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. 

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Kidney Bean Soup or “Kidney Beans”

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So I have a lot of onions so I am making Tart for an Ember Day and other things with onions. I remain ever hopeful to find onion jam in medieval England.

I found this following (onion) recipe on medievalcookery.com:

This is an excerpt from The Neapolitan recipe collection
(Italy, 15th c – T. Scully, trans.)
The original source can be found at University of Michigan Digital General Collection

Kidney Beans. Cook the kidney beans in pure water or in good broth; when they are cooked, get finely sliced onions and fry them in a pan with good oil and put these fried onions on top [of the beans] along with pepper, cinnamon and saffron; then let this sit a while on the hot coals; dish it up with good spices on top.

Can you image being a 15th century cook, given the responsibility of cooking this exotic ingredient called “Kidney Beans”? Modern cooks who take cooked then canned kidney beans for granted may not realize the prep required to use dried kidney beans.

Health Canada says:

Minimizing exposure to lectins in dry red kidney beans
* Soak (rehydrate) dry red kidney beans in a volume of water 2 to 3 times greater than the volume of beans for at least 5 hours. Discard the water used for soaking.
* Cook pre-soaked kidney beans by boiling vigorously for at least 10 minutes.
* Note: Slow cookers and crock pots do not reach sufficiently high temperatures to destroy lectins, and therefore should not be used to cook dry red kidney beans.

So the precook isn’t listed in the above recipe. This is where we deviate from the original for health reasons. Not ever cook I’ve talked to know this information, so I am sharing.

To cook beans: Soak dried kidney beans over night in water (for at least 5 hours) drain and rinse. Then cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse.

Or use instant pot and cook then for 1 hour (other people say 25 minutes but I’m paranoid) and then drain and rinse well. Makes mushy beans but doesn’t require pre-soaking.

Do not use a slow cooker–it can increase the amount of toxins in your bean dish, because they don’t reach a high enough temperature.

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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of cooked and softened kidney beans
  • 2 cups of broth (I used beef, but the recipe says water is fine, so use veggie broth or whatever)
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Spices for garnish

Directions 

  1. Place cooked beans and broth into a saucepan and bring to boil then reduce to simmer.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium-low and melt butter. Add onions and fry until onions are soften, and starting to brown.
  3. Add fried onions, cinnamon, pepper, and saffron to bean mixture and simmer for 10-20 minutes on low.
  4. Serve soup with powder duce or salt or other spices you think compliment the dish or that will help balance your humors.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Pears in syrup or “Cooked Pears.”

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I am still test cooking for Feast of the Hare n November. I do not think today’s recipe will make the cut–not because it isn’t wonderful but because between the wine and the honey it becomes very expensive to serve to 80 people.

I think that I can edit the recipe to get the flavours by baking the pears instead of poaching and using the syrup as a glaze and still say mostly true to the recipe as written.

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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

  • 6 pears, pealed
  • 1.5 cups of honey
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns, whole
  • 6 cloves, whole
  • 1 pinch of saffron

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a sauce pan. (If fruit isn’t covered top up with water. ) Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with syrup*

*or store pears in syrup, in fridge, for up to two weeks because this recipe is really similar to some preserved pear recipes I’ve seen. 

 

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).