A few recipes to get you started!
Fine Spice Mixture
(The Drum, April 2002, source unknown)
Take an onza of pepper and one of cinnamon and one of ginger, and half a quarter [onza] of cloves and a quarter of saffron.
This is a great mixture to have ready for those times when you feel like cooking medieval. The text edited by Frati is from the Venice region, but not necessarily from Venice itself, so we cannot be sure of the exact equivalent of the oncia, or onza in the usage of the source. We have done our best, however, to retain the correct proportions.
2 rounded tablespoons freshly ground black pepper (16g)
2 rounded tablespoons ground cinnamon (16g)
2 rounded tablespoons ground ginger (16g)
1 1/2 tablespoons saffron threads, loosely measured, crushed to a powder in a mortar or with your fingers (4g)
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Simple Farmers Cheese
(The Drum, April 2002, from the Caer Darth Cheesemaking Workshop)
This is a very easy cheese to make, requiring only milk and an acid to curdle the milk. The milk can be from any species: goat, cow, sheep, etc. The acid can be any kind of vinegar or verjus, lemon, cardoon, or fig juice. Plain white vinegar adds no color or taste to the finished cheese. We used balsamic vinegar, which gave the cheese a subtle flavor and a slight tan color.
The only tools you need are a large non-reactive pot, a candy thermometer, a large spoon, a measuring cup, a large mixing bowl, and some cheesecloth. Get the cheesecloth from the fabric store, as what they sell at grocery and hardware stores is too loosely woven.
This is what we did: In a large stainless steel pot, pour 1 gallon of whole milk and a pint of cream. This is brought to a temperature of 185 degrees, using a candy thermometer. The last 20 degrees, the milk should be stirred constantly to avoid scorching.
When the milk reaches 185 degrees, add 2/3 cup of vinegar. The milk will begin to curdle, separating into curds and whey. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Lay a large double thickness of cheesecloth (1 yard square is ample) over the mixing bowl. Do this part in the sink, as it can be messy. Strain the curds & whey through the cheesecloth into the bowl. When all the curds are in the cheesecloth, tie up the corners of the cloth, and hang it over the bowl to drain. If your sink is deep enough, you can hang the cloth on the faucet. Let the curds drain for 30 minutes. Don’t squeeze the whey out, it will break up your curds.
The whey that drains off the curds can be used to make ricotta, using the same process; substituting the whey for milk, one pint of cream, and 2/3 cup of vinegar for each gallon of whey.
When the curds have drained, you have about a pound of cheese. It has a texture like crumbled feta, but with a very mild flavor. It is very good as it is, or you can mix in a little kosher or sea salt to bring out the flavor. You can also mix it with a variety of herbs, spices and other flavorings. Some of the things we tried were basil, chervil & pepper, and honey, cinnamon & nutmeg. This cheese will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Strawberyes with Creme Bastard, i.e. Strawberries with White Custard Sauce
(The Drum, June 2002, from Pleyn Delit)
1 qt. strawberries, washed, hulled, and sprinkled with about 1 Tbsp sugar
2 egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tsp milk
1 Tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar
Put egg whites in a sauce pan with 1 cup of the milk, and stir over medium heat as it comes to a boil. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring; then add the honey and the salt. After simmering for another minute or two, remove from heat and strain or blend in a blender, adding remaining milk and sugar. Pour into a pitcher or serving dish and chill; it will thicken as it chills. Serve over washed, hulled, slightly sweetened strawberries.
Fustaqiya, an Arabic dish
(The Drum, January 2002, from A Baghdad Cookery Book)
Redaction by Mistress Anastasia Ivanovna
2 chicken breasts
pinch of salt
enough water to cover chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled (yields 1 cup of chopped pistachios)
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups water
Peel and shell the pistachios. Using my food processor, I chopped the pistachips into small bits – I processed them to what I imagine a mortar and pestle would yield. Clean the chicken breasts, then place in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook on medium heat until half cooked. Drain off the water. Cool the chicken, pull it off the bones and shred it into pieces. Place back into saucepan with just enough water to cover (about 1 1/4 cups). Add in the pistachios and bring this to a boil. When it is boiling, stir in the sugar and continue to boil until it thickens, then remove from heat.
To Make Pear Puddings
(The Drum, December 2001, from From the Closet Opened, by Sir Kenim Digby)
Take a cold capon or half-roasted, which is much better, then take suet, shred very small the meat and suet together; then half as much grated bread, 2 spoonfuls of flower [sic], nutmegs, clove and mace; sugar as much as you please; half a pound of currants; the yolks of two eggs and the whites of one; and as much cream as will make up a stiff paste. Then make it up in a fashion of a pear, a stick of cinnamon for hte stalk and the head of a clove.
1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 5 1/2 ounces)
2 Tbsp butter (instead of suet)
1/4 tsp. each of nutmeg, clove, and mace
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup cream
2 oz. bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute (instead of raw eggs)
3 Tbsp. currants
Roast the chicken breast, and cool to room temperature. Shred the chicken into small pieces and place in food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Form into desired shapes and serve.
(The Drum, February 2002, from To the King’s Taste, Richard II’s book of feasts and recipes)
Rosee. Take thyk mylke as to fore welled. Cast thereto sugar, a gode porcion pynes, dates ymynced, canel and powder ginger and seeth it and alye it with floers of white rosis and floer of rys. Cole it, salt it and messe it forth. If thou wilt, in stede of almande mylke, take swete cremes of kyne.
1/2 cup dried, crushed rose petals
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. rice flour
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
3 cups almond milk
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 cup minced dates
fresh rose petals for garnish
Soak dried rose petals in almond milk for about 10 minutes. Add cinnamon and ginger and cook 3 – 5 minutes over low heat. Add rice flour and stir until thickened. Add dates and pine nuts. Pour into bowls, sprinkle with a dash of salt, and garnish with rose petals.
Sweet Spinach Tart
(The Drum, March 2002, from The English Hous Wife, by Gervase Markham)
A Spinnage Tart. Take good store of Spinnage, and boyle it in a Pipkin, with White-Wine, till it be very soft as pap; then take it and strain it well into a pewter dish, not leaving any part unstrained; then put to it Rose-Water, great store of Sugar and Cinnamon, and boyl it till it be thick as Marmalad. Then let it coole, and after fill your Coffin and adorn it…
8-inch unbaked pie pastry shell
2 1/2 lbs fresh spinach
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup rose water
1 cup (or more) of sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
generous pinch salt
topping: sliced strawberries & confectioners sugar
Bake pie shell at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350, and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until done. Let cool. Wash and trim spinach. Put spinach directly into a large enamel pot without draining. Add wine. Cover and steam spinach over medium flame for 1 – 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Drain spinach and mince very fine. In the same pot, combine rose water, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add chopped spinach and stir to coat. Simmer over very low flame, stirring occasionally, until all liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Fill pie shell with mixture. Arrange sliced strawberries decoratively on top. Chill at least 2 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar.
(The Drum, September 2002, from Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century)
142. Galyntyne. Take crustes of brede and grynde hem smale. Do therto powdour of galyngale, of canel, of gyngyuer, and salt it; tempre it vp with vyneger, and drawe it vp thurgh a straynour, & messe it forth.
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup (approx.) unseasoned bread crumbs
1 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tsp. each of galingale, cinnamon, and ginger
salt to taste
Combine the wine, vinegar, and spices, then with a wire whisk, beat in enough of the bread crumbs to make a smooth, slightly thick sauce. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. At this point, passing the galyntyne through a food processor or blender will provide a sauce free of lumps, which is the same result asked for when the period receipt says to “drawe it vp thurgh a straynour.” Serve at room temperature as an accompaniment to fish, poultry, and roast meats.
If you can’t find galingale, simply leave that ingredient out, as the included ginger is an appropriate substitute.
Coneys in Gravy
(The Drum, September 2002, from Take 1000 Eggos or More, Vol. II, made during the August 2002 period cooking workshop)
redacted by Caterine di Guglielmo
Translation of original recipe: Take coneys and make him clean and hack him in gobbets and seethe him; or lard and roast him and then hack him; and take almonds and grind him and temper him up with good fresh broth of flesh, and color it with saffron and do thereto a portion of flour of rice, and do thereto then powder ginger, galingale, canel (cinnamon), sugar, cloves, mace; and boil it once and seeth it; then take the coneys and put thereto and dress it and serve it forth.
1 rabbit or chicken
1 cup almonds
1 Tbsp. rice flour
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 can (14 oz.) water
lard or bacon (optional)
2 tsp. poudre douce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. galingale
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. mace
Cut rabbit or chicken into pieces and roast; or lard (optional) and roast whole, then cut into pieces. While meat is cooking, grind almonds, adding broth; let steep. Strain broth into saucepan; add water, saffron, rice flour and 2 tsp. poudre douce. Bring to boil; cook, stirring frequently, till thickened. Pour sauce over roasted chicken or rabbit and serve.
Class Notes: Recipe was done with chicken rather than rabbit. Chicken was cut into pieces prior to cooking; optional larding was not found necessary (larding would be more appropriate for rabbits, which are less fatty than chickens). Reserve strained-out almonds for use in other recipes. Making excess Poudre Douce was useful, as it too can be used in other recipes.
(The Drum, August 2002, from Two Fifteenth Century)
3 pork chops
3 cups fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. dried leaf sage
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 cup currants
2 Tbsp. hyssop
1/2 tsp. salt
1 9″ pastry shell
Boil pork chops until cooked, take out, remove the bones and cut up the meat. Boil herbs in the pork broth. Mix pork, cooked herbs, and remaining ingredients in bowl. Make pie crust and bake 10 minutes to harden. Put filling in pie crust. Bake 30 minutes at 375.
Green Pesen Royal
(The Drum, October 2002, from Ancient Cookery)
Take green peas clean washen and let the boil awhile over the fire, and then pour away all the broth, and bray a few of them with parsley and mint, and in the braying allay it with almond milk, and draw it up with the same milk, and put it in the same pot, and let it boil with whole pesen, and cast thereto sugar and saffron, and in the setting down of the pot, if it be a pot of two gallons, take 12 yolkes of eggs and beat them, and strain them, and cast them into the pot, and stir it well, and look that the pottage be running, and when it is dressed, strew sugar above, and serve it forth.
1 lb. green shelled peas
2 tsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh mint
1/4 cup blanched almonds, 1/2 cup cool water
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
6 threads saffron
2 beaten egg yolks
2 Tbsp. sugar (sprinkled on at end)
Make almond milk and boil peas. When the peas are boiled, mash 1/2 cup of the peas with the parsley and mint, and add almond milk gradually. Put back with peas, add sugar and saffron, and heat; add egg yolks and remove from heat; sprinkle on sugar before serving.
Green Broth of Eggs and Cheese
(The Drum, February 2003)
Take parsley and a little cheese and sage and a very small amount of saffron, moistened bread, and mix with water left from cooking peas, or stock, grind and strain. And have ground ginger mixed with wine, and put on to boil; then add cheese and eggs poached in water, and let it be a bright green. Item, some do not add bread, but instead of bread use bacon.
3 Tbsp parsley
5 threads saffron
1 3/4 oz cheese, grated
2 thin slices bread or bacon (1.5 oz)
2 C pea stock or diluted chicken stock
1/2 oz cheese, grated
1/8 tsp ginger
3 small leaves fresh sage
1 Tbsp white wine
Soak bread in stock (either water left from cooking peas or 1/2 C canned chicken broth + 1 1/2 C water). Grind parsley, sage, and saffron in a mortar thoroughly; add 1/2 oz cheese and soaked bread and grind together. Strain through a strainer if necessary, put back in mortar what didn’t go through, grind again and strain again. Mix wine and ginger, add to the mixture, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Be careful that it does not stick to the bottom. Stir in the rest of the cheese. Break eggs into soup, and continue to simmer until eggs are poached.
Cordelia’s Cheese and Mushroom Tarts
(The Drum, March 2003, from Le Menager de Paris, 1395)
“Mushrooms of one night are the best and they are little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil, cheese and spice powder. Item, put them between two dishes on the coals and then add a little salt, cheese and spice powder.”
1/2 lb. mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
4 grinds fresh black pepper
prepared pie crusts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
Preheat oven to 400. Cut out 48 x 2″ rounds from the pie crusts. Line cupcake tins with half of the pie crusts, pierce with fork. Meanwhile, bring pot of lightly salted water to boil. Clean and trim mushrooms. Lightly parboil them in boiling water (30 seconds). Drain mushrooms, pat dry, and chop or slice them thinly. Add oil, cheese, and seasonings. Mix to blend. Fill prepared pie crusts almost full. Top with reserved pie crust rounds. Seal with a beaten egg brushed around the edges. Pierce top once to vent. Bake 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown.