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

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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)

Ingreidents

  • 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

Directions

  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.
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Fried Peaches Two Ways or “Peach Doughnut”

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Peach doughnut. Cut open the ripe peach, take out the seed, make the same kind of dough we made for the salads or the elderberry. For we don’t add eggs to sage dough, but we do add eggs to peach dough, sometimes a little wine, too.
Dip the peeled peach into the dough, then fry it and serve it when hot, add sugar. If the peach is clingstone, slice it into circles. The herb masters cut this into four, pour
some wine onto it, then mix it with flour, finally, they fry it. The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook, 16th Century

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp wine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar for garnish.
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Mix flour, egg and wine together with a fork.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach discs into batter from step one and then carefully lay your peach pancake into the hot pan. Fry for 5 minutes on each side, or until brown.
  4. Place cooked peach slice on plate and sprinkle with sugar. Serve warm.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp wine*
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Cover the peaches with the wine and stir to coat.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach quarters into flour and then gently place on frying pan.
  4. Heat each side of the peach triangle for ~5 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

* the wine will be the strongest flavour giving a tangy or sour cooked end product. If you use a really sweet wine, or a really ripe peach it would work better. I coated these peach doughnuts with raw sugar as well. 

Bacon Fried Mushrooms or “Bitter mushroom cooked with butter or bacon fat.”

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Its harvest time! Mushrooms were plentiful so I bought plenty. I had enough to make Bacon Fried Mushrooms and “Mushroom Tart” from my book for #Blantant Self Promotional Friday. I don’t pick my own mushrooms, I didn’t grow-up in Ontario so I am not 100% confident in my ability to not poison myself. You do you.

I’ve just discovered The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook, which is full of so many really fun things. Like whole eggs roasted in butter–with the shells on and peach doughnuts which I will make next post.

Bitter mushroom cooked with butter or bacon fat. Clean it, wash it in clean water, add some salt, but don’t burn the bottom, add some butter or bacon fat while cooking, serve it hot; if you’re cooking for someone that’s fasting, add salt or oil only. The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook  16th Century

Ingredients:

4 cups mushrooms, cleaned
1/3 cup bacon fat (or oil)
Salt to taste

Directions:

Place skillet onto a medium heat and warm pan. Add bacon fat to melt and then dump in mushrooms. Fry them stirring often for ~30 minutes, and they are all browned. Serve garnished with a large steak.

This pie also takes 4 cups of mushrooms (pg 240-241, The Big Buttes Book)

 

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Why Parboiling? or To Bake Wilde Ducks

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Parboiling is a technique where you place something in a pot of water, bring the water to a boil and then remove the item. Why would so many medieval recipes call for parboiling meat, especially poultry?

For things like hearts or livers, or wild game, it removed the “gamey” or “green” taste. For things like duck or chicken this isn’t necessary, they don’t taste “gamey” in a bad way.

Poultry is most often described as choleric, a hot dry humour. One of the symptoms of and abundance of choler is vomiting.

Vomiting is also one of the symptoms of food poisoning. If one first parboiled the poultry, then roasted it, you are more likely to get the bird up to temperature required for eating, than by roasting alone. Sometimes fire runs hot and will burn the outside before the bird is cooked, parboiling would help insure the duck is cooked through.

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To Bake Wilde ducks. When they be fair dressed and perboiled, season them with Pepper and Salt, a few whole cloves amongst them, and Onions small minced, and sweet butter, vergious and a little sugar. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients
* 1 duck
* Pepper and salt to taste
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
* 2 onions minced
* 2 tbsp butter
*2 tbsp verjuice
* 1 tbsp raw cane sugar

Directions

  1. Place whole duck into a large pot and cover with water. Heat pot on high until pot comes to boil.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Sprinkle duck with lots of salt, pepper and cloves.
  4. Mix onions, butter and sugar and stuff into cavity (or combine into a paste and spread over duck).
  5. Bake duck for 1 hour 30 minutes (or until internal temperature is 185F, and wings should pull away when twisted).
  6. Serve hot with onion stuffing.

 

Stuffed Turnips or How to make a pudding in a turnep root

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I was talking about turnips with @glen_malley (as one does) and after the “turnips are not Rutabaga” comments decided to blog about it because I like clearing up confusion.

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One small rutabaga, and two large turnips to clear up confusion.

Over at Wikipedia says that rutabaga (Brassica napobrassicais a cross between a turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa and cabbage (Brassica oleracea), and is commonly called ‘turnip’ to confuse people. Rutabaga has a stronger, sharp flavour, and the flesh is very hard, where turnip flavour is mild, and the flesh is softer.

Sappho, a poet from the 7th century BC, calls one of her lovers Gongýla, “turnip”.

I implore you, Turnip,
Show yourself to me!
Pick up your harp one more time
While the wings of longing hover around you.

Rutabaga, not so romantic. I looked it up.

The recipe I am doing likes the softness and blandness of the turnip. If you were to substitute an apple for the turnip it would dissolve into apple-squish before the pudding was cooked since the turnips are simmered.

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How to make a Pudding in a Turnep root. Take your Turnep root, and wash it fair in warm water, and scrape it faire and make it hollow as you doo a Carret roote, and make your stuffe of grated bread, and Apples chopt fine, then take Corance, and hard Egs, and season it with Sugar Sinamon, and Ginger, and yolks of hard egs and so temper your stuffe, and put it into the Turnep, then take faire water, and set it on the fire, and let it boyle or ever you put in your Turneps, then put in a good peece of sweet Butter, and Claret Wine, and a little Vinagre, and Rosemarye, and whole Mace, Sugar, and Corance, and Dates quartered, and when they are boyled inough, then willl they be tender, then serve it in. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients:

* 4 turnips, pealed
Stuffing:
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 apple, grated
* 1 tbsp currants
*  yolks from 2 hard boiled eggs
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
Broth:
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 tsp rosemary needles
* 1 flake mace
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 1 tbsp currants
* 2 tbsp dates, quartered
* 1 tbsp grape vinegar

Directions

  1. Carve out an egg sized hole in your turnips removing about 1/4 cup of flesh. I used a grapefruit spoon but a Mellon baller or knife will work. If you slip and pierce the flesh a little don’t worry too much but try not to make any of the turnip-bowl walls too thin.
  2. Mix stuffing ingredients together with hand. Tightly stuff the stuffing into each turnip bowl.
  3. Fill a sauce pan half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Turn pot down to low to simmer  and add butter, wine, rosemary, mace, sugar, currants, and dates, then stir.
  4. Gently place the turnips stuffing side up in pot, simmering liquid should cover them. Cover pot with lid and simmer the puddings for 1 hour.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

Optional: You could make a sauce out of the cooking liquid by straining and adding more sugar but that isn’t mentioned in the original recipe.

The Tale of Two Tarts – Pear tarts three ways

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dsc_0483Sometimes you find two recipes that are fairly similar but with small differences. Like the two recipes that are back to back in A  BOOK OF COOKRYE :

To bake small meats.
Take Egges and seethe them hard, then take the yolkes out of them and braye them in the morter, and temper them with Creme, and then straine them, and put to them Pepper, Saffron, Cloves, Maced, small raisins, Almonds blanched and small shred and grated bread.
Take Peares also sodden in Ale, and bray and straine them with the same Licour, and put therto Bastard and Honny, and put it into a pan and stir it on the fire til it be wel sodden, then make little coffins and set them in the Oven til they be hard, and then take them out againe, and put the foresaid licour into them and so serve them forth.

To make small bake meats of Sirup and Peares.
Take Peares and seethe them in Ale, then bray them and straine them and put Sanders to them and Ale, with the spices aforesaide, and the Coffins in likewise ordered, and so put in the sirup. A.W. A  BOOK OF COOKRYE (1591)

The first “to bake small meats” recipe is pretty straight forward, a honey sweetened pear puree tart with a thick cream sauce that uses all the things to thicken the sauce. The second tart is less clear. Instead of simmering the pear mixture its baked, with a ‘sirup’. Its not clear what the ‘sirup’ A.W. is talking about here.

The manuscript has ‘sirip’ listed in four other places:

“…put in some sirup of vergious, and some sugar…”

” …take Claret wine, Vergious, Rosewater, Sinamon, Ginger and Sugar, boyle them togither, laye your Pig flat like a Fawne or a Kidde, and put your sirup unto it…”

“…and make your sirrop half with rosewater and half with that liquor & put double sugar to your Orenges, and when your sirup is halfe sodden…”

“To make sirup of Violets. … and put to them so much rosewater as you think good then let them boyle altogither untill the colour be forth of them, then take them of the fire and straine them through a fine cloth, then put so much Sugar to them as you thing good…”

So the ‘sirup’ in the second recipe can be three things:

  1. the cream sauce from the first recipe.
  2. sugar + the cooking liquid
  3. sugar + rosewater and cooking liquid

It cannot be verjuice + sugar because I said so.

So a mad scientist er a medieval recipe enthusiast googles the recipes to see what other people have done, and as of today I found nothing for either recipe. The other option open to the cook is to try the variations and see which tastes better.

Makes 37 tarts

Recipe 1 Pear Puree (for both tarts):
* 3 cups of chopped pears
* 500 ml (1 can) light-coloured beer

  1. Place chopped pears in small sauce pan. Cover with  beer. Simmer for 1 hour on medium.
  2. Strain fruit but reserve the cooking liquid, you will need it.
  3. Smash batches of fruit with mortar and pestle with a small splash of cooking liquid and then force through colander with potato masher and/or wooden spoon. This will remove most of the skins.
  4. Should arrive at 2 cups of pear puree.

Pear Tart #1 (To bake small meats)

Ingredients:
Cream sauce:
* two egg yolks, cooked
* 1/2 cup cream
* 1/4 tsp each, pepper, mace, cloves
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tbsp raisins
* 2 tbsp almond meal
* 3 tbsp bread crumbs

tart filling:
* 1 cup of pear puree
* 2 tbsp white wine
* 2 tbsp honey

12 small tart shells

Directions

  1. Make cream sauce: Take 2 egg yolks and mast in mortar and pestle, adding cream slowly. Stir the liquid in the mortar, and slowly pour through a colander into another bowl. Add spices, raisins, almond meal and bread crumbs into cream mixture. Stir well and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  3. Place pear puree, wine and honey into sauce pan and brig to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Place 1 tbsp of pear mixture into each tart shell.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, until tarts are brown.
  6. Place 1/2 tbsp of the cream mixture on each hot tart, spreading it out with a knife or spoon. Make sure there is at least 1 raisin on each tart.
  7. Serve once cooled.

Tart #2 (To make small baked meats of sirup and pears)

Ingredients:
* 1 cup of pear puree
* 1/4 tsp each, pepper, mace, cloves
* 1 tsp saunders
* 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup of cooking liquid
* 1/2 cup raw sugar
* 1 tsp rosewater
* 25 tart shells

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix pear puree, spices, saunders and 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  3. Put 1/2 tbsp of pear mixture into each tart shell.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup cooking liquid and raw sugar together in sauce pan, heating gently to dissolve sugar.
  5. Put 1/2 tbsp of syrup onto 12 of the filled tart shells.
  6. Mix rosewater into rest of syrup. Put 1/2 tbsp of the adulterated syrup onto the rest of the filled tart shells.
  7. Baked for 35 minutes until tarts are brown.

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Authors notes:

  1. The rose water ones taste better than the ones without. Who knew?
  2. The option of putting the “cream sauce” on the second kind of tart and baking it was gross. I’m not including a recipe here. 
  3. None of the above recipes tasted of pear. 

 

 

Salmon Pastries or To bake a ioll of fresh Salmon

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I wanted to find a fish recipe to make for Christmas Eve, one of the few fish days that have continued to modern times.

The following recipe tells one to bake a salmon in the oven for 2 hours. I am making small hand pies and not an entire salmon. Salmon cooking times are usually around  4 to 6 minutes per half-inch of thickness–if you were not wrapping it in pastry. While high-quality salmon can be eaten raw, it is dry and chewy if over cooked. Its recommended that salmon be cooked until its temperature reaches 145 F.

To bake a ioll of fresh Salmon. TAke Ginger and salt, and season it, and certaine Corrans, and cast them about and vnder it, and let the paste be fine, and take a litle Butter and lay about it in the paste, and set it in the Ouen two houres, and so serue it in. The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin  (1594)

Ingredients:

  • 1 100g piece of salmon per person
  • enough pastry to wrap each piece
  • 2 tsp of butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger, ground
  • 20 currents
  • pinch of salt

Directions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350.
2) Lay out pastry and rub it with butter.
3) Spread out 1/2 tsp of ginger and salt on top of the butter.
4) Put 10 currents down on one half of the pastry. Place piece of salmon on top of the currents, then place 10 currents on top of salmon.
5) Using water to stick pastry edges together wrap the pastry around the salmon.
6) Brush top of pastry with butter and then bake pastry for 40 minutes, until pastry is golden and internal temperature reaches 145. Serve hot.