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)

Fennel and Leek Soup or About the aforementioned.

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So I was looking for medieval recipes (if I am going to cook with a cook book anyway…) for vegetables to use up some greens I had going off. I found this cute recipe below and since it called for cheap ingredients I already had in the fridge I decided to experiment with it.

I love that it calls for the fennel bulb not the leaves, since it is much easier to get the bulb here.

Anyone who cooks a fast soup knows about softening veggies before adding a broth. I wondered what adding water instead of broth would be like. I also wondered what frying fennel in lard would be like.

My daughter declares it “good” and that “it tastes like pho” which is her highest compliment. I think the flavours worked together and it would be even better as a campfire dish–which I will try at my next opportunity.

I think this was a dish meant for an invalid or for maybe winter. I am just tired and the air conditioner is set too high.

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 Take white fennel minced finely, and then fry it with a little of the white part of a leek minced finely, with egg or lard, and put in a bit of water and saffron and salt, and boil it, and put in beaten eggs, if you want. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina (late 14th or early 15th c.)  Ariane Helou’s translation

Ingredients:
* 1 heaping tbsp lard **
* 1/3 cup leek, a few inches of the white end, minced
* 1 cup fennel, white from the bulb end, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Heat frying pan on medium-high, add lard to melt.
  2. Add fennel and leek, reduce heat to medium low, and stir to soften veggies.
  3. Pour fennel mixture into a sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat sauce pan on medium-high until mixture comes to boil.
  4. Add beaten egg into fennel mixture while stirring. Bring to boil a second time, then remove from heat.
  5. Serve hot***.

** Use vegetable lard or olive oil if making for a vegetarian. 

*** and with rice noodles if you want to take the pho thing a little too far. 

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).

Almond Milk Custard Tart or Daryols

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Today I am making two tarts to bring with me to family dinner. The pear and custard pie I’ve blogged about before and a “Daryole” or plain custard tart because my daughter has never ever liked pears.

Tomas De Courcy suggested I try making his daryoles recipe when I mentioned having 3 dozen eggs to play with. I could do that, but since I don’t like to reinvent the wheel every time I blog I am going to do the option he didn’t explore on his page, using almond cream instead of milk which was a suggested substitution in many of versions he references.

Since it is a almond cream or milk mentioned instead of cows milk or cream I feel safe in saying that we can use thick almond milk instead of marzipan like in the Italian quince tart I’ve made before. Google says almond cream is marzipan-like which is why I mention it.

To make almond cream instead of almond milk you use a higher ratio of blanched almonds to water. My almond milk is 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water. My almond cream is 2.5 cups almonds to 2.5 cups water (50-50).

Since almond cream has less fat in it than cows milk I am wondering if adding a few egg yolks instead of whole eggs would give you more of a custard mouth feel but the original recipe says to use whole eggs so that’s what this recipe will do.

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DARYOLS. XX.IX. III. Take Creme of Cowe mylke. oþer of Almandes. do þerto ayren with sugur, safroun, and salt, medle it yfere. do it in a coffyn. of II. ynche depe. bake it wel and serue it forth. [Forme of Cury]

Ingredients:
* 2 cups of almond cream
* 4 eggs
* 4 tbsp raw cane sugar
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 pinch salt
* 2 tart shells

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Stir together almond cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and saffron then, while stirring, pour through a pasta strainer into a larger bowl. Divide into two parts.**
3) Pour mixture slowly into each tart shell***. Bake on 350 for 40 minutes, until custard sets.
4) Serve cold.

 

** pouring through a strainer gives a smooth product, using a electric mixer makes a fluffy product, don’t use a mixer.

*** if you set the shell on the pulled-out oven rack and then pour custard into shell you wont’ spill custard on the inside of the oven. Like I did.

 

 

A Discussion about Seville Oranges

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Seville orange, bitter orange, sour orange, or marmalade orange refers to a citrus tree (Citrus × aurantium) and its fruit.

If your medication requires you to avoid grapefruit juice, it is also recommended you should also avoid Seville orange juice.

Seville orange juice tastes closer to lemon juice than sweet orange juice. I would substitute 3 parts lemon juice to one part orange if you can’t get bitter oranges.

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Clemintine, Seville orange, and a regular orange

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Seville oranges are not as pulpy as the modern orange.

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With a sample size of 1, I got 1/4 cup of juice and about 1/3 cup of seeds from one Seville orange.

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With a sample size of 1, I got almost 2/3 cup of juice from a regular orange.

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.