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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Howdy! This is Gwyneth, from Northshield, and I also redacted and made this recipe today. I realize, as I read over this, that it is long, and I apologize for my verbosity.

I'm going to talk first about my ingredient choices, for just a moment. A little on-line research seemed to indicate that guinea fowl or Cornish game hens were probably the best replacement for pigeon, and for expediency sake (the store on the way home from work sells them fresh) I got the Cornish game hens. I used two whole hens.

I spent a lot of time considering the cheese. I wrote to two Spanish cheese importers, asking if there was a substitute widely available in the US as a replacement for the Cheese of Aragon, and was told simply no. I ended up using a Spanish cheese from Trader Joe's called Iberica, a semi-hard cheese made with a mixture of sheep, goat and cow's milk.

The bread was the other thought-provoking thing for me. After toasting, but before preparing, it says to "scald or soak" the bread in broth before assembling. I wanted something that would toast nicely and stay a little crunchy - I really dislike mushy bread stuff. So I ended up using an Italian ciabatta. It stayed together nicely during the assembly, and even retained a little crunch on the crust after soaking and being covered with sauce.

I chose beef broth instead of mutton or chicken - I couldn't find commercially available mutton broth, but thought it would have a stronger flavor than chicken, so I went with beef.

I realized, as I was making this, that I didn't have the garlic cloves at home as I had thought, and I wasn't in a position to go to the store, so I used some minced garlic from the fridge, roasted in a custard cup while the game hens were roasting. I think I got a very similar result.

Here's what I used:

2 Cornish Game hens
2 cups beef broth, separated
2 cloves garlic, roasted (or 1 1/4 Tsp, minced)
1/2 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced (about 14-16 slices would be right for this amount of meat, I think)
4 oz Iberica cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp lard
Salt and pepper to taste

I roasted the game hens in a 350 oven for about an hour, or until done. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper almost instinctively before I roasted them. When they were done, I cooled a little and then sliced the meat off the bones. The skin did not come out attractively, so I ended up taking the skin off before using it.

While the meat was roasting, I roasted the garlic in the same oven for about the last 15 minutes. I also sliced my bread, and set it on the oven racks to toast.

I used a beef bouillon to make the broth, so I heated two cups of water to almost boiling and mixed in the bouillon. I then set aside 1/2 cup of the broth for the toast. I put the larger amount of broth, garlic, cheese and two egg yolks into the blender, and mixed until smooth.

At that point I thought I had made a horrible mistake. It smelled awful, and the broth really came through overwhelmingly. Ick. But I was determined to try it all the way through. I did, however, decide to heat the sauce up, because it had cooled substantially. I heated it carefully over medium heat just until it was steaming, and added the tablespoon of lard, stirring it in until it was melted.

I soaked the bread in the extra broth, and made stacks of bread/meat/bread/meat/bread. I poured a ladle-full of sauce over it, and sat down to try my feast. It was . . . underwhelming. But it better than it smelled earlier. I ate my first little stack, thought about it, and went back for a second.

I have to admit, I decided everything is better with a little salt and pepper, so I added some before sitting down to try the second taste.

Something happened, between the first and second tastes. I don't think it was only the salt and pepper, I think it was the sauce actually melding. But it was substantially better. In fact, I might even say it was good. I went back for a third taste, and it was still pretty good.

So there ends my saga. I don't know that I would add this to my everyday dinner rotation, as I would some other medieval recipes that my family likes. But I would make it for a medieval event.

Monday, September 24, 2007

almondrote que es capirotada, redaction

I am posting this by proxy, enjoy.

My name is Bronwen Ferq Lloid and I am a member of the Shire of Cum an Iolair's cooks guild. We had a cooks night on the 13th of September and included the almondrote que es capirotada recipe in our menu for the evening.

Here is our redaction:
4 chicken thighs
2 boneless chicken breasts
8 oz of feta cheese
2 eggs
2 heads of garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 loaf of crusty bread
salt and pepper to taste
Put the chicken pieces in a baking pan and salt and pepper the skin. bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour.
While chicken is baking peel all the garlic cloves from the 2 heads of garlic and put them in a shallow pot with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and cook the garlic slowly until the cloves are soft like butter. (do not fry them we want to simulate roasting the garlic but much faster)
While garlic and chicken are cooking in a blender or food processor put feta cheese and eggs and slowly blend in warm chicken broth until sauce is creamy. Set aside.
Cut the bread into 3/4 inch slices and put into a baking pan. When chicken comes out of the oven put bread into broil. 1-2 minutes on each side.
Skin and bone the chicken. In another baking pan (we used a 9x13) layer cheese sauce, bread, chicken and continue until all is layered together ending with sauce. Put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes and then serve.

I chose dark meat chicken instead of partridge because of cost and availability. I chose feta cheese because most Spanish cheeses are goat of sheep's milk cheeses and you can get feta anywhere. I think I am going to try this again and use French chevre cheese instead of feta. We pan roasted the garlic because of time constraints.
I felt that this was a wonderful tasty and fairly easy dish.

Some of the comments from the evening where:
Fiona, "I can see this as a feast meal. Toast bread put on sliced chicken then some sauce and rewarm. We ate half the pan and there were just 4 of us here."
Marguerite, "Very tasty dish-savory- I think it would be good with Cornish game hens instead of chicken. I would be interested to see how a different cheese choice would change the quality of the sauce."

Bronwen Ferq Lloid
butterflydeb915 at yahoo dot com

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To seeth fresh salmon

Good morrow, gentle friends: ye omble scribe Merouda Pendray greets you.

I do a lot of cooking on my own, just because I like to experiment with medieval cooking and I often find event offerings are not able to adequately meet either my curiosity, my desire for authenticity, or my dietary issues.

This fine fall afternoon I'm trying a salmon recipe cited in Lorna Sass's "To the Queen's Taste" and on Godecookery at In truth, I am essentially following the Godecokery redaction, except I have substituted bay leaves for parsley (as I have no parsley) and am using fresh herbs--bay, rosemary, thyme--from my garden. I have also cooked the fish on the stovetop, low fire, as it will make the house too hot to use the oven, and there's nothing in the original that states "put it in dish and cover it wH coles until it be done enow" or some such thing.

The sauce doesn't seem to affect the taste much. Essentially, there is not much difference in the taste from a decent brand of canned salmon. The flesh is a bit nicer in texture. But it's ready for a meal, and we'll see how it goes.

Also on the stove: turnip greens. I briefly glanced at Goodcokery for a turnip green receipt, and only found a mention that "women know how to cook that so I'm not putting it in my cookbook." So I grazed through my Platina and noted a couple of recipes for unspecified "herbs". The greens are on the stove now with a bit of sugar and olive oil, and I'm thinking a bit of mustard with the salmon, another dose of oil on the greens, and some rice might make a nice little late period supper for us. I'll edit this later to record how it all came out.

Edt, 3:17 PM

There's the meal. The salmon was fine with a subtle touch of mustard. The turnip greens were really, really bitter, and I spent some time digging through my period cookbooks looking for evidence of greens (spinach, potherbs, whatever, something other than cabbage [i.e., marry cabboges]) cooked with a milk/yogurt sauce in order to ease the bitterness, but most of my reputable sources only offered a butter sauce.

So, I cooked two pounds of turnip greens in a change of water, with the second change of water containing some sugar and some olive oil, based on two receipts in Platina, titled simply, "Brew."


Plunge herbs into boiling water and take them out again immediately and cut them up finely. When they have been cut up, then grind them in a mortar. When they are well pounded, let them boil until they are cooked, after adding sugar in the right amount.


Herbs are cut up and cooked as was said before, and simmered in rich juice either from meat or oil and butter.

Once the greens were boiled, I drained them and added butter. However, the bitterness was still so great that I ended up mixing the greens with the rice on the plate. The combination of the bitter, buttered herbs and bland rice was enough to make a reasonably tasty side dish, if not precisely what the receipt called for.

The beets are commercially prepared, added to the meal because I totally love beets and beets are period. ;-)

Suggestions for modifying this meal completely welcome. One of the things that will be apparent in my posts is that I have need to follow a modified fat, low-egg, low-soy regime, so many of my choices in redacting will be about cooking foods that are both recognizable to medieval person and tasty to a person who can't use egg yolks, should use olive oils or fat-free yogurts rather than butter, et cetera. This would be why I was looking for a herbs in a dairy sauce receipt, but the only thing I had to hand with lots of vegetables (cabbage, onions, spinach) in dairy sauce would be
SALLETS, HUMBLES, & SHREWSBURY CAKES, hardly the best respected cookbook out there.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Moorish Eggplant

Hello Everyone!

I'm working on a feast (Calontir's Crown Tourney, Nov 3rd) which I've decided to do along a late period Spanish theme. I'm getting 90% of my recipes from De Nola. Which is why the recipe I suggested for this month just happens to be a De Nola recipe which also just happens to be on my feast menu. :) Funny how that happens! I'll be trying the Almondrote tonight.

Last night I redacted another one of my recipes. Here's the original:

Peel the eggplants and quarter them, and their skins having been peeled, set them to cook; and when they are well-cooked, remove them from the fire, and then squeeze them between two wooden chopping blocks, so they do not retain water. And then chop them with a knife. And let them go to the pot and let them be gently fried, very well, with good bacon or with sweet oil, because the Moors do not eat bacon. And when they are gently fried, set them to cook in a pot and cast in good fatty broth, and the fat of meat, and grated cheese which is fine, and above all, ground coriander; and then stir it with a haravillo like gourds; and when they are nearly cooked, put in egg yolks beaten with verjuice, as if they were gourds.

And here's my redaction:

1 eggplant
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
4 oz grated cheese
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 egg yolks
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Peel and chop the eggplant into rough chunks. Boil in water for 10-15 minutes, drain. Press eggplant between two cutting boards to remove excess water. Then mince fine.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the eggplant. Fry on a medium or medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes and all the oil is absorbed. Put the eggplant in a sauce pan (or leave in the fry pan if it's got decently high sides) and add the coriander, broth, and cheese and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently and encourage the eggplant to fall apart further. Again, the liquid should absorb and/or evaporate. While cooking, whisk the egg yolks with the vinegar. Once it is all cooked throughly, and the eggplant is nice and mushy, add in the eggs and blend well. Serve warm.

This would serve 4 as a side dish, 2 hungry people, or a table of 8 in feast type circumstances.

I changed it to veggie broth instead of meat to ensure I had some vegetarian dishes, and I didn't add the extra fat for modern concerns/tastes. Plus, I'll have enough fat in the other dishes... Oy! De Nola does love his cheese and bacon. It was really good with a surprisingly mild flavor. I like it a lot. I will use a different cheese however. Since cheese is not a really good diet food, and I'm trying to lose weight, I don't have much in the house, and what I had was some Queso Blanco I bought for another recipe, and it really didn't work in this. It stayed like little cheesy semi-melted chunks and never really incorporated into the rest of the dish. I think I'd like to try it with a mix of Parmesan and mozzarella. Something nice and melty and something with a hint of a stronger flavor.

What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? Have a different redaction? I'd love to hear them!

-Gwen A'Brooke

Thursday, September 6, 2007

October 2007 recipe, Almodrote que es Capirotada


You shall take partridges and after they have been well-plucked, put them between the embers; and when they have been there for the space of a Paternoster (33), take them out and clean everything off them, and roast them, and baste them sufficiently with your bacon fat; and when they are roasted, cut them as if to make portions of them, and then grate good cheese of Aragon that is fine; and take two whole heads of garlic roasted between the embers and then peel them very well and cleanly, and grind them in a mortar; and then put the cheese in the mortar, and resume grinding it all together; and while you are grinding them, cast a good spoonful of lard into the mortar, with some egg yolks, and grind it all together; and when it is all well-ground, blend it with good mutton broth that is half cooled, because if it were very hot it would consume the cheese; and then make slices of bread and toast them, and scrape off the burnt parts, and then scald or soak these toasted slices of bread with good mutton broth in an earthenware bowl or a deep plate; and then take them out and put them on a large plate, all around, in this manner: a layer of bread slices, and another of partridges, and in this manner fill up the plate with a platform of bread slices and another of partridges; and when the plate is full, cast the almodrote on top of it all and then take melted lard and scatter it over the plate.

This recipe is from "Libre del Coch", 1529, by Ruperto de Nola, English translation by Robin Carroll-Mann."

Welcome to the Cook-A-Long

Greetings cooking enthusiasts!

The purpose of this blog is to provide a virtual kitchen, of sorts. With our virtual kitchen we can explore Medieval and Renaissance cooking texts, share out findings, tips, triumphs and even failers. The nice thing is we can do it at our liesure in the comfort of our home kitchens.

The plan is to have a new recipe posted each month (or every other month) and each of us will have that month to prepare this dish. You may work alone, in groups, as a guild, it is up to you. Please share what you have learned for this list is meant to serve as a teaching tool as we continue to grow in our culinary skills.

While we will have "official" recipes for each month, please feel free to share any redactions that you have been working on. As always, please include the original recipe, translation and which book/ article/ etc. that you got the recipe from, it's origins and original writer.

The comment section is open to everyone, but if you wish to be an author of this blog, please contact me privately so that you may be added.


Maestra Giovanna di Battista da Firenze (OL Pavilions, Cooking and Clothing)
Kingdom of Northshield
Barony of Nordskogen