in the spring but now I’m just showing off). The verjuice is acidic, however almond milk won’t curdle like cows’ milk would.

If you just stir egg yolks into the mixture before heating everything you are likely to get clumping instead of a smooth sauce. In this recipe I heat all the ingredients and then add a bit of the hot liquid to the egg yolks before adding the egg yolk mixture to the hot liquid. This is not what it says to do in the original, please play with the recipe yourself and see what happens, or if you prefer the effect. When redacting a recipe you have to know some things about how the ingredients are going to interact so I stand by my egg-yolk handling.

Almond Sauce for Partridges

Sexy partridge legs waiting for a dip into the almond sauce.

VIII – Broth with eggs in (sauce) for good partridge. Broth of partridge, take milk of almonds and egg yolks and saffron and verjuice and sweet spices and allow to boil enough until it is cooked and it will be good. Libro di cucina  (Italy, 14th/15th c. – Louise Smithson, trans.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups thick almond milk
  • 2 saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup verjuice ( I used crab-apple, but grape would work)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 egg yolks, mixed with a  fork.*

Directions

  1. Stir almond milk, saffron, verjuice, ginger, and cinnamon together in a sauce pan. Put the pan to heat on medium-high until it comes to boil, stirring often.
  2. Put 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and acting quickly stir really well. Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the main sauce pan while stirring really well.
  3. Let mixture simmer on low until guests are ready for the meal, stirring often.

* to use up the whites I recommend white torte.

Ipocras 3 ways from “The Booke of Carving and Sewing” (1613)

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Whenever I find a Ipocras recipe I write it out for my friend Helen. These are from a book I got from eebo.com called “The Booke of Carving and Sewing” (1613)  printed by printed by Edward Allde for Sara White (in London). I dug around but I was unable to find more on this 40 page (20 pages in pdf) receipt book.

I started reading the manuscript because I was interested in the discussion of different feast days between the different versions of Ipocras.

[page 3]
Here followeth the names of Wines
Red wine, White wine, Claret wine, Osey, Caprick, Campolet, Renish wine, Malmesey, Bastard, Eyre, Romney, Muscadell, Clary, Raspis, Vernage, Cutz, Piment, and Ipocras
[page 4]
For to make Ipocras,
Take Ginger, Pepper, Graines, Canel, Cinamon, Suger, and tornsole, than looks ye have five or sixe bags of your Ipocras to run in, and a pearch that your renners may ren on, then must ye have six pewter basins, to stand under your bags, then looke your spice be ready and your Ginger well pared, ere it be beaten to powder, than looke your stalkes, of Sinamon be well coloured, and the sweet Canel is not so gentre[??]n operation, Cinamon is hot and dry, Graines of Paradice be hot & moist, Ginger, Graines, long Pepper and Suger be hot and moist, Sinamon, Canell, and red Wine coulouring.
Now know yee(?) the proportions of your Ipocras, then beat your Powders each by them selves, and put them in bladders, and hang your bags sure that no bagge touch other, but let each Basin touch other, let the first Basin be of a gallon, and each of the other a pottle(?), than put in your Basin a gallon, of redde Wine, put there to your powders, and stirre them well , then put them into the first bagge, and let is ren, than put them into the second Bagge, than take a peece in your hand and assay if it be strong of the Ginger and alay it with Sinamon, and if it be strong of Sinamon, alay it with sugar. & look ye let it ren through six renners, and your Ipofras shall be the finer : than put your Ipocras into a close vessell, and keep the receite, for it will serve for sewes, then serve your Sovereign with wafers and Ipocras.
Very serious and then we find on page 20 something much simplier:
To Make Ipocras:
Take  a gallon of wine, & an ownce of Sinamon, two ounces of ginger, & a pound of sugar, twenty cloves bruised, and twenty cornes of pepper grosse beaten, and let all those soak one night, and let it run through a bag.
and
To make Ipocras,
Take of chosen Cinamon two ownces, of fine ginger one ownce, of graines half an ownce, bruise them all, and steepe them in three or 4 pyutes of good odifferous wine with a pound of suger, by the space of foure and twenty howers, then put them into a Ipocras bag  of wollen, and so receive the liquor. The readiest and best way is to put the spices with the halfe pound of suger and the wine into a bottle or a Bone(?) pot stopped close, and after twenty foure houres it will be ready, then cast a thinne linnen cloath and a piece of a beulter cloath in the mouth, and let it so much runne through as yee will occupie at once, and keep the vessell close, for it wilso well keep both the sprite odour and vertue of the wine and also of spices.
FINIS

A “wollen” ipocras bag amuses me greatly.  I picture some poor apprentice using a sock.

Apple Filling or “The next dishes are made from apple.”

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Using up apples one blog post at a time!

This is my favourite sauce so far. Its very sweet, not savoury which I was expecting, but that probably reflect how sweet and juicy these apples are and the sweetness of the wine.

Although it is a stuffing all the recipes for donuts, cakes and strudels I used it as a pancake topping. I think it is a flexible sauce.

The next dishes are made from apple. Peel the apple, slice it into little pieces, put them into a clean pan, add some wine, then some black pepper and ginger, then cook it. Do what I told you before, you can use this for stuffing cakes or strudels. The Prince of Transylvania’s Court Cookbook  (Hungary, 16th c.)

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups wine
  • 1 tsp Black pepper fresh ground, (or more)
  • 1 slice of dried ginger

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in sauce pan and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer until apples fall apart.
  2. Remove ginger slice and then use a potato masher to smooth out sauce.
  3. Serve in donuts, strudels, or on cake.

 

Apple Picking

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A car load of of went to a friends farm to pick apples. The apple orchard we descended upon was semi-wild and not sprayed for pests and things. Organic!

When using organic(!) apples you should know several things. The bugs you might find are technically edible. I set the worms and apples free when I found wiggly things. I did cook the apples with bruising from the worms. Any spots and rust on the on the outside can be cut or peeled away. Its also technically edible.

 

 

If you pick up apples off the ground they can be contaminated with ecoli. Cooking apples, or pasteurizing drinks made with apples will kill this and other bacteria.

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Enjoy applesauce!

My basic sauce recipe: 16 cups of roughly chopped apples, 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar into instantpot on manual for 20 minutes, slow release. Makes 2.5 litres of sauce.

John’s recipe: 16 cups of roughly chopped apples, 2 cups water, 1 cinnamon stick, into instantpot on manual for 20 minutes, slow release.  Makes 2.5 litres of sauce.

Chicken stewed with apples or “Hungarian Capon in Pottage”

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The two part cooking of chicken is for two reasons:

  1. Chickens humours are of a dry humour and you need to simmer them to add moist to balance them, and
  2. it insures that the chicken is cooked through so it won’t make someone who is cooking without reliable heat, or meat thermometer, ill.

I used chicken legs but this recipe calls for Capon, which is much more expensive.

The apples are cut into quarters, this could mean that you should have chunks of apples when the sauce is done cooking, or that the cook knows they will cook long enough to thicken sauce. Or both!

I think the flavour from the pine nuts helps balance out the sweetness of the other sauce ingredients. If you needed to remove the pine nuts I’d try dried mushrooms or toasted almonds to give a umami, or savoury taste.

Hungarian Capon in pottage. Take a slightly cooked capon, cut it into quarters, & fry in butter a little, that it is not at all black: then take onions cut into slices, & apples cut into little quarters, & fry in butter, & cast it on the capon in a pot: then put therein a little broth & wine, & let it boil again, & put herein saffron, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine nuts, & make stew well until it is well cooked, & serve. Ouverture de Cuisine
(France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans.)

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken pieces
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled, quartered, cores removed
  • 1.5 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts**

DIrections

  1. Heat a deep cast iron frying pan on medium. Add chicken pieces and 1 tbsp butter, fry until chicken is brown. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tbsp butter to chicken pan* with onions and apple pieces. Fry until onions soften.
  3. Gently place chicken back to pan, cover with broth and wine and then bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until chicken falls off bone or is well cooked. Your kitchen will smell wonderful.
  5. Serve chicken with cooking liquid.

*It is a different instruction from the original but I like using one pan when I can instead of two. If pressed for time fry apples and onions in a second pot as you are browning chicken pieces.

**Costs more than the chicken did.

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.

Candy Making with Honey Part 2: touch

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To continue the candy making theme here we go…

Here (Instructables) is a fantastic discussion on using cold water to show what “stage” your sugar is at to decide when to take it off the heat. Honey doesn’t work the same way. Honey has three steps, soft ball, hard crack, and burnt.

These steps help you use the cold water test to get the texture of honey you want. Combines with the “sight” you get close to a consistent product every time you make candy.

You can also use ‘smell’, but once you smell the honey is burnt it is too late.

Henry Buttes in Dyets Dry Dinner* says “…ginger condite with honey, warms old mens bellies…it is very restorative.”

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of ginger, ground (or saffron, black pepper, cinnamon)
  • 1 bowl of really cold water.

Directions

  1. Warm a frying pan on medium. Place honey in frying pan and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring continuously.
  2. You should notice the honey change from golden clear to a light brown at around 4-6 minutes. Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a pale platelet that sinks to the bottom. If you touch it, and eat it, it is very soft and chewy. At this temp you get a sticky mess if you pour it out on your nonstick surface. Good for shaping or caramel.
  3. After 2-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change darker.  Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a darker hard platelet that floats on top of the cold water. If you touch it, and eat it, it is crunchy.
  4. Quickly add the spice and stir.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
  6. break apart to serve.

You can test your candy by dropping it in the water as you go to reassure yourself that it hasn’t burnt. It will go from hard crack to burn in about 30 seconds so its good to test frequently.

  • Found at Early English Books Online as a pdf of the original printing, or my transcribed (annotated and redacted) version on amazon.ca

 

Making Candy with Honey Part 1: sight

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This is a series of blog posts dedicated to making candy with honey (instead of sugar or corn syrup). I’m teaching a class on this in February so I am prepping for my class and blogging about it.

When making candy please have a bowl of water on hand to treat burns if the need arises.

This blog is how to use the changing colours of hot honey (or your sight) as an imperfect gauge for candy making (instead of a thermometer method). The cooking times given will be determined by the moisture content of your honey and the humidity of your kitchen. Raw honey is about 20% moisture, where candy is around 1-5%. Heating is what causes the moisture loss, obviously.

Honey boiled with walnuts, called nucato. Take boiled and skimmed honey, with walnuts chopped slightly and spices, cooked together; dip your hands in water and spread it out; let it cool and serve it. And you can use almonds and hazelnuts in place of walnuts. An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
  • pinch of ginger, ground
  • 2 pinch of cinnamon, ground

Directions

  1. Place honey in sauce pan on medium, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring often.
  2. Mix the chopped walnuts, and spices, into the honey and coat well. Bring honey back up to a boil and stir continuously.
  3. You should notice the honey change from golden to a pale brown once it is brought to boil again, after the nuts are added, at around 4 minutes. At this temp you get a sticky mess.
  4. After 3-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change slightly darker, more of a cardboard box brown.
  5. After 2-3 minutes the honey will suddenly change darker again, light brown leather coloured. This is a firm but slightly chewy candy. (If you keep going after another 30 seconds to 1 minute you will get, very dark brown, which is a hard, and brittle candy, but the risk of burning the mixture at this time is very high.)
  6. Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
  7. Slice and serve immediately.

Quince and Almond Tart or “To Make an Almond Tart”

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To make an almond tart. Take half a pound of almonds peeled and ground, quince preserved in sugar, a dozen dates well washed therein, & chop very small with the quince, & half an ounce of cinnamon, three ounces of sugar, two yolks of eggs, & mix all with the almonds, & make the tart like the others. Master Lancelot de Casteau, Montios Ouverture de Cuisine (1604)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz ground almonds
  • 2 cups stewed or canned quince (~2 quinces worth) **
  • 12 cooking dates, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 oz raw cane sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 large tart shell

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients together well, and pat into tart shell. Mixture will be paste like.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until pie crust is golden and filling is firm but sticky.

** could probably use 2.5 cups of quince or more. Would experiment with adding in quince liquid or using quince jam if making again. I thought it would be too sweet with the sugar syrup but the pie is awfully thick.