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

The previous fish recipe says that garlic or green sauces are good for boiled barbel. This sauce is for stockfish but it is very good garlic sauce for salmon too. This one is quite spicy so you only need a few spoons of sauce for one portion of fish.

I have and will be extremely busy before the end of September. It will truly be a challenge to post two recipes per month here as I have promised. Let see if I manage to do that or not ;). Yes recipes are simple and don’t take much time to write them down but time is *very* limited now 😀

Sauce for stockfysshe in another maner (serves 10)

Ashmole MS. 1439, Volume II

Take kernels of walnuts, and cloves of garlic, and pepper, bread, and salt, and cast all in a mortar, and grind it small & mix it up with the same broth that the fish was sodden in, and serve it forth.

0,5 dl ground walnuts

2 cloves of garlic

3 dl bread crumbs

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

3 dl fish stock

Make fish stock if you don’t have stock already. Use for example 0,5-1 stock cubes for boiling water to make stock. Blend/grind in mortar everything together, heat and serve.

I love to eat fish but the problem is that where I live we don’t have many grocery stores here and only one place where I want to buy fresh fish. The selection of the fishes is usually very limited and the fresh fish counter is not open on Sunday, which is the best day for me to cook. And I don’t buy fresh fish to storage. I always make them at the same day I have bought them. With no exceptions there are always some fresh water and salt water salmon to buy. Usually there are also some Baltic herring at sale. If I am lucky there are pike perch and/ or European fresh water whitefish (Finnish: Siika). Also they have started selling pangasius fish, which in my opinion doesn’t taste like fish at all and it is from Asia. Very rarely there are other fresh fishes at sale (but you cannot know what is on sale at advance, which makes the planning hard).

So making medieval fish dishes at home for me is quite complicated if I want to use the exact fish that has been mentioned on the manuscript text. One solution for the problem is to try to use as similar as possible fish to the dish (for example if the recipe calls fish that is oily, use oily fish not white flesh fish which is less oily) or one solution is to ignore the type of fish.

This recipe is actually called ”Barbel boiled”. I think that I have never tasted barbel before. I chose to use salmon instead of barbel. I will post the recipes for the two sauces that I made for the fish later :).

Salmon boyled (serves 3)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take a barbel, and cut him, and draw him round; And pick in the nape of the head and seethe him in water and salt, Ale and parsley. And when it begins boil, skim in clean, and cast the barbel thereto, And seethe him. And his sauce is garlic or green sauce, And then serve him forth.

500 g salmon

½ l ale

water enough to cover rest of the fish

lots of salt

(pepper)

lots of fresh parsley

In large pot bring ale and water to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cut salmon in three portions. When the liquid boils add salmon pieces and fresh parsley (you don’t have to chop the parsley). Boil 15-20 minutes in low heat until the fish is done.  Remove the fish from the liquid to the serving platter and serve with sauces.

Yet again another recipe Elzebeth and I tried last spring. Very tasty little pasties filled with dried fruits and spices. It is quite time consuming to make them but the result was good and worth it. As the book suggests this one might be good dish served with other sweetmeats.

Ryschewys closed (serves 4)

Laud MS. 553, Volume I

Take flour and eggs & knead together / take figs, raisins & dates & put out the stones & blanched almonds & good powder & bray together / make coffins of the length of a span / put thy stuffing therein, in every cake his portion/ fold them & boil them in water & afterward roast them on a griddle & give forth.

Filling:

1 dl figs

1 dl raisins

1 dl dates

1 dl ground almonds

Good powder: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon ginger, pinch of nutmeg

Dough:

3 eggs

4 dl flour

Chop dried fruits and add spices and ground almonds to the fruits. Make coarse paste. Mix together the eggs and the flour for the dough and place in refrigerator for a while. Roll out the dough and cut out squares or circles. Add to the dough pieces one teaspoon of filling and close the dumplings. Boil the dumplings about 3-5 minutes, until they are tender. Allow to dry for a moment and fry in oil until the dumplings are brownish in both sides.

Chykonys in bruette (serves 4)

Harleian MS. 279, Volume I

Take and Seethe Chickens, & smite them to gobbets; then take Pepper, Ginger, and Bread ground & mix it up with the same broth, and with Ale; and color it with Saffron, and seethe and serve forth.

4 chicken legs (1 chicken leg per person)

1-2 ale

water to cover the legs

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tespoons ginger

1 pinch of saffron

½ dl bread crumbs

salt

Put the chicken legs into a large pot and pour over them ale, and water so much that the chicken legs are covered. Add spices and cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken legs are properly cooked. Remove the chicken legs and take off the foam from the broth. Cut the legs and remove the bones. Add the breadcrumbs to the broth and cook it for a while, until the broth is somewhat thickened. Pour the broth to a sieve and crush bread crumbs through the sieve back to the broth. Taste and add more spices if necessary, and salt. Put the chicken pieces to the serving dish and pour the hot broth on top and serve.

Comments:

You can use the whole chicken with giblets if you desire. If you do so, chop the chicken into quarter. About 400 g chicken with the bones should be enough per person. I used legs because they are cheap and easy to get.