October 2011

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


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


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: