I have published the new blog “Let hem boyle…” ! See you there 🙂

Olen julkaissut uuden blogini “Let hem boylen..” ! Nähdään siellä 🙂

Dear readers!

One year has gone now since I started this challenge. One year, 24 recipes (2 recipes per month). I made it! It was so much fun that I have already started working on a new project. I will publish the new thing as soon as everything is finished :). So stay tuned!

The main reason for this blog was to find more time for medieval food in my busy life. Two recipes per month was actually sometimes quite challeging even though most of the recipes were very easy. Time was the biggest challenge. I decided that when I do a dish, I will not do it in haste. So sometimes it took for example four hours to do one dish no matter how easy it was.  Most of the time went for research from other books and internet. I wanted to compare similar kind of recipes for example. Some of the thoughts ended up here too. Not all because I wanted to keep the blog as simple as possible. The most important thing that I learned was that there are certain things that I don’t know yet how to do that I want to learn to do someday.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog as much as I did!

Eva

********************************************

Hyvät lukijat!

Vuosi on kulunut tämän haasteen aloittamisesta. Vuosi ja 24 reseptiä (eli kaksi reseptiä kuukaudessa), niin kuin oli haasteen tarkoituskin! Haaste oli sen verran hauska, että olen jo aloittanut uuden projektin, josta lähetän tietoa heti kun pohjatyö on tehty :).

Tämän haasteblogin tarkoituksena oli etsiä lisää aikaa keskiaikaisen ruuan laittoon. Kaksi reseptiä kuukaudessa osoittautui välillä todella haastavaksi tavoitteeksi siitäkin huolimatta, että suurin osa resepteistä oli todella helppoja. Aika oli suurin haaste. Päätin, että en tee yhtään ruokalajia kiireessä. Siksi joidenkin ruokalajien tekemiseen saattoi mennä neljäkin tuntia vaikka kyseessä oli todella helppo resepti. Suurin osa ajasta meni taustojen tutkimiseen ja samankaltaisten reseptien vertailuun. Osa ajatuksista päätyi tännekin. Ei suinkaan kaikki, koska päätin pitää blogin mahdollisimman simppelinä. Tärkein asia, mitä opin oli se, että on joitain tiettyjä juttuja, joita haluan oppia tekemään vielä paremmin, jonain päivänä.

Toivottavasti nautitte blogista yhtä paljon kuin minä!

Eva

This time I am posting two recipes at the same time, fried pork and fig paste that goes well with the pork. The fig paste calls for sandalwood/ saunders that makes the paste more reddish. At that time when I started to make the dish I found out that I didn’t have any sandalwood in my spice box (I thought that I had). So I had to make it without the sandalwood. It is hard to find sandalwood in Finnish stores (I also tried to find it from online shops but failed). But then I have these great friends like Sahra who knew my distress and gave me two bags of sandalwood as Christmas present :D.

I have to comment also that sometimes taking good pictures of food, especially from medieval style of food (that has commonly brownish colours) it might be challenging to make it look tasty. This time food really tasted better than it looks ;).

Brawune fryes (serves 2)

Harleian MS. 279, Volume I

Take Pork & cut it thin. Then take yolks of Eggs, & some of the white therewith; then take manchet Flour, and draw the Eggs through a strainer; then take a good quantity of Sugar, Saffron & Salt & cast thereto, & take a fair pan with Fresh grease, & set over the fire, & when the grease is hot, take the Pork, and put in batter, & turn it well therein, and then put it in the pan with the grease, & let fry together a little while; then take it up into a fair dish, & cast Sugar thereon & serve hot.

200 g pork loin

2 egg yolks

1 egg white

½ dl white flour

pinch of saffron

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

butter or oil for frying

sugar for garnish

Cut the pork in thin pieces. Make batter from egg yolks, egg white, flour, saffron, sugar and salt. Heat the butter (or oil) in a frying pan. Dip the pork pieces to the batter and fry the meat until it is done. Remove the meat from the pan and garnish it with sugar. Serve hot.

*****************

Ffygey (serves 4)

Harleian MS.4016, Volume I

Take figs, and cast them in a pot, And cast thereto wine or Ale and let them boil, And take them up, and bray them in a mortar; And then take bread, and steep in the same liqueur, and cast thereto and draw them through a strainer, and cast it in a fair pot with wine or ale; and then take figs, and cut them small, pine nuts, sandalwood, powder of pepper, a little saffron and salt, and cast thereto, and serve standing.

200 g dried figs (+ 2 figs)

about 4 dl red wine (+ ½ dl wine)

1 piece of white bread without the crust

2 tablespoon pine nuts

(pinch of sandalwood)

pinch of pepper

pinch of saffron

pinch of salt

Put 200 g figs to a saucepan with 4 dl wine to boil. Let them boil as long as the figs are soft. Add more wine or water to the saucepan if needed. When the figs are done take them from the sauce and grind them finely. Add the bread to the sauce and when the liquid has been absorbed, grind the bread finely too. Mince 2 figs. Take a sauce pan and put fig paste there and minced figs, ½ dl red wine, pine nuts and spices. Heat the mixture and let it simmer about 5 minutes stirring well all the time. Serve warm.

Comments: I decided to use red wine because I didn’t have that sandalwood that makes the food reddish. Otherwise I would have used white wine for this dish. As the recipe says you can use ale too.

This is one of the most common medieval dish that can be found in several sources. It has many different names like: blank maunger, blomanger, blomenschir, blanc mengier, manjar blanch, manjar braquo, bianco mengier.. As the name says it is a white dish. But that doesn’t mean it was always white. Some recipes call for spices like saffron which mean that the dish cannot be completely white. It can be parti-coloured too. Blancmange has regional differences like in Italy more spices were added into the dish and in France they used less sugar. Rice was not always used, but the rice flour and sometimes rosewater was used for example. There are also recipes for lenten version of this dish where chicken is replaced with white fish.

It might sound funny, but as long as I have been cooking medieval food, I have never ever made blancmange. I have always thought that it doesn’t taste so good that it is not worth of trying. Also my modern me has been said that chicken with sweet rice cannot be good. I was surprised how good it really was! It is weird but good.

Blancmange (serves 2-4)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume I

Take fair Almonds and blanch them, And grind them with sugar water into fair milk; and take rice and seethe. And when they are well seethed, take them up, and cast them to the almond milk, and let them boil together till they are thick; And then take the flesh of a Capon, and tease it small, And cast thereto; and then take Sugar and salt, and cast thereto, and serve it forth in manner or mortrews.

1 cooked chicken breast1

5 dl cooked white rice2

4 dl almond milk (see basic recipes up)

1 dl sugar

salt

(optional: bay leaves, whole peppers, whole cloves)

1Cooked chicken breast:

First cook chicken breast in water. I used bay leaves, whole peppers, whole cloves and salt because I wanted the chicken taste good. The spices that I used are kind of spices that doesn’t change the colour of the chicken. Put water and spices to boil. When water boils add chicken breast. Cook until the breast is done about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the meat. When meat is done discard the liquid and spices and chop the meat finely.

2Cooked rice:

Use white rice. Cook as the rice packet says until rice is cooked (15-20 minutes).

Blancmange:

Make almond milk and pour about 4 dl almond milk to a pot with cooked rice. Cook on slow heat about 20 minutes. Add more water or almond milk if needed. Add sugar, enough salt and chopped chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Decorate the dish with almonds and serve.

Comment: Recipe says that this dish should be served in manner of mortrews. Mortrews usually means kind of meat dish usually made in mortar and it can be like pate. This case mortrews means probably that the dish should be thick and very well cooked.

I decided to do little bit different this time. The recipe for the dough is from the book but the filling is not. All the ingredients in the filling are however from the book. Dried fruits are very common in meat pies.

Chewettes (10-15 little pies)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take and make fair paste of flour, water, saffron and salt. And make round coffins thereof; and make stuffing as thou do for rissoles, and put the stuffing in the coffins, and cover the coffins with the same paste, and fry them in good oil as thou do rissoles, and serve them hot in the same manner.

3,5 dl flour

1,5 dl water

½ teaspoon salt

pinch of saffron

enough olive oil for frying

Filling:

100 g ground lamb

100 g ground pork

3-4 dried figs

1 teaspoon ginger

salt

pinch of saffron

Knead well together flour, water, salt and a pinch of saffron. Add more flour if needed. Put it in fridge for awhile. Mince dried figs and mix all the filling ingredients together and let them stand couple minutes. For the bases roll little circles from the dough and fill them with about teaspoon of filling. Close the pies carefully using a drop of water and fry them in olive oil until golden brown. Drain pies and serve hot.

This post is about a friend´s article.. which is unfortunately only in Finnish. She (Sahra) was fortunate to have a chance to see and work at Ronneburg castle (Germany) last Summer. Her article is so well written that you feel that you are actually there too.

Tomorrow I will go to Turku Kauppahalli (City of Turku’s Market Hall) to hunt some meat for the blog. And I was planning to do cooking on Saturday 😀 .

****

And now in Finnish:

Käykää ihmeessä katsomassa Sahran (Mervin) uusin artikkeli. Todella mielenkiintoista luettavaa! Sahralla oli mahdollisuus päästä viime kesällä Saksassa Ronneburgin linnan keittiöön tekemään ruokaa ihan oikeilla välineillä.  Teksti on kirjoitettu niin mukaansa tempaavasti, että tuntuu kuin itse olisi siellä. Melkein voi haistaa mausteiden tuoksun..

Olen huomenna menossa Turun kauppahalliin metsästämään lihaa tuleviin blogin resepteihin. Toivottavasti onnistaa! Ruokaa olisi tarkoitus taas tehdä lauantaina :D.

At All Hallows Feast event last weekend we had this as a dessert with rose cream pudding. For All Hallows we used apple mush but the recipe I tried from the book before the event called apples cut as small as dust. Anyway the apple mush with rose cream pudding was delicious. I didn’t change the recipe for the feast much. At the event I decided at the end not to use rice flour because the mush was already thick enough. So here is the translation of the original recipe from “Take a Thousand Eggs or more”:

Pommesmoille (serves 4)

Laud MS. 553,  Volume II

Take rice & bray them in mortar, mix them up with almond milk, boil them: take apples & cut them as small as dust, cast them in after the boiling, & sugar: color it with saffron, cast thereto good powder, & give it forth.

3 dl Almond milk (see basic recipes from above)

1 tablespoon rice flour

2 dl apples cut as small as dust

3 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of saffron

Peel the apples and cut them very small, as small as dust 😉 . Make almond milk and put it in a pot. Bring it to boil. Mix rice flour to a dash of water. Add the thickener (rice flour with water) to pot constantly whisking the almond milk. Add apples and spices and let it simmer about 5 minutes and serve.

Comments: You can add more sugar if you want it to be more sweet.

This time I have “a making of” picture with apples cut as small as dust and almond milk in Ida’s  lovely present pitcher!

Perre (serves 4 as a side dish)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take green peas, and boil them in a pot; And when they are broken, draw the broth a good quantity through a strainer into a pot, And sit it on the fire; and take onions and parsley, and hew them small together, And cast them thereto; And take powder of Cinnamon and pepper and cast thereto, and let boil; And take vinegar and powder of ginger, and cast thereto; And then take Saffron and salt, a little quantity, and cast thereto; And take fair pieces of pandemaine, or else of such tender bread, and cut it in fair morsels, and cast thereto; And serve it so forth.

400 g fresh peas

1 onion

1 slice of white bread

1 dl fresh parsley

1  teaspoon pepper

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

pinch of saffron

salt

1 tablespoon vinegar

Put fresh peas to a pot, add water so that the peas are just covered. Boil the peas in low heat until they are very tender and partially broken. Mush the peas and add the chopped onion and chopped fresh parsley. Cook until the onions are cooked. Add pepper, cinnamon, ginger, a pinch of saffron and enough salt. Heat and add breadcrumbs and vinegar. Boil briefly and serve hot.

Comments: I decided to use fresh peas, but the dish can be done with dried peas too. Onions must be cooked very well. Terence Scully in the book “The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages” says that onions in the humoral theory are dangerously moist, so they were usually fried, thus removing a little of their superfluous moisture. I find that very interesting!

Look what I have done today!! We had finally mussels in our local grocery. I have been waiting that since I started this blog. This once again very easy recipe and very similar to modern mussel soup recipes. Preparing the mussels for the dish takes some time because you have to clean them separately and debeard them. One kilo took about one hour for me. Never use mussels that are open (or does not close their shells when tapping them gently with a knife).. because they are dead. And never eat the mussels that are not open after cooking! Otherwise you might get bad food poisoning.

Muscules in Shelle (serves 5)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take and pick fair mussels, and cast them in a pot; and cast them to, minced onions, And good quantity of pepper and wine, And a little vinegar; and as soon as they begin to gape, take them from the fire, and serve it forth with the same broth in a dish all hot.

About 1 kilo mussels with shells

Half bottle of white wine (for example Chardonnay)

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 dl water

1 onion

1 teaspoon pepper

(salt)

Chop the onion finely. Take a large pot and pour half bottle of white wine there and add water and vinegar. Add chopped onions and season with salt and pepper. Simmer it in low heat when cleaning the mussels. When the mussels are prepared, check if you need more liquid (add more water if needed). Add mussels to the boiling broth and cover with a lid. Boil about 6-8 minutes, with the lid on shake. When they are done, discard those that are not open. Garnish with fresh dill if desired.

Comments: It was very good! UlfR said before I start cooking that he might taste one, but he ended up eating a lot. Mission complete :).

Another picture:

Another good sauce for fish.

Sauce Verte (serves 3)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take parsley, mints, betony, pellitory, and grind them small; And take fair bread and steep it in vinegar, and draw it through strainer, and cast thereto powder of pepper, salt and serve it forth.

4 tablespoon fresh parsley and mint finely chopped

piece of bread

water

1 tablespoon vinegar

(or white wine for substitute to vinegar and water)

pepper and salt

Chop and grind the herbs as well as possible. Put a piece of bread to a bowl and add 1 T vinegar and enough water to make the bread wet. Let it stand about 10 minutes and add more water if needed. When the bread is mush pass the mush through the strainer to a pot and add herbs. Season it with salt and pepper. Add more vinegar or water. And boil very briefly.

Comments: Pellitory and Betany can’t be found in our local grocery. I suggest that you use other herbs like sage or just parsley and mint. I have made a little mistake with the sauce. It is little bit too dry. Adding more vinegar is not a good choice because it could turn unedible. But because some ”sauce verte” recipes (like in Liber cure cocurum) tells you that you can add vinegar or wine, you could add vine to it or water perhaps. The sauce is little bit too grainy too. Ah well live and learn!

I like by the way this sauce with salmon because of the sour vinegar taste.

Pellitory (Anacyclus pyrethrum) in Finnish “Raimikki” looks little bit like chamomile. It grows naturally in Mediterranean countries for example Spain. Or if can also mean Pellitory of the wall (Parietaria officinalis) or the False Pellitory of Spain (Peucedanum ostruthium). Harvey (Medieval Gardens) says nothing about Anacyclus pyrethrum. But it says that in the list of Alexander Neckam compiled at the end of 10th century Pellitory in the list means either Pellitory of the wall or the False Pellitory of Spain. I have to look deeper into it to know which one it is that they had in gardens in 15th century Britain.

Betany (Stachys officinalis) in Finnish Rohtopähkämö has purple flowers. It has been cultivated in Finland. I don’t know how popular it is these days. It was already native in Britain before Roman invasion.

References:

Medieval Cookery http://www.medievalcookery.com
J.Harvey, Medieval Gardens, 1981, ISBN 0713423951