The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dance/ Cooks Symposium

Greetings to all who may still read this quiet list.

I was recently contacted by a friend who is pondering the possibility of a event that will consist of a dance symposium and a cooking symposium.  I find the thought intriguing and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think there is an interest in having a cooking symposium?
Do any of you know if something like this is already in the works in the kingdom?
Do any of you have ideas of what you would like to see?

Right now there is nothing fleshed out so all brainstorming is welcome.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


I just want to share the work Mana Borisova did recently regarding her first explorations of pre-industrial mustard; I know that there are quite a few of us that are into mustardy goodness. :-) Here are the links:

Notes on Mustard 1

Notes on mustard volume 2 & 3

Notes on Mustard, volume 4

Notes on mustard volumes 5,6,&7

Enjoy. :-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

The way how to make a fysche called soole.

I made myself a surprisingly quick supper tonight, pictured below:

A "bitter orange", Sole in Civey, Spinach Fried

Sole has been on sale a lot in the local area, so naturally, I bought some. In fact, I bought a bit too much, and we'll be having sole again tomorrow. That said, it offered me the opportunity to have a fast and period supper tonight. The components plated above:

Slices of clementines, also in season right now, served with the peel on to hit the bitter note as a substitute for a Seville orange. I like bitter, so this was fine for me.

Sole in Civey

The original:

SOOLES IN CYNEE. C. XIX. Take Sooles and hylde hem, seeþ hem in water, smyte hem on pecys and take away the fynnes. take oynouns iboiled & grynde the fynnes þerwith and brede. drawe it up with the self broth. do þerto powdour fort, safroun & hony clarified with salt, seeþ it alle yfere. broile the sooles & messe it in dysshes & lay the sewe above. & serue forth.[Forme of Cury, 1390]

My Redaction:

6 oz sole fillets
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon powder fort
2 oz white wine, sweet
1 water as needed
2 drops yellow food coloring, if desired
  1. Chop onions. Place onions and 2 oz of the sole into 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and parboil to done.

  2. Add bread crumbs and spice mixture, and 1-2 oz of white wine. Mix it all up and continue to cook; add more water if needed. Cook until you have a stuffing-like consistency. You can serve this very thin, as if it is a sauce, but it works best cooked like a stuffing.

  3. Broil remaining sole

  4. Place sole on a plate, cover with the stuffing, and enjoy!

Obviously there are some differences here: I swapped out the honey for a couple ounces of Riesling and I left out the saffron. I chose wine over honey based on my preferences and supported by the use of wine in other "[Whatever Meat] in Cyvee/Cynee" recipes. I did put in a few drops of yellow food coloring to at least mimic the look saffron may have given. The civey cooked up into a stuffing-like dish at this quantity, and something I might do in the future is try making the civey and sandwiching it between a couple of fillets and giving it a nice bake. Mm. Stuffed sole.

Spinach Fried

Original recipe:

SPYNOCHES YFRYED. XX.IX. Take Spynoches. perboile hem in seþyng water. take hem up and presse ... out of þe water and hem in two. frye hem in oile clene. & do þerro powdour. & serue forth. Forme of Cury, 1390.

My redaction:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups spinach, raw
1/2 t long pepper
1/2 t grains of paradise
  1. If desired, parboil spinach. Drain, pressing out water if needed. Otherwise, just use the fresh leaves and allow the next step to cook them.

  2. Heat up to one tablespoon of olive oil and fry the spinach. When done, mix in spices.

  3. Enjoy!

  4. NOTE: The instruction to parboil reduces bitterness. If you have spinach that is not bitter when stir fried, or if you enjoy a slight touch of bitter, skip the parboiling.

I chose these particular spices on a whim. I had it sitting right there in the spice cabinet, and they were begging to be used in such a simple recipe, where there nice qualities would not disappear amongst lots of different flavors. Given the non-directive nature of "powders," I felt comfortable just using a little something period.

And, as a last thought on the spices, I should note that the powder fort I used is the sort sold by Auntie Arwen. Ah, Pennsic, and a moment in the late afternoon to stand in the shop and smell the spices. There's a medieval moment for you. :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rouda's ROUS pie Cook-A-Long challenge. :-)

Here's the cooking challenge for anyone out there. What Medieval Like Food can you cook with the letters ROUS? A duplicate post from my focused cookery blog:

Okay. So, for the duration of the reign of Siegfried III and Elizabeth in Northshield.... (snippage} ... the Royal whim has been proclaimed, and for the duration of the reign, The Princess Bride is considered documentation for any A&S project. On the Northshield mail list, Gabriella asked for suggestions for altering her feast dishes in ways that might work with this theme. This was my reply:
For instance, you have rabbit, which you are thinking of as the last dish in your first service. And you want this to be your ROUS. Well, then, if you are swapping out the earlier stew for a sandwich--a decidedly post medieval dish--you can balance that by making a ROUS with ROUS. ;-) The soteltie is traditionally the last place in the service order, and so that would work nicely. :-)

ROUS-- a presentation version of the dish, a standing pie that has been decorated and disguised as a Rodent Of Unusual Size. This takes a trip around the feast hall for the Ooohs and Ahhs and then is served to the head table.

A dish of ROUS (Rabbit, Onions, Unguent [the sauce or gravy], Spices) served as simplified standing pies to the remaining tables.

There would be a lot of different dishes you could make with ROUS as the initials--you could be even more clever with a pie made with Rarebit, Oysters, Unagi (Eel!), Squid or shrimp--essentially, a seafood pie in a savory cheese sauce. ;-) An illusion food that completes the illusion by not having any rodent in it. ;-)

Since I have spent much time working on cheese-like sauces, and I love seafood, I think that Aunty 'Rouda's ROUS pie is going to be a dish in development Real Soon. Mixed seafood pies are pretty findable in medieval cookery, so it's a really do-able project. And I'll likely do the other version, too, but it's probably going to have to be red beans or roasted veggies or rice for the r, rather than rabbit. That'll be the totally vegan version.

Rarebit as a sauce isn't provably period, but the Welsh are supposed to have eaten cooked cheese according to this citation from the Wikipedia article on Welsh Rarebit: It is also possible that the dish was attributed to Wales because the Welsh were considered particularly fond of cheese, as evidenced by Andrew Boorde in his Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (1542), when he wrote "I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese."[12] In Boorde's account, "cause boby" is the Welsh caws pobi, meaning "baked cheese". It is the earliest known reference to cheese being eaten cooked in the British Isles but whether it implies a recipe like Welsh rabbit is a matter of speculation. Since I'm putting it all into a pie, the idea of the period nature of cooked cheese isn't worrisome, but I thought it was a fun little bit of speculation about rarebit. ;-)

I would love to see what other people do!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An SCA compatible dish.

I continue to work on period cookery. I have about 8 redactions ready to go, but no time to write them all up. I do want to share one recent write up with you, though, because it worked pretty well and would be a way for you to offer more range should you suddenly find a vegan on the throne.

Rather than write it up here, though, I'm going to direct you to the entry on my tempoary cooking blog. I'm trying to just set up a new blog on my site specifically for cookery, but I'm more concerned with getting the On Illuminated Manuscripts website moved off of GeoCities right now, so the cookery is currently located here on blogger. That said, I thought I would refrain from posting the whoile thing here as it is strictly SCA compatible; I have no evidence whatsoever that anyone in period ever cooked a veggie burger.

All that verbal meandering aside, please look over here for the first of what will be several SCA compatible veggie burger recipes that you might like to try.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Cambridge Pudding

A Cambridge Pudding.
(for photos please see my original post here. I seemed to have removed my images from my computer.)

(John Murrell: A new booke of Cookerie; London Cookerie. London 1615)

Searce grated Bread through a Cullinder, mince it with Flower, minst Dates, Currins, Nutmeg, Sinamon, and Pepper, minst Suit, new Milke warme, fine Sugar, and Egges: take away some of their whites, worke all together. Take halfe the Pudding on
the one side, and the other on the other side, and make it round like a loafe.
Then take Butter, and put it in the middest of the Pudding, and the other halfe aloft. Let your liquour boyle, and throw your Pudding in, being tyed in a faire cloth: when it is boyled enough cut it in the middest, and so serue it in.


My initial review of this recipe sounded like a boiled pudding. I have never had or seen one but I had heard of them so I did some online perusal. And found this:
While not identical it gave me some good ratios to start with. I opted to leave the suet out as I had some difficulty finding it and what I did find was in larger quantities then I needed. I wanted to try the recipe first and see how it tasted before investing in ingredients that might go to waste. I also found another pudding recipe from the same Murrell reference that gave the option “If it be a fasting day leaue out the Suit…”

1 ½ cups butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs
½ cup warm milk
4 cups (280g) stale breadcrumbs (not dry)
1 cup (150g) wheat/white flour mix
1 cup (150g) currants
1 cup (170g) pitted dried dates, chopped
4 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pepper

Combine dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients until the dough holds its shape. Form into a round loaf. Tie up into cheese cloth. (I prepped the cloth by soaking it first and then sprinkling the center with flour to form a barrier to hold the moist pudding in and help form the skin needed for the pudding to hold its shape).

I slowly immersed the pouch into boiling water and tied the ends to the handles of the pot and put a lid over. This then boiled for six hours. I had to replenish the water periodically. After 6 hours I removed the pudding and unwrapped it and allowed it to cool. The pudding became more firm and darker in color as it cooled.

The flavor was good and I seemed to have found a good balance with the spices. I don’t think that anything is missing by not adding the Suet and since Coronation takes place during Lent in our modern year I decided to leave it out. It had a good flavor but needed a sauce. I couldn’t find anything else with in the same text but I decided I will serve with an almond cream which uses almonds, cream, mace, sugar and flour. The pudding tasted really great with ice cream which wasn't a period option so I thought the almond cream might be a good choice.

For the actual entry, I reduced the quantity of currants and dates because I personally can't seem to find dates palatable no matter how many different ways I cook them. And, the more I think about it I wish I would have soaked them a bit ahead of time. I wasn't sure how the extra liquid would have impacted the finished product so I opted not to but some of the fruit didn't really soften during it's six hour bath.

From my reading these puddings are amazingly resilient. They keep for long periods of time. To reheat it on site, I boiled it for another 2 hours. It got a little soggier so I don't think I prepped my cloth appropriately. All in all it was a really good experiment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Almond Cheese, very basic

Okay, just to show that it works:

Strictly almond cheese from a period recipe.

Creme Of Almaundes. XX.IIII. V. Take Almaundes blaunched, grynde hem and drawe hem up thykke, set hem ouer the fyre & boile hem. set hem adoun and spryng hem wicii Vyneger, cast hem abrode uppon a cloth and cast uppon hem sugur. whan it is colde gadre it togydre and leshe it in dysshes. (Form of Cury)

There are actually similar recipes as almond creme, almond butter, and almond cheese. However, when you start getting past things that call themselves "creme" you start seeing other ways in which this very basic receipt is modified to include and expand its use.

This was produced from commercially made almond milk, but the ingredient list is pretty simple--almonds, water, sugar. And it was very simple to make:

About 1 qt sweetened almond milk
About 2-2.5 teaspoons of white wine vinegar.

Heat the almond milk to a simmer. Add vinegar. Watch it curdle. Strain curds from leftover liquid and hang in a bag to drain. Once the curds are dry, add sugar or any other spices you might like, and press into a mold.

The primary problem with this? The yield from this is very small. That little disc up there is in a finger bowl, and the cheesefood is about the size of a ping pong ball. Even without any additional spices or additives, it's a smooth, creamy tasting thing, but it feels like putty when you touch it and the quantity of almond milk needed to produce enough to make, say, a cheesecake, is going to be pretty significant. Still, I'm happy to have done it and to find it was so simple. I can again have a little bit of sweet creaminess with my breakfast.

I do have two other solutions in mind in the quest for a creamy umami sauce that will stand in for aged dairy cheese--one is a cheeze that uses the nutmeats leftover from making almond milk, and the other is in my tummy now but is still a little too salty and fatty for me to call it solved. But I have to say, that was bestest, most creamiest non-egg, non-dairy sauce I have had. I can't even call it uncheeze, as it's not vegan. But it's all period ingredients, so I'll keep working on it. :-) And if I get it right, I may not share it unless you come to my house and eat it with me. ;-)