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. 

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That’s Not Lasagna or Lasagne in Lent

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I made “Its NOT Lasagna” for my family today. It looked like lasagna but it was gluten-free, nightshade-free  and cow’s-milk-cheese-free . They had two helpings of “Its NOT Lasagna” –if you could call the portion they took initially a serving. I used commercially available gf noodles, home made hamburger and pumpkin sauce, and three different kinds of goat cheese.

It could be argued that tomato sauce based lasagnas are not lasagna either if you are a big food history nerd, like myself. Which I did.

I’ve made a vegan lasagna from Libro de Cucina (14th century) before.

Walnut Lasagne
If you want to make lasagne in lent, take the lasagne (wide pasta noodles) and put them to cook (in water and salt). Take peeled walnuts and beat and grind them well. Put them between the lasagna (in layers), and guard from smoke (while reheating). And when they go to the table dress them with a dusting of spices and with sugarLibro di cucina

Ingredients
* 1 package of fresh lasagna noodles, or 1 package of dried cooked to soften
* 3 cups of walnuts, ground
* 1 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a lasagna pain or grease pan.

  3. Put a layer of noodles on pan, cover noodles with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover the walnut layer with another pasta layer, and then repeat with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover last layer with noodles. Brush top crust with oil or almond milk.

  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until  top is golden. Remove from oven and evenly cover top of pie with sugar and spices. Serve hot or cold.

  5. Optional, but not strict to original recipe, mix sugar or honey and spices in with walnuts to bake. 

There are other version from the 14th and 15th century, no tomatoes, just layers and cheese. Helewyse at medievalcookery.com compiled a fantastic list of different Italian recipes from the 14th-15th century. No tomatoes, but real lasagna.

Blood Cake for Halloween!

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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

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

Directions
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?

Caudle of Almond Milk or Hot Almond Milk Drink

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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.

 

Ale:

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)

Wine:

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)

Either:

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)

Recipes:

Ale & Almond Caudle:
Ingredients:
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:
Ingredients:
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

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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)

Cryspes.
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)

Ingredients
*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.

Poetry as Inspiration for a Picnic

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From Erotic Cuisine: A natural history of aphrodisiac cookery by Ravicz I found this delightful, a 14th Century passage (pg 67):
Under the green leaves, on the soft turf beside a chattering brook with a clear spring near at hand, I found a rustic hut set up. Gontier and Dame Helen were dining there, on fresh cheese, milk, butter, cheesecake, cream, curds, apples, nuts, plums, pears; they had garlic and onions and crushed shallots, on crusty black bread with a coarse salt to give them a thirst. They drank from a jug and birds made music to cheer the hearts of both lover and lass, who next exchanged loving kisses on mouth and nose, the smooth face and the bearded. (referenced as Marie Collins & Virginia Davis, pg 81 and attributed to Book of Hours (Summer) by Philippe de Vitry.)

The menu is:

  1. fresh cheese
  2. milk
  3. butter
  4. cheesecake
  5. cream
  6. curds
  7. apples
  8. nuts
  9. plums
  10. pears
  11. salad of garlic, onions, shallots & salt
  12. crusty black bread
  13. salt
  14. Wine, and
  15. kisses

Its sort of a lop-sided menu. Its from a book of hours, mostly the passage is to illustrate ‘Summer’ and not really a menu. I did make the menu many years ago as a picnic for around 10 people and it was fun.

Allium Family Salad
* 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, minced
* 1 large onion, peeled, chopped small
* 2 shallots, peeled, chopped small
* 1 tsp salt
* Crusty black bread
* Wine

  1. Mix garlic, onion, shallots and salt together.
  2. Serve by the spoonful on black bread, with wine.

Not kidding about the wine. The dish is very thirsty making.

For Vegetarian or Fast Days

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Between famines, fasting, food intolerances, feeling ill and penance there are a number of reasons why a noble or peasant alike would refrain from eating certain dishes at different times.

To find vegetarian recipes look through cook books with an eye out for the following phrases: “in Lent,” “in Ember Day,” “for fast days,” “for fish days,” “in Quadragesima,” “in jejunio,” “incipit servicium de piscibus.” During Lent (from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday) and during some fast days animal products and dairy are forbidden.

Although you can use modern substitutions in period recipes with great success (for example tofu instead of chicken) Rupert de Nola has other advice for substitutions: “Although the victuals that you can make for meat days are infinite, many of them can be made in Lent, because in the chapters on those victuals where I say to dissolve them with meat broth, those sauces or pottages can be dissolved with salt and oil and water, but first you have to give it a boil. And in this manner it is as good as meat broth if it is well tempered with salt and if the oil is very fine, and in this manner, many victuals which are put forth for meat days can be made in Lent.” 

The following meatless recipes are different than just using salted water instead of beef broth. The Mock-Omelette is a crazy substitution idea I never would have thought of. The Walnut Lasagna tastes like baklava. The pie is like minced meat pie we eat modernly.

Mock Omelette
Herb omelet in lent.
If you want to make a herb omelet for lent with oil. Take the herbs, that is spinach, beet (leaves, or swiss chard), parsley, mint and marjoram, a little peeled (stems removed) and well washed and put them to boil. When they are almost cooked strain out the water and then squeeze it out with your hands, then chop them with a knife, and beat them with a mallet. Then put them in a pottery pan (pignata) and fry them with oil and with as much salt as is enough. Then put a little of the boiling water above, and close the vessel and see that it is well closed, and pull the pan to the back (of the fire) and let it rest. When it is ready to go to the table dish it up and powder with spices above. Libro di cucina

Ingredients
* 4 cups of baby spinach, washed, stems removed
* 4 cups beet greens or swiss chard or kale, washed stems removed
* 1/4 cup parsley, (large handful) washed stems removed
* 2 branches mint, washed, stems removed
* 1 branch marjoram, washed stems removed
* salt to taste
* oil for cooking
*pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Submerge all the herbs and leafy greens into the pot. Reduce heat and simmer until greens are fully wilted, approximately 4 minutes. Strain greens, squeezing extra moisture out, reserving 1/4 cup of the ‘broth’.
  2. Chopped the wilted greens with a knife until small and then pound it with your cooking hammer until you can make veggie-patties when it is all mixed together. Add salt and then shape into 4-6 patties.
  3. Heat a frying pan on medium, and add oil. Gently lay fragile patties onto oil and fry them 5 minutes on one side and then just to brown on other. Serve hot–if not serving right away pour the reserved liquid into pain, cover and remove from heat until ready to serve.

Walnut Lasagne
If you want to make lasagne in lent, take the lasagne (wide pasta noodles) and put them to cook (in water and salt). Take peeled walnuts and beat and grind them well. Put them between the lasagna (in layers), and guard from smoke (while reheating). And when they go to the table dress them with a dusting of spices and with sugarLibro di cucina

Ingredients
* 1 package of fresh lasagna noodles, or 1 package of dried cooked to soften
* 3 cups of walnuts, ground
* 1 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a lasagna pain or grease pan.
  3. Put a layer of noodles on pan, cover noodles with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover the walnut layer with another pasta layer, and then repeat with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover last layer with noodles. Brush top crust with oil or almond milk.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until  top is golden. Remove from oven and evenly cover top of pie with sugar and spices. Serve hot or cold.
  5. Optional, but not strict to original recipe, mix sugar or honey and spices in with walnuts to bake. 

Fruit Pie (lesche Fried in Lent)
Draw a thick almond milk with water. Take dates and pick them clean with apples and pears and mince them with prunes damsons. Take out the stones out of the prunes and carve the prunes in two. Add raisins, sugar, ground cinnamon, whole mace and cloves, good powders and salt. Colour them up with saunders. Mix these with oil, make a coffin as thou did before and do this therin. And bake it well and serve it forth. Forme of Cury

Ingredients
* 3/4 cup almond milk
* 1.5 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
* 1 cup pears, peeled, cored and chopped small
* 3/4 cup of dates, stones removed, chopped small
* 1/2 cup of prunes, stones removed, chopped small
* 1/4 cup raisins
* 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 mace flake, ground
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* pinch of salt
* 2 tbsp almond oil or pine nut oil
* Pastry for top and bottom of a pie

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all ingredients, except pastry, together, and pour into pie crust. Cover pie with second crust and brush pastry with and leftover almond milk or oil in your mixing bowl, poke a few slits into crust with knife. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until pie is golden and bubbling. Serve once it has cooled.
  3. Optional: make pie without top crust, or two less dense pies. Cook for less time.